Ah! Dating! That wonderful topic that could consume an entire night during a dinner catchup with friends as you move from ranting about men, to later admitting you probably couldn’t really do without them (queue covering my eyes!). From bad dates, to blind dates to the amazing dates that lead to marriage proposals after 6 weeks (it happens!), dating isn’t dating if you havent got a good few stories to share….
But what does dating feel like when you have a skin condition such as Vitiligo? For some it may overshadow the entire experiecnce, altering what we choose to wear and possibly, how we come across. I recall occasions where i’ve been on a date, having flirtatious conversation, fully engrossed in the person i’m with, but at the back of my mind I’d be waiting for the dreaded question that felt like it needed a drum role beforehand “So, what happened to your skin”? In that single moment, my confidence would crash.
Vitiligo, or any skin condition for that matter, can sometimes make you feel like you can’t be yourself. Aside from the usual prep like ensuring your nails are pefectly manicured, to deciding how to wear your hair and what girly scent will send his senses a little wild, one of the hardest decisions to make is, what to wear. However, for us, as girls with Vitiligo, we sometimes have additional concerns, like ‘do I wear something that covers the patches on my arms‘ or ‘do I dress freely in something that I really like, but ultimately reveals my skin‘? I was always the girl that would cover up, often choosing skinny jeans, a blouse with long sleeves or a fitted blazer becacuse I was too self-conscious about wearing something that would show the patches on my arms.
Thankfully, I’ve learnt a lot about dating over recent years and dress more freely when it comes to choosing what to wear. I’ve learnt a lot from guys I regard as good friends who have spoken honestly about women, dating and what their choices are based upon and I can assure you for the majority, it isn’t your skin. Here’s what i’ve learnt….
Don’t let your skin define you
Yes, your Vitiligo (or any other skin condition for that matter) is very much part of who you are and who you’ve become, but don’t let it be the sole purpose of your existence. There is so much more to you than your skin. When you meet a guy for the first time, don’t feel pressured to explain what it is, or worry beforehand at the prospect of it becoming a topic of conversation. Talk about all the other stuff that makes you who you are – your love of sport, your passion for laughing or travelling to faraway places because they are the things you love and that make you happy. Your skin is apart of you, its not the only thing that makes you, you…..
We are responsible for our own happiness
Try not to have the expectation that part of the guys job is to make you feel good about yourself. Sure, its good to be with a guy who knows how to compliment and appreciate you (this works both ways!), when you’re looking and feeling your best, but try to avoid feeling as though he should be your confirmation that you look good. I once believed it was a guys job to compliment and make me feel comfortable if I chose to wear a t-shirt or a swimsuit on the beach, but I soon realised i’m responsible for feeling good about me and any additional praise is a lovely bonus!
Guys aren’t as concerned about your skin as you might think
Apologies if that is borderline blunt, I just want to build on the point that your skin isn’t what determines who you are as a person. I can’t speak for all guys, but honestly, the majority are not worried about your skin. Imagine you’ve been talking for weeks, exchanging flirtatious one liners, feeling each other’s energy and you’re building on the feelings of a good vibe. Date night arrives. You’ve arranged a great meeting spot and you’ve chosen the outfit that makes you feel confident. When you think of everything that surrounds that vision, where does Vitiligo fit in? I’d love if you could honestly say ‘nowhere’…
I remember catching a guy staring at my hands once. He was incredibly hot, so the shear thought of his eyes transfixed on my porcelain white hands almost made me crumble. Seconds later, he took my hand in his and told me how beautiful they were and then proceeded to tell me how his cousin developed Vitiligo when he was 12 years old. It made me realise how negatively assuming my thoughts can sometimes be and just how often I think the worst when really they could be thinking the opposite. For me, it really broke the ice in the most endearing way. I valued the honesty and the openness which made me reflect and realise just how important it is to be yourself.
Confidence is way sexier than anything else.
As women, we like confidence in a man….men like the same…and believe me its all the rage these days! If you look around you especially on social media, there are endless advocates and influencers promoting body confidence and embracing all that we are aesthetically. Now, I’m not saying that all guys are open to dating girls that embrace their their uniqueness (it’s there loss, right?), but a large percentage love a girl that loves herself. The girls that are content and accepting of who they are the ones that are probably quite fun to be around.
If you’re content, comfortable and realise your own self-worth, then a guy will see those things you see. If you’re someone who isn’t comfortable in their own skin and expresses that, not only can it put pressure on a relationship but it can become hard for a guy to convince you that you are a beautiful person…..especially if you don’t believe it yourself. Its your skin, wear it with pride.
Don’t make any assumptions
Don’t make any assumptions on what you think the other person is thinking. You will never really know unless you are a mind reader, so let conversations take place naturally and enjoy the moment without being paranoid about what might be going on in their head. I’ve had dates where guys have asked me about my skin and others where they’ve not asked me at all. I used to find it strange if I wasn’t asked, because I naturally assumed they must be curious, some guys are straight away, others might way until the 5th date down the line. Accept that’s what it is.
Ive stopped looking at it too deeply. If he doesn’t ask, im open to the fact it doesn’t bother him. Im also open to the fact that he will ask someday, but for now he isnt getting to know my skin, he is getting to know me and my potential as a partner (and vice versa).
Promise yourself this
The next time you are getting ready for a date, focus on the things that are important. The things that are happening in the current moment – for example what you feel like wearing, whether you nails match your outfit and which scent leaves the best trail behind you, because they are the things that are instantly notable and appreciated.
Nerves are natural and expected for girls like us….even for the those most confident. As is, changing your outfit three times because you can’t decide whether the peplum top looks better than the cold shoulder top, but don’t add Vitiligo to the list of things to worry about. That can come later, but preferably not at all…
Disclaimer: My posts are never written to offend. They are my personal viewpoints based on my own personal experiences. I hope you enjoy reading…