479: Aspie to Aspie: Relationships

These are my personal observations about the Aspie to Aspie relationship

A relationship between two people with Aspergers, whether platonic or romantic, can move at a very high-speed when in comparison to relationships between one person with Aspergers and one person without Aspergers (Neurotypical: NT). I believe this is because both individuals are able to be more themselves, without the societal rules and restrictions they are used to either adhering to, struggling to understand and follow and/or adamantly rejecting. When two Aspies meet to form a new relationship, a space is created that allows an open understanding to occur that oftentimes neither participant has experienced before. For the first time an Aspie might feel seen, heard, and/or understood. This can be intoxicating, reassuring, and/or frightening. For some the experience can resemble finding home for others the experience can resemble being forced out of hiding.

Typically, there is an initial spark of excitement and energy, with one or both partners, when he or she realizes that there is ‘finally’ someone who not only speaks his/her language, but provides the freedom for him/her to be authentic and real. In some cases there is also a sense of dread in having been exposed for what seems to be the first time, uncloaked in a manner of speaking.

In referring to a situation in which both parties are pleased to have found another Aspie who ‘gets’ him or her, at first glance, one might assume that such freedom to be ones true self without societal-inflicted boundaries would enable the participants to have a very open and easy, free-flowing relationship, without qualms and without restrictions. Yet, because both participants are in a new and unexpected situation, there exists a high probability that each one will be confronted with certain triggers. New experiences and unexpected happenings trigger most Aspies. The unknown will bring up questions for both participants, and because of the high-intellect and character trait of over-analysis, both will begin to process the friendship.

The processing can take on different shapes and forms. Much of the processing will be centered around analysis of the self and analysis of the other participant’s behavior. Different attributes of the relationship will directly affect the behaviors of the participants. Variables of the relationship include the frequency and duration of conversation, participants’ past experiences in relationships with other Aspies, any romantic thoughts or feelings housed by one or both of the participants, any tendency for fixations or obsessions about new relationships, the propensity for fear to arise based on past perceived ‘failed’ relationships, recent and past hurts from relationships, and exaggerated hopes and expectations based on projecting into the future. Variables also include other factors that are found in mainstream relationships, but tend to have a higher occurrence in relationships with people on the spectrum; these include: the temperament of each individual and the fluctuation of mood, the presence or absence of medications that affect cognitive or emotional responses, sleep patterns, confidence-level, self-awareness, processing speed, environmental and conversational triggers, adapted rules, patterns and structures, and any comorbid psychological or cognitive conditions.

At the onset of a new relationship, some individuals might fall into a state of high-hope, even bliss, based of a type of self-projection into the future, in which the highly imaginiative Aspie can logically recreate a realistic fantasy relationship in his/her head that does not mirror the current relationship but interjects his/her individualized hopes. This fantasy relationship can shift and morph along the same wave pattern as the real relationship, only extending further out into the realm of non-reality. For example, one might start fantasizing about the first time the friends fly across country to have a cup of tea, and in so doing visualize the tea house, the waiters, the menu, the conversation, and such. This can happen in both platonic and romantic relationships, and tends to remove the participant from the here and now and may or may not cause false hopes and expectations.

The initial state of a relationship between two Aspies, including platonic relationships, can produce behaviors indicative of Obsessive Compulsive Behavior, over attachment, over-giving, and what could be named smothering. It resembles codependency, but is not as long-lasting as codependency behavior, and trickles down and dissipates with time. The frequency depends on each individual. This obsessive state could last weeks or feasibly a year or more. The feelings might mimic feelings of what is believed to be the concept of friendship- or romantic-love. But on close inspection there is no evidence of love. Rather there is an over attachment and a high-need to be part of that person’s life. It resembles an addiction. Typically the participant is highly aware of his/her actions and feels a type of euphoria. Even as he or she is aware, he or she is often unable to stop the feelings, thoughts and resulting actions. As a result participants might partake in impulsive actions including detailed queries about the relationship, long dialogues written or spoken, a preponderance of over-giving and/or sharing. The actions are a result of an inner drive to alleviate the stress inside the psyche. The mind wants to release the obsessive thoughts about the other individual and pushes the participant to react. There is a sense of entrapment until the participant acts out. When the participant attempts to instead stuff his or her emotions and actions, the consequence is further anxiety, angst, and confusion. This can lead to grandiose acts of over-sharing and giving of self or to a strong impulse to run and flee from the relationship all together.

If neither participant is aware of these behaviors and the reasons behind the behaviors this can be the end of the friendship or romance, even before the relationship has really had a chance to start. If participants are aware of the behavior, having an open discussion about what is happening has the potentiality to bring growth and understanding to both parties. However, there remains a constant need to reevaluate the standing of the relationship, in order to keep the relationship from getting out of hand. The management of the relationship can feel tedious and exhausting. Both parties have to have the energy and resources to continue onward in order to avoid potential burnout and frustration. Primarily self-awareness, open communication, boundary setting and adjustment, and self-acceptance can assist during the process of building a mutual beneficial relationship. Still, the complexities of the relationship and effort required to maintain a semblance of normalcy and stability can overwhelm one or both participants, no matter what strategies are initiated.

Between two Aspies, a relationship can progress at high-speed. Typically, both participants will share the commonality of higher-level thinking, keen logic, and the ability to connect ideas with ease. There likely will be a mutual understanding of how the other works. This might be very uncomfortable or very refreshing, depending on the state of mind of the participants. The intellectual abilities will lead to a rapid progression through the stages of relationships. More than likely the initial stage of ‘small talk’ or ‘getting to know you’ will be either skipped entirely, happen over a quick amount of time, or be skimmed over lightly. Aspies will tend to jump into the thickness of conversation rather quickly, rather eloquently, and without much consideration for time or outcome. They will be enjoying the moment, not focused typically on interior motives, goals, or what comes next. The time between two Aspies can seem to go ‘magically’ fast, for each has found an active and attentive audience in the other that finally ‘sees’ the person.

At first both parties might truly enjoy the time together; however, sooner or later, one of the participants realizes he or she ‘has a life’ and needs to pull back some. This tapering off period can be very painful for one or both of the participants. The instigator might feel mixed-feelings of guilt, a sense of release, and a sense of great loss. The individual who is not the instigator might feel abandoned, forsaken or jilted. At this juncture, the participants can choose to talk openly about the experience, and realize that setting structure to future encounters can enable them to continue the relationship without the relationship leaking over into the rest of their lives. In some cases, both individuals will come to an agreement about how to continue the relationship with restrictions in place. In other cases, one of the partners may be too hurt and/or frustrated to continue onward. Sometimes Aspies have a hard time grasping the concept that friendships and/or romances transition. Sometimes an Aspie will equate change to rejection and failure. This is not the case. Merely, both parties are readjusting to fit their current lifestyle, comfort-level and needs.

If the relationship continues to monopolize both parties lives there is a high potentiality for burnout on one or both parties parts. One might reach a point where he or she sees no way to escape the intensity of the relationship without ending the friendship/romance. In addition, all relationships bring up individual’s ‘stuff’ (baggage), but the Aspie relationship will tend to bring the stuff up much faster and from a much deeper level. This can be painfully uncomfortable to look at. Again past hurts from the lack or loss of previous relationships can surface. As most Aspies have suffered great loss in terms of relationships, this can be a tumultuous time of self-inquiry, self-doubt, and a sense of hopelessness. Again, open communication and honesty can assist in alleviating some of the pain. Being frank about what is coming up cannot only take away some of the interior angst but additionally provide opportunity for further growth and self-reflection.

During the relationship, one or both Aspies might counter or question the other partner’s implementation of rigid structures. This scenario can present in numerous ways. For instance, one participant might have adapted a survival tactic of not making plans, not making promises, and not making commitments. He or she might be entirely steadfast in this outlook and unwilling to budge. To him or her his adopted tactic could very well be the life-preserver which enables him or her to get through day-to-day life. Asking someone to change or adjust a rigid structure can be detrimental to the relationship. Here is an opportunity to work on individualized self-esteem issues and question what is about another’s actions that affects insecurities and doubts. In a different situation, a partner might have strict rules in regards to how they wish to communicate, indicating that certain words or mannerisms irritate or frustrate him or her. In this case compromise might be in order, or at minimum a deeper look into where the frustration stems from and how the two can work together to assist one another.

In any situation, both parties must be willing to not only build a relationship but discuss the relationship. Wherein some couples or friends could go years skating on the surface of a relationship, the chances of this happening with two Aspies is highly unlikely. The in-depth mind of the Aspie will analyze and dissect. In previous relationships with NTs, the Aspie likely sometimes felt judged, boxed-in, and unable to always be him or herself without consequence. In an Aspie-Aspie relationship these aforementioned feelings are replaced with a sensation akin to being dissected or put under a microscope; this is a result of the other partner’s over-analysis and need to find his or her bearings. This can seem very unnatural to the Aspie, and invasive, but if he or she takes the time to reflect upon his or her own behaviors and ways of thinking, he or she will discover that Aspies have a natural tendency to dissect.

In some cases, of course, two Aspies, particularly a platonic male-male relationship, as opposed to female-female or female-male, might not face any obstacles of communication. In other situations the perceived obstacles might seem too daunting, and one or both parties might choose to end the relationship. In the case where two individuals are open and willing to move through the Aspie-Aspie relationship, with eyes wide open and with an open mind, there is the capacity for extreme growth and extreme connection on multiple levels. As in all things, with great sacrifice comes great reward.

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Afterthought…

“I attach without conscious willingness to one individual sometimes. It is as if I am some type of outlet, and instead of plugging into something, I grasp and try to get this person to plug into me. Like I am some vast void of emptiness that needs another to feel alive. I dive into another reality then, making the person into something he is not. And live there most of the day, as a form of escapism from this existence. I feel safe there, playing out the scenarios and replaying potential outcomes. The imaginative interplay preoccupies my mind and provides an outlet for logical processing and disentanglement of ideas and concepts. I enjoy the reasoning to a degree, but more over I am trapped in a torturous sinking muck of angst. I long to reach out and explain over and over my intimate meanderings and details to the one, and check for accuracy and find myself closer to reality. I long to ask for reassurance that I am okay, that this is okay, that we are okay. But I cannot, for I will ruin the situation further, claiming my thoughts aloud to the other and sounding like a foolish child, burying the both of us in my heaviness. Instead, I stay trapped in an immobile state, over-analyzing the reasons why I can’t stop the inner trappings of my cyclic thoughts. I have revisited my tendency to attach to one, trying to edge my way out and figure out the reasons behind my clinging to this false fantasy. The only thing I can surmise is I long to return to Source, to something that I was removed from, from someplace not here. I long to feel whole again, within the circumference of another’s arms. This someone or something that I long for without limits.”

316: 50 Reasons to Leave Your Lover

Me 4

1. He tells you as he is making out with you, “Someday your future boyfriend will be really glad I taught you this.”

2. He corrects and critiques the way you break your bread, showing you how to separate the roll into four equal pieces.

3. He stays up all night scraping the black factory-painted pinstripe off of his truck because he can’t sleep until it’s entirely gone.

4. He stays up all night making cardboard hotels for cats, convinced he will be rich off of his invention.

5. He owns a limo, but it turns out he’s the driver, and he likes to tell you often what he watches the passengers doing in the backseat.

6. He explains that he likes you a lot, and will share a bed with you, but doesn’t feel comfortable sitting on the same couch as you.

7. He steals your expensive perfume bottle (again) and “secretly” gives it as a present to his other girlfriend.

8. He doesn’t have driving insurance and totals his truck while on a secret rendezvous to the mountains with his other lover, and then asks you to come get him at the hospital.

9. He says, after your first dinner date, which he planned to be out of town, that he is too drunk to drive home but has conveniently already booked a hotel room nearby.

10. He promises he just wants to cuddle.

11. He says he has a romantic surprise for you, and when you enter the room there is a “toy” and a video camera set up.

12. His father tells you, after your lover has gone missing for three days: “He is just like me, a player, and he ain’t changing.”

13. His mother takes you out to an intimate lunch and tells you, “You are so smart and lovely and kind, why are you with my son?”

14. He takes you to an antique store to teach you have to shoplift.

15. He sells you a stereo that he bought with his roommates “stolen” credit card.

16. He doesn’t come and find you when you run out of the house crying.

17. He calls his ex-girlfriend when you are still in bed together.

18. He has rearranged the photos of you as a couple each time you come over.

19. He lives with his sister, has no job, is addicted to pain-killers, and is a chain-smoker.

20. He makes you gag.

21. He makes you wish you lived on another planet.

22. He says, “I don’t love you, I’m certain.”

23. He is the roommate of the other really odd guy you dated.

24. He has an ex-wife that warns, “Watch out, he is trouble.”

25. He enters a room and every woman wants to give him his number, and he takes them.

26. He has deep dark brown bedroom eyes, and he knows it.

27. He shows up late all the time, and always has a very detailed excuse.

28. He says, “It depends, are you planning on losing weight,” when you ask him if you should cut your hair shorter.

29. He tells you how to dress.

30. He tells to wear long fake fingernails painted pink.

31. He is in therapy with you and seeing another therapist with his wife.

32. He enters the athletic gym, and the male employees look at you, raise a brow, and say in a derogatory tone, “That’s your boyfriend?”

33. He was the first man you saw after breaking up with your other boyfriend who was the first man you saw.

34. He claims he cannot tell you where he lives because it is a temporary situation and he can’t give you his phone number because he doesn’t have a phone.

35. He plans a party and not one person shows up.

36. He asks your father for your hand in marriage, shortly after his mistress, holding a baby, kicks down his apartment door in an attempt to kill you.

37. He does things with himself at stop signs you know are plain wrong, but he insists everyone does it.

38. He lies to his mother.

39. He yells at you because you packed the camping ice-chest wrong.

40. He tells you that your suspicions about his cheating on you means you are paranoid.

41. He likes beer with his breakfast.

42. He takes you out to drink “brain freeze” alcoholic shots for the first date.

43. He tells you all about his special adventures with his guy friend, with a twinkle of love in his eyes.

44. He takes you to a party and you find him half-naked in the bathroom with his ex-girlfriend, and he claims she is helping to adjust his Halloween costume.

45. He tells you how you could be prettier.

46. He asks you to buy something for his mother’s birthday because he can’t afford it.

47. He takes you on an out-of-state trip, via airplane, to his hometown and disappears in the early morning to meet up with a past lover.

48. He calls you from a phone booth, a few blocks away, claiming he is out-of-town working for a few days.

49. He doesn’t say, “You are beautiful.”

(He points out your mistakes often, like forgetting to add number 50 to this list.)

Please protect your aspie daughter. Teach her she is worthy. Love her unconditionally. Pay attention to her. She doesn’t know as much as you think she does. She thinks, like herself, that everyone is kind-hearted and filled with good intention. Teach her about red flags, about predators, about liars, about trickery, and about manipulation. Teach her about appropriate behavior and conduct. Consider her an angel on earth, uneducated about the ways of this world. Hold her and cherish her. And above all teach her how special she is.

This was my first album; I used to play this song over and over and over. I memorized all the lyrics. I was so awesome.

Random thought: What if the reason why my dog is so very happy to see me every morning is because in her reality one night is 100 years!

Post 250: It’s Raining Men

Anyone else roller skate to this music?

Lately, I’ve been admitting love.

I post love on my blog, on my social network page, and admit love to my friends.

It’s been very freeing and healing.

I’ve also been processing through past relationships with men.

Until last week, I saw myself as a real victim in love relationships.

In the beginning of my “dating” years, which actually started at age five, (No kidding; I always loved boys. My first “date” was at Keith’s house, where he introduced me to his favorite delicacy, peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches. I politely gagged.)….

In the beginning of my boyfriend-girlfriend years, I attracted very safe males: sweet, kind, friendly, and truthful. I was fortunate to have two boyfriends in high school (at separate times), after I moved back to California, that treated me with the up most respect and love. But something shifted at about the age of twenty. Perhaps it was being away from my extended family and not having a father that adored me. Or perhaps the shift was brought on by insecurities surrounding college or finally “growing up.” Regardless, at the age of twenty I began falling for whomever paid attention to me. For seven years my relations with men were bleak and tumultuous.

So often, in my twenties, the man I “chose” was addicted or abusive or both. I felt used physically, and was often dumped out like last week’s beer bottles—left clanging and spinning down a steep hill of depression. For years and years I blamed these men for their character and callousness. I cringed at the thought of these people not loving ME! How could they not? What was wrong with me?

A few days ago, I suddenly had a knowing. I suddenly saw in full picture, a truth. I wasn’t a victim. I wasn’t used and tossed out. There wasn’t a right person or wrong person in my sexual drama. I attracted men at the same level I was at spiritually and emotionally. (I had to leave out mentally, and just giggle. I was always smarter! Lol.)

But most telling, I realized at the center core of me the profound truth: that in fact I USED THEM.

In my mind I had thought that their “crime” was using me physically; and how could any crime be worse than that type of invasion? However, my crime was equal. I was a “villain” too. I used them. I chose to be with a man I didn’t like and didn’t respect, in order to not be alone. I used men!

Suddenly this ah-ha moment swept me away, and time stopped. I traveled back to a dozen relationships, and revisited and swept clean the energy attachment. Within seconds, I’d forgiven the men and myself. The labels were released. The words of scumbag, loser, liar, addict, etc. that I applied to the men, vanished. And then, presto, the labels slut, stupid, blinded, desperate that I’d branded to my energy field disappeared too! I began to see the men as other spirits on their journey. I began to see I was never victimized. I understood that using is using, whether it be of flesh or emotion. And then I released the using label, too. We weren’t using. We just were. We were existing, surviving, journeying. We just were. And so it goes.

Here is a prior entry about my experience with men

(reposted from past entry)

The Dance with Don

(notice the tone of this…written before my ah-ha moment.)

The highlight of my dating career had to be the season I spent with the habitual lying, sexually addicted Don—a spineless man five years my senior who behaved ten years my junior.  At first glance I’d fallen head-over-sandals in love with Don.  The summer day he confidently strode through the Catholic daycare where I worked, I’d tucked myself halfway behind a shelf of books and drooled over his perpetually sun-kissed skin.  He was everything I’d wanted, dark and handsome, and tall enough to look down at me with his bedroom eyes.

The times Don and I were together weaved in and out sporadically through a span of half a decade.  When I first met Don he was separated from wife number one; when I last reunited with Don, he was struggling to patch it up with wife number two.  I was the in-between, but one Don swore up and down he intended to marry.

The majority of our relationship played out like an ill-plotted soap opera, with me as the dimwitted, star-struck mistress and Don as the notorious villain.

There were definite reasons I stuck around. With Don came a familiarity of unpredictability.  He was my locomotive, the one I could catch a ride on and speed through the world with a view I remembered—one of constant change and chaos.

For a long while, I’d do anything I could to win Don over. I’d forgive his shortcomings and mysterious disappearing acts, and demean myself in different ways.

In our first months together, when I was still hopeful, there’d been major red flags.  Don had no home phone number or address.  His scorned, soon to be ex-wife, had warned me to have nothing to do with Don.  And Don’s truck was mysteriously breaking down, in an accident, short on gas, or had a flat tire, many of the nights he was supposed to be with me.

I was good at rationalizing his actions and taking his lies as truth.  I found reasons to stay, like the fact that Father liked Don and that Don eventually showed up.

I was twenty-years-old and newly accepted into the teaching credential program at the university the weekend I learned of Don’s other woman.  It was either the Saturday I’d scrubbed Don’s toilet, or the time I’d obsessively lined his kitchen shelves; no matter, it was the eventful afternoon I came face-to-face with a woman out for blood.

I’d been oblivious of course, hadn’t a clue Don had flirted with a seventeen year old outside of the construction site where he worked, slept with her, and possibly fathered her baby.

For some time there had been hints of another woman.  All along Don had pushed back our framed photos or even turned them face down, forgetting to place them back up in their right position when I arrived.  And I love you posters and cards I had made for Don had been rearranged on the wall or re-taped in another room of his cheap apartment.

The one of many climatic events of our relationship began with a loud knock at the door, an initially startling noise that momentarily displaced me, until I assumed Don missed another rent payment or lost another spousal support check.  By the second series of knocks, I’d headed toward the front door, and would have unlocked the knob, if Don had not, in one swift pull, yanked me backwards by the tail of my shirt and whispered, “Don’t.”

It was then I heard her voice for the first time, a high-pitched scream to the tune of:  “Open the damn door, Don.  I know you are in there.”

I wasn’t that far gone in my oblivion love state, not to recognize the voice of another woman.  With immediacy I scowled at Don like he’d taken my only prized possession, and pushed my palms into his chest, wanting to hurt him like he’d just pained me.

Don stepped back, taking my hands into his, and mouthing, “I’m sorry.  I love you.  I only love you.”  He then released my hands and tugged down nervously on his neon-green tank top. “I meant to tell you.  I swear,” he said, widening his dark eyes in remorse like I’d seen him do a dozen times before. “If I told you, if you found out, I was afraid you’d leave me.  And she was a horrible mistake.  I didn’t want her to be the reason we lost such a good thing.  I love you so much.  You know I do.  You have to trust me.”

Before I could make up my mind about what to do, there was one final series of knocks, and the voice came again, only louder and more determined: “If you don’t open this damn door, I’m going to kick it down!”

What happened next still amazes me, and proves once again the strength that can be found in pure rage.  Within a few seconds of her last knock, there was one heavy kick of her foot, followed by several more, and then, without warning the door broke off of its hinges, the side paneling splintering, and the whole of the door slammed down inside the apartment.

There, amongst the settling dust, in marched a skinny girl, no taller than five-feet, cradling a screaming newborn in her arms.  Boiling with revenge, she charged Don like some creature from a Japanese horror flick, with her arms outstretched growling for revenge.  On reaching Don, she punched him once in the chest and then shoved the baby at him.  “Take her!” she ordered, back stepping and turning her head with a whip of her dirty-blond hair.

From behind the couch, I tracked the baby’s wrinkled arms flailing, and then gasped as the girl moved towards me.  Her eyes were on fire as she shouted at full-throttle, “I’m going to kill you, Bitch!”

Without thought, I ducked around Don and attempted to make my way to the doorway.   Don didn’t waste anytime.  Before I had a chance to maneuver myself around the girl, Don had tossed the baby on the couch, grabbed his bike, carried it down the apartment stairs, and rode off.

For a few seconds both the girl and I stared out the doorway with disbelief, and then we stared down at the tiny infant crying on the couch, until the girl’s raging eyes met mine, and she roared, “You’re dead!”

From where she stood, prepared to launch, I could smell my scent on her, the expensive bottle of perfume I received from my father for my birthday, which had recently gone missing from my bathroom shelf.

As the girl stormed forward, I managed to swerve around her.  She lunged at me, barely swiping my shoulder.  I jumped over a small ottoman, snatched up my car keys and practically flew down a flight of concrete stairs.

In the narrow carport, I started my sedan and backed up.  Just as I was about to turn out of the apartment complex, the frenzied girl’s enormous boat-of-a-station wagon came charging forward and blocked my way out.

Seconds later, leaving the baby wailing on the front seat of the car, the girl marched across the parking lot to my car window and ordered, “Roll down your window!”

Caught between a place of disbelief and hysteria, I shook my head and whimpered, “I didn’t know.  I didn’t know.”

The girl’s face turned from one of frozen-ice to empathetic-disgust.  She tapped on the glass of the window a few times, and then rolled her eyes up letting out a long heavy sigh.  Finally, seemingly understanding my predicament, she waved me off with a shake of her hand, before stomping back to her car.

After she sped off, I remained in the parking lot, uncertain of what I’d gotten myself into, and more uncertain of how I would ever find my way out of my contorted labyrinth.

Day 215: Why You Don’t Want to Date Me

Why you don’t want to date me…

1) Well first off I’m married, and that can get complicated; and my husband has a black belt in a particular branch of martial arts, which I can’t spell tonight. So it would be a surprise attack.

2) I used to sing a song about my grandmother’s boobs when I was younger. I taught the song to my younger cousin. We would stuff our shirts with socks, cup our hands over our chest, and sing together: “Grandma’s little boobies go boom, boom, boom, boom. Grandma’s little boobies go boom, boom, boom!” It was a favorite party song. I choreographed the whole thing. On the first line our hands would shoot out in front of us. On the second stanza, we’d drop our hands down with each boom, until they almost touched the floor. Grandma’s boobs weren’t little, still aren’t. Don’t know why I called them little to begin with. But sometimes I still sing the song. Only now I’m crying in the mirror. (Don’t ask me how this is related to dating. It just is. Boobs are always related to dating.)

3) I get super excited. Just ask anyone who has ever taken a walk with me. I like to process when I walk. I like to process even more when I am first getting to know someone. I always apologize for my rambling. And I always get the same half-smile and bewildered eyes, in response. People usually say, “It’s alright.” But I secretly want them to tell me they really enjoyed all my insights. That has yet to happen.

4) I am a very picky eater and will stress over where to go out to eat. Then when I finally decide where I want to eat, I will take forever to decide between the three things on the menu that I might like. I discuss the pros and cons of each particular appetizer. I analyze the menu and point out to the waitress misprints and errors. I question the authenticity of the food description. I try to remember is it farm raised salmon that’s better or wild. I interrupt patrons to ask what they have ordered, and if it is indeed any good. I will taste your food from your plate without asking, especially mashed potatoes. I try to help people. Once I interrupted a couple and said: “Based on your conversation, it sounds like your grandson might have Aspergers.” No worries, I introduced myself first. The grandpa wasn’t too thrilled. I heard him say: “Boy, that lady has got some big ears on her!” I didn’t take it personally because my ears weren’t showing.

5) I will ask you many questions, such as: Is there anything in my teeth? Do I look bloated? How much do you think this would cost to make at home? Do you like the food? Are you full? Did you get enough to eat? Do you want dessert? Do you know soda is bad for you? Are you having a second soda? How are you going to work off all that soda? Are the refills free? Did you leave enough for the tip? How much? Are you sure? What do you think of the waiter’s personality? Would you hire him? Can I have the rest of your potatoes? Want to guess what color I’m thinking of? Will you guess the number? Did you have a good time? Do you like me? Do you think I’m pretty? Why?

6) As a former teacher and mother of three energetic boys, I am programmed to play games for survival. While we are waiting for our food, I will likely engage you in a game of hangman, connect the dots, I-Spy, and guess the animal I’m thinking. Electronics are not allowed at the table, as I require your full attention. And it is important to follow all my rules. And don’t even try watching television. Before we sit down in a sport’s bar, I will make certain there are no televisions in your line of vision, as to not take away from our time together. Of course, I would question why you were taking me to a cheap sport’s bar to begin with.

7) I am not a meat eater, and haven’t been since 1984 (the year I was born). So, if you ask me to help you cut your meat, especially ribs, I will try to use a butter knife and the ribs will fly across the table and plop on the floor and people will stare. But you will likely cut your own ribs, and I will give a look of disgust and tell you that I hate meat breath. Then I might, depending on my mood, remind you of one of the many documentaries I have viewed. I might even write the name down for you on a napkin. I will then eat your mashed potatoes when you are not looking.

8) I will compliment you. I will tell you have nice eyes or a nice smile, and mean it. I will likely compliment the restaurant staff, as well. Then I will stare at parts of your body that don’t look perfectly to scale. I will point out the facial hair that needs to be shaved, the rouge eyebrow hair, the freckle that looks questionable, the blemish, the grey hair, the wrinkled shirt, the old shoes, the nostril hair, and whatever else catches my attention. Unless you are a stone statue perfectly carved, I will find something to wonder about. I will obsess that perhaps you have a terrible disease or are allergic to something, and that is why there is a pimple on your neck. I will point out the bug bites on your arm. I will try to memorize your face, close my eyes and reopen them, and see if I can remember your hairline and freckles. Most of this I will do in my head and not say aloud. So I will be sitting there preoccupied, with a weird expression on my face, and one eyebrow raised high, and not listening to a word you are saying.

9) I will have to guess the amount on the bill. I will say, “Wait, wait, wait, let me guess!” Then I will calculate everything we consumed and add the totals up in my head, including tax. Then I will proclaim my guess. If I am within a dollar, I will smile so proudly. If I am wrong, I will go back and justify my answer, figuring out something I forgot, like the price of your soda. I will blame you for my error. Then I will lean over your shoulder to make sure you leave a twenty percent tip or higher; unless the service was terrible, then I will insist you leave fifteen percent exactly. If the waiter is exceptional, I will ask to speak to the manager about the wonderful service. I will tell the waiter first how great he is. And ask you to agree and nod. Then I will double-check the tip. I will still be worrying about the tip by the time we reach the car, and ask you to verify we calculated correctly. I will then ask if you remembered the boxed leftovers on the table, and ask you to go back and get them. I will complain if you have to use the bathroom, as I am tired, and want to go home.

10) You will be in shock, because on the first and second date, I was on my best behavior.

Day 210: Almost First Kiss

It was low tide and the sun had almost tucked itself beneath the waves of flickering cobalt. After a quick introduction, idle chit-chat and three or four bouts of nervous giggles on my account, a cute dark-eyed boy pointed to me, and said with a wink, “I choose you!”

I leaned in closer to Renny and grabbed hold of her warm hand.  I knew instantly, out of the three boys, I liked this dark-eyed boy the best.  Even as my knees knocked and my mouth grew dry, I was beginning to think that the whole meeting-at-the-beach-in-secrecy-plan wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

I crossed the fingers of my free hand, just as my favorite boy approached and casually brushed his shoulder against mine.

Yes, this would work.

I began dreaming about my first lover’s embrace.  I imagined this boy would want to know everything about me, then perhaps stroll me  home and ask me for a good night kiss.  As my mind played out a romantic episode, more suitable for an after school television special than real life, I heard from a distance my boy say, “First you.”

I looked to my side to find him tilting his head sideways in the direction of the shack on the edge of the concrete pier.  I was processing what he had said, when he spoke again.  “And then her.”  He pointed straight at Renny.

All of the sudden, I wished I had bigger boobs.

I crossed my arms across my chest and then heard the words Oh Crap shouting in my head.  Renny curled into herself with a blushing giggle and the boys appeared to be salivating.  Oh Crap my mind repeated.

Soon the circled boys shouted, “I’m next!”

Okay, so by now I was in a bit of trouble, but before I could think to say anything, my boy gleamed his full set of braces my direction, grabbed hold of my trembling hand and led me swiftly down the concrete pier.  For a fleeting second I believed he loved me.  Right up to the point, that is, when I glanced behind and eyed two boys nodding their heads, barking like sea lions, and flaunting a huge thumb-up.  Right about then my stomach, as well as my hopes, dropped a good ten stories.

The thought of slut crossed my mind, roller-skated back and forth, and then plopped down with its wide butt and sat there.

Out on the edge of the pier, with the sound of the waves crashing, I shook crazily inside the dark shed.  I tried not to breathe too heavily.  And I tried not to move my feet on the tacky floor.  There was just enough light trickling in that I could see the boy’s tinsel-smile.

With the door shut, the boy shuffled forward and set his hands on my shoulders, from there he slid them down my side to my waist.   His scent was that of the beach air: the smell of cypress, suntan lotion, and salt.

This is it

This will be my first kiss

I let out a deep breath and the boy’s hands touched down.

I felt him there, touching my hips, caressing me through the layers. In the next few seconds I forgot all else.

But then, something inside shifted, and my heart started beating so fast I could barely breathe, and I’ll I wanted to do was escape.

I pushed his hands off of me, and without thought yelped an adamant, “STOP!”

On my word, the boy leaped back, almost tripping.

I could see  his eyes narrowing and his left brow arching in question.  And I could visualize my pitiful look as I bit down on my bottom lip and made a sound like a puppy that had been stepped on.

I counted ten hard-heartbeats.  Then the words stumbled out of me, bumping here and there, so my voice sounded uncertain and unnatural.   “I can’t because…” I paused for a split-second.  “I can’t because our…”  I thought as hard as I could, so much that my head hurt, and then I closed my eyes and said, “Because our braces might get stuck together!”

That was all I said.  All I could say.  Because before the last syllable left my lips, I opened my eyes, burst open the shed door, darted up the pier, sprinted past the astonished boys and Renny, and raced the entire two-miles back home.