It happens to me on occasion, where somebody will say or write something and it will strike me in a profound way. I call this “a duh moment.” The subject will usually be something so blatantly obvious, and yet it will also be something that I did not consider to stop and think about.
This happened to me yesterday, after reading a comment on my last post, in reference to an ex-girlfriend.
This got me thinking about some of the problems I’ve had with those darned wimmens folk, and lead me down a path where I performed an actual retrospective on my history with women, what it got me, what harm it caused, and what I should consider doing about it.
The retrospective was high-level in my mind, so let’s dive in and figure out this mess that has plagued all men in history.
A ROCKY START
I’ve heard that being a teen and dating is difficult for regular guys. I did not know that I was Autistic until I was 53, but there was something about that condition that left me open to some trouble.
That is, if someone said they liked me [as a friend] or loved me [as a girlfriend], I would project myself onto them. For me, if I liked or loved someone, I would NEVER hurt them. So I would assert that they would have the same attitude. Why would they hurt me?
This lesson would hit me in high school, but I would not learn from it until recently. The reason why I did not learn from it was because I would attribute this behavior as a personal defect of an individual, and not recognize it as a basic human condition. Like lots of guys, I wrongly believed that women are kind, caring, and innocent. Those were the days.
While I won’t be naming names for everyone, I will name some of the more despicable ones.
Such is the case for a girl named Linda Lippmann.
I had trouble with girls at my school. The problem was that they did not want to be associated with me. This would force me to go girl hunting at other schools once I had my license and car.
But before that, there was this slightly older girl who was new to our school named Linda. She seemed to be interested in me rather quickly, which is a big red flag that gets obscured by all of those tingly teenage boy feelings that are so overwhelming.
She was the one who proposed the idea that we “go steady.” Wow, I finally had my first girlfriend. I was so happy and proud of myself that I broke through that barrier. And it was a girl in the same school as me! What were the odds.
But there were some problems.
One of those problems revolved around the not-yet-known reason of why she was suddenly going to our school instead of her old school. I would later learn that it was because she was sleeping around and got pregnant. Her hyper-Christian parents sent here away to a home, where the child could be born, be adopted out, and the whole problem would magically “go away,” as is the case with people who are professionals in the fine art of denial.
The problem was that her ways had not changed. She had learned nothing.
So while we were going steady, nothing really happened. We kissed a few times, but we never did anything.
We had this arrangement where she would have some “girl time” during lunch with her friend, Sandy Perkins. On those days, I’d hang out in the gym, throwing a basketball around. I usually would play basketball by myself if there was an open goal. Linda would go hang out with Sandy or some other girlfriends to do “girl stuff,” whatever that might be.
One day, while I was shooting hoops in the gym on a “girl time” lunch break, I looked up in the bleachers and saw Sandy Perkins. She looked kind of depressed. I went up to talk to her.
“I thought today was girl day? What’s wrong?”
Sandy told me that she felt badly about what was going on. As it turns out, Linda used Sandy as a cover-up for her sexual shenanigans. Sandy told me all about it. She also told me that Linda was at the dugout with a bunch of guys.
I snuck out there and found out for myself. There she was, at the dugout, with some guys in line, while one of them was getting a blowjob.
For being my so-called “girlfriend,” it felt weird that Linda had some type of sexual contact with just about every guy, except for me.
We got in a big argument about it, of course. But she didn’t want to go out without first having some type of upper hand. So she invited me to go with her to the movies in Anderson, a town about ten miles away. Her parents would drive out to where I lived in Lapel, and they would pick me up and drive us to the movies.
They pick me up and it’s an awkward ride for the four of us. She’s holding hands with me in a sneaky way, as her parents don’t even approve of that. They dropped us off so that we could go see Xanadu. It sucked in a weird way.
After the movie, her parents showed up, but they would not let me get into the car. They told me that I had to walk home. Such good Christians.
So there I was, in Anderson. I couldn’t just call my parents. So I would run around, looking for people I might know and asking for a ride home.
I don’t really remember how I got home.
Anyway, Linda’s situation blew up at school and it wasn’t long before everyone knew her for the loose woman she was.
She actually tried to weasel her way back into my life in 2001, finding me on AIM and messaging me. She started to get demanding of my time, so I told her to fuck off. I should have said that from the get-go. I was probably in a nostalgic mood, which I have recently learned is dangerous for me.
In late 1980, I would get my drivers license. I already had my car, from six months earlier, after working all summer. I bought a 1972 Pontiac LeMans from a prostitute my factory worker/cop dad was dating. She had to take it to a shop and get everything looked at and fixed, and I purchased this amazing car for $400.
I met a girl at another school, which was how I had to do things. We dated for a while, things got serious, and we lost our virginity together. I considered it a serious connection.
She started acting weird in the summer. Suddenly, she couldn’t talk on the phone and would have to go. I wondered why her behaviors had changed so much. As is usually the case, one of her kind girlfriends who saw what was going on and felt badly for me decided to call to let me know.
She was not available when I would call, because she was having sex with her paper boy, Sonny.
So one day I pretended that I was at work and called her. She said she had to go take care of her parents, so I hung up. Then I drove over and walked up to the house. The screen door was unlocked and the door was open.
I quietly walked in. There she was, naked on the couch with Sonny. I cleared my throat. Never saw a guy jump so high in my entire life.
This was the first time I heard the phrase, “It’s not what it looks like.” This is denial, gaslighting, and an attempt to change my perception. I broke up with her, right on the spot.
She would try to get me back in college, but I wasn’t having it. The last time I had a serious conversation with her was in 2003, when I had to return to Indiana for my father’s funeral. She contacted me and told me, “I’ll be there for you.”
I was at my father’s funeral alone. She never showed up. She didn’t answer my voicemails, my emails, chat requests, nothing. She would later say that her car died, which does not excuse the lack of communication afterward. No apology.
There is something rather dastardly about someone who goes out of their way to tell you they’ll be there for you during a time of need, and then not show up.
That was pretty much it for high school. College would be a different story.
THOSE COLLEGE GIRLS
My first year, I met this girl who was a senior, while in the Ball State University marching band. I thought she was cute at the time. Once I found out that she was related to a teacher at my old high school, I guess that gave me a sense of connection, so we became an item.
She was a Journalism major, and would often tell me that she needed me to type her papers for her. I would carry my typewriter through the snow, up to her little apartment above the book store, and type her papers at 4am.
By this point, I had gotten her a little ring.
After one of our sexual encounters, she asked me how many women I had been with. Yes, I had a low number, and I was honest about it. She had a high number to report in response, even though I didn’t ask.
Her point was, “The difference between us is that I am forgiven, and you are not. You need to go to church.”
That’s a red flag, when someone does something that they believe is wrong, go get forgiven, do it again, get forgiven again, and then keep on. It’s an idiots justification.
She pushed and pushed me. She would pick fights, ultimately taking off her ring and holding it up to my face with a threat. “That’s the way it is, and if you don’t like it, I’ll give this ring back.”
I didn’t want to go to church, so I decided to split the difference and go with her to bible study. This didn’t last long. I was dressed as my punk rock self and showed up in those clothes. I didn’t have khakis, polo shirts, or a suit.
The guy I sat across from stood up, pointed at me, and declared, “I REFUSE to study the bible with this…. this HEATHEN!” Ah, yes, because that’s the same attitude Jesus had about prostitutes and the poor. Good job.
The situation had gotten so bad that I was in a friend’s room talking with him about it, when she called his room. He handed me the phone.
“Are you talking about us? You better not be talking about us?”
I told her that I’ll be right over. I had something important to do.
So I went to her apartment, and a very predictable fight broke out. She took off her ring and gave me her standard threat.
I snatched the ring from her fingers and told her, “I’ll give it to someone who deserves it.” I then pawned it and bought a shit-ton of beer. Fuck it.
There was one other, during my second year. It’s not worth its own section. She basically lead me on, messed with my head, and nothing of any significance ever happened. It was weird and surreal.
ADULT TIME IN LA
After my second year of school, I moved to LA. My life was such a mess and struggle that I didn’t have time for women in general.
By mid-1988, I had completed my first attempt at a music career. Things fell apart and I was trying to figure out my next steps. This was when a girl I knew in college started calling me. She was friends and roomates with the other girl who was leading me on.
We were talking a lot. It started to sound serious. So I made a plan where I would move back in with my mother, work to save up money, and would then move to Chicago, where we would get married and start a life together.
The day I left my rental room to move in with my mother, I got a letter from her. She had been invited to The Virgin Islands with some guy she kind of knew. She had mentioned him a few times, telling me that he wasn’t as good of a guitar player as me.
Anyway, she went with him to The Virgin Islands, where he proposed. She accepted.
Things were serious enough between us that I called her mother to ask what happened. “I don’t know. I guess she was in a really big hurry to get out of the house.”
I have since forgiven her for this. We have emailed a few times in recent years. The interactions felt cold, so I stopped writing with her. She’s divorced now, and enjoying it. This is an observation that got me thinking about this topic as well.
THE FICKLE FRAU
So I moved back in with my mother, even though my sense of purpose was gone. I went out to the clubs a few times. Hanging in a club was not for me.
I met a girl at the club who had some similar work experience as me, so we started talking. I thought that things were going well, until this rich guy in a cowboy hat cut between us. He invites her to the boat races, to sit in box seats and watch a boat that he owns. He accidentally pulls out a giant wad of money before finding the tickets. She becomes instantly interested in him.
I go to take a leak, and then try to leave. The old guy yells out at me, “Hey, boy! Where’s your balls?” Everyone in the club is looking.
I walk back over, tell him, “They’re in your mouth, you fat fuck,” and I punch him in the face. I remember how pissed I felt that he ruined my evening in that way.
His body guards grabbed me, dragged me outside, roughed me up, threw me against a limo, and told me that they’d kill me if I ever came back. I believed them, and stayed away from there.
I went to a bar in a hotel. Taking my mother’s advice, I put on a suit. As it turns out, my mother would give me lots of horrible dating advice. This is because mom never dated women, and women are counter-intuitive.
I go to this bar, I think it was called The Red Onion.
I see this super-attractive woman, so I walk over to talk to her. “Not to be too forward, but may I buy you a drink?” She has this accent that sounds kind of fake and introduces herself as “Burgundy O’Hara.”
At the time, as a color-blind guy, I didn’t consider the close relationship between the colors Burgundy and Scarlet. And the last thing on my mind was Gone with the Wind.
We get into my mom’s car, and I have my last $60 on me. I decide that we’re going somewhere classy, so Red Lobster it is!
During the drive, she kept looking behind us, as if we were being followed. We get to the restaurant, sat down, and ordered.
She is looking at me like I’m the cutest thing she’s ever seen. It’s not because I’m attractive, but rather because I am naive.
“You have no idea what’s happening right now, do you?” she says to me. I set down my drink, and ask her what she’s talking about.
She clears her throat and tells me, “I’m a prostitute.”
She asks me what I do for a living. I tell her that’s a boring story, and we should talk about what SHE does for a living. So we talked about that.
I let her know that I spent my last $60 on dinner as we drove back to the hotel. She hands me her number, says that she really likes me, and tells me to “call next week for a freebie.”
I did not call.
I met a second woman there, an older woman. She said that she wanted to get together sometime. She pulls out her checkbook, removes a check, tears it in half, and writes on it.
The piece of the check she gave me had her name, her husband’s name, and her address. Handwritten were her phone number and some days and times. “That’s when my husband is at work,” she explained.
I stopped going to that bar.
While moping around the condo, my mother gave me $17 and told me to go out and have fun. Wow. So I go to the third and final club that exists in that town.
I was 24 years old, just one month short of 25, when I met a woman celebrating her 38th birthday. I bought her a beer and we had a drink. I was out of money, so I asked her if she wanted to go for a ride on my motorcycle. We rode around, went to her place, and things happened very quickly.
We would later move to LA and have some big problems.
She would end up poking holes in my condoms and getting pregnant so that she could force me to be connected with her. She had a host of mental health problems that were made worse by the fact that she took no responsibility for them and would even deny that they existed.
I met her in late 1988. We officially split in late 1998. She still causes me trouble, to this day. Without a doubt, the worst and most persistent stalker in all of history.
THE MYSTIC DANCER
In 1994, when the above woman got pregnant, we weren’t even living together. I moved back in with her for the sake of our son, but I made it clear that I didn’t even like her as a person, and I was going to do whatever I wanted.
In late 1996, I started writing an album with a singer from the Philippines, who was here in America working as an exotic dancer. We had a fling the entire time we were working on the album.
After our first song demo was completed, we were listening to it. She said, “The song is so beautiful, I could make love to it right now.”
Not being one to pick up subtle hints, I replied, “Yea. It’s pretty good.” This was when she decided to be blunt, dragging me to a cheap motel room, where she unmistakably drove home the point.
I have written about her before, so I won’t get into too much detail. Bottom line is that once the album was finished, she dumped me in a very weird and hurtful way.
I didn’t think of her as an exotic dancer. I thought of her as a fellow musician who was working to get a break in the industry. I thought that this would make us a solid pair. Obviously, I was very wrong.
This was a girl I had a crush on when I was in grade school and junior high. She found me online and wanted to get together. I was pumped up about it, so I made that happen really fast. We seemed to hit it off.
But then she decided that she wanted to test me. I didn’t know that I was being tested. She gave me her email login credentials and told me that I should go read her emails at random.
So I did just that. I found an email that she had written to a gay friend of hers, who oddly enough is related to the person who left me the comment that inspired this entry. She wrote about how she “did a little bump” so that vacuuming and house chores would go by faster. She also noted that she was looking forward to that night, where she was going to go out to “get some choco-cock.”
I called her to confront her about going out to “get some choco-cock.” Her response was, “Ah, so you don’t care about the cocaine, but you care about that.” I told her that I cared about the whole fucking thing, and that none of it was any good if we were thinking about a relationship.
She told me that she was just testing me. I felt disappointed by the whole thing, so I replied, “Ah, well, in that case, I failed your test. Looks like we’re done.”
She cried and cried. I spent an hour on the phone with her. It was the last time we talked.
She ended up marrying her “choco-cock.”
But the truly ironic part of it all was that she is the niece of the last woman I was with, Annie. Small world.
A MORE POSITIVE EXPERIENCE
In early 1999, I met Catherine on the LA Times personals ads. We met in-person, got along, and started dating.
Life was chaotic for me at the time. I had my stalker ex-wife. I had a son who was four years old and I spent time with him. I was always struggling with work. And I would be drumming in 1-3 bands at any give time.
Catherine was like a second mother to my son, which was cool. She was also a very good drum tech, thanks to being a quick learner. She would help me with my musical pursuits.
As a result, we didn’t have much time for romantic behaviors
When my son turned 18 in 2013, he suddenly was not coming over so much. My drumming gigs started drying up. Not long after that, in early 2016, my work prospects shriveled into nothing.
When we had nothing left but our relationship, we started to realize that maybe we weren’t really a romantic couple. Maybe we’re just really good friends.
Some denial would come into play when Catherine proposed marriage to me. It felt forced and simply not right.
THE FINAL BOSS
The denial would hang on until late 2019, when I met Annie. I wrote about that situation in my previous blog, so I won’t be getting into any details here. Long story short, she lost her mind, and I’m lucky that I wasn’t killed in my sleep.
But at the same time, I felt that it transcended sexual attraction or sexual activity.
She most definitely was not honest with me. To be fair, I may not have been honest with myself.
All of this leads to this very moment in time. As I think back on my sexual and/or relationship pursuits over the decades, I wonder why most of these women were flat-out shitty human beings. The exception, of course, is Catherine, although we are also not a romantic couple and never have been [we just thought we were].
As I write this, she is sleeping in the other room. She’s a dear friend, reliable, and someone who cares about me as a person. She has known me since early 1999. Even though we are not a romantic couple, I consider her to be family.
In thinking back on it all, none of my romantic pursuits seemed to really care about me as a person. Meanwhile, I cared about them a great deal, and always saw things as being about more than just sex. I viewed them as people with whom I’d want to be around.
Over time, after I got my Autism diagnosis, I started to learn more about this neurodivergence. The knowledge that I gained from this has lead me to conclude that, generally speaking, I attract horrible people. Very horrible people.
Yesterday, I described it to my therapist as having a giant flashing neon sign that says, “Easy target! Come and get it!”
When I am being myself, I feel like I project a teenager’s attitude about life sometimes. In fact, my interests have not really changed since those times. The only thing that has changed is that I am finally able to see the things that have been wrong for my entire life. That, and I can no longer ride a skateboard, because if you don’t use it, you lose it. My balance on wheels sucks.
The easiest way to put it is that telling me to “just be yourself” is probably the worst advice that I could possibly receive. This is because being myself leaves me open to so much exploitation, damage, and pain.
This leaves me with a question: Is changing myself worth it?
THE OLD MARINE
I have probably told this story before, but it is relevant to this topic.
During my first year in college, when I was 19, my roommate took me to his brother’s house for beer and pool. His brother was 40 years old and a Marine.
He gave us a tour of his house before we landed in the sealed-off garage, where he kept the pool table and beer fridge. I had made a comment about not seeing any sign that he has a wife or girlfriend.
He decided to spell it out for me. He told me the truck and motorcycle out front were his, as in he owned them outright. He also outright owned his house. He had cash, gold, guns, and it was ALL his. EVERYTHING there was all his.
He put his hand on my shoulder and gave me a painful squeeze. He looked me in the face and said, “People are pieces of shit, and they deserve to be obliterated.”
Although I could tell that he was referring to everyone, the context of the situation points to the fact that he was talking about women. All women. Yes, men, too. Humans in general. But this entry of mine is about women and the pursuit of them.
While I am NOT in the business of “obliterating” people, the first half of his statement has always remained at the forefront of my memories. Why didn’t I take it as a serious warning?
Well, I didn’t take it that way because I figured he was old and jaded, and that MY life experience was going to be more positive.
In other words, I thought that I was different.
MY ATTITUDE TODAY
When people tell me, “act your age,” I tell them that I don’t know how because I’ve never been this age before.
There were certain biological changes that drove me to act like a teenager with regard to sexual activity. Now that I’m older, there have been some other biological changes that are changing my attitude about it all. These changes are causing me to act more like an old fuddy-duddy, even though I still have most of those teen-like qualities in my personality.
A big part of me wants nothing more to do with women. No, this is not a declaration that I’m turning gay. There’s nothing wrong with being gay. I’m just not gay. Besides, being in a gay relationship would still be the act of being in a relationship with a human being. And human beings mostly treat me in a way that an old Marine had once warned me about.
I think back to those old days as a pre-teen, when I used to play drums, guitar, and other instruments in my bedroom.
I didn’t do it for girls. I didn’t do it for any other reason, except that it made me happy. Yes, I had aspirations of being a pro musician one day, and this was preparation. All the same, I loved every single minute of it.
I remember telling my parents that I had no use for girls. They would laugh and taunt me, “Oh, one day you’ll like girls. You’ll really like them.”
I assume by “like” they meant “wanting to shove my wiener in them.” That’s a weird thing to want for your pre-pubescent son, but okay.
That sentiment did not represent my approach. In all cases, I thought that I actually liked them. That is, until I got to know them. The hard reality is that I liked them when I barely knew them at all.
It was a case of me liking what they were presenting to me. It’s that “best foot forward” thing, which I think is SO dishonest, even in job interviews. Once I got to know them, trouble began.
As these relationships go, the trick I’ve observed is that you present your best at first. You hide your flaws and horrible parts. Get the other person invested in you, and then drop those bombs strategically. Bonus girl points if you can present these flaws as your victim status.
To me, this is what a vampire would do. They want you to like them and trust them, so that you’ll invite them into your home. Once they’re in, then they start going through your drawers while you’re in the bathroom. They learn things about ME while I’m being flat out open and honest in true Autistic fashion, which helps them figure out how they can present themselves in a better light.
To me, romantic relationships seem like a type of strategy war, where the goal is to get what you want at the expense of the other person. Of course, I’m only seeing it this way now. In the past, I saw it as two people meet and they take things to the next level if they genuinely like each other.
I don’t think most of my ex-girlfriends ever really liked me as a person. The one exception is Catherine, who ironically never was a romantic pursuit in the first place.
So yea, none of my romantic pursuits ever really liked me as a person. Funny, considering how we guys constantly get lectured about objectifying women or “only wanting sex.” That’s bullshit propaganda.
Yes, back then sex was very important. It’s a biological directive, so it’s important to just about everyone. But now, the drive is not so strong. I don’t care about that as much as I used to care about it, back when I was a teenage hormone factory.
I don’t know what I’m going to do. Catherine and I get along just fine. However, she is thinking about the possibility of pursuing a romantic encounter. She doesn’t have anyone in mind. It’s just an idea.
At the same time, she has said to me recently, “Maybe we are supposed to just be friends who live together.” This is a very real possibility, considering the fact that we’ve done that for over 20 years, with that 11-month interruption at the end of the 20th year. The world is too expensive for any one person to go it alone.
Maybe we older people have those “friends with benefits,” where we get together on occasion to rut like pigs, but then live in our respective homes where we’re comfortable and don’t have to put up with the problems that come with having another person in the home.
Or maybe sex isn’t a part of the picture at all. I’ve not felt sexually compelled since things with Annie started falling apart. The way that situation ended really put me off and gave me a reason to pause and give this subject some sincere evaluation.
Even if I met someone tonight, the possibility that they’re a crazy stalker who will kill me in my sleep will be forever playing in the back of my mind. Would it be worth the risk? More and more, my thinking on that question produces the answer of a solid “No.”
IN THE END
There were some other women in the past with whom I’d had encounters, who are not noted above. We would meet, have our encounter, spend some time, and then conclude that things weren’t going to work out. In some cases, it was the women who wanted a one-off experience. Yes, women use men for sex, too.
I have slept with every woman I have ever wanted. If I were a pick-up artist, or a macho manly man who needs validation to offset his own insecurities, then this would be a hefty bragging point, although it’s not a really high number. However, I view all of this as a big collective failure in a way, because I never had a successful romantic relationship, ever.
In that regard, it’s sad.
I try to see it as a case of collecting experience, and in some cases learning lessons the hard way more than once.
In school, you are taught a lesson first, and then tested. But in reality, you are tested first, and then taught a lesson.
And it’s about time that I started this inventory, where I am finally learning what I should have learned a long time ago.
Humans are shitty hairless primates, and I’m one of them. My problem is that I don’t think like them, and don’t move about like them, thanks to my neurodivergence known as Autism.
My views are different, my expectations are different, my approaches are different, and my results have been messy. I suppose it could have been way worse, so I won’t be complaining about it. I am not having any depressing feelings while writing about this.
I realize that any decision I make about myself, my future living arrangements, and my future in general, is not set in stone. It can change later. However, I’m not expecting a second round of puberty any time soon.
At least for now, I feel done with the idea of pursuing romantic encounters. The complication, the heartbreak, and the very real danger of it all simply cannot justify the 10-15 minutes that would be spent in the sack.
The added complication of my Autism is also a very real consideration to take into account. As I noted above, it leaves me open to attracting negative and/or destructive people. I don’t have what it takes to weed them out, and don’t know if I ever will. If I can’t figure it out, then this would also block me from making new friends in general.
It is a sincere concern that I am looking into. The risk simply is not worth the reward.
There will always be something wrong. If she’s not a religious person, then she will be a Republican, or she’ll have a crazy ex, or she’ll have weird adult kids, or she will have some exotic disease. This is know as “the price of admission,” and the 15 minutes of fun is simply not worth it when these problems are brought into the fold.
Who knows. Thinking about this is new territory for me, as is being in my mid-50s.
With all of this, I do have a goal in mind. Forget about the past, don’t sweat the future, and make mindful decisions in this very moment. Set boundaries and respect them. Observe and respect red flags. Don’t be eager. Don’t “want” anything, and instead be aware and work to see things for what they are, even if it means the possibility of losing something new.
I think Mick Jagger said it best 40 years ago . “Makin’ love and breakin’ hearts… it is a game for youth… but I’m not waitin’ on a lady… I’m just waitin’ on a friend.”
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