“Attractive women” with autism?

  1. I know that unintentional flirting (as in "I was just trying to be polite" or "I'm just a friendly person") is a problem for a lot of women in general. That's why we hear all this "friendzone" and "she was asking for it" bullshit all the time. Though it should be even harder for attractive autistic women due to even less awareness and control over social situations.

  2. Once a (male) friend told me I was very attractive and didn't even know it, and I told him that couldn't be because I never get any attention. He said that plenty of men flirt with me but I don't notice it and give them my resting bitch face (which I honestly didn't know). I NEVER KNEW.

  3. I have a similar conversation with my wife,(several times lol) she is really bad at getting subtle or not so subtle social cues, and also she is very beautiful.

  4. THIS. Apparently I have even been asked out and responded by laughing at an unrelated joke and walking away :/

  5. I think this was me too. (Only during the brief period I was actually physically fit in college). I was out with friends at the climbing wall and had no idea the guy belaying me was flirting with me, lol. My (female) friend asked me later why I didn't flirt back since the guy was good looking (I don't really find other people attractive or not from their looks, but just assume he was since she said he was). I wonder how many other times I just didn't notice.

  6. When guys watch you like food. I cannot express how uncomfortable that makes me. I was doing a small job a couple weeks ago and this dude was just completely into me. I am still creeped out by it. I was like completely ignoring him and expressing disinterest in talking to him. He wouldn't leave me alone.

  7. "Like food" that's amazing and so so helpful. I will now know flirty looks or creepy looks are like how I stare at mozzarella sticks!

  8. When they watch me like food I watch them with crazy murder eyes. I will hunch my back and lower my face (making my eyes look ultra creepy) if needed. Crazy is only scared of crazier. Cuz those men aren’t normal, they’re predatory

  9. I do not really believe I am attractive, but I get told I am. I feel like one of my struggles is people thinking I am this extroverted cool girl when in reality I am always anxious af. When people see my true personality they start to drift away.

  10. I definitely understand. I thought I was ugly until I was about 25. I "cross-dressed" (as it was called in 2004) all the time as if it would help me be less noticeable...haha. I hate attention. I hate compliments. I don't understand.

  11. I can relate. Me being conventionally pretty but having a RBF and avoiding social situations/small talk at work makes people think I’m stuck up and mean when in reality I’m not. I struggle with “not caring what people perceive me as” and “caring very much so I mask and act overly friendly just to make them like me”. 🙃

  12. This. I'm not aware of me ever accidentally flirting with someone, but I've had a TON of people tell me that they thought I was stuck up when they first meet me, because I'm quiet and when I do talk to strangers I tend to be kind of blunt and to the point.

  13. Yes to all of this. I have no idea how to handle compliments because I don't 'get' them, truthfully I think I look like an ogre when I see myself in the mirror but constantly my day will be interrupted, since I turned 16, with compliments about my appearance. People will say things like 'I wish I looked like you' and disparage their looks in comparison and I have never worked out how to respond to that, its just wrong. Why should how I look make them feel bad about themselves, I dont want to be a trigger for that just by existing. I feel guilty like I dont deserve my looks because I'm just ... me. Just normal me, the me that has no appearance. I get all these benefits just because of how I look and its not fair for others and its not my fault but I feel bad.

  14. I think people tend to gravitate towards me for vapid and superficial reasons, and when they start to get to know me even in the slightest, they notice that something is “off” or “different” about me. Soon after, they feel the need to point it out or they slowly just stop interacting with me altogether.

  15. I get that. A lot of the time I feel like people like me for something that isn’t really who I am or in my control. It’s like they look at me and see someone else in my place

  16. Per #2: I agree with you, and also, it gets really bad (I’ve noticed, for me) when guys really want to believe that, because you’re A Girl and sort of pretty, that you can’t be very smart—certainly not smarter than them, and they really need you to not be smarter than them, please.

  17. I have a more average face but the way my body naturally looks has gotten me compared to Kardashians. Women would despise me for both being a weirdo and someone they had to compete with, men would do all these elaborate things to get close to me convincing me they really cared but all they ever wanted was sex. I did end up getting married to a great guy but I still have a lot of trouble making friends, I have a lot of acquaintances I'm on good terms with but they don't know the real me and idk if I'll ever be comfortable enough to unmask around them.

  18. I really relate to your story. I had terrible acne, was always in a growth spurt and looked awkward AF with big bird legs and frizzy hair. I had guys tell me as early as 13 that no one would want to be with me and it really sucked. I was always the ugly friend and felt worthless around other girls my age and was constantly compared to them. Then I went on accutane and was hot overnight and I didn’t believe it. Then I got so much attention and it went to my head a little bit, but I also still didn’t believe it because of how badly I was treated when I wasn’t beautiful. Now after having a kid and aging a bit I no longer get hit on, but I am more comfortable. It’s such a strange ride. It’s really made me dislike men sometimes. They just ignore you or are really mean to you if you’re not attractive. Girls will do the same if you are attractive lol

  19. People are more likely to flirt and for me to not understand and think they are just being friendly, which leads to unpleasant situations or being ghosted when they figure out that I'm not interested.

  20. I don't consider myself above average, I'm just me. My husband thinks I'm beautiful, and I have had people lash out at me for not responding to complements when people give them to me. I love doing makeup and wearing silly clothes, or whatever else, but... *I do it for me*... it's how I feel about it. I look at pink hair at home in the mirror and I'm happy with it just the way I am. I'm not trying to impress anyone else, and I made sure my husband was okay with the pink before I put it in my hair because he's the one who has to look at me 24/7 and his opinion is the only other one that matters to me that way. I like seeing him light up when he admires me and thinks I'm pretty.

  21. I don't think I'm all that attractive, but apparently a lot of guys think I am. In school I was bullied terribly for my looks; I was very skinny and wore thick glasses and I had no idea how to fix myself up to look better, so I got called ugly and four-eyes all the time. This strongly affected my self-image, to the point where even after I overcame my anorexia, began wearing contacts and learned how to dress and apply makeup attractively, I still felt like the ugly girl. So when guys started noticing me and even asking me out, I had no idea how to handle it. I was so used to them looking at me like something that crawled out from under a rock, that it caught me off guard when guys actually started being nice to me. As other commenters have mentioned, there were several guys that I tried to be "just friends" with, only to find out that they were in fact attracted to me. Maybe it's my red hair.😁

  22. I don't feel like I'm attractive or even pretty despite others telling me I am infrequently. I don't think im ugly, just average? But the most common thing I've heard over the years is that I'm a tease. I'm nice to everyone whether I like them or not, because of RSD. I pay attention to what people say whether I'm interested or not, too...apparently that means I'm leading them on.

  23. Yes, I’d say I’m averagely attractive but it’s definitely meant people think I’m a bitch who thinks I’m better than everyone else. Just because my resting face is pretty expressionless and sometimes my tone comes across “wrong”.

  24. Yep. I'm conventionally attractive and I can't stand compliments or attention. Yet I get them all the time. It's been a struggle throughout my life because I've always gotten the (unwanted) attention from men, didn't understand it, want it, and it's made me very uncomfortable. I've learned how to handle it now. I'm 37 so I have more experience with it.

  25. I was attractive in the past. Right now I gained weight, stopped wearing makeup and only wear long skirts. I don't even want to lose weight. It just feels so safe. No one is approaching me on the streets. Male people around me don't try to flirt with me or start relationships. People don't look at me like I'm a game in the forest, don't make comments, don't whistle. It's nice.

  26. In high school, people thought I was a snob because I only talked to my friends. But that’s just who I was comfortable talking to. Guys in my grade would tell me how hot my sister is, who is a year older, and we look a lot alike, and it never occurred to me that maybe that was some form of flirting. I met my high school boyfriend online, even though he went to my school. We weren’t really connected socially and I wouldn’t have met him otherwise. But the fact that we communicated in writing first was helpful to me in establishing a connection.

  27. Having a moment where I am seen and heard. Holy shit. I am repulsed by my body. I do not think I am attractive but I have been told that I am. Like others here, people flirt and I don't fucking notice because why would anyone be attracted to me?

  28. This is a complex one I've been thinking about a lot. When I was younger, I was a typical 'butterface' because the way I developed was slim with large breasts and good skin etc. So I got a lot of sexual attention. As I've gotten older, my body has caught up with my face and I'm overall very average looking, and I feel 100% confused any time is looking at me because I have to remember that I'm not attractive anymore and so my weird behaviours annoy people rather than finding them endearing.

  29. I would say I’m conventionally attractive. For me, the way I look has meant that people accepted me into social groups despite me being awkward and different. It has also meant that people have held me to higher social expectations and when I fail at these people are not at all understanding and I’ve experienced hostility for not understanding. The other thing, which probably effects all women to some degree, but I feel I’ve experienced more SA and harassment than most women I know because I’m pursued for the way I look and I don’t have the intuition that some have for when someone is not being genuine or has bad intentions. I almost feel like predatory men can sense that in women like me. We’re perfect targets.

  30. I luckily got less attractive as I aged 😂 but when I was younger, I found it really difficult with friends, as I found male relationships more simplistic to deal with but then my male friends would inevitably say they wanted a relationship with me and be cross when I told them I thought we were friends. I hadn’t clocked that we had been flirting!

  31. Being “pretty” coupled with my obvious vulnerability (only obvious to me in retrospect, I am late dx autistic) and also being gullible and tending to take people at their word has made me a target for narcissistic men since my teenage years. I can count ten I have been involved with. I had a child with one of them. These men have destroyed me to the point that I have not been able to open my heart to anyone new for the past 6 years. I see the same story with a number of other ND pretty girls I know. It’s very sad.

  32. “Feeling constantly judged” Yes, that has been my experience. All through my 20s I felt much stronger expectation for me to be “nice” because I’m a petite blonde and apparently considered above average in the looks department. But as soon as I’d open my mouth, my tone would get me written off as an elitist bitch. I couldn’t understand why, and it was frustrating and hurtful. I can tell when guys are flirting with me, but I’m incapable of flirting myself. If feels so fake and insincere. So almost anytime I went out to a party or whatever, there would be a guy flirting with me and I would just ignore it, and proceed with the conversation like we were just two regular human beings talking about something with no ulterior motives. This was another thing that made me “cold and standoffish.” But if I hadn’t been considered attractive, would this have been an issue? It wasn’t until around the time I turned thirty I really had any straight male friends… and that really was a matter of circumstance. Guys I meet now are mostly either married or just not looking for that same kind of action anymore (and I’m too old now and live too isolated a life to be a target for that attention)

  33. I don’t think I’m attractive, I just don’t. I’m not sure what it is, but I look like my abusive family and see them looking back at me everyday in the mirror.

  34. Trusting too much, too soon. I was in acting and dance as a young person so I learned how to behave NT and mask, but never really fitting in. I don’t look conventionally attractive, but more on the eccentric exotic side.

  35. Especially when I was younger I got a lot of attention from men/boys who would then suddenly act opposite for no reason I could understand but I now realise was from me "being a tease" by being nice to them and not understanding the social constructs...I'd like to think these days that women get a bit more respect than when I was a teen.

  36. Being taken advantage of for all my teen and young adult years because I was never taught consent, communication around sex and my body and what feels good to me and what doesn’t. So it’s rooted in that. Literally I was pretty and couldn’t say no for like all my HS years. Never knew I was ace, or was allowed to be ace. Sex is just what happens to you, people being flirty, touching you, all that is just “normal”. They say it’s normal when you’re pretty. So I just did stuff with people because I was expected to. And was expected to often! Taken advantage of in ways that seem comical now because I’m easily tricked, and eager to please, eager to avoid conflict.

  37. I used to think I was ugly, but I was being bullied for my autism and not for any external features. In hindsight, the girls were probably insecure and jealous. Now, I struggle to make friends because I'm much more comfortable around men but only recently started to begin understanding the differences in behaviour between someone who wants to be your friend and someone who wants to have sex with you. I get sexualized against my will a ton, not that other women don't, but I guess with autism for the longest time I didn't see it happening and that left me feeling even more isolated. It was a big shock when I understood it. I wasn't comfortable with presenting as femme until a couple years ago (I'm 28), and I always had to fight, argue and compromise with the randomest people over how I wished myself to look - hairdressers, shop people, and my parents kept telling me what a shame it was, and would make me go for a middle way to compromise between my and their ideas in my clothes, my hair, etc. Now that I'm older and better informed I know my style is an integral part of the self expression that was repressed for so long and it is unkillable through compromise. I'm not "too pretty" to look a way that feels right to me. I think I might also struggle to get help because nothing about the way I look is anything like the mental image that the majority of the public has of an autistic person. When I tell people I'm autistic they don't believe me. Yet they think they know a me that barely even exists in that way except for when I'm masking for them. It's very lonely.

  38. Some of the issue was that my family was always moving even though the city remained the same. So I was "new girl" 9 times before I was done with school.

  39. I started getting picked up by random people in the first grade, literally. I am the tiny kid that looked like a doll when I was small so my older sisters friends loved dressing me up and making me the baby when they played house. It was odd...I enjoyed the attention even though I was basically being used as a prop. It only got worse from there because it went from other girls thinking I was cute to boys thinking I was cute and I had no clue how to fend them off...my aloofness and naivity were somehow charming I guess?

  40. Apparently I am attractive, but I do not know when people are flirting with me. Nor do I realize I am flirting back because I tend to ‘mirror’ people to make up for my lack of social awareness.

  41. I'm not particularly attractive, but I can pass. A bit of make up and the right outfit and I know I can get away with looking better than I do. I've noticed that when I put effort in, people are more likely to doubt me and my diagnosis. I'm bitchy for not talking to them (I have SM), I'm egotistical if I don't want to go out (I have agoraphobia) and I'm faking autism for attention. When I don't try, when I wear frumpy clothes and don't do make up, people are slightly more inclined to believe me. At one point when I was trying to get support specifically for autism, my social worker advised me to dress down for the interview, to not try to 'pass'. She was great and helped me so much and I don't want this to be a judgement on her because she was 100% correct. Even in official circles, I was taken more seriously as a sick person when I was less attractive.

  42. Unfortunately, I don't think this is a super unheard of experience for women across the board, NT and ND alike. Men (not all obv but those men) have a difficult time understanding women will be "nice" and "flirt back" solely out of fear of the reaction he will have to being rejected.

  43. Growing up, my experience was that I was someone people didn’t find attractive. In adulthood, my experience has been that people do find me attractive (I’m massively generalising, obviously). But honestly, I think any pretty privilege that I enjoy mostly just serves to partly compensate for my massive physical awkwardness. So in that regard it kind of works as an equaliser. Also, I’m demi and I think that extends to flirting too. If anyone, especially someone I don’t know well, makes any sort of innuendo or obviously sexual comment I just get flustered (and annoyed) and shut it down. I have to build a rapport with someone by making each other laugh platonically before there can be a hint of anything overt.

  44. This is what happens when you give a ridiculous amount of time, energy and thought about what other people think, want and expect. As an autistic person there’s typically a likelihood your conclusions will be wrong so this is nothing but a destructive waste of time. Of course most of this people pleasing behaviour is a trauma response more often than not, but emotionally agonising over whether you’re doing it correctly doesn’t make it any better. It’s like accidentally cutting your finger, then instead of treating the injury, worrying about if you injured yourself ‘correctly’ and trying again. Who cares if someone is disappointed because you don’t flirt with them? That’s their problem, there is no reason for that to be your problem.

  45. I am very direct. When I flirt I am very direct about it and I don’t actually do it often because most people don’t even strike my fancy. That has not stopped other women from accusing me of flirting just because I get along with men and understand their humor more than women’s humor.

  46. I don't think I'm particularly attractive. When I was younger I was probably better looking and I'd have some of the issues you mentioned. The problem for me was friendliness being mistaken for flirting. Like someone smiling, seeming interested and taking extra time and being nice, I would think was friendliness but it turned out to be flirting. This happened a lot with women too and I'm straight.

  47. I -no joke- had someone at work tell me on my first week “You can be pretty or smart, but you can’t be both.”

  48. I have thoughts about this post but I'm supposed to be working so instead I'm going to leave you a link to a song. It's "Thank God I'm Pretty" by Emilie Autumn

  49. I think beauty is subjective. There are some people who would walk across hot coals to touch me and other people who would cross the street to avoid looking at me and both are equally weird. I like being happy and although I have some interests that carry more cultural capital I also really like dressing up. I don't know why that "childish" joy is less understandable than my other joyful activities like binge reading multiple books in a day but make up/clothing/hair styling/skin care seem to be treated like a skill tree that once you have points in it all other skill trees become unavailable.

  50. I was a pretty awkward kid growing up but once I hit maybe 16-17 I would really try to fit in a look good so I guess I glowed up and it’s still hard to believe people find me attractive. Guys definitely seem to assume me being nice is interest but no I want male friends which is impossible because they always want more. It’s never been hard for me to find a bf but that means I’ve gone from dating many different guys and not having much single time. I am also undiagnosed and am terrified to bring it up because I do think anyone will believe me because I seem too NT maybe 😭

  51. I definitely see my beauty now but I didn’t always, and sometimes it’s still difficult to reconcile the alien i feel like in my brain with the person I see in the mirror. I’m overly critical and hold myself to too high of a standard (masking/bullying trauma, basically eliminating every possible thing people could make fun of me for in school made me like this) which doesn’t really help my case for people to understand what a struggle it is to even exist some days.

  52. I am not exceptionally attractive, but I am a young brunette with nice skin and a conventionally attractive midsize body (big boobs and butt). I am completely average in every way and kind of bland, but I just happen to be a lots of guys 'type' and because I'm so average looking (nothing especially stands out). My nose is small, my eyes could look better with make up and my hair is long. I don't have any obvious skin conditions or anything that 'sticks out'. I like to think of it as I have a really nice canvas, if that makes sense. This leads to lots of neurotypical women to be a little envious of my appearance (especially older women like my aunties).

  53. My sister is stunning and autistic. She's gorgeous. But she's a virgin in her late 20s and has very low self esteem. She's had decent jobs but doesn't last long in them, no advancement. People look at her but she doesn't necessarily notice.

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