It was the 5th annual Film Industry party in New Orleans…
Normally, I don’t do parties. I make a couple exceptions every year: Halloween and Christmas. The industry Halloween party is a “come as your favorite dead celebrity” theme. Christmas is just a meet and greet. It’s producers, directors, writers and actors.
Last night was the annual industry Christmas party.
|This is how these events feel to me… I am…
awkward… socially, that is.
I have to say, it was one of the most traumatic events of the year.
It started out normally. There was a red carpet, photos and interviews. Gene (one of our executive producers and my assistant director) and I plugged our big production (Project Z). I chatted with my friends – Laurie Lee, John Swider, Tony Pallo and others.
As the night continued, people started drinking.
That is always when it seems to go wrong. When people start drinking.
I sat down my pack of cigarettes to take my lens cap off and someone snaked them. So, I went over and bummed a cigarette from an actress. She obliged without knowing who I am, which is a nice thing. Often, I have to question people’s motives at these events – most of the time, they won’t give you the time of day until they hear that you’re a director.
Anyway, I introduced myself. I am not sure when it happened, but it devolved. At sometime between introducing myself and the end of the conversation, the drunk actress tried to hug me. I tried to evade, but failed. I was wearing my backpack/camera bag, so she had a handle to latch on to. She grabbed the strap and pulled me in. Then she wrapped an arm around my neck.
Normally, I would have been able to side step and avoid it, but I, HONESTLY, was not expecting it. So, she grabbed me by the neck and pulled me off balance. I almost fell over on top of her. (This would have been bad… I am 6’9″ and 280 pounds. “squish… just like grape”)
I tried to explain that I did not like being touched by people I didn’t know. She insisted, “But, I’m a hugger!”
In the past, I have successfully countered that statement with, “But I am not. I have Asperger’s syndrome and this behavior makes me exceptionally uncomfortable.”
She would have none of that. She explained to me in slurred and great detail the fact that all an autistic needed was enough love. Several more times, she tried to hug me again – eventually, her boyfriend restrained her. She broke free once more and grabbed my face like an aunt would at thanksgiving dinner.
She proceeded to tell me that all I needed was love. That all autistics needed was enough love and we’d all be cured.
That’s right. She told me that I had autism because I hadn’t been loved enough and that by giving me attention (against my will, no less) was more love and I would be mystically cured.
I managed to get away from all of that and moved on.
After I had interviewed Tony Pallo and John Swider for my Vlog (episode here – sorry about the framing), I was working at getting out of there and into my car, and it happened again.
A very pretty young lady (who is rather well known in industry circles), reached out and playfully ran her fingers over my neck. She was behind me, so I spun to face her. She demanded (DEMANDED) that I take her picture. (I ALWAYS have my camera with me at these events. Actually, I had three cameras last night – the Zi6, my gopro one, and my t2i.) So I took it. Then she asked me to ad her and tag her on face book. Instead, I gave her my business card and told her she could email me. There were several more attempts to touch me and pouting because I don’t know her name. Honestly, after the sexual assault (yes, it is sexual assault… if a man did it to a woman, he could go to jail), I didn’t want to know her name.
Is our culture that set in exhibitionist sexuality? I mean, honestly? Is it like that? Am I wrong to be offended and put off by people wanting to touch me without my permission. The hugger looked offended when I didn’t want to be touched by a bourbon dispensary in a short black dress and the other one seemed to be bothered by the fact that I didn’t turn around and try to get into her panties.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Unlike a good many autistic spectrum individuals, I enjoy sex and touching. I LOVE sex. I am actually a bit of a slut… but not in a situation like this. I want to know the person and be comfortable with them.
So. Why is it wrong, in a social situation, to want to avoid that kind of contact. Why is it alright for them to touch me when I don’t want to be touched? Why?
Images in this issue SHAMELESSLY stolen from the following sources: