GROVE CITY, VA—22 year-old Mark Newton has never had much luck when it comes to dating. The college senior has only had one serious girlfriend in his life, and that relationship soured while he was still in high school. But suddenly, Newton has found himself in the midst of a flirtation with a young woman who physically, he realizes, should be out of his league.
“I couldn’t believe it when I noticed her checking me out,” Newton says, “I’m not an athlete. And I’ve never been bright enough to be considered a nerdy type. Basically, I’ve got nothing to offer women. I’ll probably end up in middle management at some shitty factory. There’s no way a girl like Sheila should ever be attracted to a guy like me.”
But the girl, 19 year-old Sheila Nickles, pursued a relationship with Newton, despite his initial reticence. Soon, Newton realized why.
“Sheila has the mind of an eight year-old,” he explains, “At first, I thought she was just a little ditzy, but after we talked for awhile, I realized she is actually mentally retarded. Like, full on.”
Newton says he was first approached by Nickles when he was wearing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirt, which she told him was her favorite cartoon.
“I was totally wearing the shirt ironically, you know?” he says, “That’s what the cooler college guys do, so I figured I would do it, too. And then I get approached by this stunning chick, and I’m like, whoa, this shit really works.”
What Newton didn’t realize was that Sheila was attracted more to the bright colors on his shirt than to the characters themselves.
“It turns out, she calls anything that catches her eye her favorite cartoon,” Newton says, “An ambulance passed by with its lights flashing and she goes, ‘that’s my favorite cartoon!’ But we were already kind of hitting it off, so I figured, what the hell?”
Newton says an innocent misunderstanding led to his first sexual encounter with Sheila, after she asked him to take her home from the park where they met.
“I was thinking she was into me, and wanted to go back to my place,” he says, “I had no idea she was asking me to take her back to her group home. So we headed back to my apartment and I made a move. Chicks are never into my moves, so I guess it should have been a red flag, but she totally went for it. I tell you, retarded or not, she definitely knows the language of love. She fucked me like she was auditioning for Glee.”
Newton says that when he finally realized the severity of Sheila’s mental disability, he was overcome by feelings of guilt, but that he hasn’t decided whether or not to continue the relationship.
“I haven’t had a date in, like, three years,” he says, “Now all of a sudden I have this chick who, while she may be retarded, is built like a swim suit model and is totally into me. So I’m supposed to just break it off because she’s disabled? How is that less cruel than if I just keep banging her for a while? There’s no rule book for something like this.”