Very thoughtful piece! Being totally blind from birth, online dating puts me at an insurmountable disadvantage. For, although I’m not caring about how women look, they’re making snap swipe decisions about my looks. This reality is disconcerting, as though two eaters, one with functioning taste buds and one without, were asked to eat and evaluate.
The situation is further complicated because women today refuse to understand that I deserve sensory information about them just as they already receive it about every man they consider. In other words, I need to hear a voice or touch a hand, smell traces of perfume or walk arm in arm, anything that will give me a sense of someone besides invisible online pictures and vapid messages teeming with emoticons.
Unfortunately, the sighted world makes it painfully clear that it cares nothing about our sensory inclusion, let alone any other kind. That 75% of America’s blind remain unemployed points to a large-scale, collective indifference and mass discrimination. As though this weren’t bad enough when applying for jobs, we must experience it over and over again, until the trauma of repeated lacerations embitters us into dispondence.If I hadn’t ended up happily paired, I couldn’t have taken much more online dating. Everything involved in navigating these sites and apps took me hours rather than minutes, and I had no concrete sense of what was being considered attractive. Further, my requests for sensory equivalents were met with harsh dismissals. Women insisted that they did not have to accommodate me in any way, that I had to get in line with every other dude settling for the occasional flirtatious message.
In your first paragraph, you lament that the chances of online profiles “graduating” to messages and carved time for one another in all-too busy lives are slim to none. This is precisely the problem. Our culture wants the thrill of romance and the exhilaration of hookups without putting in any significant time. All the rejection I and other blind men experience essentially boils down to “You’re not worth my time.” How do you think it feels to hear that for years?