50+ First Dates Didn’t Prepare Me for … … dating at 50! 2013 [Full Story]

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50+ First Dates Didn’t Prepare Me for …

… dating at 50!

 

When l was younger, and before l was married which was in 1994, l lived an extremely care free life, l was a bachelor, living by myself, working all the hours free and partying hard. I did things or as the saying goes ‘l did shit’, l was hard core at some of the shit as well, and l enjoyed every single second of every single minute and blah blah.

I was quirky for sure and l used it to my advantage, you see there is nothing wrong with being different as long as you are okay with the fact that you are. I didn’t know about the spectrum and why should l have? I don’t worry about the spectrum now, and in truth the only time l worried about the spectrum of autism, was when l was diagnosed in 2008 with my Asperger’s.

Back then it wasn’t a worry, it was a discovery, the opening of the can of worms and l took time out of my life to rediscover who l was, now those , well those were some worrying years as l was not just carrying that but a lot of other shit. 2009 – 2012 was in general terms an awakening period for me. It wasn’t the first l had undertaken, l had experienced these awakenings before, but not quite as profound as finally finding out, what the actual main quirk was.

Between the ages of 24 – 30, l was unbelievably promiscuous and an incorrigible flirt, l had confidence in certain areas spilling out of the confident areas. I wasn’t cocky and to many l was actually quite shy. You see l never saw myself as a flirt, just being friendly was all, and observant, noticing details that others missed and having a phenomenal memory and sense of recall. I still have that.

I went on so many dates it was looking back, quite impressive, and they weren’t all great, but the more you do the better you get! Some were horrific, some were brilliant, some l fell asleep on [literally] the tables in restaurants! But my confidence built up, and l became more successful at it, and of course it had a knock on effect as well, as that happens with confidence building.

I worked in the escort industry, and then the adult industry, l was either going to partys or raves and dancing from dusk to dawn, or escoirting women to dinner parties. I became infattuaed and obsessed with sex, so much so, that l did actually make sex a hobby. See, being on the spectrum you don’t just learn about a new interest, you REALLY have to know everything, like doing something to death. Except when you are finished, it’s never discarded, it’s just a learned knowledge, talent or skill that you can add to your mental résumé because obviously there is a moral limit as to what you can actually display on a hard copy version!

But then l got married, screwed over and then divorced, then in a relationship and screwed over and then l was diagnosed and then l started living my life with my two dogs Scrappy and Dora as a recluse living in a forty foot caravan in the middle of the Lincolnshire fens or better known as the middle of nowhere!

The other thing l lost horribly during the that last relationship and the following years through to 2012 was my confidence. My business with animals was lost in 2009 and that was the first blow, in 2008 my partner lied to me about being pregnant and apparently suffering a miscariage and l had so wanted children, but just before we split she said that the  Asperger’s diagnosed the previous year made me a ‘retarded partner’ and she had lied about being pregnant and these were pretty serious blows to my confidence.

Three years of living in a forty foot caravan with really only my dogs and a new diagnosis and then to be subjected to a  form of mental abuse and cruelty not forgetting a form of slavery knocked my confidence levels right down to nil. I hardly ever saw people, kept myself to myself, worked with horses and dogs and lived a very insular life in a bubble, and became very withdrawn into myself and l suppose in many ways took on the characteristics of a true hermit. When l escaped in in 2012 and started living by myself again with my dogs in a new environment, l was broken, and convinced l would never be a good partner to anyone, so gave up on trying.

During the caravan years l had tried online dating and was terrible at it, because l found it too difficult to navigate, found the sites full of liars and scallywags. I had one date in 2010 though, but she saw where l lived and l never saw her again. I had a small relationship in 2011 of three months and to my horror found l had been set up by my previous ‘girlfriend’ who was out for revenge and then l was humilated – it was that year l stopped trying.

So by December 2012, living in my new place, l decided l would NOT get involved again with women, and live the rest of my life as a bachelor.

I had been writing a book about my life and the arrival of my diagnosis called ‘Yesterday’s Adult, Tomorrow’s Child’ and it was a very dark, dark book, that did not make for very good reading … l never expected nor was looking for a relationship, and by no means was l in the slightest bit prepared for it!!

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Or so l thought!

The dating game is frought with perils and pitfalls, l don’t care two shakes of a monkey’s testicle what others may highlight with regards online dating, if it works for them brilliant – it never worked for me, simples!

It was seriously hard graft navigating through all the tripe, and of course being hopelessly cynical as l was back in the years leading up to 2013, this didn’t help me one little bit, nope, na ah, nada and zilcho!

I contented myself to simply being a bachelor for the rest of my days and just living out the time as some kind of quirky recluse with a tendency to say the wrong things at the wrong times to the opposite sex. Lord knows where the younger me had gone, because the older me was seriously struggling to comprehend anything about the world l was living in!

After being rescued by the Lincolnshire Housing Team in October 2012 from modern slavery l was classed as vulnerable in their eyes and awarded a house, a small bungalow of my own with my two dogs. It was a nice little place, not too large but large enough for a single person, but it was also isolated from the world in many respects. I was at age 50 awarded an elderly person’s house in a little village called Whaplode Drove on the Fens and not far out of Spalding, which was the nearest town.

For the first time in quite a few years l actually found l could breathe again, and not be worried about being bullied by landlords who were hell bent on killing me. My dogs were safe and l was safe and l was surrounded by elderly people who were friendly and didn’t want anything from me, except friendship.

During the rescue l remember crying as l left the forty foot caravan, not out of sadness, but out of relief to be getting away, but l did feel twinges of genuine sorrow to be leaving, not the people, but the horses and the dogs the landlords owned, and worried about whether they would be alright. But also, l was leaving the sanctuary of my bubble, for as insular as it was, l was able to rediscover who l was because it offered a form of tranquility.

It was suggested that l had allowed myself to become a victim whilst on the quest of searching for who l was, and that l had opened myself up to bad behaviour. That because of that l had made the worst come alive in people. I didn’t agree with this sentiment. My landlords were basically evil people, who saw an opportunity to take the piss out of a broken person, and by threatening the lives of his dogs, they had him over a barrel. That is the way l see it. Just because l was back then yeah sure cynical to many things, l was stupidly still trusting of people who l thought cared and l was proved wrong, l always tried to see the good in people. Where as these days l am so weary that l see faults with everything, although l am getting better now, thanks to Suze.

This tale is about my partner Suze and how she and l went on a ‘first date’ of sorts back in June 2013. However l have digressed slightly ……….. because l want to give you the back story to where l was and how we met, and how her first ever visit to me was beset by more challenges than l could ever hope to pose to potential winners of a few Snifty pens here in this blog. She never knew ‘really’ what to expect!

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The white caravan was where l was 2009 – 2012

The problem for me in 2012 living isolated from society and daily interaction as a bachelor in a forty foot caravan, with two dogs, not seeing more than a handful of people in a given week, behind a stable yard and in truth only really working with animals, with no visitors or really allowed them was l had to certain extent not just become a recluse but equally as much a hermit. I was oft talking to myself and out aloud like there was another person there in the conversation – l had fast become a bit of an oddball. My Asperger’s was happy, but the actual human being was far from happy.

I sometimes laugh a little when l hear many on the spectrum say they could survive without any interaction from people and live in the middle of nowhere and l can say that it is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle having done it and lived through its wild brutality – we need people and interaction and community to balance the autism out. Sure we can escape into a bubble and we don’t have to be completely  ‘out there’ like a rabid party animal, but we do have to be out there to a certain degree for that integral part of the curve of balance.

I fed my Asperger’s for three and half years and it thrived, but l didn’t. So when l moved away it was a huge change and really quite frightening! My new neighbours in Whaplode Drove although introduced themselves to me in the first few days didn’t really see me properly for the months of October and November, l was like a little mouse. I walked my dogs and l started to rebuild my life again, having said those very same words in June 2009 when l first moved into the caravan, l started to believe these would be words that may appear upon my gravestone!

With the new council house that was mine, l was allowed to decorate it the way l wished to and that MAY not have been such a grand idea, but l filled it to the brim with vibrant colours. I had bright yellow, bright orange and dark red walls! i know, looking back it was not an ideal colour choice, but l figured l was happy and it wasn’t really like another person was really going to see it … let alone a female. But life has a funny way of throwing you a curve ball.

I never really knew how much l had changed from my days before the caravan to where l was now in early 2013 as a person, until another female came into my life. I never for one minute considered that l suppose it would ever happen again. I had allowed my new diagnosis to control my life, curb and mould who l thought l wanted and needed to be. The years at the caravan and the ‘rediscovery’ time, really l found out was a time of coming to understand who l wasn’t just was at the end but who l had always been, but it was either hidden, or denied full access to my mind. I had played the game of life in society for so long that when the magical can of worms was opened in 2008 with a silent fanfare of “Hey Welcome to Asperger’s Syndrome!” I really didn’t know who l was if l wasn’t the person l thought l was in the first place?!

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I had studied everything to do with Asperger’s during those cold hard years about Asperger’s but had almost obliterated everything l had learned all the years prior to the diagnosis about me. I questioned everything, became angry, upset, bitter and infuriated that no one had spotted the damn disorder previous to the time of the diagnosis!

Everyone goes through the phase of “Why Me?” It didn’t matter that prior to the diagnosis l had been happy about being different or quirky or a bit of a nutter, that didn’t matter at all. What did matter was now l knew WHY l had been that way and displaying those behaviours – what the caravan years did teach me in the end, was that it was who l was and l learned to embrace it as part and parcel of simply being me, quirks, warts and all!

I knew everything about the new me, the old me and a pretty rough idea of who l wanted to be, but l was absolutely clueless as to how l was to achieve a ‘balanced’ me which everything l read said was absolutely imperative to leading a healthier lifestyle? That was going to prove quite a nightmare, and it was something l never thought l would successfully navigate … well, until l started talking to Suze that is!

Of course Suze never knew what she was letting herself in for!

2009 – 2012

The problem l had with living the way l did in the caravan from 2009 – 2012 or to be more specific 40 months, away from society and not much better than a hermit, doing my own thing, working alone and having very, very little contact with people on a regular basis. I had no social outings where l mixed with people on a day to day basis. I wasn’t in a relationship, there were no casual affairs or sexual activity. Whilst l had a couple of trysts during those 40 months with the same person, l soon learned that l was being duped out of revenge, and this made me more inclusive, more bubble like and more cynical to romance, love and relationships.

I lived with my dogs, worked with dogs and horses, and l might on any given week and more so from December 2009 when the landlord decided to make the DIY stables private for only her two horses, see three people in a week. Prior to that at least l saw the DIYrs. I wasn’t unused to living and working alone, during my years working with my business l spent 7 days a week working as a sole trader and only surrounded by animals. But back then, l was still seeing perhaps 20 different people over the course of any thirty days in each month, so l had variety. Also, when l was married, our relationship was a sham, my then wife was out most nights and so once more l found myself in the company of my animals and would have full on conversations with them.

So l was more than comfortable with my own company, in fact so much so, l actually preferred it in comparison to being with other people. But in the caravan, l had nothing. I was a gamer and once maybe twice a year some gaming friends came to visit, but the landlords didn’t like that l had visitors and made my own guests feel very unwelcome.

I got used to being by myself, and sure whilst l could Skype at night with my friends, the social graces one develops when in proximity of people on a daily regular basis, soon faded and by 2010 and less than a year from moving in, it really was a case of Scrappy, Dora, myself and my Asperger’s syndrome that lived in the caravan.

So for forty months, l worked with animals from around 6am – 4pm, was paid a pittance, would game, smoke, eat very little, had no contact with people, spoke to my animals and the horses, read, watched films and write, wash, rinse and repeat. During that time as l had learned with my years working as said sole trader with my business, animals couldn’t give two shakes of a tail if you were unshaven, scruffy and talked to yourself. I washed every day, wore clean underwear and socks so l hadn’t got to the point of bad hygiene. But in winter l had to wear up to seven layers of clothing, huge coats and boots and any additional facial hair was just seen as another skin layer and provided extra warmth.

I had fancy clothing but no opportunity to wear them and learned rather harshly on my first winter in 2009 that the damp damaged everything l had, so a good 85% had to be thrown away leaving me with a very grunged attire.

So when l did move away and got back into closer range of society l was a bit lost – l lived next to people which was odd, more astonishly they were talkative and friendly.

2013

Suze and l started talking in January 2013, we had been vaguely introduced through an indirect mutuality of a friend of ours, and all we did was talk. She had come out of a bad relationship herself, and wasn’t looking for a new one and l was Mr Cynical and Proud Aspie who if anything was heavily clouded under the impossibility that l was never going to be involved again with anyone and friendship was the best l could offer. So between the two of us, it was equal grounds.

I wasn’t prepared to get involved with a female ever again unless they completely knew me and my Asperger’s as l had become convinced that l was turning into my Father as he and l and indeed his own Father were sharing some very similiar traits and behaviours. By that time, all my years alone with my new found diagnosis l had firmly come to the conclusion that the genetical strain of ‘autism’ was with us all and by that time in my life with a failed marriage, and failed relationships and a terrible familiarity that l was never going to see the inside of a healthy relationship. The biggest flaw as l saw it, was that previous the diagnosis no one knew about the spectrum, or autism or the Asperger’s all everyone including my family knew was that my Father and myself were odd.

It is NOT a great realisation to come to when you become aware that the life you have led and you now find yourself living is a lie, and not so much a lie, but an untruth to who you were supposed to be had you known from the start. It could have made my life so much easier understanding why l was perceived and ostracised as the oddball of the family, next to the other oddball, my wacko Father. It would have made sense why l never felt ‘normal’ and that l always felt it a struggle to fit into peer behaviours, it would have been easier on so many levels knowing that whilst l wasn’t disadvantaged in the classical sense, that l was at a disadvantage as far as life and society went.

If l had known of the Asperger’s syndrome would l have married in the first place? No, l most assuredly would not have done, l only did it to show to my parents that l was like everyone else, that l was normal, just that l thought differently. My parents wanted me to be a husband, a wage earner, a career man, a Father, a loving husband, a social person and the list went on of all the expectations that they wanted.

It didn’t matter that l was happy, or that l loved my career, that l was OK about being a carefree bachelor who screwed around, and didn’t chase commitment, that didn’t matter because that was abnormal in their eyes, and that age in my early thirties, l was getting too old to be still thinking l was in my twenties. I should have a house, a car, l should have all the trimmings of a 2.2 lifestyle, l should have friends and everything that goes with the so called defined normal society life! It JUST didn’t matter what l thought, and back then l was eager to show l was successful. But the thing was, l was successful already, l was differently successful, and by the stars l was much happier. I had battled great demons by the time l hit my thirtieth.

But by 31 l was married and by 45 l was divorced. My then ex-wife was acroimonious in her scathing attack of my behaviour l was the oddest person going since the discovery of Area 52, if not worse. So would a diagnosis have mattered? Nope, we should never have got married it was that simple, we were not right for each other. By the end years of our marriage l was loyal and she was having one affair after the other and l was working with my business, but we were not a couple and truth be known l considered her strange, she considered me odd and we had not been a loving couple since 2000. I had been sleeping on the couch downstairs for 4 years, and so by the time of 2007 when l had had enough and said ‘Let’s just divorce because we actually hate each other, and may end up killing each other!” That comment of mine was the most ‘normal’ thing l had actaully performed during our marriage. I had wed a girl to fit in to expectation. She had wed a man so she could live her defined code of normal by becoming a stay at home Mother, but thankfully we had no children together and that meant we were not suited to each other.

So when l told Suze  “I need you to know the real me, l need you to learn about Asperger’s and think like an Aspie, without actually becoming one”, l never for one minute thought she would try. I never truly believed that anyone would believe in me enough once they learned that l had this horrible anti-social disorder. No, l didn’t think it was horrible, l had become used to it by then, but l didn’t expect others to appreciate all my better talents and behaviours.

Over the months of February to June of that year, we became friends online, we chatted every day through Skype or by telephone, and l was impressed at the discoveries she had made with regards Asperger’s syndrome and also sadly, how little qualitable information there was even in 2013 of the disorder in the older population, everything was so hyper-focused on the youngsters and for that matter five years on, it’s still pretty much the same.

Everything was dandy, and then one day in May, she said as it was my birthday that month, whilst she couldn’t get to see me during that month due to commitments would l like to go out in June sometime on a day out?

“What like a date?” I remember asking apprehensively.

“Well, you like me, l like you, don’t you think we should meet and see how we get along?” Suze asked.

“Really? You want to do that? So it’s a kind of day out date then?” I asked.

“Yes, it’s a date – how would you feel about that?”

“Don’t know in truth, sounds ok, what’s the worst that could happen?”

“Oh l don’t know maybe that we really like each other, get along, fall in love, get married and have kids together.” She answered laughing.

“WHAT??” I was mortified.

“Mm, l still have some things to learn about the Aspergian literalness l see. It was a joke Rory, what l mean, is we may just get along, ok? How bad could that be?”

So our day out date was set up for the 22nd June 2013 …… yeah, what could possibly go wrong. I was ready ……ish, l think ……ish, probably …….ish, sure l was confident ……… ish

Dating at 50, lots of people did it, how hard could it be?

The Date 22nd June 2013

Saturday

Looking back reflectively, perhaps l should have done more, but it was just a day out date, it wasn’t a romantic date, not like a courtship date, it was a mates day out – just because Suze was a girl, she was still just a mate. Okay, l will not deny that we did share a lot of common interests and l will not deny that there was a special something between us – but we were friends! The day out was to see if we were able to get along? A cynical Aspie and a lady who was cynical about relationships, l mean there is a lot to be said for cynicism. But that is how l was looking at it.

Suze would say in the following week, as well as l think l must have heard it at least a hundred times over the last five years “Why l didn’t run away after that first day, l will never know! I need a bloody medal! A Challenge, a challenge is easy, the word challenge didn’t even come close to you that day!”

Of course you may think that is me or her being overly dramatic and exaggerating and sadly it wasn’t or isn’t, she is constantly saying this, yes after all of these years – l still hear it!!! It’s really quite astonishing!

Suze was driving up from Kent that Saturday to where l was in Lincolnshire and we had agreed for her to arrive at around 11ish which thankfully the traffic up ,was kind to her and she made good time arriving at around 10ish.

She had booked a Travel Lodge, as we had decided that whatever happened it would be best for her and l to not jump into the sack but to get to know each other as people first!  The Travel Lodge was in Peterborough a fair distance from where l was near Spalding and had planned to take me to dinner that night after our day out at the Seal Santuary in Skegness [because we both liked animals].

But also, because the seal sanctuary whilst being slightly busy on a Saturday was a fairly safe open spaced environment in case l had a ‘turn’- Suze was very very aware of my behavioural style which l have explained before as being somewhat ‘erratic and quirky’ – no that’s an understatement, but more on that later. She was somewhat concerned because l didn’t do that well in large crowds, for that matter l still don’t and whilst l am better now, l am only just better.

I mean 2 years ago, l suddenly woke up one morning and declared l wanted to go to Canterbury and revisit it as the last time l had been there was thirty years previous. I couldn’t get out quick enough, Canterbury as a city was busy in 1989, but in 2016 – bloody hell. I was nearly sobbing by the time l got back to the car!

Suze had a lot more to contend with than l did thinking back on it, and l had a lot of admiration for her – driving a bloody long journey up, meeting someone who at his own concession was a bit of an oddball who talked more to two dogs than his fellow human beings! As to me all l had to do was meet her at my house. Was l nervous? No. Was she? Oh my God at her own admittance she was terrified! She was so far out of her comfort zone it was remarkable! She would be able to meet me and take part in walking the dogs – Scrappy and Dora as they were my closest companions and if the dogs didn’t like her, well then, case closed. I was hoping that they would love her, as Dora had a tendency to be somewhat protective of me and if anything, l was more nervous of that!

She had left Kent very early, l reckoned for her to arrive at 10! She had spent time showering, doing her hair, hoovering the car out, dressing up nicely, packing her overnight bag. In 2013, the Suze of then was a very different person to the Suze l love and adore today. I freed her inner hippy, that was desperate to be released. But back then, she led a very orderly life, very efficient she worked in IT, and was involved in SAP and was a Business Analyst, very organised and functional. Back then, l lived with two female dogs, one male Aspergerian mind and me. I hardly spoke to anyone and was an avid gamer, was shell shocked after leaving my slave pen and was as said unbelievably cynical to relationships. But l was also incredibly insular in my bubble life. I wasn’t that well versed in how to look anymore with members of the opposite sex, as well … the horsey ones l had met were well, very horsey in their jodphurs, mud covered and scuffed riding boots and tops and Barbur jackets. They weren’t scruffy, but you don’t wear your Sunday best to ride a horse for a hack out!

So my idea of looking good and prepared was a far, far cry from the days as an example when l was a male escort in London or for that matter prior to the business with animals when  l managed stores and headhunted professional people from their employers! The days  of being suited and booted were long, long gone, but so too had the mentality. Working with animals since 1994 all the way through to working with horses which ended in 2012 addled my brain! Then add the Asperger’s diagnosis, on top of living in the middle of bloody nowhere in a caravan – trust me the smart dapper handsome dude of back then had been replaced with a black hearted cynical unkempt scruffian! That is ME being polite about myself!

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So that morning, l had got up at 8am, taken the girls out for a walk, showered and not shaved, and then got ready and wore my for comfort clothing – which was a dreadful pair of beaten up brown khaki cargoes [they were best] with a few frays and holes, an oversized woolly jumper with a few holes, a tee shirt [frayed around neck], and a pair of shoes, non descript – hey at least it wasn’t my Wellingtons! But at least l had clean underwear and socks on! I was all for comfort!

When Suze arrived and l met her in my drive, l think she hid her shock somewhat well! Very well! She met the dogs and thankfully they adored her! Then after a bit of fussing about, a cup of coffee, a chat , a friendly hug, you know the one, check out the bumps and bulges hug!

When we were getting ready to go to Skegness, Suze did ask if l was changing? She was met with an astonished stare. “Get changed, these are my good clothes as is. All my really nice clothing got wasted in the caravan l don’t have anything else except these apart from the most terrible pair of jeans known to mankind!”

“What’s wrong with them?” She asked.

“Oh grief, they are really horrible, they are scratchy and if that’s not bad enough – they are light blue, like YUK!!” I answered.

Not wishing to delay me further, she put on a smile and said “Okay then, let’s go and see some seals, this is after all your birthday treat, you’re not 50 every year.”

So l said goodbye to Scrappy and Dora, told them l would be back soon, and went out for my adventure with Suze!

I learned a few things about me on the drive to Skegness that day, that l had never realised about me, and sadly so too did Suze who whilst l didn’t know then was incredibly nervous about this strange man she had agreed to take out on a mates day out for his 50th. For starters l had checked …………… briefly on line the directions to get to the seal sancturay, but l hadn’t really taken stock of everything! So we sort of got lost which was somewhat forgiveable l mean at least the weather was truly beautiful! Also I hadn’t really realised just how very little confidence l had and how much l no longer valued who l was!

But more importantly l NEVER realised how much of a fidget l had become in the car, my legs were doing River Dance, my top half was raving and my mouth was like a non stop talking donkey like Shrek’s mate! I mean thank goodness l was funny!

It was like all the talking l had in me prior to the caravan years and only really talking to dogs and horses decided to visit now, with Suze trying to concentrate on the roads, and the fact that we were lost and me suddenly appearing to have a full on tourettes meltdown whilst waving my hands in front of her eyes, shouting STOP and laughing like a deranged hyena and Suze’s looks of horror!

Ironically, the video above is pretty similiar to how l was, as in both Shrek and Donkey combined!

The seal sanctuary was quietish, there were some people there, and Suze was stuck to me like glue, as l said that sometimes l just wandered off, so you can imagine her horror when she lost me as l went into the Butterfly house and didn’t tell her! I think Suze was a nervous wreck by the time we left as it became pretty clear that l most assuredly wasn’t used to being around lots of people, for l would sort of freeze up in they came too close!

Furthermore talking of ‘freeze’, l also forgot to tell her about what happens when l eat cold ice cream! She soon discovered when l was eating my cone and suddenly out of nowhere, l start stamping my feet and slamming my back against brickwalls, cars, telepgraph poles – because the pain in my back is sometimes so intense for around 2-3 minutes that the only way l know how to stop the pain is ensure l cause myself a back injury!

Watching Suze’s reaction was astonishing, she looked like her own head was going to fall off her shoulders and  when people passed by looking at me, the human cartwheel – she would say “Mm, don’t mind him, he’s err, um, well l don’t know actually!” Whilst she was trying to find out what on earth was wrong with her ‘date’, and trying so very hard to not go into the deepest of darkest red blushes. just when she thought l was going to drop dead, l stopped and simply said “That’s better, sorry ice cream does that sometimes, now what were you saying?”

After ice cream , it was time to leave and get home to the dogs!

The car journey back was simpler and Suze simply asked me to NOT give her any directions, to TRY and stop waving my arms about, to NOT yell out and to remember to most ASSUREDLY not stamp my feet down like we were going into an emergency stop! But above everything to NOT INTERFERE with the driver! I thought she was being funny, l learned a few weeks later that she was close to throttling me and she was being serious!

However she likened the journey back to sitting next to the Tasmanian Devil wrapped up in sellotape and more so with the ‘jumper incident!’ Now you may remember l was wearing this oversized woolly jumper? Well trying to not fidget was bloody hard work, let me tell you, but worse as l was confined by the seatbelt and l was starting to sweat buckets as the heat had picked up and l was getting really hot and frustrated.

The jumper had to come off, but l was technically not allowed to move. So l slowly and gently started to remove the jumper and got stuck and caught up in the seatbelt. My head had somehow got trapped in an arm, and my right arm was entangled in the seat belt whilst my left arm was caught up in the neck hole and well l panicked and all no movement and sound restrictions were in full swing!

In my hidden mess, l suddenly heard Suze yell “Oh for goodness sake, this is all JUST TOO MUCH bloody madness for a bloody date!!!” The car screeched to a halt and l suddenly felt myself flattened against the dashboard.

“What on earth are you trying to do?” Suze demanded of me.

“Gwet myn jwumpah off!” I mumbled through the woolliness of the fabraic “Itz stwuck!!”

“Then get out of the car you fool!” Suze unclipped my belt and l hobbled out of the car and removed my jumper and then got back in, belted myself back up, and then didn’t say another word as the car started off again.

After fifteen minutes of silence, Suze asked “Are you now not speaking?”

“You told me to not interfere with the driver, and speaking is most assuredly doing just that!” I answered.

Suze looked across at me and said “This is really who you are isn’t it? It’s not a joke, this clumsy man, who takes things too literally is really, truly and deep down this very same man sitting in my car?”

“If this is one of those trick questions, l am not sure how to answer. Do l say yes, or do l say no?” I asked.

“Don’t worry you have already answered it.” She remarked. “You can talk you know Rory.”

So we talked on the way home, with me very deliberately trying not to over fidget!

When we got home to my house it was about 5pm. Suze said that she would be back at around 7pm to take me to dinner, but she had to travel back to Peterborough to the Travel Lodge, get changed, showered and ready for the evening. So she dropped me off, l walked the girls quickly. Realised l didn’t need to either reshower or change but l did shave, and helped myself to a rather large glass of Wild Turkey bourbon which Suze had bought me for my birthday. The first bit of alcohol l had had since 2009. It was beautiful, after the first had gone, l did a bit of gaming, had myself a second glass and awaited for Suze’s return.

So when 7.25pm arrived and still no Suze l was somewhat worse for wear, tipsy plus drunk! Suze turned up at 7.30, l told the girls l would see them later, locked the door and wobbled down my pathway to Suze waiting in the car. “Have you changed?” She asked.

“No, should l have done?” I answered.“I shaved though.” I answered smiling.

“Oh right, you really are something else, anyway get in, we are late l booked the table for 7.45 and it’s 25 minutes away!”

The moment the car door shut, Suze took off like a bat out of hell at 100 mph!

I giggled all the way, and asked her why she was speeding, because if were already late, why rush, we were late? Plus the country lanes we were travelling down at warp speed were bumpy as buggery, with grass growing up through the surface!

“Good lord, are you plastered to boot?” Suze asked when l giggled stupidly. “What kind of date are you??”

“Not so much now, the wind from the open window, the speed and the bumps are sort of making me clear headed again, shall l be serious now?”

Suze performed a classic move l had seen many a time performed by girls l had been with ……. yes the palm slap to the forehead. which was jolly impressive considering the speed her car was doing on a bumpy road.

We arrived at the restaurant at the incredible time of 7.47pm!!? Which was equally more impressive considering she didn’t know the area l thought.

We had a great meal, some good laughs and the only small hitch was that l sat next to her on her pew rather than across from her, which she said was strange, but that was the story of my life, so nothing new there!

She dropped me off and said she should see me the next day, as she had to do some serious thinking. I went inside and slept well. I had a great time, but l did wonder if l would 1] see Suze the next day and 2] ever hear from her again?

Which l did on the 23rd June. She turned up at the door and said “Right if we are going to work, there needs to be some changes ……….. and the first one is to sort out your bloody wardrobe!”

***

Five plus years on since that first ‘date’ l still wonder what this lovely woman sees in me, l really do. Back then l was terribly Aspergian, a loner, technically a hermit with no social graces or etiquette. I talked to dogs and l had some very strange traits about me. We didn’t start living together until April 2015, and we have been through many tough challenges as a couple.

How do we work? How did we work? Well l can’t give everything away, not today anyway – but we are mates, she’s the best mate l have next to Scrappy, she is my best friend. She was the first woman who didn’t run away from me [and she wanted to as well], and my quirky ways. Admittedly, she was luckier than any previous girlfriends, in so far as she knew of the Asperger’s so that was way easier. Suze is everything to me, she literally completed me and for a good while she was my absolute bloody hero. I admire her more than she knows and she always thinks l am being funny when l say she saved me from myself .. but she did. But l saved her too. That’s why we work.

However, as said, l still wonder how we are together!! I am NOT easy to live with now, my Asperger’s as l am aging is getting worse, but l am 100 times better now than l was when she and l first went out for our mates day out date 🙂

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