Hands up who watched the “Undateables” on Channel 4 the other night? channel4.com/programmes/the... I did, and so did a lot of other ticcers and their mums. I wasn’t sure what to expect, the prospect of me, myself being on this show was put to me quite some time ago. I did have a good think about this, bearing in mind that this was before the title was conceived. On the plus side it’s always good to see intelligent, positive, people representing the ticcer community, not sure that I’d tic (haha, bad pun) all the boxes but Luke the young man who eventually did take part certainly does. On the minus side I had massive reservations about firstly putting myself out there in the public realm and having to face all that involves as a woman and as a ticcer, you know endless clips on Youtube that are just soooo hilarious, I get enough of that as it is just on the bus into Coventry city centre, and the fate that becomes of a lot of ticcers on TV, “the tic fest montage”, which to a small extent Luke was subjected to in the trailer. So, I declined the generous offer despite having an in-depth conversation about the whole TS in the media thing along with the big question “Is it easier for men with Tourette’s than women with Tourette’s? To date?” I did recently find a little titbit of a statistic that stated that 70% of people wouldn’t date a person with a disability, that came from a survey that The Observer did a few years ago, it would however be interesting to get a breakdown of that figure, such as how many women would date a person with a disability and how many men would date a person with a disability. There was a big danger if the concerns that I voiced to the researcher that I spoke to went through one ear and out the other that this programme could be just another freakshow for the digital age.
Whilst watching the programme I wasn’t particularly surprised, but luckily Luke (just like any other ticcer) came over as intelligent, funny, warm etc…etc…so I was disappointed for him when his clueless date parped up that she “was disappointed that he hadn’t sworn yet as that’s funny”. I’d be very disappointed to be on the receiving end of such a remark, I did actually receive one which I will share with you.
“Mmmm severe tourettes syndrome, that could be very funny or awkward if we were to meet in a library lol x”
Sorry that doesn’t really appeal, particularly from a 46year old graduate. That doesn’t really even warrant a reply just, yawn and delete, not my type. That’s not the first message of that caliber, it’s one of many, but I suppose it shows that he can at least read unlike many messages that just say “Hi, I lik ur pic” …….
Going back to the survey that The Observer did, I asked myself if I would date a man who was disabled. Of course, like any other man it would depend on a number of factors, was there any chemistry, was he intelligent, did he have a good sense of humour (I guess you’d need an excellent sense of humour to date a ticcer) and I guess as things progress other factors would come into play. ( I know what you’re thinking). I did have a relationship with a guy with Asperger’s syndrome for just over a year, at that point neither of us was away that he had Asperger’s, he was just hard work at times (sorry if I’ve offended any Aspies), hard work in the fact that he like things to be “just so” and would have endless conversations about something that seemed quite minor to me and that to me was water under the bridge. Whilst looking at the top corner of the room (very Aspie and in retrospect very obvious). He had his cycle ride from his student house to the Art and Design School at Colchester Institute timed to the second, he would meticulously plan his journey home to his parents in Sussex, meanwhile I would rush to the School of Music, I would often meander my way home via the pub or if there was an orchestral rehearsal via the student night at the Hippodrome. My room was a mess; a mass of clothes, books, CD’s and a viola somewhere in the mess, his room was very neat and ordered. However he would drive myself and his family to distraction with his pedantic ways and the way that when his older brother or dad pulled his leg he’d go off on a tangent, a predictable tangent. He was a very talented artist, as well as the degree in Product Design he picked up in Colchester, he also acquired a degree in Illustration from Southampton and a degree in Graphic Design from Birmingham. Uni was actually the best place for him; the year was structured as was the daily timetable. He wasn’t diagnosed until he was 26 when he suffered a bout of depression, I knew him when he was 21.
How about fancying a person with a disability, my aspie ex was a very good looking guy, tall and looked just like any other art student, slightly disheveled and blended in with everyone else in the refectory. I know I don’t particularly blend in with the crowd, another notable quote from the “Undateables” programme was from Richard, a thirty-something Aspie who said “he’s good-looking, but he’s an idiot”, and Richard would also blend away into the background, unlike me.
Not so long ago I attended a conference with my colleague Julie, we glanced across the room to find somewhere to sit, we spotted a couple of seats at the front table where a cute guy was sitting (I’d quite happily sit by him) but he waved at Julie and pointed, immediately it made sense, he was deaf, if we sat there he wouldn’t be able to see the interpreter. We did speak to him later on that day, he communicated through the interpreter, taking a BSL interpreter on a date with you would be a bit annoying, it would in essence be like going out with someone who didn’t speak the same language as you (unless he could lip read, as an old school friend of mine could do very well) plus also I think the fact that may face and arms are constantly moving due to tics would making trying to understand me difficult. Never mind. Lovely guy though.
Referring back to my internet dating experiences apart from the type of messages that I illustrated earlier I have actually ventured outside and met three men. The first two I’ve mentioned in other blog posts, but there was a third guy, he was very sweet, intelligent and funny but sadly there was no chemistry at all, it just didn’t really click, but as I said he was a nice guy and one of the reasons why he did feel he could approach me was because I have TS and he could be open about his epilepsy. This didn’t phase me at all, if he did have a seizure at least I’d know what to do, and at least we had cr***y brains in common, he did do a bit of research into TS before meeting me (unlike the others). I’d have no qualms about dating a man with a disability, you’re not dating his disability, and soon a person’s disability just melts away, you’re dating HIM, just HIM. I could prattle on for ages on this subject; it would however be good to read some of your thoughts and experiences. Apologies for the naughty word in the diagram pictured.