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Searching For That Special Somebody

by Marc

As with most of the readers and members of OverGround, I have a very special affinity, a consuming fascination, an all-encompassing desire to form a meaningful relationship with a physically disabled woman. Specifically, I qualify as a devotee, an admirer of the incomplete female form, although I have a marked interest for many other forms of disabilities. I've heard that some of 'the boys' keep this interest to a level of collecting material and sightings, which is fine by me; I, on the other hand, am working hard to find the woman who possesses that special attribute, one or more amputated limbs, that makes my engine purr as nothing else in this world can.

Problems started to arise when I actually started to take positive steps to make such a personally wonderful relationship come true. First of all, I've only had the rare privilege of actually seeing an amputee woman less than five times over the last couple of years. And again, only one of those sightings was of a woman in my age-group, 20--30 years of age. Statistically speaking, and from a Canadian point of view, this isn't surprising. Starting with the roughly three million person population basin of greater Montréal and working with actual statistics and educated guesses, I came to the conclusion that there should be between 20 and 50 unengaged upper-limb amputee women between the age of 20 and 35. These are pretty slim odds. But I didn't give up so easily. I looked around, took full account of the situation and decided on what steps I could take to meet one of these elusive amputee women in an atmosphere conducive to social interaction. I haven't been successful yet, but I'm still working hard ...

Dating agencies Over a period of one and a half years I've tried very hard and talked to quite a few dating ser vices in the greater Montréal area. Most contacts were done over the phone, but I did present myself to half a dozen offices. The people I met were quite gentle and polite, listening as I explained the nature and motives of my search for an amputee companion. After I had finished blowing my steam, most were very polite in saying they either didn't cater to anything other than 'straight' demands or just didn't have any amputee or otherwise disabled women in their membership.

Two agencies actually took my application, one who had a young woman suffering from congenital osteogenesis imperfectum (brittle bone disease) on their lists, and the other promising to network with other agencies they were affiliated with to find the person I was and am still looking for. As it turns out they both took my hard-earned money, for a total of $400 (£200), for which I saw absolutely no results. After I had dished out the cash to enroll, the disabled woman didn't like what my personal enrolment sheet said, and the other agency just kept on promising that they were work ing on my 'special case', until my contract ran out.

For the remainder of these agencies, those to whom I had talked over the wire, I was con fronted with a whole spectrum of responses. Many were intrigued, finding this interest I manifested peculiar and original. They too said they'd be happy to help but simply didn't have anybody matching the description I de manded on file. I was hung-up on a few times. Maybe those offices thought they were the butt end of some practical joke or victims of a disturbed mind. And finally, a few secretaries were very vocal, and these were unpleasant experiences, referring to me as a pervert and sicko in no uncertain terms.

Personal and lonely hearts columns I actually met my 'ex' through an ad. she had placed in a personals column, which was in fact run by a dating agency. Her ad. was explicit in stating that she was severely physically disabled, but she didn't specify any further as to the exact nature of her disability. Of course, I responded, sending her a brief letter presenting myself but not pressing her into talking exclusively about her disability. Although I was certain 'severe disability' was going to be anything else than an amputation, I tried to keep my hopes high. A couple of weeks later I received my response. M. has severe cerebral palsy. We corresponded throughout the follow ing three months, met at her parents' and the rest is history. We were together for two and a half years, had great and not so great times together, including sharing an apartment for almost a year. We separated two years ago ... I keep scanning all the personal ads and lonely-hearts columns I can get my eyes on, but the fact is there just don't seem to be any disabled or amputee women advertising. Looking back, I feel very lucky that personals have actually worked for me at all.

I also tried placing my own personal ad. in all kinds of magazines and newspapers, ranging from exclusively porn and swinger-oriented papers to the large distribution daily newspapers. I've run ads that would qualify from tame, covert and sneaky, to open and honest, to, in the case of porn papers, stuff on the verge of obscene. I haven't heard a peep for all the time, effort, and money I've put in, which is more than a disappointing. Either the women didn't see the ads at all, or they didn't like what they read. I'll probably never know for sure.

There is also another system. One of my Montréal friends and I have been experimenting with Telepersonals. As its name indicates it's a phone service where you can record personal ad. and listen to those recorded by others. Recording and listening is free, but responding requires you to become a member for what comes out to $1 Can, (£0.50) a minute, which isn't cheap considering that listening to a person responding to your ad. and sending out an adequate answer seldom takes less than a full five minutes. My friend has had no success what ever, while my ad. which was very explicit in stating I wanted to meet 'an amputee or otherwise physically disabled woman' got me a few curiosity calls and an answer from a young woman with C. P, with whom things just didn't work out.

Let the client beware I've had a few bad experiences with services who promised me the moon, had me pay full price for it, and eventually failed to deliver anything worthwhile. I am sure that at least one of the dating services I did business with did so intentionally, rushing through the preliminaries to the point where I signed the check. The others might have been honest, but they were also incompetent, which isn't much of an excuse. All in all, I've put well over $750 Can, (£375), into the services I have mentioned in this article, and I've absolutely nothing to show for my efforts.

When consulting a dating agency, my advice is to be very frank and honest from the start as to the exact description of the soul-mate you are seeking, men tioning that she should be an amputee as well as all the other personality traits. Ask straight off if they have such a person on file, and preferably deal with a service which says they have many. Don't be hasty in giving them your hard-earned money, even if they use all kinds of techniques to put pressure on you to sign the contract. Ask for a written guarantee of a total or partial refund if they can't locate a person responding to the exact traits you've asked for.

Meeting in a public place I just don't believe that public places, such as shopping malls, market squares, and plain open streets are good places to meet that special somebody. I know I just don't have either the guts or the social grace it takes to go up to a total stranger and strike up a conversation, especially if that person is a lovely amputee. I am very fluent and vocal once things are rolling: I can comfortably talk about any topic the person in front of me can possible come up with, but making initial contact debilitates me completely.

Night-clubs are a different story, or at least they would be if anybody particularly interesting were to be seen there. The atmosphere is totally different, more conducive to personal interaction (maybe because of the enormous quantities of alcohol being consumed) and I find it's easier to walk up to somebody when they kind of expect you to. Then again, I'm more into classic and alternative rock, groups like Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Rush etc., so I'm not likely to be found in the jam-packed dance clubs anyway. The rock-bars I usually attend offer the same general ambience as dance clubs, but with far less people and thus far less chances of seeing an meeting an amputee.

Other alternatives I'm not about to give up! My next attempts will be based on the premise that to meet amputee women, one must be in the places attended by amputee women. No, I'm not about to go flirt in post-operative rooms or rehabilitation centres, something which apart from being politically incorrect, would most likely end up having me arrested for trespassing, loitering, or pestering. I am capable of being much more subtle and well-behaved.

The idea actually came to me as I entered my local grocery store. There was a stand asking for donations for the local chapter of the Buerger Disease Foundation, attended by a quite lovely woman, roughly my age, who was a below-knee amputee. I gave a handful of coins, took a pamphlet, and utterly surprised myself by starting a conversation with the woman, asking whom the Foundation were, and what Buerger's disease was (the fact that I am studying to become a prosthetist does open the door for this kind of pseudo-medical approach). Buerger's disease is a form of arteriosclerosis which attacks the blood vessels in the extremities rather then near the heart. It is usually diagnosed after gangrene has set in, requiring amputation.

As I said, being in prosthetics opens some doors. I plan to write a letter to the Buerger Disease Foundation and the Neuropathy Diabetes Foundation, which both contain a high number of amputee members, and offer my services as a volunteer worker. Even if nothing comes up as far as relationships are concerned I'll have the satisfaction of doing some good for the general community of amputees, and volunteer work looks great on a resumé.

There are amputee women out there; it's a scientifically proved fact. Experience tells me that if they are encountered and ap proached in a courteous and honest manner, most will be receptive to conversation, and if unengaged, whatever might follow. Once the obstacle of finding them has been overcome, all kinds of possibilities are open.

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