Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Illness Game

Illness, talking about being sick, chronic diseases and even terminal diseases are only attractive in the movies. Will Smith’s Seven Pounds and Love and Other Drugs are excellent examples of I am dying, but I can still look fabulous and have smoking hot sex. Oh yeah, they get better too. It’s a miracle, but not real life.
My sweetie mentioned recently an over forty singles group he was in and all the women wanted to talk about was their illnesses and associated prescription drugs.  A recent survey revealed that an average woman forty and over is on between two and five prescription drugs. Technically, this is only making the pharmaceutical industry wealthy, but that’s a blog for a different column. Now, I realize these drugs take up a great deal of disposable income. Trust me; no one wants to hear about them.
Drug commercials saturate every form of media—why get an amateur advertisement from you?
1.       Men don’t want to hear about your illnesses because it is limiting. You just met a guy and you tell him you are on three different drugs that prevent you from being in the sun or too far away the bathroom. This immediately eliminates several date options.
2.       Chats about your various disorders makes you sound like a hypochondriac or their great aunt. The man has no desire to take a hypochondriac, his great aunt or you out.
3.       Talking about female related disorders will send any man running.
4.       Your illness reflects back on him. Men like to date attractive women because it makes them feel attractive. The same goes with healthy women.
5.       Men don’t want to invest in a woman who is steps away from a hospital bed. They might feel obligated to take care of you.
6.       Talking about your health is boring. In fact, describing illnesses and operations is a major reason people defriend people on Facebook.
7.       People relate everything back to themselves, which is natural. People don’t enjoy hearing about your illness unless they can chime in about their own, which becomes a competitive illness one-upmanship.
8.       Consider if you want your sickness to be your identifiable trait. Instead of Rita with the red hair, you’ll be Sandy with the Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
9.       Women who talk about their illness upon meeting an eligible fellow just displayed the content of future conversations.  They have inadvertently informed that man they will use illness for attention.

All this said there is a time you should hint around when you have a disability or an illness. A disability such as a wheelchair or crutches should be on your dating profile if only as a photo.  It is better not to go out with a person who would see this as an issue.
Most prescription drugs don’t enter into the discussion until you’ve been out at least five times. Then it is only important in the aspect if you have to have the pills to survive. It might be important if your significant other knows he can save your life with a pill, or by calling the paramedics.
If you have a chronic or terminal disease, it is important to mention this up front. It is better to not go out with someone who will drop you when he finds out you’re not long for this world.  That would be more devastating because you thought you had a relationship. Do you want that? It is sometimes better to join a group that supports your illness because you will find similar-minded people.
Women are more prone to talk about illness and drugs. Why is that? Women over forty usually received attention as a child when they were sick. Often that was the only time they receive undivided attention from their parents.  They tend to use illness as an attention-generating device. Think of the women in your work place who suffer from migraines, PMS, or Fibromyalgia.
How do women feel about men who are chatty about their illnesses or prescriptions? At first, women are polite because socialization teaches them to act as if they care. Ted Bundy, serial killer, often used a fake cast on his arm to get women to help him. It didn’t hurt that he was tall and good-looking either.
Some women enjoy being the caretaker. They will be attracted to an ill man or better yet a dying one. The idea of the attention they will receive for their martyr-ish actions motivates them. Ironically, it does not benefit them if the man gets well. Sometimes, they will go so far as to make up complications or hospital trips that never happened. This is a form of Munchausen syndrome by proxy.
The majority of women who are forty and over want a healthy man. A man who complains of his disorders and the various drugs he takes comes off as wimpy. It also makes the man appear lazy or ignorant because of his refusal to do the things that would help such as exercise and better diet as opposed to relying on a pill. His lack of accountability carries over into other areas.
I did not go on a second date with a man who spent the entire date talking about his upcoming back surgery. Even though his dating profile looked good, I knew nothing about him except he was having back surgery, he was in horrible pain, he planned to be in more pain, and the recovery would be long. He may have been shopping for a caretaker. All I knew is that I did not want a repeat episode.
Dating and meeting people is supposed to be fun. Control your medical complaints. People really don’t want to know. If they ask (and they probably won’t) be brief to keep yourself being known by your medical symptoms as opposed to your actual name.

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