Bad Therapy & Good Gender Discussion

I remain convinced that people know what they need but are blocked from getting it. Whenever I try to discuss my lack of love life with health professionals, and often with others, they simply refuse to hear certain facts, they make false assumptions, they lay blame, they ignore facts and evidence, they suggest strategies they know have failed me, and they refuse to hear me when I repeatedly tell them exactly what I need: dating social skills for adults with autism. I sent my new therapist the CBC news clip about the UCLA training program. I explained all the relevant bits of my history I could get in and what I’ve seen on autism websites/in autism groups and what an exclusive match it is. He (I finally managed to get a male therapist, and there’s a male perspective that women just don’t get around straight dating) is still suggesting things I’ve already done, focusing on imagined issues I don’t have (e. g. shyness), suggested DBT–which is fine but hardly helps with dating, is trying to advise me about what to do on a date when the problem is that I can’t get one, is giving me insights I needed 20 years ago but already told him how I discovered myself (the long list of opportunities I would’ve availed myself of except that I had no idea at the time that they were staring me in the face), and acts like I know what to do but can’t or won’t do it. No matter how many times I come back to autism and the unwritten rules and non-verbal communication of NT culture and dating, he won’t address it. Nor will he argue against it. He just changes the subject away from it. He suggests there are different kinds of flirting, dismisses the seduction/pickup “artists” as if sex isn’t or shouldn’t be what I want (why not??), and talks about optimism and confidence–as if you just inject that from a tube you get at the store after a lifetime of being ignored, rejected, led on, abused, systematically crushed and traumatized.

Why do health professionals consistently behave this way? Ockham’s Razor rules out malice. In fact, the therapist said he thinks I’m a likeable guy and should be able to get a girlfriend (which pretty much all my therapists have said). I told him, as I have believed from observation for many, many years; that I’d make a better boyfriend than 90% of the ones out there. I constantly see women with awful men who mistreat them but fit the cultural mold better than I do. They act this way because they are totally clueless. This therapist admitted to me before that he really knew nothing about autism and would have to learn along with me. So of course he doesn’t know what the needs or available resources are–the latter because THERE ARE NO RESOURCES FOR US. But none of them want to admit this. That’s why he neither listens to me nor argues that autism isn’t the issue. They are afraid to say they don’t know and pretend the emperor wears beautiful robes (Kim Jung Un?). They are unwilling to follow the science and either say no one has figured out the answer for us, or that we have a good idea what it would be but don’t have it available. So the default plan is to waste a lot of time, money, effort, and emotional turmoil–for which the blame will all be put on the patient when it finally comes to a head–chasing whatever strategies or programs or resources they DO know about or have available, no matter how irrelevant. The idea there is to run out the clock stalling for time until something becomes available. I’m unable to go along with that.

Also today, I went to a Happiness Initiative event that turned out to be really great, and I wish I could’ve spent the whole day. There was a beautiful young woman there who said some things that positively thrilled me about the constraining, unhealthy gender roles men are forced into; the social, emotional, substance, criminal, and physical problems they cause; how both men and women feed each other to perpetuate patriarchy while both suffer from it; how it feeds rape culture; how men aren’t supposed to be or appear weak, sensitive, vulnerable, or emotional…and the woman whose presentation she was responding to had already said how men were really the key in feminism and gender equality (she’s focused on gender inequality in the home). I don’t think I’d heard women say these things since I was in college! For an amazing change of pace, I could sit back and agree instead of having to be the one issuing strategy and warnings that get me misunderstood and ostracized. (Why is there no feminist equivalent of the seduction/pickup community? How can you achieve equality between two groups of people if you don’t involve both, and how can you expect to appeal to men if you don’t also listen to and address their legitimate gender concerns?)

So this was a kind of small group training, and tomorrow is part of their conference, which I can also attend. I’m not sure whether to try to connect with this girl. 1) Chances are she’s significantly younger than I think, and 2) Basically every woman I pursue after meeting in real life turns out to be unavailable. Or 3) I get one of the standard online dating results: being ignored, rejected, or led on. But she’s on my mind as she was very pretty AND demonstrated a true understanding and fairness about gender.

UPDATE: This was a couple weeks ago. I gleaned the beautiful young feminist’s email from a group message we all got after the training. From that I quickly learned that she is about 26 and got married last year. And has cats. 🙂 Egged on by a couple friends, I replied all to the email and expressed my enthusiasm for what she and another woman had said. But contrary to my friends’ predictions, I never heard from her–in the group or individually. So it’s a good thing I didn’t try to flirt with or date her. She is still beautiful.

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The Case of Liz C (2002-2016)

I’m going to tell you a story.

In 2002, a very attractive young woman moved into an apartment down the hall from me. Like most of us who went to DC from elsewhere, she was smart, driven, ambitious, and successful. She had a neat job working on a public broadcast show I really like. I developed a crush on her. But for some reason she never seemed to be around, and I hardly ever ran into her in the building. Once each in the elevator and laundry room, but this is when I was still extremely shy. Of course she never said anything to me either. For weeks I did my laundry at the same time and day hoping to see her again, but no luck.

I was on the Board of Directors of the building, and for a while in 2003 we had an idiotic president who attacked me on the building’s email listserv. Not long after that, this girl came up to me in the Metro one morning as I was waiting for my Red Line train and said she strongly supported me, before quickly leaving for the other end of the platform. It was a nice boost, and I took it to mean she actually knew who I was. I resolved to ask her out. And I did. Or at least I thought I did. I believe I sent her an email, since I never got a chance to see her in person despite living about 60 feet apart. I told my therapist and was advised that I may not have been clear enough, and the girl may not have realized what I was asking. So I got a greeting card, asked her out more explicitly in pen, and slid it under her door. At the same time, unbeknownst to me, a friend in the building who saw her a lot told her what a great guy I was and suggested she go out with me. This surely looked coordinated or creepy, and I never heard a peep from her. Shortly after that, I noticed on Friendster that she added a boyfriend.

A few years later, in Montreal, I was watching the show she worked on when the host announced her departure and recognized her on air. I sent her a short email of well wishes. No response.

In 2014 I saw on Facebook that she was back home, in the Pacific Northwest. I sent her a short message apologizing for the clumsy/creepy ask out attempt, pointed out several things we had in common, and wished her a Merry Christmas. No response (Facebook showed that she saw my message).

This April, after basically giving up on Facebook and caring who knows what or expecting anything here, I sent her a friend request. To my shock, she accepted it. I messaged her to thank her and said I was pleasantly surprised. No response (again, Facebook showed that she saw my message).

I learned that she is back in DC and about a year older than me. And still very attractive. My heart sank when I saw a post she made about Linked In and said it suggested ex-boyfriends as connections to her. I have no exes, nor money or a successful career or popularity like her. She never interacted with any of my posts, so I tried to comment very sparingly on hers. There weren’t many. She only ever responded to a remark about food (Kerrygold makes the best butter; Tilamook is best at ice cream). Then I noticed that she had deleted me. I messaged her to ask if I’d offended her. No response.

This is just another classic example of what happens to me in trying to date–I never had a chance. None of it is in my control or influence. I am almost always ignored, led on, or rejected–and I can’t change any of those. I can’t even get any kind of explanation. I don’t think there’s anything more or different I could have done; she simply never interacted with me. I am just not wanted; I am a surplus man in a culture where men are the demand, and women are the supply. Yes, that is crass and horrible. Yes, that is economic and capitalist. But it is true. There is nothing I can do and no hope of getting my needs met.

Most people don’t care, a few would like to help but can’t, and a tiny fraction of those will admit it (and then usually disappear). The King County-funded crisis clinic laughs at you and hangs up on you. The health clinics that take Medicaid have no one who knows autism. The support groups are for kids and their parents. The autism people at Children’s Hospital only help low-functioning adults and refuse out-of-hand to address dating. The UW autism center only does medication management and will not replicate a UCLA program since Washington and California autism researchers are rivals. The autism and Asperger’s websites, Meetup groups, and Facebook pages refuse to touch any question about relationships or sexuality. Same for the more general disability ones. The ones on sex education, research, and positivity won’t touch anything on people with disabilities. Tim Burgess, the former cop and closet Puritan who falsely conflates sex work and sex trafficking, keeps increasing penalties on “soliciting”. He has the ableist privilege and lack of empathy to assume everyone who pays for sex is a criminal who should be maximally punished. His office will not answer questions about people in my situation, he will not adjust any of his positions or policies, and he won’t read any of the books or watch any of the movies I’ve asked him to. If you’re suicidal, people call 911, which sends the police out to re-traumatize you, and potentially you get locked up as an inmate in a social service hospital. They won’t do anything to PREVENT suicidality–they won’t even listen to WHY your life is hell or what could make it better. On the contrary, they’ll complain that they don’t want to hear from you even if you’re answering their call to supposedly check on your suicidality. It’s a program that’s typically Seattle–pretty window dressing that does nothing substantive or helpful. So we are stuck. This is life in America in 2016.

P.S. I’m getting more matches on Tinder since changing my height to 6’3″ and saying I drive a Ferrari and have a trust fund.

April 19, 2016

I saw my therapist today, which was kind of frustrating. We don’t know when I’ll get in to see a new psychiatrist at one place or another, so we don’t know how long I’ll keep coming in. I don’t think she really grasps how impossible and torturous it is for someone in my position to try to date. I’m not sure she appreciates how demeaning and soul-crushing dating is for straight men in general, let alone how futile and hopeless it is for a short, feminist, non-drinker without the ego of Donald Trump. She was confused that I want social skills/non-verbal communication training for dating yet am certain it will be just as hopeless and maddening if I had those skills. I can only go for an hour every two weeks, and they won’t communicate outside sessions except for scheduling, so I gathered all kinds of relevant materials around dating and printed out a bunch to bring her. In them was covered most of what she didn’t understand or asked about, but of course she only asked if there was a particular one I wanted to discuss and made no commitment to read them outside session. I have far too much knowledge and experience to impart over years of sessions in person, and I despise having to start over telling my life story to someone new who may be helpful or harmful. But then you assemble everything and give it to them in one packet, and they don’t read it. I told her that was only the A-F files, and I wondered if I should compile a binder divided into sections. Like extemporaneous debate.
Then I went downtown on the same fare to get lunch in a double points promotion. I only got single points, and only after I stopped someone and had them check. :/
I stopped at the bank to trade $4 in bills for four dollar coins. I got Adams, Quincy Adams, Lincoln, and a Susan B. Anthony. They always ask for your card now just to get change, and they claim it’s federal law. #AreWeSafeYet? 
The weather looks like it will cool back toward normal before summer, so I went ahead and shopped for a new pair of jeans. I had a credit at the Gap; otherwise I don’t shop there. The ones I got are ok, but it frustrates me how the shapes aren’t designed for real human bodies, the size increments make little sense. They only come in waist sizes of even numbers of inches, unless you’re lucky enough to be 31″ or 33″. This might make sense if we used centimeters, and the employee agreed. So nothing ever fits quite right, and I’ve learned to get the next size down and have them stretch with time. I keep two pairs of jeans in rotation and buy one a year. 
I picked up meds at Target (which between their takeover by CVS and my moving to Rainier Beach, I think is coming to an end), and got a couple things including a birthday card for my crazy racist grandpa who’ll be 95 Saturday. I send a paper card so it’s harder for him to respond. With my food stamp allotment gone, I’m about to run out.
Then I needed to beat the heat, so I used the best air-conditioned place I’ve found in Seattle: the train. I rode up to UW, down to the airport, and home to Columbia City. Several pretty girls on the trains, and some cute dogs. I don’t dare talk to the girls though. I listened to a chunk of Jon Meacham’s biography of George H. W. Bush. By the time I got off, it was down from 81 to a comfortable 73. I decided to hit PCC for a snack and was stopped by a guy asking for money. I may write more on that separately. I gave him the 4 dollar coins. 
Not done today: paperwork for intake session at new mental health clinic, call disability law firm to ask how to fill out latest SSDI paperwork, any progress on my late night transit article for TRU, schedule shoulder MRI (PT is over for now unless insurance approves more), check on apartment inspection/move-in date and food stamp restoration. I rode the 9 (which won’t be possible after September), 8, and Link.

Thursday 14 May

I did the temp job today. After four hours of sleep, I woke up 50 minutes late and arrived 12 minutes late. The six of us didn’t finish both mailings, so they asked for volunteers to return tomorrow. I offered but was told they only needed the two women. So I grossed $96 today–the same nominal wage I got as an undergraduate in Columbus, Ohio in 1998. A dollar was worth more then, and still goes farther in Columbus than Seattle. And I didn’t have a BA or any work experience outside of McDonald’s and Blimpie. I did get a message from another agency I applied to a while back saying they want to talk to me. 

The girl I sat next to today seemed cute and interesting, and I thought she might also have a slight interest in me, so when we left I asked her out to coffee. She seemed surprised and unsure but agreed and gave me a phone number. We’ll see what happens. I’ve gotten yeses and phone numbers before only to be totally ignored. She lives in North Capitol Hill without a car and wants to move back to NYC for the better transit. She likes cold weather and was interested in the Arctic Circle. She finds it too hot here. I think she smokes, which is a deal breaker for me as I’m allergic, but I don’t really expect anything to happen anyway.

Chemical Castration Please!

*Girl from temp job who agreed to get coffee with me? Ignoring me. 

*Microsoftie who chatted with me on Tinder and wanted to meet in person? No word since April 29.

*Girl who replied to one of my “if I had a girlfriend” posts on Whisper saying we should hook up? Totally disappeared. 

Now tell me why I should waste more time, effort, and emotional energy racking up more rejections, lead ons, and getting ignored? It’s hopeless torture. I’d rather just be castrated already. I couldn’t afford a prostitute even if we did legalize it. Sex is a human right, but some of us are more equal than others.

Hopeless at Body Language = Hopeless at Love, Sex, and Dating

Yesterday, for the first time ever, I met someone from Whisper in person. It was a woman, but as she’s engaged this was platonic and not a date. However, she knows about my inability to date or find a sex partner and that I’ve never had a girlfriend.

We had a good time and were glad to meet in person. But after I got home, I got a message from her saying she was worried she’d upset me. I had no idea why or how that would’ve happened, nor why she thought that. But she told me that twice in our conversation she moved closer to me, and I moved back–away from her. I believe her; this is EXACTLY the type of non-verbal communication to which I am TOTALLY oblivious, and which makes dating and flirting and all that shit impossible for me. I never noticed her moving closer to me, and I had no idea I’d moved away in response. I could only apologize and tell her I didn’t realize I’d done that, she hadn’t upset me, and assure her I was utterly clueless as to both her body language to me and mine to her.

Now, if a platonic friend notices this and tells me, just imagine how often something like this has happened with a girl I was attracted to or tried to flirt with, ask out, or be on a date with–none of whom ever mention it because they don’t think to. They don’t know I’m autistic and hopeless with non-verbal communication; they assume everyone knows what they do. Imagine how many phone numbers, dates, one-night stands, and relationships I’ve missed out on because I can’t read body language. And there are NO resources to teach this to autistic adults. There’s everything you could possibly imagine for KIDS with autism, but almost nothing for adults. That place at Children’s I posted a while back? I talked to them. They don’t take Medicaid (go figure), and I don’t qualify for financial assistance. Nor do they offer services that would help me, because they’re focused on low-functioning adults. I know how to dress myself, maintain decent personal hygiene, ride the bus, prepare meals for myself, etc. But if you have a health condition which, through no fault of your own, precludes your ability to fulfill the basic human needs of love and sex, we don’t give a shit until you’re suicidal. At which point, we physically make sure you don’t die, but do even less to give any QUALITY to your life than we do for the kids we convince low-income teenagers not to abort. We’ve all seen and possibly shared the memes about pro-lifers focused on forcing women to have the baby, only to deny it every service and support it needs after birth. We never hear or discuss the fact that we do the same thing, but worse, for people who deal with suicidal ideation.

“Don’t kill yourself!”
“But my life sucks.”
“It may suck now, but it will get better!”
“When? Are you going to help make it better?”
“I don’t know, just don’t kill yourself!”
“But I’m failing and flailing and suffering.”
“Just don’t kill yourself!”
“Why not?”
“Just don’t! It’s immoral/illegal/selfish/will hurt other people!”
“Well, once I stay alive, what can I look forward to?”

CRICKETS.