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Aspies only see your ears...the handy reference tool

I would like to stand up and say that it doesn't matter what you look like to an aspie. When it comes to making a judgement, your appearance, in terms of attractiveness (or lack of) is less likely to matter to the aspie than other things. There, now that we're all feeling warm and fuzzy and ever so politically correct, I need to also say...

Appearance is everything to your aspie and you will be categorised by it in a way which rivals any enhanced computer profiler. The categorisation may have a random element, but to your aspie it makes perfect sense.

People are attractive and unattractive to aspies but they are liked, loved and loathed on the basis of a first impression. However, the after-effects are more lasting than for non-aspies who might be willing to let the facts filter into any future relationship.

The unforgiving aspie will not forget that you were grumpy when they first met you. They will assume, rightly or wrongly, that your grumpiness is a lasting quality, only partly hidden by the efforts you make later to appear happy and friendly. As far as the aspie is concerned, you are Grumpy.

The forgetful aspie may not remember your name or what you told them about coal production in the developing world, but they will remember you spit when you talk and put you on a No list. It won't matter after that, nothing will change things, even if you learn to speak dryly.

The kind aspie will realise you didn't mean to spill your drink over them or knock them when you were eating together but will forever consider you clumsy and a space-invader. You may become friends but notice the aspie keeps their distance, ready for you to spill or knock, even if you never do it again.

And as for looks, well, I can't say my facial blindness ever got in the way of recognising a good looking newcomer (funny that). Neither did it get in the way of noticing obvious flaws in a person's looks (my God! those nostrils!).

I won't judge you on your looks, though I will remember if you are particularly handsome or noxious. I will judge you on how you treat me or your dog or your child. And I will categorise you as handsome Jose or glamorous Gloria or 'Normous Nostrils. (Yes, unfortunately, but it makes people easier to remember).

You will be categorised as man with bad trousers, woman with whistling laugh, interesting teeth, exciting hair, false nails, strange, strange fake tan or staring eyes.

It isn't so much a judgement as a filing away of people based on how they look; a handy reference guide for those of us who find it hard to remember people as a whole package. It doesn't just apply to newcomers either - I'm sure if you ask your aspie to describe people they have known for years, in one sentence, there may be some surprising revelations.

I tried this on myself just to be sure and realised that I think of two people as Demon Bunny and Miss Priceless. These are the shortened versions - the longer descriptions would give me away and I have to leave the house sometimes.

So there is the difference: rather than judging by appearances, aspies often discount most of the appearance and judge on what catches their attention. It's not usually meant as an insult but it's better not to share most of these observations. (NB: Most child aspies positively love sharing these observations).

It means that people can be disliked or feared for hopelessly random reasons, when compared to actual threats faced. It also makes for some interesting friendships as deciding you like someone for a particular trait is one of the ways aspies end up friends with wholly unsuitable candidates.

The main thing to remember is not to be upset if you turn out to be Angry Ears or Ruffled Eyebrows on the aspie categorisation table. Better to be on the table in the first place and know you have been noticed and judged worthy of remembering.

In the end, it is more important to understand the category is just the first checkpoint into a friendship with your aspie. Taking offence at being Mrs Wobbly Dress is not going to help you get any further into the aspie world. But it may help you understand why people smile when you meet them.


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