Just as I've had to learn how to eat and workout again; dating as a diabetic has brought about a host of new challenges to what is already a difficult process. Prior to my diagnosis of diabetes I didn't have to worry about going low on a date, keeping a clif bar in my pocket if I was going to a wine bar or explaining to a girl why I had to order an appetizer even though I clearly said we'll go out for drinks late night (after eating on our own). If normal insecurities aren't enough to make dating tough, diabetes just adds more fuel to the sweat factory.
Over the past several months diabetes has both helped and hurt my dating chances. When I was first single again I went on a date to a wine bar and went low without realizing it. After saying goodnight I tested and was at 56; a second date never came of that one (didn't reveal myself as a diabetic) so god only knows how I acted as I started to enter into the land of the shakes. Yet on another occasion the diabetes card worked well as it turned out the girl had interned at the JDRF while in college. I revealed myself as a type 1 as I ordered some food at 10:30 pm after a couple rounds of beer.
In some ways training for the Ironman has made it easier to explain diabetes to people I first meet. Undoubtedly the question of "why the hell are you going to do something for 140.6 miles" will come up when I tell someone of my IMLP goal and that provides a great segway into my type 1 diagnosis. It's alot better than saying, hey if I happen to pass out can you take this needle, shove it into my body and hope I wake up. However, since most people don't know the symptoms of a low can be quite awkward.
Given all that, this past Sunday I had my worst public low, and was petrified of what that would do for future dates with a girl I recently met. On a second date I went to Bowlmor lanes, a fun but really over priced ($100 for 5 games!) bowling alley in Manhattan. I had ridden my bike for 3 hours earlier that day and my nutrition was a bit off (only had a muffin for lunch) so I was kind of worried I might go low. While real bowling is WAY harder than Wii bowling I was still doing pretty well, then all of a sudden the ball felt like it was 1,000 pounds and I threw 3 consecutive gutter balls. Figured I better test, and I was scared to death to see 42 on my meter!
I should have realized way before the gutter balls that I was headed low, as after I tested I noticed that I was sweating like a pig. I told my date that I needed to chill for a minute and apologized. She was super cool about it and only asked that "I please not pass out because that would kind of freak me out." After the waitress asked us if it was really hot in the alley (I guess a pretty in shape guy sweating like Patrick Ewing in the 4th quarter from bowling is somewhat odd) I ordered some soft pretzels and an orange juice. My blood sugar climbed back up, my sweat glands finally relaxed and then I was able to enjoy the rest of my date. As if the pressures of dating weren't bad enough!