Aspergery folks who don’t get what other insiders understand tacitly can be useful guides to us outsiders in understanding society.
I’ve been reading The Asperkid’s (Secret) Book of Social Rules: The Handbook of Not-so-obvious Social Guidelines for Tweens and Teens With Asperger Syndrome, and one of these days I’m going to fisk the rules in curmudgeonly fashion, as befits proper understanding of a fallen world filled with people who lie casually and professionally (for relatively small sums of money). One of the best tips in it, which I hereby plagiarize without remorse, is to Google “travel etiquette $country$” for one’s own country. Maybe aspies aren’t much good at picking up simple conventions from observation, but thankfully other people have been writing them down for us. You just have to know where to look.
Opening Doors and Thanking
Lets say, you are walking into a building and someone in front of you holds the door for you, then you have to say “ Thank you”, that is etiquette. Also, if you are the first one, then it is your courtesy to open the door for the one coming behind you. Also, if you are going with a lady or girl, it is your courtesy as a guy to open the door for girl. You never slam the door on someone coming behind you. If someone is like 10 feet away, you keep the door open and wait for the person to come. Typically, you are supposed to thank anyone if they do something for you. Lets say, they press a button for you to go to 3rd floor in elevator, then you say “Thank you”. You always, ask by adding a friendly word, “ Can you please press second floor button”
This is a convention I’ve picked up in the normal way. Probably because it’s mostly verbal. But here’s one I hadn’t realized until I’d read it:
Hug and Shaking hands :
Typically, you shake hands when you meet someone and you shake hands firmly. This is common everywhere. One additional thing is, if you are meeting a girl or woman and you know the girl or woman well, it is common to Hug the person. Just a light hug, where you just put arm around her back and just touch your head lightly. This not the hug like they show in movies ;) Just a friendly way to hug someone if you know the person well. It is etiquette to just greet a lady by shaking hand for the first couple of times until you know the person. But, sometimes if you meet someone in the club while dancing, then it is different, you may hug the person second time because you danced with them…it depends. In general, you only hug women or girls you know very well and it is etiquette to hug women in America.
Looking back, this is true- regardless, it also seems extremely awkward to me. Leave it to Americans to enshrine a casual greeting that would be more appropriate between close family members, and yesteryear would probably have ensued in a duel with the woman’s husband. It’s similar to Baby Boomers’ insistence that kids call them by their first names, even though they’re grandparents. They take offense at etiquette, and react warmly to traditional crudeness. I think it’s because they still think of themselves as teenagers.
Oh yeah, apropos of the eventual thalgirlz post, here’s a picture of aspie authoress Jennifer Cook O’Toole, whose husband is also an aspie. Their children are (surprise!) also aspies, hence the book.