Not a Good Wingwoman

I was at the mixed-orthodox shul with a friend who we shall call Morah. We were standing around, nibbling on our chulent, when Morah said, “There’s a guy eyeing us from across the room. Here he comes…”

“Hi!” Guy introduced himself brightly. “I’m new to the neighborhood and trying to meet people. I’m Guy, who are you?”

We surreptitiously checked his fingers for a ring, and, finding none, introduced ourselves in turn.

“I’m Morah and I’m a preschool teacher.”

Guy smiled at her and turned to me.

“I’m Bad4 and I’m a neurochemist.”

Guy made a 45-degree body turn back to Morah and smiled. “I also work with small children!”

They chatted about small children and classrooms for another 15 minutes while I finished my chulent and wandered off to get something to drink. Neither noticed me going.

“Well what was he supposed to say?” Morah defended Guy later. “He probably had no idea what a neurochemist does.”

“Most people don’t. That doesn’t stop them from saying ‘I guess you look at brains a lot, huh?’ or ‘so you blow up neurons?’ He didn’t even try.”

“Well it’s just that you intimidated him,” Morah soothed me, like I was a small child having a melt down. She’s good at that. Only that’s really not what I needed to hear.

A medically inclined friend of mine went to a singles event a few weeks ago, where she sat next to a lawyer and a preschool teacher at the speed dating section.

“It was set up that two guys would come sit down at a table with three girls and you’d do introductions,” she said. “So every time two guys would come sit down and we’d do the intros, who are you, what do you do, who are you, what do you. And we go ‘doctor, lawyer, preschool teacher.’ And they nod and smile and say that’s nice, and proceed to physically turn and talk to the preschool teacher.”

The lesson is, preschool teachers make rotten wingwomen.

There is clearly something about women who spend their entire day chasing small children that men just simply cannot resist. Why this is I couldn’t say, but women be warned: stay away from those preschool teachers when you’re trawling for men.

Or better yet—tell them you teach preschool too! Then you can snag the guy, go on a date, and get to know him. If things go well, you can tell him you’re applying for jobs as a scapula surgeon, to break him into the idea. If he can get over your alleged career change, you’re good to go. If he can’t… well, time to start applying for preschool jobs.

You Can’t Win (Unless You’re Clued In)

Diagnostic Criteria for 299.803 Social Asperger’s Disorder
[The following is from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM IV]

(I) Qualitative impairment in social normalization, as manifested by at least two of the following:

(A) marked impairments in the use and comprehension of social conventions
(B) failure to develop career aspirations and dress preferences in lockstep with peers
(C) a lack of spontaneous seeking to share and duplicate the life experience of the peer group

(II) Restricted repetitive & stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:

(A) encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal for the demographic
(B) apparently inflexible adherence to specific, functional routines or rituals in opposition to non-functional social conventions
(C) persistent preoccupation with purpose, point, or utility of behaviors
(III) The disturbance causes clinically significant impairments in social, occupational, or other important areas of interaction with the given peer group.

(IV) There is no clinically significant general delay in language (E.G. single words used by age 2 years, communicative phrases used by age 3 years)

(V) There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self help skills, adaptive behavior (other than in social interaction) and curiosity about the environment in childhood.

(VI) Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasively Weird Disorder or Antisocial Mania.”

Do you ever get the feeling that everyone else in society was issued a manual at birth, or maybe upon graduation, but somehow you were left out of the distribution list? I imagine this is how an Aspie feels when everyone is laughing at a well-turned bit of sarcasm. Which is why I decide to call it Social Asperger’s.

Every now and then the fog of incomprehension that often hovers between me and today’s yeshivish/ultra-orthodox Jewish norms lifts, and I see the light, and a big “Eureka!” pops out of my mouth. I bask in smugness at unraveling the mystery, when suddenly I realize: everyone else knew this all along.

I had one of these “aha” moments while rereading this post last week. In the post, I complain that I’m branded as “immature” and “unready for marriage” because I don’t have plans for a career yet. This struck me as unfair because my flexibility was what left room for a spouse in my life.

I laughed when I reread it because now I have the opposite problem. Having chosen a field, I’m considered too nerdy or smart to date anyone in any other field. Having launched a career, I’m now considered too career-oriented and geographically bound to date pretty much anyone.

Catch-22, right? You just can’t win. I mean, what kind of career would have satisfied these Women? Only one that’s more obviously transplant-able and non-ambitious. Like masseuse maybe?

Or – oh. I see.

OT, PT, SP, and SE.

Ooh. I get it. Now I get it.

Man, I am slow.