WARNING! Sweeping generalizations inside!

Captain Awkward -- who is one of my new favorite people, by the by -- has apparently been getting a lot of flack from her post about creepiness and how not to engage in it. I say flack specifically because it's not necessarily all directed at her personally, but when you're in the middle of a field of anti-aircraft guns all firing in random directions, you're likely to get some shrapnel in your hide whether anyone is aiming at you or not.

One of the running arguments down in the comments (in her blog, in other blogs, on reddit, on the astral plane, etc.) is about whether it makes a difference whether someone is painfully socially awkward, has Asperger's or an autism spectrum disorder, or is just a boundary-free creepy fucker, whether these things are comorbid a lot, and what to do about it.

I think it's really damn easy to tell the difference between them, myself. I suspect it's because I do tact about like a Panzer tank does ballet. The people who seem to have issues making the distinction also seem to be the people advocating that everyone else learn to read body language in order to get along. It's certainly a handy skill to have -- you would not believe what is in some of these subtitles -- and I do encourage everyone to learn it to the best of their ability just because it makes life a lot simpler.

But you know what else makes life simpler? SAYING STUFF.

Time for an example.

I am holding a party. Many people are there. Some of them know each other, and some do not. I, sensing that I am about to run out of canapés and that this would be a disaster, turn to a nearby partygoer and say, "Could you hold this fleebwanger? Please don't gronkulate it. I'll be back in ten minutes."

If I hand it to an average, reasonably socially-competent human, there's a decent chance that my fleebwanger will be ungronkulated when I get back, but it's not 100%. Because if he looks around, he'll notice that other people are holding things that might be fleebwangers? And they look gronkulated? So maybe gronkulation is a thing now? If someone asks about the ungronkulated fleebwanger he's holding, he's capable of shrugging and saying, "I dunno, it belongs to this one weird chick who asked me to hold it for her," but the more people who ask him, the more likely he is to decide that either I'm insane or he misheard me, and gronkulate the fleebwanger so it looks like everyone else's, because clearly that's how they're supposed to look. The more pressure he felt to gronkulate, also, the more likely he is to complain at me for leaving him alone in the room with a fleebwanger that isn't even his, standing there all ungronkulated in front of God and everyone, in violation of what is apparently the local norm.

If I hand it to someone socially-awkward, my chances of getting the fleebwanger back properly ungronkulated are higher, unless another person actually takes it away from him and gronkulates it themselves in an effort to be helpful. The socially-awkward person will feel the same or more pressure to gronkulate the thing as the normal guy, both obliquely from observing the plethora of gronkulated fleebwangers and overtly from people asking him about it, but socially-awkward people have so little faith in their ability to read situations that they'll generally go with what the latest and most insistent not-obviously-evil voice tells them is the right thing to do. If I ask them not to gronkulate my fleebwanger, their insistence that outside judgement is better than their own will generally override anything that isn't other equally-trustworthy outside judgement, applied while I'm gone. I'll also probably get a shower of apologies for the gronkulated fleebwanger -- when I come back, my request once again takes chronological precedence, and they're all too willing to believe that they're horribly wrong and it's all their fault.

If I hand it to an aspie, my fleebwanger will remain properly ungronkulated. He may spend most of the ten minutes I'm away sitting on the floor viciously defending my fleebwanger from helpful advisors who are encouraging him to gronkulate it, biting hands if necessary, and stubbornly refusing to either let go or argue past 'it's not mine, she asked me not to gronkulate it', but I will be handed back my fleebwanger as soon as I return, and it will be ungronkulated goddamnit. If I am friends with an aspie who's sufficiently high-functioning to go to parties of his own free will, then all I have to do is give him a specific request, and as long as the stupidity of what I want is less than or equal to the stupidity of what other people are telling him to do, it happens. Asperger's doesn't remove your sense of self-preservation or anything, generally speaking, nor does it remove anxiety about social situations. But, on the whole, autistic people are no more or less inclined to try to please their friends than anyone else -- it's just easier for them to grasp what exactly it is you want if you give them an explicit outline, including the parts other people just kind of assume.

(Quite frankly, I like hanging out with aspies -- I have a high tolerance for non-standard-but-not-intrusive behaviors like obsessing or stimming or having to ask odd questions to work out what's going on, and I'm good at breaking down a lot of the things neurotypical humans do in a way that people who like lists and logic can process. Plus when I tell them 'I'm going to ask you to do something; if you don't want to do it, you need to say "no", and even if you refuse I will not be angry,' I can get them to frigging believe me.)

If I hand it to a creeper, my fleebwanger may or may not come back gronkulated, but it'll definitely come back with baggage. I cannot predict the state of gronkulation, because all of the creeper's traditional rationalizations work in either direction -- everyone else is gronkulating, you let other people gronkulate it, you shouldn't give me your fleebwanger if you didn't like what I wanted to do with it, etc. Creepers are creepers precisely because they have a history of boundary violations -- in this case, it's deciding that he knows best about my fleebwanger, regardless of which path he decides to take -- and a mindset incapable of recognizing that the reason other people never hand them fleebwangers anymore is that they feel entitled to override the owner's request at random. Maybe he hasn't gronkulated my fleebwanger against my wishes yet, but I'm not going to fucking hand it to him if I can help it, because he doesn't understand that the fleebwanger is still mine even if I ask other people to hang onto it for me from time to time.

The easiest way to tell them apart if you don't leave explicit instructions and come back to find your fleebwanger unexpectedly in a state of gronkulation is to say, "For future reference, please don't gronkulate my fleebwangers." Normal people respond, "Huh. Okay." If you seem angry, or they're especially worried about upsetting people, you might get an apology. These are the kinds of apologies it's safe to respond to with, "no, that's okay," because in the unspoken dialect of the socially-competent, this is correctly expanded to, "I accept your expressed chagrin at having inadvertently offended me this time, and it will be fine if you just remember next time that my fleebwangers should remain ungronkulated."

Socially-awkward people and aspies have more or less the same reaction, which is to apologize and mean it, and usually feel bad or inadequate for not having guessed about the gronkulation. This may be unnecessary -- it's entirely possible that a socially-competent person couldn't have guessed from the available data that I didn't want the fleebwanger gronkulated, either -- but since the how and why of reading human subtitles eludes them, they have no way to judge how much they should have guessed from what they got, and based on past experience they assume they fucked up. You can respond to these apologies with, "No, that's okay," and nobody will die, but you really kind of shouldn't, because what that just said to someone who hasn't got the closed captions turned on is, "It is not okay to gronkulate my fleebwangers without asking, but no really it's totally okay." This kind of thing is what makes socially-awkward introverts hate being in a large group of mostly-unknown people. Gronkulating physically cannot be okay and not okay at the same time. At least one half of that sentiment is a damn dirty lie, and they don't know with any certainty which is which, so good luck ever getting them to the point where they feel safe assuming the stuff that comes out of your mouth reflects what you're actually thinking.

Creeps will whine. Instead of a minor conflict that involved you not wanting your fleebwanger gronkulated, them apologizing, and you sending the all-clear signal, your ACCUSATION of gronkulation WOUNDS him deeply, because all you had to do was COMMUNICATE that you were opposed to it, and you have NO RIGHT to assume he knew that and get mad even though he gronkulated it FOR YOU, because society had MISLED him into thinking that people WANT their fleebwangers gronkulated without asking as a ROMANTIC GESTURE... basically, instead of a fifteen-second exchange of words, it becomes The Creepy Fucker Show, all creepy-fucker, all the time! The creep sees this as you rejecting his entire personal philosophy and shutting down his idea that doing things for other people, even if other people don't ask for them and don't want them, is how you get other people to do nice things (i.e., give you attention, affection, sex, money, etc.) for you. The other people around give you dirty looks and remind you that it's only a fleebwanger, you didn't need to start drama over it. And you kind of stand there going, ...the FUCK?, having no idea whither originated the fight -- because it really is only a fleebwanger, you just want him to remember not to gronkulate it next time, and really you only snapped at him because this is like the twentieth time he's done it or something juuuuuust far enough away from it that he can argue that the last time you asked him not to do a thing doesn't apply -- or if this is just how people have fun on the planet Mongo and nobody told you.

The Captain's advice for telling people to knock it the fuck off when warranted, incidentally, is not victim-blaming. The point of it is not to see if you can hit upon the super-secret Easter egg combination of button presses that make you throw a Hadouken at your opponent get the creepers to miraculously stop creeping. Bad people are bad, and if one of them is determined not to be put off by words, he won't be, no matter what those words are. The point of telling people to KITFO is to help you sort out the various kinds of people who do things that displease you. If you're not sure if someone's just clueless or is potentially dangerous, then stating your wishes and getting an answer that boils down to him jamming his fingers in his ears and going LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU WHEN YOU SAY THINGS I DON'T LIKE is a very big red flag. The kind of red flag that makes bulls perk up in their pens, half a world away in Pamplona. It has a convenient side effect of maybe fixing things with someone who is genuinely unaware of what they're doing, but the main idea here is to assert a boundary clearly and unambiguously. If the other person bleats misunderstanding and continues to violate it despite that, then you have an excellent indicator of what his future behavior is going to be like, and the opportunity to fuck off out of there and not end up part of the next giant trainwreck he initiates.

Comments

  1. The whining. OH GOD THE WHINING. Thanks for entertainingly and hilariously describing the difference between creepy & socially awkward. Creepy is based in entitlement.

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    1. I aim to please! Actually, if you get bored enough to read the rest of the blog, I spend a lot of time picking apart human interaction for readers who aren't as aware of the minutia as they would like to be, often using extremely hot famous people as examples, so at least you have something to look at on YouTube as you think it over. :)

      You are also being added to my blogroll. Feel free to link back or not, as you like.

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    2. It would really be handy if you tagged or linked these posts in the sidebar, because I just scrolled way back through Advent calendar links and posts about what you call a daddy longlegs, and didn't see a single one about human interaction.

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  2. *stands up and applauds* Excellent post!

    I especially liked your paragraph about "Please don't do [that] again" "Oh, I'm sorry." "That's okay."
    It's an unfortunate morphing of the English language when "That's okay" has become the common stand-in for "I forgive you." "I forgive you" is a clear statement. The round-robin phrase of "That's okay" as you already pointed out, is fraught with contradictions. (It's not okay, but you just SAID it was okay, but it's not okay...)

    Perhaps someday "I forgive you" or some equally clear variant can replace the ambivalent and murky "That's okay."

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    1. The problem is that the referent isn't made clear. Without clarification, the indexical "that" can mean either "this thing you just did" or "the apology you just gave" or "our relationship in general". There is a general assumption that everyone will jump to the same conclusion about which it means, but that's not really true.

      People do that a lot. One of the things sociology professors sometimes ask their students to do as homework is spend a day or listening for people to use "...you know?" as a tag on the end of conversational statements, and respond, "No, I don't. Could you explain it to me?" It's highly educational in an intellectual sense, but I don't recommend ever actually trying it yourself, unless you feel like you haven't been punched in the face enough lately.

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    2. lol... I am socially-awkward enough to actually respond that way to people who say "you know?". Also, when they say things like "of course you have to xyz" I'm the crazy one who says: "do you? why? I don't."

      Which is why that bit in your post really resonated with me - I hate that people use "it's okay" as a shorthand for "it's not okay what you did but we're okay now as you've apologised".

      but all this is by the by. I think you made an excellent point about stating our boundaries just so that we can sift out the boundary-breakers at an early stage.

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    3. On the Murkiness Of "That's Ok" issue... I try to stick with "No worries." It doesn't deny the existence of Thing I Didn't Like, and it doesn't condone Thing I Didn't Like nor insinuate that I'd be ok with it happening again; but you've apologized, and we're moving on, so don't worry about it.

      Plus, it's really easy to expand to, "No worries, just don't do Thing I Didn't Like again." Or even, if I'm in a talkative mood, "No worries, just please don't do Thing I Didn't Like again, because Reasons."

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    4. I often say to my Aspie friends in such situations, "I am not upset with you," or, "I am not mad at you," rather than, "That's okay." Less confusion, everybody clear on status regarding everybody else, hurray.

      (Good post. I followed links from far and away.)

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    5. If someone has reason to apologise to me, I usually go with "Thank you" to avoid the ambiguity. "It's okay" always bothered me because it felt like, "No, don't apologise, the thing you did was okay." If that sounds stiff and the person seem put off, or says they are, I'll usually clarify that I'm no longer annoyed, I just needed and appreciate the apology, and need them not to do it again.

      "Thank you" also works when the other person is apologising for something big - it works for "I am still angry, but I do appreciate your apology."

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  3. Thanks for the link! Some really interesting/useful reading here, especially as someone who's only just becoming comfortable in the knowledge that I am not sending mixed messages to guys, the guys in question are just being creeps, or being Nice Guys, or being pathetic. How to distinguish the three is particularly helpful.

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  4. ObNitPick: I think you meant the abbreviation to be KITFO.

    Also: Bravo and thank you! I'll be using this as a reference in the future.

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    1. ...yes, of course I did. You were aware that I post these things at two in the morning, yes? Yes. It happens. Fixed it!

      I also managed to once misspell "gronkulated". Which I find extra-hilarious, because I'm the one that made it up in the first place.

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  5. I suppose something like ''don't worry about it, just remember for next time'' could more effectively replace ''that's ok''?

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  6. This is brilliant. THANK YOU.

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  7. Thank you thank you thank you for this! You have made me very happy in that "Someone GETS this!" way :-D

    I had a friend once who decided that throwing firecrackers at the feet of someone who has PTSD [aka, me] would be a fantastic idea. The first time he did it, I said "Don't do that again". The second time he did it, I said "If you do that again, I'm going to punch you in the face". The third time he did it, I left the party, because I was about to punch him in the face. I called him later in the week and he STILL didn't understand why I was pissed off. I had to explain in very small words.

    We are no longer friends -- his pattern of assuming that if *he* thought something was funny/appropriate/whatever, then it was obviously so for everyone else, finally just became too much to bear.

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  8. Brilliant. I'm a teacher and I love my aspie students. If I tell them to keep a piece of paper because they'll need it later, they'll damn well keep it until the end of the year (and maybe ask me if they'll need it next year). If they do something that's not ok, I tell them in very specific detail what it was, why it's not ok, and what they should do instead, and there's no drama and no "why-did-you-correct-me-don't-you-know-I'm-a-good-student-and-was-trying-to-do-the-right-thing-you-are-ruining-my-life-and-I'm-telling-my-mom-waaah."

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  9. This is bringing up a memory from a Molly Ringwald movie, but I can't remember which one:
    Boy tries to kiss Girl.
    Girl exclaims, "Ew! No! Stop!"
    Boy mutters, "Oh sorry."
    Girl says, "It's ok."
    Boy tries to kiss girl again.
    Girl exclaims, "I said it was ok once, but I didn't mean do it again!!"

    But that's NOT what she said.

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    1. That was Sixteen Candles, where Molly's character was being kissed by Farmer Ted in the half-built car in the auto shop.

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  10. What I loved best about this post is that it applies equally to creepers and mean people. Captain Awkward's more recent post about unhealthy family dynamics could use the parable of the "gronkulated fleebwanger" and all it's many many applications.

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    1. I have an unfortunate amount of experience with all of the above. Bullied literally out of school at one point, grew up to be the kind of girl that swine like to argue with and puppies like to follow home, and came from a family who took the "fun" right out of "dysfunctional". Believe me, I know from crazy boundary-less jackasses. Glad it's helping someone.

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  11. Wow, as a socially awkward but not aspie person it's a relief to have something to point to and say "read this" rather than try to explain it from scratch.

    Depending on the person who asks me to hold their fleebwanger, I'll do one of two things:

    * If it's my partner or someone I'm very comfortable with, who I think will understand, and whose judgment and concern I trust, and I'm feeling sufficiently clear-headed to think of doing so, I'll ask "is this something you absolutely need me to do?" and we'll figure things out from there. (Maybe they'll find other fleebwanger arrangements, maybe I will take it, with an understanding that "10 minutes" absolutely should not turn into half an hour.)

    * If it's someone I don't know or don't think will understand, or I don't have the presence of mind at the moment to express my concerns, I'll take their fleebwanger.

    I realize this is totally backwards.

    Regardless, said fleebwanger will remain ungronkulated, even as I'm questioning whether "please don't gronkulate it" is meant to be taken literally, even as I'm beating myself up inside for not being able to tell what was meant, and for being a total failure at gronkulation. (I can tell myself "if they want their fleebwanger gronkulated, it's incumbent upon them to say so" but deep down I still often believe that I'm the one who's doing it wrong.)

    If the second case keeps happening, I simply learn to avoid situations where fleebwangers are likely to be present or expectations of gronkulation are high.

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  12. I kindof hate being me right now, because I think this post is awesome. It very accurately descibes the entitlement problem creeps have. But.
    There is always a but, no?
    The way you reference functioning levels is ableist and offensive to the Autistic community, and probably for a lot of other I/DD diagnosed people. (Why? Read more here.) I can't speak for other IDDs, being only Autistic. But still.
    So, to recap: Love the post. Have a small language issue, here, have a link about this issue. Still love the post!

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    1. See, I never quite know how to describe that. I'm not great with the idea of "high-functioning", because it's implicitly comparing people to some theoretical norm. You function perfectly well as you if you're not distressing yourself; it's other people who have issues with it. What I need is some way to simply describe "having the skills and tolerance to cope in a largely-neurotypical environment comfortably enough to want to go to a party with loud people who freak out at uncommon behavior". It's a matter of high-functioning on that scale, when that scale is only one of many ways to measure ease and comfort of interpersonal interactions. It happens to be the one that's relevant here, since I'm talking about interpersonal interactions from the point of view of the average reader, but it's taken by people who don't understand that there are many axes of variation in this sort of thing to mean "stupid-maladjusted vs smart-well adjusted".

      It's also the official diagnostic terminology, to the best of my knowledge. I'm not peachy-keen on a lot of that either, but it's what I've got.

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  13. I get what you mean (and personally? High-functioning sounds like a super power. I AM FUNCTIONING MAN, I FUNCTION BETTER THAN YOU! *eyeroll*) but it's still problematic, you know?

    The official diagnostic terminology in relation to high- v. low-functioning actually -only- refers to how early you learnt, and how consistently you employ, oral speach. What you are aiming at here, would seem to be the relative severity of sensory integration issues. This, of course, doesn't help very much, because we lack words that aren't highly technical in nature.

    So, I get what you are trying to say, the wording is problematic, I don't know how to fix this, I would probably use the same words with a long-ass footnote explaining the functioning levels issue and then stim like it's going out of style to stop thinking about it. ^^
    I AM FUNCTIONING MAN!

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    1. If it would not drive you absolutely bonkers, please feel free to write said footnote and leave it here in the comments. I'd be more than happy to drop in an asterisk next to the statement and link it down to what you say.

      Incidentally, would you happen to know anyone in the autism/Asperger's/general IDD community who has written up an opinion on the BBC's "Sherlock"? I ask because it seems to have gotten popular to describe the title character as "almost autistic", but from the outside I'm not really seeing him have any of the textbook communication or sensory integration issues. Seems unfair to decide he's got Asperger's solely on the basis that he discards all of his social skills when he's thinking, when the root cause may in fact be that he's self-centered, kinda schizoid, and socially inexperienced.

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    2. Sherlock, I can do Sherlock.
      I must admit that I personally read him as TeeVee Autistic for season 1, and was then swayed to the team of autistic fans that see him as one of us during/after season 2.

      This is the Masterpost for The Slumber of Feelings, a study of autism and BBCs Sherlock written in an attempt to describe the autistic experience using Sherlock as an example, rather than as a defence of Sherlock as an autistic. But I suppose it would explain the whys and the hows of autistic fans recognising themselves in Sherlock. (This if I understood correctly, started as a thought experiment [TeeVee Autistic] rather than the headcanon it ends up being later in the series.
      This holds the responses to the original essays as well.

      There are more, but I can't think of specifics off of the top of my head. :)

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    3. Random autistic passerby wants to point out one thing that wasn't in the Masterpost - I've only seen the first season, and although he didn't ping me as autistic, he definitely did ping me as having executive dysfunction (very common aspect). Things like the condition of his flat and the things he asks John to do really strongly remind me of how I can struggle with basic physical tasks when I'm not feeling well. Like, asking John to send a text for him? Might have been a case of "cannot control body well enough to reach for phone, assistance required". I can see myself in there, even if I can't see myself in things like how he interacts with other people (which isn't to say I can't read him as autistic, just that his behaviour there isn't familiar to me in the same way.)

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    4. I think that part is covered under Sensory Intergration Issues, but I'm not sure. But yes. Executive dysfunction galore.

      Also, it's perfectly possible to be autistic and an asshat, just as it's perfectly possible to be allistic and an asshat. :)

      Sorry about the derailing of the comment thread, btw.
      I'll get on that footnote in a bit. ^^

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    5. No need to be sorry for this. It's my blog and my comments section, and I asked the question; by definition, then, you are exactly on topic. :)

      My read is that he's probably allistic but not what you could really describe as neurotypical. The difficulty in pinning him down is likely that he's often being dickish on purpose to cover for the times he's dickish by accident and hasn't any idea how to fix it. There are a few points where he seems to uncannily able to read nonverbals, but doesn't know what they mean, doesn't know how to deal with them, or is busy and doesn't care. The ultimate outcome is nearly indistinguishable from someone who doesn't pick them up to begin with most of the time, but for the fact that Sherlock can also accurately mimic them on cue.

      I can certainly see the case for various spectrum-ish quirks, though. You can have quite a few of them, and without some key ones you wouldn't get an autism spectrum diagnosis.

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  14. I want to say THANK YOU SO MUCH for making this post! I'm an autistic genderqueer person who gets read/treated as female in everyday life, and I'm familiar with being the autistic on the other end of the harrassment equation. I have Thoughts on the matter of how autistic people can be disproportionately vulnerable to the sort of creepy behaviour that frequently gets the "but what if the guy is autistic?" excuse. Like, unwanted touch is always bad, but if you have tactile sensitivities that make that sort of touch painful or contributing to sensory overload that can end pretty badly. If stress can send you into meltdown, having someone corner you and not let you bow out of conversation is a Bad Thing. I once had my auditory processing go on holiday for a bit - meaning I could no longer understand spoken language, everything was just noise - in response to a random stranger hitting on me out of nowhere when I was already sufficiently stressed. That could have ended much worse than it did! Yet this kind of thing never, ever gets talked about, in favour of excusing really egregious behaviours with "but what about the poor autistic men"?

    And I'd been trying and failing to describe how I just could not see the connection between the "creepy" behaviours and autism, and how in many ways it felt as if autistic people would be *less* likely to engage in some of them, thanks to the mindfuck that is growing up autistic in an allistic environment. You have NAILED IT, you really have. Kudos!

    PS I would not gronkulate your fleebwanger, but if the allistic hordes managed to get it from me and gronkulate it I would feel really bad about it and apologise profusely. :(

    I also really hear you on "no, that's okay" - I actually get frustrated by this because I feel pressured into telling people that things are okay when really, they're not? It is not okay for you to gronkulate my fleebwanger? But I can't *say* that because allistic norms? I suspect I've been getting unfortunately passive-aggressive as a result of not knowing how to express "no, actually, that wasn't okay." (And if someone tells me something is okay, I'm inclined to take it literally. Sigh.)

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  15. Can I just say how much I love this post? Really?

    It always appalls when people act like Aspergers = 'I can do whatever I want and people just have to live with it.' Having Aspergers Syndrome does not give you some get-out-of-hell-free card to be an atrocious human being. I have Aspergers, and my life has been a twenty four year voyage of discovery into How To Not Be A Dick. I still have some way to go in some areas, but I try, and if you plotted my Level of Dickishness across my life, it is definitely on a downward curve. So it always makes me incredibly angry when people act like having Aspergers gives them free license to be a dick, when people like me make a genuine effort to be kind, decent human beings. (Being an Aspie and being a dick aren't mutually exclusive. Some people are both.)

    I consider myself to be socially awkward, so when I was reading through that descriptive paragraph I was sort of nodding and frowning, thinking, 'yeah, I get that, and if it was my fleebwanger I might wonder if I should gronkulate it, but if she told me not to gronkulate it, well, it's hers, so everyone else's opinion is irrelevant when she clearly doesn't want it gronkulated.'

    And then, of course, I found out that the aspies have their own paragraph, and couldn't help laughing at this, because it was spot-on:
    If I hand it to an aspie, my fleebwanger will remain properly ungronkulated. He may spend most of the ten minutes I'm away sitting on the floor viciously defending my fleebwanger from helpful advisors who are encouraging him to gronkulate it, biting hands if necessary, and stubbornly refusing to either let go or argue past 'it's not mine, she asked me not to gronkulate it', but I will be handed back my fleebwanger as soon as I return, and it will be ungronkulated goddamnit.

    Anyway, thank you for clarifying so well the difference between the socially awkward and/or Aspergers people and the creepers, because yeah. Not a license to be a berk.

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  16. Oh, and to add my opinion to the discussion in the comments of whether or not BBC!Sherlock fits the Asperger diagnosis, I actually wrote about this somewhere a while ago.

    right from the beginning of the show Sherlock has struck me as fitting the Asperger's Syndrome diagnosis perfectly: his personality type - obsessed and obsessive, mostly oblivious to and impatient with societal norms and expectations of behaviour, poor interpersonal skills in general, very bright, relies on logic and is frustrated when things and people don't conform to this logic (even if he himself is not always logical), out-of-touch with his own feelings and everyone else's, etc - and behaviours, when taken together, all match the people with AS I've known. And that whole manic, desperate, agitated storming around/ranting/yelling that the rules of Cluedo are wrong at the beginning of Hounds of the Baskerville is a perfect example of someone with AS right on the edge of melt-down, in my experience. The weird sleeping patterns also fit. (Please note that these traits are not, necessarily, applicable to all people with Asperger's. Just that I have seen some of these traits in some people, and for that matter, all of these traits in some people. How it presents varies from person to person, as with any condition, but there are some traits that are more common.)


    Admittedly, he strikes me as an Asperger person with issues, and who probably would have benefited from behavioural therapy as a child/teenager, but yes. That's my opinion, as someone with Aspergers who has known quite a lot of other ASpergers people.

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    1. Actually, if you keep reading forward through the posts, we go on to establish that I am a horrible judge of whether someone is on the spectrum. I see and intuit most of the thought patterns, and I can tell when someone is struggling in a particular social situation, but most autistic behaviors simply do not register with my people-sense as weird. I can't comment on someone's "autism" or "Aspergers" or whatever for the same reason the radiology tech reading your chest x-rays can't comment on the color of your shirt -- that sort of thing is essentially transparent to whatever wavelength I'm working on. Gets me into bushels of trouble sometimes, when I comment en passant on something I think is common knowledge, only to find out that not only does nobody else know that, but that one or more people are now angry at me for accidentally telling everyone else.

      In non-people areas of life, I'm also a lot like that with languages, particularly ciphertext and steganography. I can't count how many times I've asked "what does it say?" about some bit of an art project or the loading screen on a video game, and discover that everyone else thought the markings were meaningless decorative glyphs. I don't know how many false negatives I've gotten on this for obvious reasons, but I can't ever recall having a false positive -- it always IS language, and eventually someone DOES decode it.

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  17. What if I'm pissed that you thought I should have to wait around holding your Fleebwanger for you (and why is it so *sticky*?), and so put it down and wander off, hoping to avoid meeting you again? Does this make me a creep?

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  18. Nope! Not a creep. Just a bit of a jerk for not refusing to take it to begin with, and then just abandoning it instead of finding the owner to hand it back.

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  19. One further more - there's a not-so-subtle difference between subtleties and subtitles...

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