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I could hardly let a doctor see my like this, let alone someone I was attracted to.
Dating someone new would mean having to explain this side of me.
Let's back up a bit: After bouts of diarrhea, acid reflux, heartburn, and the occasional "spitting up," I was diagnosed with Celiac disease, which is like an allergy to gluten, a protein found in wheat, my senior year of college.
I began taking a probiotic supplement and eating very specific foods in order to manage the autoimmune disorder, and things appeared to get better for a short while.
I tried to imagine what it would be like to have someone taking up that space, watching me get sick — the look of sheer horror taking over their face.
I couldn't imagine sharing a bed with someone when my health got this bad.
(Even if it weren't medically necessary, there's never any reason to judge someone else's eating habits.) Back when I was first diagnosed, when being gluten-free wasn't as much of a thing, I was worried a date might judge me if I ordered the gluten-free pasta, not realizing eating the "normal" version would make me sick.
Scratching both choices off the list, I decided to do nothing at all, except for taking particularly long bathroom breaks to kill time. "No, It's just that I can't eat gluten." He squinted at me. He goes out of his way to buy me gluten-free pasta and crackers.Of course, I was alone during this incident — literally by myself, but also single AF.I looked at the pillow next to me, holding a vacant space in my unoccupied bed.But then, the pain reared its head with a vengeance.It felt as if every time I ate a meal, it permanently wedged halfway through my digestive tract.
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After about 40 minutes of sitting in silence while my date downed four slices, he finally turned to me and asked, "So, are you just not hungry or something? These tiny gestures may not require much effort, but mean more to me than he knows.