Extraordinary Conversation

January 10, 2012

Random Quotes

Today on Facebook I was confronted with a very interesting conversation situation.  I’m going to share it with you (with all names changed) because I can’t imagine not sharing it, for all sorts of reasons.

I’ll be using actual quotes, I’m not making any of this up.  Comments about my thoughts will be inline in italics.

The set up?  An FB friend who we’ll call Andromeda posted a status, “Maybe “Gone, Baby, Gone” isn’t the BEST choice of movies to watch while enormously pregnant, but it beats “Rosemary’s Baby” or “The Omen,” right?”  To which I replied, “I have trouble even THINKING about Rosemary’s Baby since I got preggers and had G… and I loved that movie!!!”

Very soon after posting that comment I received a direct message that started the conversation.

——————————————————————

Stranger:  How are you? I am Andromeda’s cousin on her moms side. How can anyone think of killing a helpless child?

Me:  Hi Stranger, nice to meet you! I’m a little lost, is this in response to the comment I made about Rosemary’s Baby?

Stranger:  Yes it is, And nice to meet you, too.  If people don’t want the responsibility of raising a child, why do people take a chance on getting preggers in the first place?

Ok, what is this? Did I miss something somewhere? This is really weird, but I’m very curious. I’ll stick with the Rosemary’s Baby theme and see where that gets us.

Me: I think people would be hard-pressed to convince me that my son was the spawn of the devil. But yes, even if they managed to I can’t imagine I would be able to kill/abandon my own child. While I despair for Rosemary being under the influence of her crazy neighbors, I’m very glad she appears to have chosen to keep and nuture her baby.

Stranger: According to the Catholic Religion, people are not suppose to get preggers until they are married.

Ok… there’s a twist. I somehow don’t think he’s talking about the movie any more, but I’m going to stick with it because it’s all I’ve really got right now.

Me: I don’t remember… were Rosemary and her husband not married when they got pregnant? It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen the film.

Stranger: I am not sure, either. I didn’t get the end of it.

Me: I seem to remember they were married. And I think the filmmakers wanted it to be a bit ambiguous at the end… ambiguity is more scary. And of course, scary is the whole point of the movie. 🙂

Stranger: True.  See. Some guys just feel that when dating, intercourse has to happen as part of the relationship. Not realizing what could happen or the guilty feeling afterwards.

Really?? Where is this coming from? It’s gone on too long for this to be some kind of joke. And I don’t get the impression that he’s trying to scare me or come on to me. I wonder what he’s looking to get out of this conversation?

Me: I think there’s a whole spectrum of what men and women think about when intercourse is appropriate/necessary. Especially in our hyper-sexualized society. It’s a challenging time to raise a child (though I suppose it’s always a challenging time for each generation for one reason or another).

Stranger:  That is true. Most people feel that after dating for a while, it brings them closer together emotionally and its a bonding.  You’re right, and with all that is on tv, news, movies, etc. It is hard to say no.

Ok.  He’s really caught up on the sex before marriage thing. But I still don’t get the impression that there’s danger here. Let’s see if I can get him to open up a little?  Maybe help me figure out if there was something I missed?

Me: Yes, I believe many people feel that way. What inspired you to speak about this to me?

Stranger:  Sometimes I just get feelings from God on who to talk to about what things. How do you know Andromeda by the way?

Ahhhhh, ok. With all due respect to those many sane people in the world that have a good personal relationship and conversation with God, I’ve experienced a few too many people who claim to speak with God because they have mental illness of some flavor.  My mother is one of these people. However, having a belief, due to mental illness or otherwise, that God is speaking to Stranger doesn’t automatically mean he’s not worth having a conversation with.  So I’ll go on.  This could lead to something worthwhile.  At the very least, it’ll make an interesting blog post. In the meantime, I’m going to send a message to Andromeda to see what she knows about her cousin, and how I should take this.

Me: Ah, I see. I went to high school with Andromeda.

Stranger: oh ok. I am 12 years older than Andromeda. Mind if I ask you something without being offensive?

Oh boy, here we go.  This one will probably be the make or break.  Let’s give him a chance. I still get the feeling that as weird as this is, it’s honestly intended.

Me: Sure.

Stranger: I used to work with this girl at one time, and hugging her got me aroused. But I never told her. Do you think that I did the right thing?

Well, crap. Normally this would be my cue to politely exit the conversation and block further messaging. But somehow I’m still not getting the feeling that he’s trying to get his jollies by speaking to me this way. I don’t get the impression of a leering, ogling, pick random women on FB to talk dirty to kind of guy. How can I respond to this in a constructive way that clearly indicates that I am not interested in any sexual relationship with this guy? I’m going to pretend this is someone’s younger brother who’s honestly asking for advice and go from there.

Me: Well. If you were very good friends, and you were attracted to her and wished to start a relationship, then I think it would be appropriate to tell her that you were attracted to her. If you did not know each other well, then I think it would be inappropriate to tell her of your attraction until you got to know each other better. It sounds like you didn’t know her well, and so you didn’t tell her. That seems reasonable to me.

Stranger: Well. We did work together for a few months, and then I went to another store. We never dated, because [company name] had a no dating policy. How would you have reacted if you knew the guy well? I did talk to my former physician when I worked with her, and asked her how come it lasted for twenty minutes, and she said I was still excicted by her. Maybe because it was the first time that it happened, and it shocked me. I think that some people would say they just want to have it just to see what it feels like.

Ok, so he’s had a physician.  And a 20-minute erection? That just sounds painful. Why am I still continuing this conversation?

Me: I’m surprised that you want to share something so personal with me.

Stranger: I know. Normally I don’t right away. Maybe I shouldn’t have, but I was just stating an opinion/I wanted to have kids, but my job history wasn’t that great in the past. Long story.

I’m getting the impression now that he really is in earnest.  I think there’s some pain here that he’s trying to work out?  He’s not asking questions in a way that I would expect a “pervert” to ask them.  There’s still something more here that I’m not getting.

[At this time I get an apologetic message from Andromeda that Stranger has Asperger’s and simply doesn’t have a good concept of what’s appropriate and what isn’t.  I let her know that I wasn’t offended, and that getting that piece of info solved the puzzle.]

Of course!  That’s why I didn’t get the pervert vibe! It’s a very odd conversation to be in, but one that isn’t scary, and as it took some sort of nerve for him to speak to me, I’m not going to abandon the conversation now.  I’ve interacted with people with Asperger’s in person before, but never online. Online almost seems like the best place to interact since there is no visual affect to get in the way.  Everything is basically face-value. Refreshing!

Me: It’s ok. It’s just unusual. Generally if a man is respectful when telling me he’s attracted to me, and isn’t crude about it, it’s flattering. So long as there’s no expectation of reciprocation involved.

Stranger: I would probably say that I was attracted to her. See, that is the dilemna I faced. Would she be flattered or scared? I told someone that I used to work with on her, that I look for the inside instead of what is on the outside. Doesn’t that make sense? I have to go sign my lease now. Have a great day,

Me: It would depend on how you told her. It can be very tricky. I would say that the key is getting to know someone very well before attempting to enter into a conversation about attraction. If someone already knows you well, and values your friendship, then it will be less likely to come across as scary.  Have a great day as well!

Wow, what an experience!  I have to tell people about this.

Stranger: You said something about how I told her. How would you want a guy to tell you? Trust me. I wasn’t looking for a sexual relationship with her. Just wanted to be friends.

Oh, I thought you had to go sign a lease?  That’s ok.  I know all number of people who can’t actually say goodbye and end a conversation. 😉

Me: If you just want to be friends, then I think it’s appropriate to say something like “I’d like to get to know you better, you seem like someone who would be a good friend.”  I wouldn’t find that scary at all.

Stranger: oh ok. So you’re saying that it wouldn’t have intimidated her if we were friends? right. Got to run.

—————————————-

And that was the true end of the conversation.  I actually feel almost flattered (even though I seem to have been chosen basically at random) that he came to me for help.

It would have been so easy to end this conversation right at the beginning, but I’m really glad that I stuck with it.  I think it was a learning experience for us both.

Originally, as the conversation was first starting, I wanted to share this with you all because I thought it was good “read on my blog about my weird experience with a crazy person on FB!” fodder.  But now I want to share because it turns out he wasn’t crazy at all, and it’s important to differentiate.

Readers, do any of you have Asperger’s or otherwise exist somewhere on the spectrum?  If so, do you feel I handled this well?  Have you had any similar experiences you’d be willing to share?

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6 Comments on “Extraordinary Conversation”

  1. Lance Says:

    we believe our youngest, 7 yr old The Goose, has a mild form of this. We think.

    Yes you handled it well.

    Reply

  2. Dawnie Says:

    Wow. Ok, so it started off as a WTF convo, and turned into “this is the difference between crazy town and just curious/awkward”. And you’re right about needing to know the difference. I do not have Aspergers or Autism, but I know some folks who do. In my opinion, I think you handled it very well. From my experience, Autistic folks lack a filter (hence the direct questions and oddly personal info) but also have a very curious mind. They take most everything at face value. I think Stranger will walk away from this convo having learned more about how women react to being approached, and it seems like that’s what he really wanted to know. I also applaud you for sharing this, because it’ll help people see a glimpse into the mind of Aspergers.

    Reply

  3. Broot Says:

    I think that was well done on your part. Gotta trust your gut, and you did. 🙂

    Reply

  4. Carrie - Cannibalistic Nerd Says:

    I thought you handled it very well. Turns out he did have a good sense of who to ask!

    Reply

  5. blogginglily Says:

    Yeah, I think you handled it great.

    Reply

  6. Kristi Says:

    Wow. I’m really impressed. I think by talking to this young man you gave him a boost by not ending the conversation. Sometimes they just want to be heard and talked to. You handled that very well.

    Reply

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