This blog forms part of Trailblazers Dating Diaries, which looks to lift the lid on dating and relationships when having a disability.
It’s something we get asked a lot at Trailblazers, where can you go on a first date when you’re disabled?
It’s a good question and has someone who has been on a lot of first dates, I’m going to give you some of my suggestions. But first some tips:
- Always plan according to the worst possible weather
Here’s a funny story. My last first date took place on one of the coldest days of the year. By the time we were meeting, I think it was down to zero degrees. Now, I don’t take my PAs on dates so I make sure I am okay by myself. One thing I don’t do when I’m on my own is wear coats. Mainly because I can’t really move in them and definitely can’t successfully eat or drink in them. So for this particular date, I wore a super warm hoody. Seemed okay but it turned out to be even more restrictive than a coat. At one point, my hand fell off my joystick and I was so cold and my hoody was so heavy, I just couldn’t get it back on my joystick. So I broke my cardinal first date rule and had to ask for help. On returning home, I vowed to not wear that hoody on a date again.
- Give your date a rough idea of your access needs
I always tell my date a little bit about my physical limitations just in case I do need help (see above). However, I’ve also become a master at learning what I can (pretty much) always do without assistance. Example, I can eat by myself but often struggle to cut meat up. So I always have date friendly food ideas in the back of my head. Penne pasta dishes, tick. Noodle-based dishes, big fat cross. I also know I can usually pick up a wine glass, but can’t pick up a standard glass. Therefore I pick wine to drink. Not only do you give of a vibe of sophistication, but you can guarantee you’ll at least manage a drink.
- If in doubt, go to somewhere you know
It always seems like a good idea to go somewhere new with your date. That way if you’re date sucks, you haven’t spoiled all the happy memories of one of your favourite places. However, if you know this place has glasses you can hold or a toilet you can access, you’ll instantly be more relaxed. Good thing for a first date.
Okay, but where should you go? Here are some of my ideas.
- A museum or art gallery.
I know, it’s geeky but it’s also warm. Plus there’s plenty of things to take about if you’re struggling for small talk. There’s also no need to eat or drink, if that is a concern for you.
- A comedy night
Often these events aren’t the most accessible but if you do find one near you that is, then it’s a great option. You’ll have time to chat between acts and again if you’re struggling for small talk, you can talk about the comedy.
- A park
Definitely weather contingent! But if you’re anxious about eating or drinking on a date, a park is a great way to get around this. It’s quiet so if you speak quietly, then your date will still be able to hear you. Also, sometimes a stroll even without words is nice.
- A drink in your favourite bar
Great if you’re nervous. I, for one, stay well away from drinking on a first date as I can be a bit of a lightweight. But this is a great option if you want to go somewhere you know. Just try and pick somewhere without too much background noise. There’s nothing worse than having to shout at your date.
So there are my top tips and date location suggestions. Do you have some good date ideas or tips? Comment on this blog and share them with the world.