« Modern Love

Right Swipes, Big City

2022-03-30 | 🔗

Alexandra Capellini has been on the dating apps for about four years. Dating is already a fraught process, but to top it off, Alexandra has to decide if, when and how she should explain that she wears a prosthetic leg. Today, we listen to Alexandra’s essay about navigating the apps — and realizing that it’s not her responsibility to “make other guys more comfortable with meeting me.” Then, our host, Anna Martin, calls up Alexandra. They commiserate over the hopelessness of swiping in New York City, and they look at each other’s dating profiles. They celebrate their selfies, admire their use of the “closed-mouth smile” and laugh at their responses to prompts like, “Where to find me at the party.”


This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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modern love, podcast. This week's essay is about dating apps. If you're dating today, you can they. I have to use them and using them is exhausting bottom line. It's just really hard to attract the kind of person you actually want to date by using your phone say is called his comfort is not my responsibility. It's written I'll example. Happily knee and read by Frankie Corso.
Rob- and I have been talking on bumble for about a month we matched while he was apartment hunting in New York City. He was handsome funny and well educated with routes in Boston we state in touch after he arrived and moved into his new place. We switched over from messaging to tax. In the crucial next step. Those first few days of texting we were deciding on a restaurant in the east village. Trust me. He wrote. Let's try one of these places early next week, that'd be fun. I wrote and just like that, I was torn over what to say next. I still don't know how soon I am supposed to bring up the thing or, if I'm supposed, to bring it up at all. If I should wait until we meet to say anything
or if I should say nothing, because maybe he already knew, but I had no way of knowing. If you already knew, I would have to ask you would think that maintaining at photos would give it away, but a lot of guys don't bother to scroll through all the pictures. My first answer and only show my face that counts for a lot in the world of dating apps. My third is boulder. It shows me kneeling. A careful observer will notice my prosthesis, my fourth photo leaves no question. I am standing with a prosthesis on full display. After a few years on these dating apps. I am still in shock over how many guys miss this detail. In my photos detail. Even the right word. Having one leg is definitely something but
bigger or smaller than a detail, I am twenty five and a third year medical student but I've been dealing with this in one way or another for most of my life, when I was six other noticed that my right knee was suddenly larger than my left. It turned out to be an aggressive, austere, sarcoma, that's about cancer that lead to many months of chemotherapy and, ultimately, to an above me, amputation of my right lank. That's it. I decided that I would be direct with rob. It would make me uncomfortable to meet him without knowing if he knew about my prostheses so at thirty two p m in the middle of our texting. I said just so. There are no surprises. You know that I wear a prosthesis on one of my legs right. Twenty minutes
later there was still no response. My next move was to go back to bumble and that's when I saw that our chat history had been wiped clean replaced with Rob, ended the chat I fumbled with my phone and text at him. The first words that came to mind. That was really harsh. I'm sorry he wrote we never spoke again did I could I know that it sting yes I figure it out early on that being an amputee would affect my dating life which I enjoyed going out every weekend, dancing with friends. Often a guy would start crustaceans on a dark, crowded, dance floor and sometimes get me a drink. Then we would, walk upstairs to a lighted room to talk, or
With glanced down and see my legs below my skirt, find an excuse to wander off. One guy didn't wander off, told me that our mutual friend had given him a heads up, saying you know It has one leg, though, right I was not asked to date: parties at fraternities, I couldn't work, you're going out because of my prosthetic ankle adjustment and I had to work, what I drank that I could safely walk up and down the stairs of house parties. It all had to be and in my head every time I still don't have a plan for explaining over dating apps how I lost my leg in fact, telling eyes. How I lost my leg is the last thing I want to do on a dating app Sumter as I say, I had borne cancer as a young girl, keeping it simple. I cringe at the responses
Oh damn I am so sorry you must be so strong On dating apps, I don't want to be thought of as being that kind of strong. I don't want to talk about chemotherapy. I really have to be in the mood for that on apps. I just want to know can go out to dinner and grab a drink on Friday night. When I think of rob, I know I dodged a bullet friends are quick to say that he was not meant for me and they're right. But I also wonder what would have happened if we had met. If I had not mentioned my link If I hadn't mention the leg, rob and I would have met for dinner- when I arrived, I might have caught him off guard with my walking limb. He might not have been into it.
But he would have had no choice but to talk with me to engage with me at least for a while as an actual person, even if he were to drop things with me, afterward just to be able to humanize, the abstraction would have been valuable. am, I hope, would be from that night on Rob, wouldn't be able to escape into baseless misconceptions and realizations about other amputee women, Perhaps he would remember me and think of the night we met, and maybe think of how little it all mattered, then doesn't change happen. One person at a time after all in my life, there have been many roms rob, doesn't know and will never know that I walk around with an above me
prosthesis for sixteen hours a day as a medical student. He doesn't know that I swim twice a week that ski on one leg and go out dancing on weekends. He doesn't know that I'm a summer camp counselor for young amputees that I proactively take care of my body and that I travel independently. Since that thing with Rob, I haven't mentioned my leg during conversations on dating apps. I don't want to spend time thinking about how to make other guys more comfortable.
With meeting me. I do not wish that at all recently, I remembered a different rob. I met years ago an investment banker I dated for a bit on our second date. We sat at Morgan Stearns eating ice cream. He glanced at my leg, I glanced at him and he said you don't need to tell me anything about it. That's up to you. I kissed him that night or he called things off a few weeks later, because he said I deserved so much better, a typical line. I suppose,
From the kind of guy who tries but ultimately can't move forward, but he was right, I did and do deserve better. The this podcast is supported by princess cruises. The cruise line where every guest is
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It may have happened again today. I have one friend who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words that I always get nervous that I sent it to my parents or something like that was my bad. It was the first time together and I was out- I think I got to see it J C k? P, o t yeah yeah, nice, I'm the same as the sky. The digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try, spelling bee and all our games at n, one times dot com, slash games, hey Alexandra, Hey Alexandra, how, Have you been on dating apps? I have been on dating apps for almost four years
since late, two thousand and eighteen, I feel like I've been on them for, like the majority, if my adult life in the I feel like there's just the solid, the women on apps is a really strong presence. if you know I mean just being like we're all. navigating this, but it it's like such a necessary I really do mean you ve all he could. He asked I can't speak to dating and other city these. I just feel like there's something about being in New York and the endless endless like cyclists of options. You have that you're just wondering how these, one decide who to actually continue talking to our staff shocking to see twice like I don't know it does feel really like we're shootin in the dark like we're just making it up. Oh yeah, I wonder, would you be game to show you
profile with me now. I can totally share my profile with you now, like I am going to send mine to you as well. Alright, we're sending you there you are, I love of your photos, are so fun. Oh, my god! I love your photos too. Okay, so this first one, it's like a shoulders upshot your look to be standing on a rooftop of some sort. How did you decide on this photo as your first pic? I wanted it to feel like it was actual snapshot of of me, and this was like a very typical day after that the lighting is superb in this. It's like emanating from the corner. You look in July you doing soft smile, you really mastered the clothes mouths mount a gorgeous pic. I think you know that I have to tell you, I think, ten out of TAT incredible first photo was. This is healthy.
It was one hundred percent, a selfie with a soft smile and picture. Is that not the exact? Yes, you have the soft smile, selfie and nice writing and you're like yeah. Another thing about this app is that there's like little written prompts you know what I mean that you yeah answer, and I see you have where to find me at the party and your answer, which I love is definitely dancing. I want your honest feedback on my prompt answers, because I feel that my tactic is because I sort of balk at their choosing this. I don't take them that city,
sleep. Okay, your first from tears, I'm looking for more napkins yeah. I feel like I'm a messy eater, so it is a real snapshot. Okay, I'm I'm looking for more napkins, but then also like. Obviously, this prompt is supposed to be like I'm looking for a love connection or early. We look for something casual and I chose to deliberately misread this prompt and a more napkins. I guess my approach with dating apps in general is to try to be funny. Do you feel like you used humor on your profile, while I first one
say that I love the humor, because I am also always looking for more napkins and stashing them in my bag, for, like literally no reason it's just a habit and have to be prepared. So there's that and yeah, I think I could probably use more humor on some of the my profiles like there's one that said what is your lovely? or my love language to jobs, and then I, like, I don't know like I could be funny and right leg. My love language is when people carry my leg to me when it's in the other room like also act of Indians, we don't really love thy, we'll tubby, so you you ve, considered putting their down, but what's why? Haven't you put it down? I guess because I'm always trying to find like the fine line of like making this a thing and not making this a thing like not getting
two inch, you talking about the law, but also wanting to feel like. I can like talk about it in a way that it was me- and I joke about it all the time. It's very light to me, even though it's a heavy thing to other people- and that's very very true, like I consider the loss of my leg and you know the cancer experience behind it to have been like definitely, some kind of trauma like that was a hard time, but I think the hardest times were figuring out my body image all the years afterwards, but I think you know at the end of the yeah. I've kind of began to see it as as something I can laugh and make light of, because this is what I'm going to look like for the rest of my life and I,
I don't think it's good enough to just accept the way I look and to just say I'm okay with it. I really have to be at the point where I can celebrate it and that's like that's, been a big one for me, your essays about how you present your prosthesis on a dating app. Do you have friends who navigate something similar, on the apps yeah, so some of my friends like if you can write a little bio about yourself under your first photo, although say like left above knee amputee, running around Dallas. You know or something like one legged we're all walking around San Diego. You know things like that and I was like well that's like so that feels so loud that feels so like out there, but some of my friends like that's what they're going for so sometimes you know we'll have debates lake okay, should I
flipping the word amputee in my bio or or should I throw in like a prompt that make some joke about how, like I am playing the longest game of hide and go seek ever? What do you mean? That was like a joke that one of my friends he told me this when we were having a talk, one time about. He was like why don't you say something like looking for my leg: it'll be the longest side and gas he gave ever and I was like. I don't know. If that's messed up, do you have any dates lined up in the near future? I am supposed to go skiing with someone wow. I know- and I have to say I've never gone out skiing before
with someone who I had already been on a few dates with some kind of curious how that goes and it'll be interesting, cause most of the time I'm skiing, I'm with other people in the adaptive community, so it'll be really fun to go ski with someone who just going to be out there with two skis and two hmm well. That sounds like a credible date. Yeah Alexandra this has been. it truly so much fun to talk to you. Thank you so much. Thank you for having me this are so fun and I'm very excited to have been able to see your profile because ten out of ten years as well, Modern love is produced by Julia Botero and HANS Buetow. It's edited
by Sarah Harrison, this episode was mix Ayo Eisha Butt Youtube. Howell created our modern love theme, music, digital production, that by Makima to Ronnie, and a special thanks to Ryan Wagner at autumn. The modern love column is edited by Dan Jones Melee the editor of modern love projects. I met a Martin thanks for listening, yeah.
Transcript generated on 2022-04-15.