I do most of my activism in and around college campuses and am arguably in the waning days of my youth. Not only colleges, putting on things like sensory-safe parties, I am working with sororities. Some of the girls are quite attractive and I think about whether I should try to make platonic friends with them. While I have some reticence, my lonely-ass autistic self, regularly broken by the effects of social isolation often breaks down and goes for it. I think to myself, I haven’t come anywhere close to a first kiss so does it matter if I make a platonic advance? I am about as toothless and safe as they come.
Charleston has lots of colleges so being able to connect with younger people is important to avert the worst symptoms of isolation so I take collagen peptides, smear my face in coco butter, and try to remember to keep my face as clean-shaven as a baby’s ass. If I don’t find someone for a few days, I’ll enter a heightened state of anxiety and hypervigilance. Before COVID, I was still in college when COVID happened, I would browse the office hours of professors to abate my loneliness. I would pace the halls looking for cracked and open doors and if they were my professors or not, they had a pulse so they were fair game.
Returning from that tangent, are there ethical or moral boudnaries regarding age, per se, in platonic relationships? No. That said, it is especially difficult and especially with attractive women. The fear is they may think I’m asking them out. Now, I am young enough and do enough cosmetics that the girls tend to believe I am around their age or only slightly older. Still, even if I am, for all intents and purposes, their age, it barely matters. I still can’t look like I am anywhere close to asking them out romantically. They’ll get out the metaphorical pepper spray and use rhetoric related to creepiness.
It’s The Somme and I am crouching in a trench waiting for the courage to cross no-man’s-land. I look at them, mask to the best of my ability, and then, sometimes, I climb the ladder and bolt for the German trench. The Howitzers roar, the Maxim Guns sing, and the mines thunder and I usually don’t make it. In the end, it all seems arbitrary. There are a series of rules to keep people comfortable that create a no-man’s-land of mines, wires, gunfire, and artillery fire in order to get to a place where I have a normal platonic friendship. I am not violent or sexual or a risk to property, and it seems like a lot of needless pain and effort.
Age differences in platonic relationships, like many other variables, create a lot of fear and anxiety and a labyrinth to traverse to get to what seems like it should be a normal place. There is no getting coffee with someone easily. It is not that easy. They’re clutching metaphorical pepper spray and my side is gazing across no-man’s-land. There is a lot of True Crime vibe and not a shred of innocence. It is weird because I have never had an alcoholic beverage, a recreational drug, a first kiss, ask a person on a romantic date, and more. If they feel uncomfortable or unsafe, I can’t live a more straight and narrow life. The reservations borne of age differences in platonic relationships is an element of the DEFCON ONE of our world.