I agree, it is an insightful and interesting piece. Most of us are our own worst enemies--and this shows up in all kinds of ways. It can be physical disability, age, body image, emotional damage, fear of intimacy, fear of rejection, over compensating, over thinking... you name it.
I've never dated a crip but I was an attendant for a time back in my mid-20s. I knew one out gay quad, and I learned a lot from working with him.
I'm of the opinion that most of us are "damaged." The thing is, some people don't even know it. They "look" fine but when you get to know them, you begin to discover where the damage is.
I'm not saying this only about other people, though. I *know* I'm damaged and have been dealing with it my whole adult life. Most of it for me is psychological / emotional and, now, age related.
However, I also have an 'invisible' disability--hearing damage--which shows up in almost every real life conversation I have. I'm not deaf but my hearing is sufficiently compromised that I often don't understand what someone is saying unless I can see their lips moving, partially reading their lips. But, because this is an "invisible" disability, even people who have known me for years can't seem to remember that, if they want me to hear and understand what they are saying, they must speak slowly, clearly, and preferably to my face. Mumbling with your back turned to me just isn't going to cut it! LOL. Want to go to a noisy restaurant or bar and have a conversation over a drink? Not going to happen--at least not without yelling and me often looking dumbly at your face.
I realize this doesn't even begin to compare with the kind of disability you're talking about. But I think it *might* be helpful if everyone considered the fact that almost anyone you meet, whether it is apparent or not, whether they even know it or not, *is* "damaged" in some way. None of us are perfect and the question is, can we find something lovable about the other guy--despite the damage? For me, personally, it helps if they have a clue about where there own damage lies. But even with some self-awareness, it can be very difficult to 'let go' of *trying* to be seen as more 'perfect' than we actually are; to let someone see our vulnerability and trust that, when seen, when accepted and even embraced, it means something.
Oh, and I can also relate to the "am I just his fetish" question. I recently met a man IRL, a younger very attractive man, who is "in to" much older guys. (He's in his mid 40s, so we're talking a 20 year spread, here.) Although our first meeting was business related, he followed up expressing personal interest and we went out for coffee to get to know one another better. I was flattered but, like you said, a part of me was sort of like, "Is he seeing 'me' or some fantasy?" The short of it is, that hasn't gone anywhere and that is due to me, where I am in myself and my life, not him. I *know* I'm not "relationship material" at this time in my life and I'm ok with that.