Today’s Debrief is with Ellen Allard, who responded to one of my tweets seeking summer date stories.
She asked instead to write about the challenges she has faced upon returning to the dating scene following a celiac disease diagnosis.
You get to know a person better when you're not hiding behind a table.
Make sure you bring a couple of gluten-free snacks along in case you decide to stay out longer than anticipated. If you do meet your date at a restaurant or bar, eat something beforehand.
In the beginning, shortly after my celiac disease diagnosis, my then-husband and I met with a dietician from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center who specialized in counseling patients newly diagnosed with celiac disease. After a few months of following her orders, he went completely gluten-free so he didn’t have to brush, floss, rinse, and repeat. According to my two adult daughters, my online profile shouldn’t include anything about me having celiac disease, for fear of turning men away. Instead, in my profile I say that gluten is an issue but it never stops me from living.
We’re not married any longer, and now I’m the one faced with having to deliver the kissing prescription to new potential partners, without any help from a dietician. In all honesty, that doesn’t even remotely capture the ways in which celiac disease has turned my life upside down and inside out.
And let’s just say that said person, at some point, told you there could be no kissing unless you brushed your teeth, flossed, and then rinsed with mouthwash. But now I am that person, the one who cannot be kissed unless the above-mentioned “kissing prescription” is followed to the letter of the law.
For my first JDate encounter, I made the mistake of meeting my date for dinner. Oy.) There were a few others, but hardly worth mentioning.
(I’ve since been counseled by my friends and daughters to only meet for coffee or a drink on the first date.) There was gluten involved (on his part), and when we walked out of the restaurant, I prayed that he wouldn’t try to kiss me—in part because of the gluten issue, but also because he was a total loser. Then I was introduced to someone through mutual friends.
For Jules Shepard, learning to deal with a health issue while dating was a challenge.
Jules (along with about three million other Americans), has celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that means she must follow a gluten-free diet.