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.


Mansplaining Poetry

Yesterday a friend of mine posted a poem written by her best friend. I read it. It was about god and religion, and it seemed to be separating god from any specific religion. It said god wasn’t Jewish in a temple, Muslim in a mosque, etc. Not very long. All well and good. So I said it was nice but seemed more deist to me than atheist. (Sure, I’m an atheist, but I made no value judgement about that). I thought this was an innocent observation. After my friend and I exchanged a couple comments (she disagreed with me, based on knowing her friend’s intentions, but people don’t necessarily write what they intend or say what they mean), her best friend chimed in, “I see the mansplainers are up early this morning!” This was apropos of nothing. I made what I thought were innocuous rational statements about the poem, and now the poet was suddenly attacking me personally. Without making any effort to address the content. As is my habit when this happens, I questioned why she was answering substantive analysis with a personal attack. No answer. I then noted that it seemed to be my reward for trying to be nice to her. A few weeks ago, I’d sent her a friend request and emailed her an apology for a scuffle we got in a few years ago (unrelated to sexism). No response, but of course no good deed goes unpunished. Both of these women had planned to come to Seattle last month for a Bernie Sanders rally I was attending, and I’d been looking forward to seeing my friend and finally meeting her best friend, but they didn’t make it.

Now: the salt in the wound–I did a lot of feminist activism in college. I was the most prominent male feminist at my college. I was an officer in NARAL, served on the Women’s Task Force and Committee on the Status of Women where I helped write a stronger sexual assault policy, I minored in Women’s Studies when no other male was in the department, and I was the first guy invited to live in the Women’s House (I stupidly declined). It seemed pretty clear that I wasn’t doing all this for my own social benefit, because I not only didn’t have a girlfriend or dates; I think I only asked out one of the women I knew from feminist activism in 4 years. If anything, the prevailing assumption was that I was gay; people were surprised when they found out I was straight. There’s even evidence to suggest feminism hurts straight men in dating as sexism is still the norm and very much in demand–which deeply disillusions me.

I continued some of this work in DC. My boss was a congressional leader on domestic violence. My last job in DC was at a women’s organization, where I was the first man ever to work for them in DC and lobby for them. I worked on reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, marshalling similar groups to mobilize in support of it. I also worked on pay inequity, abortion rights, birth control access, child care, paid family/medical leave, poverty, Social Security…various issues that disproportionately affect women, which was the whole reason we got involved in them.

So I actually have more of a history in feminism than most men AND women, except that I’ve regrettably never been a woman, and I definitely feel like I pay the price for it without getting appreciated or whatever. (People seem to think I’m crazy, but if one goal is to get men to be more egalitarian, wouldn’t it make sense for women to favor feminist men over sexist ones, all else being equal? That doesn’t mean entitled to dates or sex or whatever nonsense people want to accuse me of saying, just that it’s often wise to reward what you want and punish what you don’t.) But none of that matters. Its total value is 0. Make one substantive point about one poem that the author doesn’t like, and BAM!–they can just throw an easy charge like mansplaining at you on the sole basis of…gender. Apparently the more strident/less informed feminists have come full circle; their mothers worked hard to refute the notion that biology is destiny, only to have our generation resurrect it with gusto. It’s enough to make you give up on working for just ideals and just be selfish. As a 12th grade friend said once, if you’re going to be punished for the crime anyway, why not commit it? 😦 People suck.

11 Year Old Girl Raped, Disbelieved, Arrested

This girl was a crack baby abused as an infant. She was raped twice when she was 11, but the police never investigated either because her story–confused by trauma and mental illness–had inconsistencies common to trauma survivors. Instead, they arrested her and had her convicted for filing a false report. More than a decade later, justice has not been served. There should be no surprise whatsoever that rage at the police in this country has been brewing for a long time and is finally rising to the surface.

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.

The Pursuit of Happiness Leads Only to Misery

Last night, I asked a girl out for the first time in 3.5 years. She’s from my hometown and lives a few blocks from me. Works in a field that overlaps with much of my activism. But She already has a boyfriend, of course. This is what happens every time, and it’s why I don’t bother and will never have a romantic relationship no matter what I do. Women won’t ask men out (because feminism!), and NTs don’t know or care how sensitive autistic people are.

People in relationships are happier and live longer. Masturbation doesn’t confer the same health benefits as partner sex. I keep losing friends to spouses and kids while I can’t have any. But we’re a society that only treats sensitive men with disgust. It’s odd that we spay and neuter pets but not people with no hope of experiencing love or sex.