Dating with deformities

So do many other 27-year-old lads, but few would want their faces plastered on billboards all over the country as part of an advertising campaign for a television dating show. “Famous.” That may become true after Tuesday night, when the episode in which Sam appears is broadcast; but this series began causing offence even before it was first aired.

Even fewer would agree to the brutal slogan that runs across the top of the poster in which Sam currently appears with five other men and women. The Undateables follows a group of men and women with various physical and mental disabilities as they try to find love. The man with Asperger’s steals his date’s chips and gets dumped.

Forget hearts and flowers, this is a shocker: “Love is blind, disfigured, autistic…” Actually, the slogan does not apply to this long-haired, music-loving Gillingham supporter who lives in a village in Kent and has a flair for making people laugh. The girl in a wheelchair sees her hopes of dating a tall man in uniform crushed, cruelly.

Disability activists objected to the title, attacked the programme in advance as a freak show, and condemned the posters for implying that none of those featured could ever be loved.

Others expressed concern, including the person who wrote on Twitter: “When is Channel 4 going to realise how offensive their shows are getting? The channel has just announced that it is cutting a scene from a forthcoming show called I’m Spazticus, in which people with disabilities pull pranks on the public.

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If you decide to say something, you could use a number of different approaches: Learning some specific skills and practising them could help you feel more confident in social situations.

His father watches from across the room, a lean and gentle man, careful not to jump in even when his son answers – as he does often – with an abrupt yes or no. She asked me to dance with her, but I backed away in a corner behind the cameraman’s back.” Stars in the Sky, an agency specialising in people with learning difficulties, set up a chaperoned blind date. Malcolm said he would leave them alone, but admits he couldn’t help hiding behind a fence to watch at first. Liked the same things I like: East Enders and JLS.” Did he fancy her? It will be about you guys.’ That was a very nice thing to say. “Parents and carers of people with learning difficulties are sometimes a bit over-protective.

“Since my past relationships didn’t work out, I decided to do a documentary,” says Sam. “I was curious to see how he got on and what she was like.” What, then, did Sam make of his date? It’s just what it is.” Sam’s mother, Kay, died three years ago. But it’s for the people themselves to decide whether to take that risk.

": If you're worried about forgetting your responses, write them down and keep them with you so you can refresh your memory from time to time.

As you get more comfortable with these responses, you could find yourself feeling increasingly relaxed in social situations and becoming less self-conscious in public.

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