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.

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.

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.

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.

Late Night Rant to Therapist

I’m sitting for a horribly behaved dog who won’t stop barking. It echoes loudly inside and out–I can hear him all the way down the block. Being autistic, my hearing is much more sensitive than most people. I have a headache and am almost afraid I’ll get so mad I’ll hurt the dog if I don’t leave. I definitely can’t get to sleep. I’ve tried everything I can think of to quiet him down. So I go out for a bar or restaurant. But nothing is open except a couple bars (I don’t drink, so I can’t really socialize) which are outrageously loud too. Because somehow America thinks nighttime has to mean extreme noise. And fun has to mean noise, alcohol, and superficial small talk. So I can’t go in any of those places. Not for a drink, not for food, not to socialize. No coffeeshops or bookstores or game venues are open at night. Nothing else is within walking distance since Seattle clings to sprawl, treating density as a devil, while giving lip service to environmentalism, walkability, and transit. Our culture is totally dominated by extroverts who couldn’t care less about introverts, let alone people with autism. Like majorities in every demographic category, they can’t even see the oppression and suffering they inflict on others. Nor are you allowed to seek fairness for it in any venue or manner. You’re just supposed to shut up and go away–they’d rather you just die. Like our social safety sieve. This country has no place for me. I don’t fit in here or belong here. I give my community so much, and I have more to offer the world than the vast majority of people, but it has absolutely nothing to offer me but ridicule and suffering. Masturbation confers few of the health benefits of partner sex, but we stigmatize anyone who “admits” their inability to find love or sex rather than make the slightest effort to help them. Or points out that this afflicts men a lot more than women, since we make women the supply and men the demand. Loneliness is as lethal as smoking, and fully 1/4 of adult men in this country have no close friends. No wonder we die sooner. But alas, prostitution is both illegal and puritanically stigmatized. And increasingly, relationships as well as sex come from hookups and one night stands that people with autism have no access to. There’s a reason why 40% of Aspies have never had a romantic relationship. Our social system is as broken and biased as our economic one. Both exclude millions of deserving people in need. Both give more to those who already have, while blocking those without from getting any of what they need. Both are sexist, capitalist, and dishonest. Both depend not on your choices, actions, or behaviors; but rather your luck. Both inflict gratuitous suffering on the have-nots so the haves can keep partying. No one cares or will listen, so there’s virtually nothing you can do about it. Moving to a better country takes money we poor don’t have. All you’re left with is drugs, booze, and death. We have no choice over if, when, where, or by whom we are created, yet we don’t allow people any choice over the circumstances of their death. We don’t even allow wrongful birth lawsuits like France does. We ignorantly pretend that all lives are worth living, because we want that to be true while refusing to admit that it’s clearly false. Again, we’d much rather make lots of people suffer indefinitely than give them any relief, all in service to a nonsensical, ancient, random moral belief from a religion I’ve never belonged to that says quality of life is irrelevant; only quantity matters. It’s time we prioritized quality of life at the expense of quantity. Valuing life means making it good and worthwhile; not maximizing human suffering. But I’m just some crazy 25th century socialist… I very obviously don’t matter to anyone or anything. Except to exploit and abuse me. Like Meg on Family Guy.