Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Autism Meet Up Groups ARE NOT for "finding a girlfriend"

Autistic dudes, and yes I do mean dudes, specifically straight cis dudes, and moms of autistic straight dudes as well, we need to have a conversation. By which I mean I am going to tell you to stop doing something, you're going to cry about it, and it's not going to be my problem at all. You're going to persist in making it my problem no matter what I do, but it's not.

Gentlemen, stop going to autism meetups to 'find a girlfriend'. Stop. No. Do not collect go do not collect $200. Do not do this.

I can already see you whining "but how am I supposed to get a girlfriend?" as though that is my responsibility. And that's the problem. Autistic men come to autistic groups with the sole goal of finding someone who will take over for their mom in keeping him fed and all that, and also have sex with them. And that's awful. Don't do that.

First, we do not owe you shit. "We're both autistic and you make my pants tingle" is not a basis for a relationship. I am not your mom. If I wanted a son I'd make one who was smaller than me and who I could raise to not be a manchild who felt entitled to women's labor and attention. I do not want a son. I especially do not want to adopt you and also have sex with you. That dynamic is fucked up, dudes.

Second, you're being awfully presumptuous there. What if I told you--many to most of the people you are assuming are straight women are not? Maybe they aren't straight. Maybe they aren't women. Maybe they are neither straight nor women. But a large number of people you're hitting up for a date are not attracted to men, or not attracted primarily to men, or only sometimes attracted to men, or not attracted to anyone. So you could be the best catch on earth--and, sorry gents, you are not, there's only one of them and I don't know who he is but I highly doubt he is reading this blog--and many a person there who you think you are interested in would never be interested in you!

Third, my dude, "I am a boy, you are a girl, can I make it any more obvious?" is not a basis for a relationship. At all. You have no business "getting a girlfriend" if you can't manage to be friends with people who happen to be girls. You do not just go to the girlfriend store and get monogamous heteronormative bliss off the shelves. You have to meet people. You have to get to know them as people. That trope where people dislike their romantic partner? It does not make sense! It's totally a thing in media but it is not how reality land works. In a healthy relationship, you like each other as people. "Go get a girlfriend" may seem like a milestone for you but that is treating women as objects rather than people. And she may be under loads of pressure to get a boyfriend, but that doesn't mean that you are a good choice for her. Don't be this guy. Just don't.

Fourth, you have to bring something to the table. The guys who go to autism events to "find a girlfriend" tend to bring naught but neediness. If you rely on your mom for your day to day everything, you're probably not dateable. Sorrynotsorry. I'm not in a position to take over for your mom, I can barely take care of myself. You do know that autistic women have difficulties too, right? We totally do. That's...why we are at autism events. Because we are autistic. I can't take over for your mom even if I want to. Which I don't. There's something that makes my nethers whither forever at the idea of adopting a son my age and having sex with him, and that's what so many of these dudes are looking for. No. No. Ugh. I am so very not into that.

And even if you do have your shit as together or more together than I do? That doesn't mean you have attractive qualities. Are you super hot? Funny? Kind? Interesting? A lot of the guys who hit on me at these things are...none of the above. No one likes to date boring unpleasant people. Autistic women are allowed standards. And "well she's really hot and autistic so I want to date her" gets exactly nowhere with me. Great! Your pants are tingling! That is a personal problem! For you to work on! Yourself!

And mothers of autistic straight men, this is for you: do not approach an autistic woman and ask her to go out with your son. Ever. Are you fucking serious what makes you think that is a good idea?

I've been approached by over a dozen mothers who thought I was pretty and would be a good influence on their sons. Lady, no. "Unable to approach me himself" is a hard no. Are you going to follow him into the bedroom and remind him to use a condom too? Where the clitoris is? Nah I can't see you even caring about that part, because you cold approach autistic women to guilt them into dating your son.

That is so inappropriate. What the fuck, allistic moms?


Straight autistic men, if you want to go on dates, be dateable. Clean up yourself. Wear clothes. Clean ones. Every day. Do your own laundry, even. Find hobbies. Find interesting hobbies, not whining about lack of girlfriend. Make friends with no ulterior motives to get in their pants. Be around people you like interacting with. Make friends, and this is important, even with people who don't get your motor going at all. And don't be a jackass trying to make them feel bad about it either, women do not exist as prizes for you to win or things to make your junk happy. When you do meet someone who you are attracted to, don't rush to the "women find autistic men repulsive date me?" thing. That behavior is what women find repulsive. Get to know her as a person. And don't be a whiny pissbaby when things are not mutual.

Be kind. Unlearn bigotry. See people as people. Become an interesting person. Worry about that.

And for fucks sake stop going to autism meetups to "meet a girlfriend". Stop being the reason that autistic women have no social support. We do not like being swarmed by horny entitled dudes. A good organizer will kick your ass out for that. Don't test the mettle of organizers. Organizers, stand up for the women in the group when a man does this.

Also be aware we talk. Every autistic woman I know knows the names of the entitled manchildren who want me to take care of them and their pants tingles. And I know the names of the men who do this to my friends.

Be better than this for the love of all that is holy please.

21 comments:

A.A. said...

Hello, while I agree with this post I think the "if you rely on your mom for your day to day everything, you're probably not dateable." sounded wrong, not your intention but some people do need constant support, sometimes from family members especially mothers, people who are in need of more support still deserve a love life. I know you meant men who refuse to be responsible for their lives but it got a little confusing.
Still good post. I don't go to groups but I would hate meeting guys like that. I met some online who used autism as excuse for sexism too.

chavisory said...

Guys--

The "no ulterior motives" part. That's important. That's really important.

Because girls--even autistic ones--can smell ulterior motives to get in our pants a mile and a half away.

(It's okay if you do want to get in our pants--at some point. But you have to also/first want to ***genuinely*** get to know us as individual--not interchangeable--people.)


Kitt McKenzie said...

I can't always tell and it's Bad. I can't even tell when the nice people who I like want to date me or hook up.

Emma said...

As for the mums who have approached you to ask you to date their autistic sons... WOW - just wow!!!
It's infantilising and patronising not just to the sons but to you as well; Cos that's just like mothers of kindergarten / primary school aged kids seeking out potential little friends for them and issuing invitations to "come round for tea"!
And I'm sure that if you were to actually grant one of these "requests", Mummy would be likely to be hovering over you and her baby throughout the "date" and trying to guide every little interaction between the two of you, such as "prompting" him to ask you if he can give you a little peck on the cheek at the end of it... and softly whispering "Quiet hands!" at him if he indicates that he enjoyed your company by flapping!

Lydia X. Z. Brown said...

OH MY GOD FUCKING YES, THIS. ALL OF IT.

I stopped going to several autism support groups when I would walk in as one of only a few afab people and be swarmed by straight autistic dudes very aggressively flirting, even after I explicitly said I have a partner and am mono and uninterested. I even had one time where a guy said to my face, My fantasy is to date an Asian girl with aspergers because I also have it so this would be perfect!!! And I was thinking all like, WOW letting your racist fetish show much?! Plus assuming my gender and that I'm desperate enough to date anyone who asks. Gross. Fuck this.

alchemia said...

like A.A. said, im not comfortable with the 'if yourely on your mum.... you're probably not dateable', it does strike ma as abilist and ignores other factors. i'm semi independant (rely on my mum) but this did not bother my spouse, we had shared hobbies, could empathise with eachothers problems (although different root causes). initially my mother thought it would relieve her of some of her work,, a problem of hers, but not something either of us expected and tried to tell her. eventually, my spouse became disabled sue to MS, and as their family disownered her, this unfortunatley put my mother in position of having to help both of us. it didnt turn out the way my mother wanted.... to be able pass all responsibilities for my support onto my spouse, but it doesnt come between my spouse and I, because we never saw it that way.... if anything its made me more aware and angry and sadbat my mother for her abilist treatment of my spouse, and me, albeit in different ways.

alchemia said...

sorry all the typos. fat fingers, tiny tablet and soellchecking plugin crashes its tinyy memory

Andy Semler said...

Mothers need to not! I went over to a friend's house for dinner, autistic straight man, and it was a lovely evening... until we were saying our goodbyes and his mother stood there watching us and suggested we should kiss. Mothers! Do not!

Neurodivergent K said...

If y'all want to date someone whose mom chooses his clothing, his jobs or school, his partners, everything, that's your choice.

That level of entanglement is a deep breaker for me.

Needing supports is fine, provided hour not expecting me to step in and do them all (also a deal breaker, because usually I don't have the skills either, amazing enough).

But the entanglement is a hard no for me. And the attitude of "the women in my life will do everything for me that I cant or don't want to do" also.

Think real hard if you're ignoring the fact that the people being looked at as supports replacements can actually do the thing.

Once again people are missing the part where autistic women are also disabled. Good job.

Dani Alexis said...

In addition to K's comment above, I'm not understanding what's ableist about disliking a bait and switch.

If you want someone else to come do the stuff for you that your mom currently does, advertise for that. Be up front about it: "I'm looking for a caregiver to do X, Y, and Z for me."

If you're looking for a romantic, sexual, or BFF partner, be up front about that: "I'm looking for another grownup to share X, Y, and Z with."

But don't tell me you want me to be the second one when you want me to do the work of the first one.

Morénike said...

This might possibly be the best thing I've read in months. Thanks you for breaking it down so well. I hope it resonates.

Corina Becker said...

I've had people tell me "oh, you should get along/date so-and-so; both of you are autistic and like [vague special interest genre]." It doesn't work that way. Just having the same or similar neurotype and vague interests doesn't mean we'll get along; I've fought plenty and don't get along with a lot of people in my interests. I expect there to be a lot more going for a relationship than that.

Also, I don't expect my partner to be my support worker. Yes, he helps me out, and I help him out, because that's how relationships work. But I don't expect him to be my mom or someone who does work that I should pay. If either of us get to the point where needs are more demanding, I expect us to get outside help. He's my partner, not my permanent babysitter.

Ben Duffy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben Thomas said...

Walked in to this post loaded for bear, expecting to argue. Instead I find myself agreeing with every point you made. Thank you.

- NT parent of an autistic teenager

someopenspace said...

I probably shouldn't be surprised that some parents would do this, but I am disgusted. I think a lot of people don't realize (or don't want to admit that they know) that sexual coercion is sexual coercion no matter who does it. Applying social pressure to make someone date some third party (such as your son) is just as not-okay as a man pressuring a woman to go out with him. And good intentions don't make it okay either.

I have trouble saying no to authority figures, and saying no in general, especially when I feel like it would be going against a social norm. I have been on some awkward dates with men who I liked as friends but had no romantic or sexual interest in. When I managed to turn down these dates, or second dates after them, I felt like trash. I felt like I had led these men on (by going on one date?), like I had an obligation to say yes, like not having feelings for them was a failure on my part. And still, I'm lucky, because I had the self-knowledge, courage and social ability to recognize when I wasn't interested in someone and turn them down before I really did "lead them on" and hurt them as well as myself.

This may be a bit of a stretch, and certainly not every autistic woman has the same issues with saying no that I do, but I think there are many of us who do, so in a way the result of "we're both autistic so of course we should date" is the targeting of an especially vulnerable group of women to apply this pressure to. There are two angles of pressure here- women are under pressure to prioritize men's needs over our own, and autistic people are under pressure to prioritize acting "normal" / socially appropriate / neurotypical over our own needs or desires.

Lucy M. said...

Regarding what AA said about "if you rely on your mom for everything, you're probably not dateable" being ableist, it would be if Neurodivergent K was referring to those who literally need a live-in caretaker for their needs. However, I think she is really referring to those autistic men who are capable of learning the ropes of dating but, instead of learning it, basically use their mom as a matchmaker. Now, it's okay to seek guidance from Mom while learning how to be dateable, and to ask advice (many people do that) but there's a difference between asking Mom to help you figure out the dating ropes and give you relationship advice which you can use apart from her, and asking Mom to do all the work as a social intermediary.

That said, for those who literally cannot live without support, it might be a good idea for them (with the help of their parents, if they have not done so before) to look into paid live-in caretakers if they can afford it, if they want to and can be able to live without their parents. And that caretaker should not be a spouse - it should be parents or paid workers (heck, my paternal grandma did this with her husband when he was no longer able to take care of himself). And I don't think it tends to be those who cannot live independently who do this, or, if it is, it's likely the mom who's at fault, like what the mom in The Glass Menagerie, Amanda Wingfield, does to her disabled daughter Laura, trying to foist a spouse onto Laura, and Laura onto the spouse, so she's out of Amanda's hair and the spouse can take care of her. Moms, please don't follow that example, it's disgusting, and not fair to spouses. And it's worse if done to someone who has social trouble herself than if it's done to someone like Jim O'Connor, who is NT.

A.A. said...

Yes I understood that but there is a stigma that we who depend on others can't develop a life and personal relationships, I know that's not what they meant but people can read and understand it wrongly.
As for caretakers that's always a expensive but good choice, as for mutual support when possible, people have different needs and contributions, depends on how much help is needed.

Like I said before I agree with everything else. I doubt this happens often when it's not a straight man, there is an expectation of women being caretakers, strangely enough not for all men since some disabled men are considered to never be able to have a partner or marriage, it really depends. Ableism gets different combinations with sexism I guess.

David Merrill Gill said...

My HFA/Asperger's/PDD-NOS self just finds this dumb and cold-hearted. End of story.

Matt Arnold said...

Even disabled men should know that ableism interferes in heinous and gastly ways with the love/relationship aspects of our development as people. The fact that women have to deal with stuff that sounds ten times worse then anything the men have dealt with, is rage inducing but hardly surprising.
I have had the more uncommon situation of a mother trying to match make a disabled daughter with me... And that was creepy as the fourth circle of hell.. It only happened the once though.. To hear the other side has to make lists. Well you have my sympathetic wince and my resolve to not be like that, even though i kinda already was, for what any of that is worth...

A better future for all said...

Lucy, I remember The Glass Menagerie. It was foul what Amanda Wingfield was trying to do to poor Laura. I think The Glass Menagerie was based upon true experiences of the author and in real life the author's sister it was based upon was committed to a mental hospital.

Ettina said...

Neurodivergent K, you're welcome to reject anyone you don't want a relationship with, but saying "you're not dateable" implies that you're assuming no one else will or should want to date them either.

And there's a difference between being a person who relies on mom for daily tasks and also wants to date people, and a person who wants their date to take over the tasks mom is currently doing. Your comment implied that both of those people would be undateable.