Krissy Gillaspia 2019 Vitiligo

Dating with Vitiligo

Krissy Gillaspia
5 min readDec 18, 2020

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At my age, I never thought I’d be divorced, single and starting my life over in just about every way you can imagine. But, here I am, killing it.

I never really worried about dating when I was younger. Dating was just dating. Even after divorce, it seemed there was always an opportunity to date someone.

But — I purposely took myself off the dating market for about a year. It was for a variety of reasons. I’d been married since about a year after college and even after being divorced twice (like I said, killing it), I never took time to just be single. I was trying to get on my feet financially and didn’t want to try to date while I was too broke to leave the driveway but that’s another story.

My first foray after I declared I’d wait awhile occurred about eight months out of a three year relationship. I met a nice man on a dating site and it wasn’t a bad experience. We went out for a few months and it was much better than some horror stories my friends told.

Not quite another year later, I’m thinking I want to meet someone.

And once again, I remember I now have an additional element when it comes to dating that I didn’t have 12 years ago.

I have vitiligo.

It’s stressful enough without worrying about whether or not you’ll be accepted when you meet face to face. We now have Covid-19 added into the mix. When you have a pigment disorder, it’s an even different level of stress.

Vitiligo came on about 12 years ago. I was divorced and dating a man who wasn’t bothered by it. When he met me, I didn’t have it. A few months later, I did. That’s how fast de-pigmentation can show up. I lost pigment from my inner wrists up my arms to my armpits in a year.

I’m third generation. My mom, aunt and grandmother all have/had it. Even so, their’s came on in their 30’s or younger. I guess I just assumed that it skipped me until it showed up one day.

In the winter, it’s not as noticeable. Winter clothing does that for you. In the summer, I tan pretty easily and quickly become two toned.

I won’t say I flaunt it. But — I don’t hide it.

My motto is ROCK YOUR SPOTS and I have a t-shirt that says “Beauty doesn’t have a skin tone.”

Most of the time I don’t think about it. In the summer I wear tank tops and shorts around town and I’m used to people looking. I’ve come a long way from my attitude when it first showed up. Back then, I worried it would show up on half my face overnight or I’d never be able to wear shorts again. I had nightmares about it.

I learned how much humans value looking like other humans.

I learned how much humans value looking like other humans. I’ve evolved since then. It’s made me a better person. Because, now I don’t know if I’d take a cure if it was offered. It simply doesn’t matter.

I don’t think about it very often. The people in my life who met me after vitiligo don’t seem to see it after the first couple of times.

So, I don’t think about it’s impact on people.

Until I decide to go on a dating site.

Face it. You get on a dating site, you are getting judged by your appearance instantly. For that reason alone, it takes courage for anyone. For those of us with characteristics outside of society’s “norm,” it becomes a different kind of decision.

You see, you are supposed to put pictures on these sites. The recommendations are pictures that show you as YOU. My thoughts are — do I purposely show off my two tone skin?

Do I hide it and then wait til we meet in person so I can gauge his reaction when he first sees it?

To me, that seems a little deceptive. It’s my SKIN for heaven’s sake. And, these days, I think it’s kinda cool. People like Winnie Harlow are paving the way and making me proud.

I’m so much more than my skin tones. They aren’t my identity. They aren’t my personality. But, they are a part of me.

Truthfully, more of my male friends than female friends message me now and then and compliment me on my skin. So, I know that some people find it attractive. (If you’re ever on Instagram, enter #vitiligo in the search feature.) I know that if I were to go out with someone who gave indication it was distasteful to him — I’d consider it his loss and a waste of my valuable time.

So, I’m not insecure about it.

Mostly.

The first time I started talking with someone on a dating site — I took a deep breath and sent him a picture showing off my skin. I just said, you need to know this about me before we talk any further.

I decided the approach would be easier for him and I wouldn’t have to deal with seeing the reaction if it wasn’t positive. If it was a problem, he could just say so and take his happy ass somewhere else.

So, while I can brag about how confident I am in my skin, that I’m cool with it, the fact remains: I’m a chicken when it comes to meeting someone in a dating situation for the first time if they don’t know this about me.

My first foray in online dating, I was blessed. He was okay with my spots and after we started dating, I don’t think he ever really noticed it. My friends say similar things. Once you “know” someone, you don’t see things that stand out to strangers.

So, here I am thinking of dating. Maybe. Deep breath.

I decided to specify I was only looking for “chatting” until I’m ready. Hopefully, “chatting” doesn’t mean anything more than talking or texting online til we figure out if we want to move to a next step. I say “hopefully” because I’ve recently learned terms that show either my naivety or my age. Seriously? Netflix and chill means casual sex or a groupie invite?!

My own thoughts on vitiligo and dating made me curious about my fellow spotted friends. The reality is we are all different. Some people are fine with it. Many have had it since they were babies. Others, like me, got it later in life and learned to deal with it.

Still others go into depression. I’ve seen people in online support groups talk about how they feel like their life is over.

No two people are the same. So, while I have a humorous take on life, and rock my spots, I have empathy for my fellow vitiligo brothers and sisters. I support their choices in dealing with it in a way that works best for them.

For me? I’ll probably leave the vitiligo photos off of a dating profile and share when it feels right. It’s worked in the past. And, I think that’s the best any of us can do no matter what the situation is.

Trust your gut. Don’t chase anyone.

Be true to your truth not what you think should be your truth.

Authenticity is attractive.

Know that it’s OKAY if you are in a different place and moving at a different pace than others.

Share what you want, when it feels right.

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Krissy Gillaspia

Avid reader. Endless daydreamer fighting practicality. Virtual summit manager and tech team coordinator for solopreneurs.