Casanova? I ain’t!

In my role as a guest blogger for Autism West Midlands’ Autism Connect, a social media community for people with autism, Casanova? I ain’t! was a chance to write something that made me smile. To fit in with a brief I was given to put together a blog piece for Valentine’s Day (Saturday 14th February 2015), I decided to recount experiences in looking for love that may explain why I’m still single now!

LOTHARI-NO, 28, seeks a lady with a GSOH (good sense of humour) and immunity to terrible jokes. Must be interested in talking about sport or the Eurovision Song Contest as they might well come up in conversation. Confidence with compliments and experience in massage is desirable.

The dating game is one I enjoy but it isn’t something I’m good at. While I may live with Asperger’s syndrome, I enjoy meeting new people and asking questions. My communication skills are good but my social skills can lack. Saying hello might be a positive thing but buying chewing gum as a 13-year-old for a teenage crush on Valentine’s Day really wasn’t!

Do I have a lonely heart? Not really. It'll be filled one day. Perhaps with drawing!

Do I have a lonely heart? Not really. It’ll be filled one day. Perhaps with drawing!

Being unlucky in love isn’t always bad though. My wallet remains closed and I get to share a few experiences with you in the hope you’ll laugh with me instead of at me!

Let’s test your GSOH:

A very complimentary gent

Is there a limit on how many innocent compliments you can pay somebody?

I’d neither call myself Casanova or a lothario but I like complementing people who make me feel special. I believe attraction comes from inside rather than outside.

During a date in London though with Jane, one of five fictional names I’ve created for this definitive list of don’t’s in finding love, trying too hard to be too nice may have been my downfall on an otherwise delightful day.

Visiting Camden Town, Covent Garden, Leicester Square and Westminster was a lot of fun. By spending a lot of time together, we could chat and get to find out a lot about each other. We even held hands outside Buckingham Palace. It was a date that may seem too perfect to be real!

One compliment changed the mood though. Or more so, a five-minute monologue. It turns out you really can say too much too soon. In a busy and loud pub, there wasn’t much of a conversation being heard but Jane certainly heard me and certainly laughed. I’ve exercised caution since!

Playing every shot

Meeting Emma during a foreign holiday was a highlight that surpassed the joy of walking up a steep hill in monsoon-like rain and the excitement of seeing the serving area catch fire in the hotel I stayed in. Finding the courage to start chatting is the closest I’ve come to a holiday romance.

Having a two-week package holiday felt like living in a bubble. Apart from going on three excursions that gave me a chance to explore little bits of the country, it was easy to build friendships. With Emma, I enjoyed getting to know her.

Playing pool against her and a friend she travelled with, however, might have been a mistake. I’m a competitive person, whether I’m trying to pot all of my balls or setting a personal best during a gym workout, and I think this spirit shone through when I tried to help her with almost every shot when she wasn’t playing me.

Being courteous and helpful was my aim. Honestly. Annoyance and self-indulgence could have shone through!

Minty fresh

Giving chewing gum in the hope I could win a heart in return seemed a perfectly cute thing to do. A teenage Phil, complete with sprouting hair, a squeaky voice and raging teenage hormones didn’t see the naive exchange like adult Phil does.

Charlie was the focus of my attention while I was at secondary school. I didn’t enjoy my lessons and only had time for a few teachers or pupils who looked out for me but having a crush made me feel good. Charlie never judged me and instead, it was nice to just chat. She took my mind off the bully who forced himself to vomit on my shoe. We even exchanged landline phone numbers in a prehistoric time before we discovered mobiles!

“Will you go out with me?” was a huge question for teenage Phil to ask. 15 years later, adult Phil is still impressed he had the guts to do it. The reply was a gentle and kind “no” and ultimately, no friendship came of it. There are good memories though and questions. Do you think she liked her present?

Shoulder rub in a pub

Shoulder rub in a pub shares a common theme with Minty fresh and soon, Geoffrey, as there’s lots of sweet naivety involved. If you take my status as a mature in age and not behaviour university student at the time of the experiences into account though, they’re certainly inappropriate too!

I had chatted with Natalie, who had an interest in and understood the art of sports massage, through phone calls and social media for a few months. We were both busy with our studies and couldn’t find a chance to meet face-to-face so by creating an opportunity to do some university work with each other, we finally got together to conduct an interview as part of my sports journalism degree. This led, possibly predictably for two students, to a drink in a pub.

Drinking, laughing and smiling may have looked pleasant to bystanders who were drinking, laughing and smiling too but shoulder massaging? That’s quirky. Natalie mentioned she learned to relieve stress in the shoulders and by feeling tense, I asked for a demonstration.

Unusually, this example ended well because she obliged. Hopefully it was more through judgement than luck but either way, I was surprised!

Geoffrey

“There’s millions says Geoffrey, all under one roof” or “There’s millions of Geoffrey, all under one roof” as I misheard as a child and adult alike made me excited for a dating experience that is arguably my most spontaneous and best yet!

For a hangout with a difference, I visited a Toys R Us store with Louise, a student I met towards the end of my time at university. We thought about where we could go and in reliving our childhood by performing a duet of a song that had long stuck in our minds, we decided to play with toys. Perfection.

Nothing was bought. Actually buying a toy, rather than playing, was something neither of us wanted to do. To leave without queuing at a till, a pointless exercise given our situation, we had to pass the customer service desk and both got very excited at our final discovery. The member of staff had Geoffrey on his nametag!

Was he called Geoffrey or was it a marketing ploy for Geoffrey the giraffe, their mascot? I didn’t find out but I live in hope.