In my experience, the places with the most rules are work and sex. You can tell you need help if you are not having fun. He told me to undress, showed me a dressing room, and gave me a robe. And I got pregnant both times because I have studied my ovulation since I was 24, and I'm an ace at sticking my finger up my vagina and 1) gauging how open my cervix is and 2) pulling out some mucus on my finger and checking to see how elastic it is.
So, you can teach yourself the process of becoming better at work by applying the process of learning the rules about dating and sex. I, for example, am great at work rules and terrible at sex rules. When I think about my sexual history, I think it is me basically not understanding that there are rules. If you can start by pretending it feels right, eventually it will feel right. A guy who paid a lot of money for a shoot looked at me for one second and said that I'm too uptight to be good. I said, “I don't need this,” and I undressed right in front of him. Even now I can't help getting excited about ovulation. I can peg my ovulation to the hour if I check every half-hour, which I can do because I can stick my hand in my vagina anywhere—even in a job interview, if the person leaves the room to get some water. I am one of the one percent of women who can have an orgasm just by thinking about having an orgasm. Maybe because my mom taught me to do Kegel exercises before I even got my first period. But the nonverbal cues you do to get to the sex really stress me out. When you date, there's the official dance date you do, which I can handle.
Because, I think you can tell from my posts, I'll do anything.
But maybe you can also tell from my posts that it's a little bit weird. And sex, which are two of the essential areas of life one needs to be able to function in before you can feel like a normal adult.
Because you know that I'll say anything, too, but sometimes, I make you cringe. And both sex and work are governed by a set of rules that many people are able to learn just by being in the world.
Asperger Syndrome compromises one's ability to read nonverbal social cues.
A simple example of this deficit is answering the question, “How are you? If you don't learn the rules for navigating, life gets boring and repetitive.
” It is loaded with so many nonverbal issues that I simply freeze. I am fast-forwarding through things that are largely repetitive of the above situations.
Even if you tell me, “Just say fine,” sometimes the situation looks special to me, and I can't figure out why it's special, so I can't talk. Picture her: The professional ballet dancer who had just quit, and to celebrate, she got breast implants. I told her that we were really ineffective together and I thought we needed some guy there with us to run the show. For example, there was the guy who asked me out while I was an arbitrage clerk at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. We both like reading about sex, but having it is more traumatic.
So I’ve spent my life teaching myself the rules for what to do in each social situation. Surround yourself with people who can effectively guide you through rules. And me, the aspiring professional beach volleyball player. He was on the phones, picking up orders, and I'd stand in the British Pound pit, flashing hand signals to him to tell him what was bid and offer. He would not go down on me, so I started writing obsessively about his not going down on me. But then he saw that I don't know left and right, really, and my math skills end, largely, at third grade, and I am an idiot savant when it comes to memorizing statistics about Gen Y tendencies at work. And he has learned that the only way to get me uncurled is to talk to me. He says what he's doing with his hands, what he is feeling, what we will do, what I have done, he tries to stick to facts. And he does not expect me to move or speak, until I've heard enough verbal cues to get back in the game.
I study people, make notes for myself, and then test the notes to see what other situations my notes apply to. I tried, and then we both agreed that I couldn't. She spent the whole evening talking about how smart I am and how many books I've read and how strong I am. He'd flash back a hand signal like, buy ten at twenty. To get rid of him, I told him I was a lesbian and I only wanted to date him if there could be another woman there, too. Notice how there's one theme here: I have no idea how other people think about sex. Do not get obsessively sidetracked by things that do not require social interaction. Like the time he told me he couldn't do it because he had a toothache. Just tell me you want to have sex.” So a day went by, and he did that. Sometimes, when the farmer was dumping me, and people were saying, how can you stick with him?
To get a sense of how awkward this looks, here's a video that is supposed to be a parody of people with Asperger's interacting with each other. I mean you should masturbate.” I didn't know what to do. I spent the whole evening talking about how hot she is. How are we going to have sex if we keep putting it off? There has to be a game or something.” I said, “Okay. Then he started using other sorts of hand signals (open-outcry hand-signals are way more than just market indicators, believe me.) He flashed the sign for do you want to have lunch (spooning food into mouth for “eat” coupled with pretending to break something between your hands, for “break”). That didn't just make him pursue me with more fervor. We had sex, but he didn't like that it was messy, and I liked writing about it better than doing it. There are little cues you give the other person, a careful touch in a spot you don't usually touch, a kiss that is a kiss that means this-is-not-a-goodnight-kiss, a pointed question like, did the kids fall asleep? He said, “I want to have sex.” I said, “Okay.” Then I said, “Hold it. There needs to be something else.” So we went back to the dance. But a lot of times, he gives one nonverbal cue, like breathing warm and wet next to my ear. I curl up in a ball and tell him I'm too anxious to have sex. I would say, “He's so good in bed.” And now you know what I mean.
But my family has such a high proportion of people with Asperger's that this video, honestly, is not far from what our life is like. I only need one finger to move one inch back and forth to masturbate. I told him I thought all the other women were faking it for him because masturbation is not visual. I did not realize that this exchange meant that I had to be the aggressor in bed. We can't do this whole date and not kiss.” She said, “I need you to seduce me.” I said, “What? We had sex two times in six years after we had a kid. These are tiny cues that have to come with other, tiny cues. And I tried to pay close attention to nonverbal cues and then respond with the appropriate nonverbal cue.