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Found Lover In Spite of P
from Franklin B.

Ed: I'm really not sure why I'm writing, I guess I wanted to throw my two cents in. I think you're doing good things for all of us out here. (Story time...)

I was diagnosed with P when I was 13 and I've never been without it. I'm 22 now, and I guess I'm pretty lucky I only have about 20% coverage, but things have been getting worse since I left the Army. I think it has to do with how active I was then. The doctors were never much help. The Army seemed to put restrictions on the hospital as far as meds go. I'm not sure, but maybe my Doc just wasn't very experienced with P. Normally someone with P wouldn't be able to join the Army, so I'm sure this Doc (a she) didn't see it very often. Now that I have a 9 to 5 job at a desk I'm not moving or sweating, or even paying attention to how much water I drink during the day.

The majority of my P is on my scalp, behind and in my ears, finger nails, toe nails and spots on my arms, legs, chest and back. I have always been self-conscious about it. What can I say? I'm a bit vain, but I've learned to be humble over the years.

My greatest fear was the ladies. I've had a few in my life that couldn't stand to look at me without a shirt on. One day I had a pretty big scare: I met a young lady that lived in my building and we hit it off. One night she asked to stay the night, and I was kicking myself in the ass for not putting my white sheets on my bed. The thought that she would wake up in the morning to find herself surrounded by flakes—which are easily seen on the green sheets that were on the bed—horrified me, but then I thought, if she can't live with it she's no good for me. I was too tired of worrying about that, so I let it go. We had a great night and in the morning she woke up to find me in all my scaly glory. She kissed me good morning and she hasn't left my side yet. She even helps me goop up in the evenings. And we're getting married next summer.

I'm sorry for the long email. I just thought you might like one with a happy ending. Keep up the great work, it's nice to have a place to go where people understand exactly what you're going through, and not just attempting to understand. Thank you and God bless. -Franklin B.


Ed's Response: I do like a tale with a happy ending, Franklin! My headline for your email may read a little tabloid-ish, but I want your email to stick out this month and forever in the Archives. I hear from so many people who have NOT found companions, and who are afraid they WON'T find companions ... mostly because they can't imagine anyone being able to live with their P.

I had a P-less marriage for 19 years. My flaking life started at about the same time that marriage was grinding noisily to a halt. My P wasn't diagnosed, though, until I was into my second marriage, which lasted four years. After that I lived through what I think back on as my "year of living dangerously." My flakes and I pretended to be a playboy. Mind you, I was forty-four years old, a time of life at which many men will tell you being single is absolutely the most fun. At forty-four you are not old and you are not young. You are "mature" and "experienced." If you are lucky you appeal to the broadest possible age group of women. Forty-four year-old single men should have no trouble finding dates. I didn't believe that would be the case for me, because, of course, I was gross. I flaked. But it was the case for me. I had no trouble finding dates. Aside from causing considerable pre-intimacy jitters, and consuming a minimum amount of conversation in explanation, I do not believe my P prevented any relationship. But this doesn't make me an expert—not by a long shot. (Some of my other obnoxious qualities might have thwarted some opportunities, but those are other stories.)

I suppose that flakers have romantic difficulties more as a result of what flaking does to them not to their love interest. I believe that positive thinking has a lot to do with this. Its lack oozes between the lines of some emails I have received. People believe in their revolting qualities so strongly they realize them, as in make them real. I'm sure there is a therapy or a process one can undertake to bolster self-esteem and adjust this belief that one's self is revolting. I'm sure an army of psychologists and psychiatrists accrue many thousands of dollars helping some of us undertake that therapy.

In your case, Franklin, you experienced all the same anxieties I did, but you "let it go." By letting go those anxieties, you enabled something else to take place—and I mean more than just the tryst. That was a gamble, wasn't it? Sometimes our fear is our security blanket, as odd as that may sound. There is an old cliché that warrants repeating: "Love is more than skin deep." Thank goodness for us, eh Franklin? -Ed

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