Editor's note: Parkinson's disease can have an impact on several aspects of a romantic relationship, including intimacy. Hear a discussion of how Parkinson's can affect sexual relationships in this month's Third Thursdays webinar. Register now.
About the author: Guest blogger Allison Smith describes herself this way: "I am a medical anomaly, advocate for people, freakishly smart, believer of unicorns, self-proclaimed addict of frozen yogurt, secretly a ninja and personally planning the assassination of Barbie...Oh and I have Parkinson's disease. If I could describe myself in one sentence, I wouldn't be blogging!" Find more of her entertaining posts at The Perky Parkie.This post originally appeared in February 2015.
Sitting in the shadows of my eco-friendly Prius, I scan the parking lot for any sign of life. Out of the corner of my eye, I see movement. A man walking with his head down, looking very suspicious shifts his gaze towards me. I hold my breath and hunker down. The figure slowly passes me by… whoa, that was too close for comfort. I regain my focus. I must somehow get out of my car, climb up the stairs and enter the building, all without being seen. The task at hand is nearly impossible, but I have traveled too far to turn around now.
I cautiously open my door while scanning the terrain for any potential threats. The perimeter is secure. I have been preparing for this moment. I jump out of the car like a tiger, and begin to run. “Go, Go, Go!” I reach the door, grab the handle, throw it open and step inside. A woman is standing in front of me and says, “Back again?” with a giggle. Sheepishly I respond, “Yeah, do you mind?” I turn my back to her, to expose my unzipped dress. This is my single life: A hot date with my apartment complex manager to help me get outfitted, while trying not to get caught with my dress down.
Being single and dating is hard enough without throwing a neurodegenerative condition in the mix. I mean, seriously people, it’s challenging to find someone who you connect with, let alone finding someone who makes it worth the effort of shaving your legs on a Friday night. Whether you are having a casual dinner or hitting “da club” for a night of dancing, Parkinson’s disease doesn’t take reservations and can be unpredictable. So seeing as I am single-and-ready-to-mingle, I thought I might answer some of the questions that come to mind when trying to date with Parkinson’s disease (PD).
1. Will your date notice your symptoms?
That depends on how much your Parkinson’s impacts your body. I have referred to us people with Parkinson's as little snowflakes: we are all unique and no two are the same. So while I don’t have a tremor, my dyskinesia can be a challenge to hide. We shouldn’t have to worry about making other people feel comfortable about the things that we can’t change.
2. Should you tell them you have Parkinson’s disease? If so, when?
Absolutely yes! My view is don’t waste time on someone who will not accept you. PD is a part of you. You’re a super-fox and anyone who cannot see past the disease, doesn’t deserve your time. When to tell your date? That is completely up to you and what feels right. Probably best to pace yourself… or you could lay it all on the line: “Thank you for joining me for dinner, but before we begin, I wanted to tell you that I almost always run late, I will eat food off your plate, I will steal the sheets, the water and all of your chocolate. Oh, I almost forgot, I also have Parkinson’s disease… are you game?”
3. What should you wear?
I know many ladies with PD who struggle with the fact that they can’t wear heels anymore. Welcome to 2015, gals! Flats are in! Get a cute pair of True Religion Jeans, get your hair did and buy a new lipstick color. Your date will be a smitten kitten and you will feel like a sexy goddess. Ok, so maybe a goddess that needs Sinemet. Don’t forget to throw some medication in that adorable clutch purse.
4. What if they don’t ask you on a second date?
Try not to feel bad about it. Dating is just that, dating! It’s trying on different partners to see what might be a good fit for your life. Don’t give up! You’re not somehow tainted because you have PD. You pick yourself up and get back out there, super-fox, because in the end, you deserve love.