Inside the utter chaos of trying to date when you’re gay, disabled, & in your 30s - Queerty (2024)

Inever knew it was possible to feel simultaneously hopeful and depressed, but I guess that’s what dating will do to you when you’re gay, disabled, and in your 30s. It’s a strange place to be.

Gone are the glory days of my youth (or so it seems), but ask anyone in their 40s or 50s, and they’ll say I’m still (somehow) in my prime. You still have so much life ahead of you. I’ll happen when you least expect it! Which, great. Fine. But how long must one go without expecting something, until you’re forced to accept the very real possibility you could die alone one day, in some morbid fashion, like choking on a grape simply because you were trying to increase your vitamin K intake? Lord knows my dog won’t save me.

Sometimes I’ll look in the mirror and think, where the hell did my confidence go? Did I leave it somewhere in my 20s, when the world didn’t expect so much from me? Did I lose it under that great big tree in Central Park, when that guy broke up with me because he wanted “someone he could play football with”? Is it hidden in between the bedsheets of some former lover in Los Angeles or New York? Or have I simply become dead inside, jaded by time and the people who’ve ghosted me on Grindr?

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I’ll study my face and wonder who I killed in a past life to deserve this new, wretched skin I am in a continuous state of war with now. In previous decades, everyone always complimented my skin. What do you mean you don’t use any products? How is that possible?! they’d say, as if, together, we were on the brink of some scientific breakthrough.

Now I just stare in the mirror and count the five different lotions, creams, gels, and cleansers required to keep my rosacea at bay. But at least I still look red all the time!

It’s like I’m stuck in a forever cycle of feeling nostalgic of the past and fearful of the future. Could this be considered a pre-midlife crisis? Is that a thing?

And online dating has become so strange. No one wants to keep the conversation going on Grindr or Scruff anymore. It’s all, “want to keep chatting on Snapchat?” First of all, how dare you! Second of all, who the hell my age is using Snapchat? Didn’t I just tell you about my rosacea!?! The last thing I want to do is take a selfie alongside every message I send. Screw you, Snapchat! And screw your stupid filters, too! (Though maybe they’d help me look less like a lobster?)

And don’t get me started on my disability. Scratch that. Disabilities, as in plural. I was born with Cerebral Palsy–which means I walk a little bit like a drunk person, whether I’ve had alcohol or not. Then, about five years ago, I started getting constant dull headaches that would not go away. Turns out, I needed glasses. Buh-bye, eyesight!

But it didn’t end there. Last September, I had a ringing in my right ear so went to get it checked out. Fast forward to today and I am now the proud owner of two sexy hearing aids. At first I thought the hearing aids would make me more alluring; like Chappell Roan, but before everyone knew who she was. Turns out, no one really notices my aids. Or cares. Oh well!

My hair is also thinning, which feels like the most debilitating disability of all, but maybe that’s just my inner saboteur talking.

I’ll often fantasize about how to incorporate my disabilities into sexting. Like… whisper sweet nothings in my ear, but let me put in my hearing aids first because I probably won’t hear you otherwise. Or… I may be disabled, but all I want is for you to disable my hole with that rod! Or… My Cerebral Palsy makes me prone to falling, including falling for you. I have yet to actually try any of these lines on anyone, but you get the idea.

I’ve stopped counting the last time I had sex because it depresses me too much. Was it two years ago? Three? Oh wai, it was four, on some air mattress in Minneapolis. I don’t count the guy from two years ago who said he was coming over to rail me, but then proceeded to do not that. Just boring hand stuff, which, alright!I guess?

Don’t get me wrong. There are days where I am brimming with hope; days where I meet a guy with whom I feel good vibes and who accepts me in all my disabled glory. But hovering underneath that hope is always a lowkey sense of dread that consumes me. Will he actually accept me or want to boink me when he sees me walk for the first time IRL? Will I have a rosacea flare up the minute I see him? Will he immediately be turned off by my bald spot? Will the chemistry just not translate in-person?

I’m supposed to go on a date (or maybe it’s just a casual hang?) tomorrow but it’s 11 am and he still hasn’t messaged me with a plan. In fact, he hasn’t messaged me in over 24 hours now. Maybe in two days time, I will be a changed man. Maybe I’ll read this and think, wow! That Josh guy was a real piece of work, huh? He sure hated the idea of dating! Or perhaps I’ll reach some epiphany that changes me for the better: Oh right, it was the self-loathing and cynicism that was clouding my worldview! It was me. I was the problem all along! All it took was one good lay, one good date, one good guy to make me feel desired, and right the wrongs my 30s have bestowed upon me.

But maybe not. It’s now nearing the end of the day, and the guy still hasn’t messaged.

Josh Galassi is very gay and very disabled, if you haven’t noticed. Sometimes, he writes about both those things, and sometimes, he doesn’t. He lives in Seattle with his dog, Carmen Sandiego, who, it turns out, was on Craigslist the entire time (where he bought her). You can find him on InstagramandTwitter, or at a nearby coffee shop obsessing over cold brew.

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Inside the utter chaos of trying to date when you’re gay, disabled, & in your 30s - Queerty (2024)

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