Midnight. He wasn’t here yet.
My phone rang and on the other end was The Atheist. He had called in order to over-analyze his latest drive-thru relationship. As he began to ask me about my day, the other phone line rang and I quickly hung up with him to answer.
Max was here. After ten months of talking, and a year of reading his confessional blog, I would at long last be meeting the ever-elusive Unfortunate Virgin Male. Even before in-person introductions, I knew Max was one of a kind. Thirty years old and this guy had never even seen a lady snatch up close. It made me wonder…
“How does someone who is seemingly attractive repel so many pairs of chesticles?”
Running up to him I grabbed Max’s shoulders and gave him a giant hug. Thankfully, he looked exactly like his photos. His wavy brown hair and stark blue eyes made for a lovely contrast. Max had driven sixteen hours to visit little JBlondie and unfortunately, I wouldn’t even be able to make it worth his while due to my current relationship status.
As I helped him remove his luggage from the car, my eyes shifted to something strange. In the backseat sat a large, white, stuffed Duck. That’s right, a giant stuffed animal. I chuckled out loud. We all have quirky attributes, and I had known one of Max’s prior to even shaking his hand. Max loves Ducks. He is quite obsessed. Turns out, he had not only brought his large stuffed duck with him, but two twin squeeker ducks, and a fourth duck for me to keep in order to remember him by. Max informed me later his duck boxers and duck t-shirt had been left at home. Obviously, I was disappointed with that unfortunate fact.
Not being a seasoned host, I had forgotten to stock my fridge with stranger friendly food. The only thing I could offer Max upon his arrival was some leftover pizza. My first attempt in adult-ing that weekend had already failed. But as Max joyfully ate his day old slice of pepperoni, I decided to focus on him rather than my short-comings.
Heading to bed that night I wished Max sweet dreams while simultaneously sending a quick prayer up into the heavens.
“Dear Baby Buddha, please don’t let this virgin be a serial killer.”
As sunlight beamed through my window the next morning I was once again grateful to be alive and NOT chopped up into a million tiny pieces.
Creeping out into the living room, I noticed a sleeping virgin on my couch. Around 1 pm he woke up, got dressed, and off we went into the city. While I drove, Max chatted away. He shared some family stories, some funny friend tid-bits, and a few personal details he hasn’t made public via his blog.
Max’s sense of humor is unique. He alternates between bluntly sarcastic and cheesy one liners. Throughout the weekend I would come to see how unique Max actually was.
We arrived to an out-of-the-box diner I thought Max would enjoy. It has rude waiters, dancing on bars, and they’re famous for their burgers. We both got a beer and a burger and once again the conversation took off.
As Max explained how he automatically memorized unusual dates, and could recall certain facts which would seemingly be useless for most individuals, I sat back and took in what Max had to offer a girl.
He is an entrepreneur. He’s financially stable. While his car is a bit shabby he is clean and organized. Max is intelligent, he has interesting hobbies, and although his lips are usually chapped he has very manly hands due to his profession. His average height and weight are a plus, and his facial features are quite handsome. On the other hand, I found Max to be socially awkward, his body posture was very stiff, and while I enjoyed his company, I realized how he could come across as an odd duck to certain women. It was then that I began to piece together Max’s puzzle.
After a late lunch I tried taking Max to one of the more popular museums in the city, but they were closing just as we arrived. So instead Max asked to walk along Lake Michigan’s edge.
That’s when Max and I began to talk about what he’s looking for in a woman. When I inquired as to what turned him on, or what he wanted in a partner, he said he had never thought about it before. Max stated he always figured that when he met someone right for him he would just know it. Unfortunately, I had to break it to Max that very rarely, if ever, does love just happen like that. If we don’t know what we’re looking for, it’s highly unlikely we’ll just stumble across our perfect match. Trust me, I’ve had to learn that lesson the hard way.
We ventured back home after our walk, and relaxed for a little before I took Max to meet my friends for a drink. Throughout the darkened bar Max was introduced to Tommy, Johnny, Kristyn, and Michelle. Everyone took a seat and it wasn’t long until we decided to take Max on a mini-bar-crawl adventure throughout our suburban city. Admittedly, Max has never been drunk before, so what was Jblondie’s mission? …To get Max shit-faced.
Upon our fourth bar and several drinks later, I returned from making a quick phone call to see my friend Michelle on the dance floor with Max. It was easy to see he was enjoying himself. Since I hadn’t considered myself to be a very good host so far I was thankful Max was at least getting a lady’s attention. While sipping my drink and watching Max boogie to the beat, it suddenly hit me why he has had such a difficult time with interpersonal relationships.
Before returning home for some sleep, Max asked if we could get a midnight meal. I took him to one of my favorite places and being he had sweat the alcohol out of him from getting his groove on, I decided to share my line of thinking.
“Max, I think you have Aspergers Syndrome.”
It was a big risk I was taking. The last thing I wanted to do was hurt Max or make him feel self-conscious. Too many women have bruised his ego in the past and he’s deserved none of it. He’s been ignored, laughed at, forgotten and pushed aside. Everyone has experienced those feelings of rejection before, but for Max it seems to be a constant with the women in his life.
“I could be wrong of course, but I do evaluate people with this every day. I’ve seen a lot of it, and you meet so much of the diagnostic criteria. I hope you’re not offended.”
Originally Max brushed me off and questioned whether or not I was simply making a large assumption. He began to blame his differences on male vs. female communication, but I assured him that I hadn’t come to this conclusion lightly.
The next morning, as Max and I took my dog for a walk around the duck pond, he asked some follow-up questions as to why I thought he may have this particular form of Autism. He also mentioned how badly he was bullied in high school. He explained how he had always known he was socially awkward, and how he thought he had “fixed” it.
As I listed off the most popular aspects of Asperger’s Syndrome I could tell Max was deep in thought. I was so worried. I wanted this insight to help him, but I realized then that it may have done more harm than good. However, probably more than regret for telling Max, I began to become irrationally angry. Questions raced through my head…
Why has no one ever told him this before?
Hasn’t anyone ever cared enough about him to explain his differences?
How dare those women ignore him just because he’s different!
What is wrong with people?
Why are we all so judge-mental towards one another?
Deflated…that is how I felt after Max and I finished our conversation.
Shortly after our walk Max packed up his car and we said our goodbyes. I locked my arm around his and we both agreed it had been a fun weekend. Max was glad he came and so was I. Leaving Max at his car I walked slowly up the stairs to my apartment. Suddenly I had a rush. An opportunity had been presented to me and just at that second I realized I was going to miss it if I allowed Max to leave.
Hopping back down the stairs, I threw the outside door open, ran to Max who was still standing at his car, and blurted out,
“I’m going to kiss you now.”
Max put down some type of car part and I took a step forward to meet his lips. The kiss was soft and light. It was innocent and sweet. The perfect kiss for my dear friend from New York.
“Have a safe drive Duck!” I spouted.
…and we went our separate ways, with smiles on our faces.