Illustration of a walking cane, spelling out the letter 'W'

W is for Would you? – #EndtheAwkward

The answer from these loved-up partners of disabled people is clearly ‘I would!’ Three lovers tell us what drew them to their partners, and some awkward moments they’ve encountered as a couple.

W is for Would you? is part of Scope’s A to Z of sex and disability.

Claire on Mike

Bride and groom in a field
Mike and Claire on their wedding day last year

“He instantly made me laugh which hasn’t stopped since!”

I first met Mike 11 years ago through being introduced by a friend on a night out at a local bar.

We said hello etc., and at the end of the night Mike offered my friend and I a lift home. We accepted gratefully as taxis were a nightmare at that time of night!

He dropped my friend off first and then dropped me home and as I was getting out of the car he cheekily asked me for my phone number. He later told me that that was all part of his plan when offering me a lift!

We met up for a meal a week later and a few times after that and starting seeing each other more regularly.

First impressions

My first impression of Mike was I thought he was very charming and very good looking! He was so sweet and I could tell straight away he was interested in me.

I wasn’t really looking for a boyfriend at the time but there was just something very intriguing about him, and he instantly made me laugh which hasn’t stopped since!

Attitudes

Woman standing, man in wheelchair and toddler
Mike, Claire and their toddler

Mike may get the odd glance from people when he’s in his wheelchair, and again people do stare when he’s walking with his crutch, as he walks with quite a visible limp. But Mike is never bothered by this.

He usually ignores it – or if it’s children staring they will quite often come straight up to him and ask what’s wrong with him and he’s happy to tell them about his disability.

He feels it’s important to let children know that some people are and will be different to them.

He sometimes sees parents almost trying to drag their kids away looking embarrassed; I guess they find it awkward to interact with a disabled person.

But Mike would rather they let their kids ask him so they won’t grow up not knowing how to approach and deal with someone who’s disabled.

Filming for ‘End the Awkward’

The one time where people were really staring at us and murmuring to one another walking past, was when we were filming the ‘kiss’ scene for the ‘End the Awkward’ campaign.

We got quite a few strange looks then, as I was sat on Mike’s lap whilst he was in his chair and we had to snog the life out of each other… A number of times due to all the takes!! I guess people were just intrigued.

Popping the question

Man in wheelchair with toddler on lap
Mike with the couple’s two-year-old on holiday

We were engaged for 12 years before getting married. Mike proposed to me in Paris! We had gone there for his birthday.

I remember on the second night there I was in the shower in the hotel and when I came out, there he was on one knee wobbling all over the place (he’d been practicing it and I’d walked out just as he was struggling to get up again!)

We laughed our heads off. We finally got married last August 2014 and we have a beautiful two-year-old son.

Lindsey on Peter

A very awkward taxi moment… “Men need sex from a real woman”

Woman and man smiling at the camera in wedding clothes
Lindsey Marie and her husband Peter on their wedding day.

I’m in a taxi, we have stopped en route to our destination to get cash out of an ATM.

My other half jumps out to do it, leaving me with the driver. The driver makes conversation.

“Is he your family?” He asks with a smile.
“My other half” I respond.
“Oh, your husband. Does he look after you?”
“We look after each other, it’s a marriage” I tell him, somewhat pointedly but still nicely.
“He must love you to make such sacrifices” He then offers.

Astonished and trying not to make snap judgements towards his meaning, I give him the chance to clarify:
“I’m not sure what you mean by sacrifices”

He stammers a hint of embarrassment but proceeds, “well men need sex from a real woman, can you still do that?”

Shocked, humiliated and angry I tell him: “My husband makes no sacrifices in that regard but I’m sure he will appreciate your concern.

Now you may not consider me a real woman, but I am a real customer and I need a real taxi driver to keep his opinions to himself and drive this car, can you still do that?”

My husband, having got the cash from the machine climbs back in the cab and we continued our journey in awkward silence.

Diane on Mik

Diane and Mik's faces, Diane smiling, Mik with a bit of a scowl

Mik and I have known each other for 26 years, been a couple for 20 and married for 10 this November.

We met out on a Friday night at the Electric Ballroom in Camden, which was one of London’s premiere alternative clubs back then.

I thought he was really good looking, very cool but a bit of a lady killer. Everyone wanted to go out with Mik, but I wasn’t sure if he was a ‘player’ or not.

Inappropriate questions

Over the years we have been asked so many inappropriate and personal questions, but the weirdest thing is that women just think they can sit on Mik’s lap without asking, or even knowing him!

They get a bit of a shock when I pick them up and unceremoniously drop them on the floor. Mik’s far too polite, but I’m not!

We were in a nightclub once and someone came up to me, pointed at Mik and asked “Is that your husband? You must be a really nice person!” We both got so angry.

Us against the world

We just handle these situations with a sharp retort. It kind of brings us closer. “You and me against the world baby!”

It always amazes me how ignorant people can be about disability, especially as when we were younger, on the alternative scene, it wasn’t a big deal.

We didn’t care if someone was different because they were disabled. We all wanted to be different and individual – and Mik was that with bells on. He has always been a one off!

W for Would you? is part of Scope’s A to Z of sex and disability. Read the rest of the A to Z.

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