Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Isn't It Absuard that We Should Expect People to Understand Jokes Like This?

Me:            has just put the heating on for the first time tonight.
My friend:  EASY TIGER!LOL

The above is a transcript of what I posted on my Facebook wall a few days ago and a comment a friend of mine made in responce. Does it make any sense to you? I certainly was a bit confused when I first saw the words 'easy tiger' posted in responce to me putting the heating on, as its getting colder in the flat these days.

However after about 15 minutes, incredibly, it clicked. The 'easy tiger' comment was based on what could be an alternative meaning to 'putting the heating on'. It was as if I was talking about heating up as in getting into a night of sexual passion, and the comment was asking me to go steady and not too fast with it, as if I was like a tiger getting in on his prey. It was actually quite funny when it clicked, so I replied to the comment saying "um, didn't quite undestand what you meant by that initially but it's just clicked and you've made me laugh now." Needless to say, I wouldn't normally have got such a joke, and certainly not instantaneously in a wider social setting.

Jokes Like This are Way Too Complicated for Some of Us

The reason why such a joke is complicated is because one must go through many leaps in their thinking in order to understand it. Firstly in this case, the words 'easy tiger' means nothing much in itself. To understand it you must recognise that the word 'tiger' is not being used as a literal noun (not talking about the animal) but is being used in the sense of calling someone by such a name as their behaviour in some way resembles that of a tiger. The word 'easy' is not referring to something being easy to do in its literal sense but really is used as a way of saying 'go easy, steady on.'

Secondly, in order to understand the joke one must have at least a vague idea that the word 'heating' can be referred to in reference to the build up of sexual passion, something that I probably wouldn't have known if it wasn't for one or two pop songs (i.e. Senorita by Justin Timberlake "It feels like something's heating up, can I leave with you?"). Yes even people Asperger's Syndrome may eventually pick up a few thing like this, although it may take a lot longer!

There is of course an enormous difference between flicking a switch in your cupboard to turn on your central heating and sexual activity, and there is absolutely no logical reason why anybody would make any connections between the two, and no logical reason for even thinking someone could be making a reference to sex after you mentioned you've put the central heating on. If you could bring up sex you could bring up virtually any subject after putting the central heating on.

So there is both issues about content, and about vocabulary here. And considering the whole manner of subjects one could bring up there is no logical reason why one would be lead to think it could be about sex. In short your mind has to make many invisible connections to work out what 'easy tiger' could mean after commenting about putting the heating on. Well I suppose the fact I had posted comments recently about online dating but have helped give some clues?

All this may seem unimportant, until we recognise that these are the kinds of jokes that are frequently exchanged in pubs and other social occasions, where one is expected to 'get it' in a flash! And if you don't get it you can be made to feel like the odd one out, socially incompetent, insular, as if there is something wrong with you. Whilst one may occassionally get lucky and the meaning of the joke will click immediately in one's mind, it is highly irrational to expect people to get jokes like this in a flash, as it involves working out a great number of variables (content, vocabulary, whether it's a verb or noun etc) all instantaneously and putting them all together connecting all the dots with minimal clues given, having to make invisible leaps in the mind between one thing and another, with no clear sense of direction.

Next time you see someone who understand a joke, please show some sympathy and realise that for some people, some intelligent people, the whole thing is just far too complicated, especially in a busy social setting.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Why it Sometimes is Just Not Worth the Effort

As this weekend is not proving to be the most exciting and a little empty, and having felt mildly dispondent about the way my plans had turned into on Saturday evening (they were worthwhile though never especially exciting in the first place), I was thinking of going to an organised social today, which was a meal out. I haven't been to any organised socials for some time now, and I have decided not to renew my subscription to the organisation when it expires next week, although I probably will come back at some point, possibly sooner rather than later. At the moment life is very busy in the week with work and college, but I just wish I could have some more exciting social occassions for the weekends, particularly Saturday evening, with people around my age.

I was up till about half twelve last night thinking about whether I should go or not. In the end I decided against going. The reason? Basically I just couldn't be bothered, it didn't seem worth the effort. Having thought through whether or not to go made me think of two things. Firstly, the things I hope for at a social occassion, where I am meeting new people or people I don't yet know very well. Secondly, what in practice do will normally happen at such an event (in contract to my hopes).

My Hopes for Social Occassions

I don't generally go to social events with these specific hopes in mind, but unwittingly, when I am on my own imaging a good social occassion, feeling in mood for socialising, these are the kinds of things I hope to get out of a social.

I hope to get onto conversation topics that are stimulating, whereby I am given the chance to express my thoughts on something, to demonstrate something of my personality, and something of my knowledge. An example of this would be when I was asked if I was watching Big Brother and it lead to discussion about contestants on past series and the activities they did, and how I would feel if I was on there. Such a conversation was an enabling one, it enabled me to express my thoughts in a way that I was keen to do so. Another good thing is when people who don't know you that well say what they think of you, who (celebrities maybe) they remind you of, as it is interesting to see how close they may be to the truth. It's very good when people also instinctively work out what you might be good at and your positive qualitites. Obviously there are some questions I don't want to be asked, and generally these types of conversations require the other people to have an instinctive sixth sense, so they can identify what may be good subjects to raise. And by the way, this is not the type of social discussion that can be planned, so if you're trying to plan your next conversation with me based of these principles, forget it.

Another thing that makes a social especially good is any flirting (by young women) directed at me. Any hints, (or even jokes sometimes), that a girl might find me attractive will have me on a high till at least the end of the day.

Above is What I Hope for but in Reality it Normally Goes Something Like This

A typical social will consist of me doing my best to approach people, introducing myself, shaking a few hands, trying to break the ice, asking them things like "how's your day been?", "where abouts do you live?", "what do you do for a living?" and vice versa, with the two of us, trying to dialog with each other on fairly mundane issues. I normally end up repeating things about myself that I say to loads of people, explaining to people that I do a basic clerical office job, that I live in a flat, that I travel by bus etc. When someone tells me what they do for a living, it's not always something I know much about, and rarely brings about things I can relate to, so the best thing I can do is just nod "OK" etc and the conversation will generally amount to both of us exchangnig a few fact -  "this is what I'm about", and "this is what I'm about", maybe exchanging a few mildly common interests or experiences, but barely going any further.

In a larger group, I find I am more likely to make an ill-judged comment (due to the pace of the conversation) that will be met with a "you haven't quite understood" responce, than I am to make others laugh. I may well unwittingly interrupt, misjudging whether I had the appropriate window of opportunity to make my statement. And oftentimes the conversation topics will go onto subjects of which I have little knowledge or experience.

I may leave such a social event with a feeling that you haven't performed too well. And that is why, on some occasions, going to a social event is just not worth the effort.

Friday, 8 October 2010

The Common Feeling of Exclusion or Jealousy

I would like to share a common feeling I get which happened to me this week. As I said in my last post I am now doing an evening course at college, and during our two hour lesson we get a short break where we can go into refrectory and talk amongst ourselves. I always make a conscious effort to socialise with my fellow students at this time, and there are some attractive girls on my course.

One thing that gets to me is when girls I know in this type of situation talk about their nights out, or their plans to go out on a Saturday night etc. Now this is hard to explain, I don't know if it's a kind of jealously about their social life or what. You see there are two things I am looking for, and I honestly don't know which I want most, to have a girlfriend for myself or to have a social life which involves being around many girls (which would put me definitely 'in' the dating scene and make finding a girlfriend much easier).

I think the issue is that when I meet girls that I find attractive, I feel I want to be a part of their wider social life, not just someone I see only at college etc. This can apply whether they are single or in a relationship. I think this is because of my own lack of such a social life. Whilst I have some good friends, I don't generally have anyone to go out with as such, and the types of friendships I have are not ones whereby I often meet suitable single women who can ask out for dates. Now if I did have a social life that I was entirely satified with, I don't think it would bother me that a certain girl I knew from college etc was going out one night, but as I don't, I get a kind of jealous feeling.

However, it is not that I would necessarily want to be out with that girl with her friends on that particular night in question. If she was to invite me along with her and her friends, I would most likely find it a rather uncomfortable experience if I was with an all girl group. Nor am I saying I would want to be that girl in question. I suppose it is a more general wanting to get into their social circle, including getting the know the men in their social circle.

Strangely I don't get this kind of jealousy when I hear men talk about their nights out, although I would most likely except their invite if it was offered.

Since the age of twenty I have always wanted to go out on Friday or Saturday nights more. I've never been interested in getting drunk, or doing anything outragous, but simply meeting up into possibly the early hours with other young people in a feel-good environment, and having many attractive girls from other circles who I could approach during the night. My problems have always been two-fold: Firstly, finding people to go out with (you want genuine friends, not just anyone). Secondly, whilst I wished I could, I just don't naturally perform too well in such an environment, though having the right people around me can enable me to do so.

There have been a number of situations over the years where I have seen groups of people go out and I wanted to somehow get in with them, but have always seemed to be overlooked. There has been times when I've thought "how come so and so manages to get in with them and be invited out and me not?" It can be a real fight for some, and many hoops to jump through to achieve the kind of social life one is looking for.

I was thinking today that probably the reason why I have never found a girlfriend is because I naturally tend to click with older people better for the most part. It could be because of my interests, or my own generation being younger hasn't worked out qutie how to relate to me. The girls I an attracted to are probably not drawn to my personality.

Forgive me if I am sounding like I am mixed up in this post. I don't think I am but when I first decided I would write something on this, my mind thought of so many directions I could take this post and angles to this issue I could discuss. If anyone has misunderstood me, hopefully future posts will clarify my thoughts on this.