So, there you are in the Starbucks line waiting for your frappe cappa-mocha choka latte which will somehow cost you $12, and standing in front of you is one of those people who exudes sexiness out of their pores as if it were nothing. You know who I am talking about; those people who look like they not only walked out of GQ magazine, but also like they were dressed by those little tiny mice from Cinderella. I secretly love and loathe those individuals all at once. Cut to me: I was dressed by those mice and bluebirds too, except the fantastic outfit that they have chosen for me is encased in a 300 lb. wheelchair comprised of chrome, metal and steel. Le sigh.
When you have a disability that requires the use of a wheelchair or other mobility devices (all of which are painfully cumbersome), it can be difficult to view yourself as sexy. Truth: every single time someone tells me that I am sexy I am dumbfounded by this preposterous notion, I turn beet red and will refute it until the cows come home (apparently, I also talk like an 1850s cattle rancher). As I have entered into my "Drewliciously Dirty Thirties" I have begun to realize that I can be sexy, not in spite of my disability, but because of my disability. I wanted to review some tips so that you can be the most confident and cool cripple out there.
1. 'Create Your Own Identity': By having very few visible role models to emulate, crips can feel like it is 'them against the world.' First, who isn't attracted to a lone wolf? I'm pretty sure that every superhero movie ever is based on this premise. Hotness. Second, and more important, having a lack of representation of PwD in popular media is in fact an opportunity. Rather than simply rehashing other trends, you can create your own. (If you read that last bit, and immediately felt the cringe-worthy "after school special" narrative, apologies.) What I mean by this is that no one knows how to categorize us anyhow, thus allowing us to create our own idea of crippledness. There is nothing sexier than someone with the ability to create the identity without any guidelines or any outside inspiration; your disability is your canvas.
2. Crip Confidence: If ever you've had Occupational Therapy or Physical Therapy as a youth (which I loathed with a passion, and would find every excuse not to participate in), you most likely remember someone telling you this: "You know your body best." At the time, my 7-year-old self was all: "Please go away, and stop drawing attention to the fact that I am disabled. I just want to play blocks and make friends." But, somehow 23 years later I think I understand the meaning behind this. You can be confident in the fact that you know how to navigate your crippled better than anyone else in the room. You are an expert in this. Only you know how to turn that drink-throwing spasm into an awesome dance move (that's how the nickname "Spastic Andy" came to pass) that no one else can replicate. Sexy indeed.
3. You Better Werk, Crip: I think one of the sexiest things about my disability is, in fact, my chair. A friend of mine brought this to my attention the other day, and suggested that the wheelchair could in fact be the greatest sex toy ever. I laughed at the thought, but the more I think about it the more I love this idea! You could be "encased in your chair" or you could be at the "helm of a love machine" (did anyone else hear Barry White there?). Think about it: it's padded, there's a horn, it tilts back (a whole lot simpler than making out in the backseat, no?). What could be sexier?
I think for all of us, it is hard to think of ourselves as sexy, whether we are disabled or not. While we could think of the lived experience of disability as an obstacle to our desirability, I would suggest the following: The next time you're in that line at Starbucks and you start inevitably comparing yourself to the model-esque customer in front of you, remember that they may not be able to see all your curves and contours, but they can see your 'crip', and that is a pretty sexylicious asset to show off. And, in that magical moment where the model buys you a coffee, won't you be glad that, in the immortal words of Queen Bey, "you woke up like Dis?"
Thanks for reading! If you want to find out more about my work as a Disability Awareness Consultant, and book me for speaking and writing opportunities, please check out www.andrewmorrisongurza.com where you can see how I can make disability accessible to you!