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Close Talkers Anonymous

the first step is admitting you have a problem
  (+13, -2)(+13, -2)
(+13, -2)
  [vote for,

Today I visited a dermatologist for a consultation - it was a very strange affair. I was looking to have treated some broken capillaries removed from my nose area.

Immediately she donned some sort of extravagant head gear, with special UV type lights she said, that would detect what she was looking for.

Her first mistake - surely a 'no-no' for any female dermatologist - was that as she leaned over me, her blouse was undone to button 3, such that I had to dart my eyes left, right and center to not look straight at her ample chest region, that was unknowingly presented before me.

Surprisingly, she had a lazy eye, not that this effected my judgement to not make an appointment for the actual treatment.

But I digress, after she removed the helmet, she began detailing the prospective procedure, how much it would cost, side effects etc - BUT she remained at a distance of approximately one foot from my face the entire time.

It is difficult to say whether all dermatologists are 'close-talkers' generally, and if so did they choose their profession because of their need to invade another's personal space in conversation - or vice versa?

Whatever the case, she needed help. I am considering writing a detailed letter to her to outline the experience - perhaps even a link to this very posting, but this I feel is not enough.

If there were a support group in place, where close talkers could come together (at a designated distance of course) to talk and learn and help each other with this problem that is causing concern amongst the normal distance talkers of society such as myself - then I would surely point her in that direction.

Meetings could be held once weekly, with tea and pancakes or similar treats, and each week members of this support group could practice talking at normal distances from each other.

benfrost, May 05 2005


       really surprised you didn't post a social bubble helmet that spreads out the distance you require.   

       flashing her cleavage may have just been to put you at your ease?   

       funnily enough I observed our IT engineer speaking to the office assistant today at what was obviously much too close for her comfort as she had her neck screwed around and away in a most bizarre angle.
po, May 05 2005

       you work with linda blair?
benfrost, May 05 2005

       I have a friend who only does this close talking when he's stressed out. Unfortunately, he also doubles and triples up on coffee and cigarettes when he's stressed out, so more's the pain.   

       It's my understanding that there are some countries where it's a cultural thing that everything is said about 6 or 8 inches (15 or 20 centimeters) from each other's face, even in casual exchanges. Maybe that's just how she (the skin specialist) was brought up.
Soterios, May 05 2005

       bf, (may I call you that?)some might say there is a certain resemblance.
po, May 05 2005

       I'm long-sighted and even with my glasses on am unable to focus on people who stand too close to me so I am particularly aware of close talkers. I have found it almost impossible to hold sensible conversations with people I can't focus on.
hippo, May 05 2005

       *sensible* conversations?
po, May 05 2005

       When talking to a close talker, I can't help wondering whether they want to be kissed.
zen_tom, May 05 2005

       Yeah, thanks for plugging that mindless anecdote about breasts. I'm calling around looking for hot dermatologists now. Consider it a social experiment.   

       Anything but creepy deranged human fallability!
daseva, May 05 2005

       Moving even closer is a great retaliatory move, even if it makes you uncomfortable. It forces them to back away and gives you the advantage.
wagster, May 05 2005

       Touche, wags. But what if they have the same idea? No strings attached for this bit of lip locking, eh pacha?   

       The viability of a social behavior can easily be measured by considering the consequences of how things would work if everyone executed the same behavior. In this case, I'd be making out with guys. Which, that's what the eighties were for.
daseva, May 05 2005

       sp: "affected"   

       "[M]indless antidote " is that a smart pill?
bristolz, May 05 2005

       What is it lately with all these stereo type 'special places' for stereo typical people ideas?!   

       God, you act like these people aren't people at all! I've seen a load of ideas just like this one lately, classifying people and then placing them in special groups! I have Asperger's syndrome, and this is just plain offensive! It's just like Hitler and his 'arian' race non-sense!   

       What if you just tested everyone and placed them all in special palces to? Why, you wouldn't even have a fraction of a 'normal' population left! Why don't you just classify me and stick me in a 'special school' with all the other 'special' people?! The very IDEA of 'special ed' pisses me off! It's offensive! The faggots at this stupid school system have had me in 'special ed' since the 1st grade! Even before I was Diagnosed with Asperger's! Not anymore though, I removed myself from the class.   

       Not that this idea is offensive, but this is getting out of control.
EvilPickels, May 05 2005

       I'm guessing you would've preferred an idea about a social bubble helmet, Evil?
Soterios, May 05 2005

       There's speculation that Bill Gates has Aspergers. I doubt it but know that Microsoft employees, as a slice of the population, have an unusually high percentage of children with Aspergers.
bristolz, May 05 2005

       Bill has sex with his employees?
Shz, May 05 2005

       In a sense, yes. He married one.
bristolz, May 05 2005

       I have to be honest, I was a little offended by your idea, but I guess this site is for people to bounce ideas off each other. Are you sure you're not just suggesting this because you're angry? Because there are anger management groups you know.
hobbitcoat, May 05 2005

       offended? are you one of my halitosis anonymous yahoo group?   

       bf angry? - oh what a laugh.
po, May 05 2005

       I don't understand the cause of offence - some people 'close talk' and are (presumably) unaware of it. This idea makes them aware of it, and supports them in dealing with it.
zen_tom, May 05 2005


       please move a wee bit further away...
po, May 05 2005


ahhh....I see.
zen_tom, May 05 2005




       thank you   

po, May 05 2005


Phew! You see, just letting someone know can make all the difference.
Do we get tea and biscuits at these meetings?
zen_tom, May 05 2005

       The title made me think this idea was about breath or cologne, too, [po]. Then I read more, and changed my view to 'this is something about extroversion and leading conversation' in the first and second paragraphs. Whoops, that paragraph three stopped me, and my train of thought just wouldn't start up again until I realized that in order to screen [benfrost] for likely predeterminates to the spider veins, it is necessary to view the inferior angle and choroid presentation. Now all too clear that [benfrost] acted most comfortable with the closer approximation and now just doesn't want to share with us the follow-on story about the oculist's assessment, meetings, cuppa tea, etc.   

       Well done.
reensure, May 05 2005

       & the space to breathe can make one change one's mind.   

       hhhmmmmm, snuggles [zen]...
po, May 05 2005

       ahhhh <sighs>
zen_tom, May 05 2005

       [EP] has Asperger's? That makes him even cooler than he was before!
finrod, May 05 2005

       I want Asperger's!
daseva, May 05 2005

       [finrod], [daseva] - I have a suspicion that those were pretty dumb comments.
Basepair, May 05 2005

       Huh?... what are you tal..   

       Oh God!
daseva, May 05 2005

       Space invaders are the worst sort. I had a friend years ago who preyed upon this uneasiness in people. Not only would he close-talk deliberately, on occasion he would reach out and place his palm flat against the upper chest, just below the neck of the person to whom he was speaking. Then he would crack up.   

       What's to be offended by here? Sheesh.   

       // Not anymore though, I removed myself from the class. //   

       I thought you had removed yourself from this class too, Pickels.
waugsqueke, May 05 2005

       Perhaps close talkers are prone to close driving, close standing to dangerous machinery etc. I guess its nobody's place to correct other peoples behaviour, but the experience was strange enough for me to not return, thus in this specific instance affecting their own life.   

       And having been in a situation where someone was going over me, making notes about how to correct me, it doesnt seem so offensive then to make return observations.   

       Close talkers are perhaps never truly satisfied in life until they can take up a profession where they can justify proximity - ie dermatology, hairdressing, make-up artist etc.   

       The other possibility is that i misheard the receptionist when she said to enter the third door on the right. Come to think of it, there were quite a lot of brooms and mops in her office, and she was slurring her speech and drinking straight out of a turpentine bottle.
benfrost, May 06 2005

       I've actually been backed into a wall be a close talker. Every time I took a step back, he'd come one step forward. Then there was nowhere to go. I felt trapped and my eyes were darting this way and that, trying to signal one of my friends to help me out. Finally one of them came to my rescue and asked me, "What was he talking to you about? It looked juicy! Was he coming on to you?" And I said, "He was telling me that he sells produce from a truck and what fruits and vegetables are in season now. So yeah, I guess what he was telling me was juicy, in its special little way."
Machiavelli, May 06 2005

       [daseva] You probably don't...   

       [Basepair] I was being serious. I'm a slight bit autistic myself, so I like other people like that, easier to get along with. But besides that, [EP] is a cool person, if not a tad touchy. I'm glad he hangs around here.
finrod, May 06 2005

       One of my bosses is like this. He also grabs my shoulders and pushes me toward him. Its quite odd. I let it go seeing as he is just being friendly. I have a friend who I believe has aspergers synrdrome. We call him "a%s burger" and he has no idea what we're talking about.   

       Hot european women with this affliction should not be allowed into the help group.
SpocksEyebrow, May 09 2005

       //he has no idea what we're talking about.//   

       Good thing; he might get the impression you're making fun of him, otherwise.
Shz, May 09 2005

       At least it wouldn't require a very large venue to house the meetings.   

       I'm curious (and inept at keeping up with the group du jour that I have to be politically correct with): for someone with the aforementioned syndrome, is it appropriate to point out to them when they make offensive comments? Is if fruitless? Do we just accept the behavior even though others might find it offensive? Is personal accountability not even on the table? I refer specifically to the comment, "The faggots at this stupid school system have had me in 'special ed' since the 1st grade!" Surely some would take offense to that. Is this a condition that cannot be improved by conscious acts on the part of the afflicted?
half, May 09 2005

       Do what I do: start humming that Police song.
bristolz, May 09 2005

       'A doo doo doo, a da da da'?
zen_tom, May 09 2005

       Thanks, longshot, that was most informative: "They are, however, able to learn social skills much like you or I would learn to play the piano."
half, May 09 2005

       [longshot], your advice about the nostrils is very good. I'd be tempted to try it if I wasn't grossed out by snot.   

       [bris], you mean "don't stand so, don't stand so close to me..."?
Machiavelli, May 09 2005

       Yes, that's the one, [Machiavelli].
bristolz, May 10 2005

       I'm not kidding. I actually do start humming it and completely reflexively, involuntarily. I get quite uncomfortable with people who are in my space unbidden. It creeps me out and makes me crazy in a subtle way.
bristolz, May 10 2005

       //Do we just accept the behavior even though others might find it offensive? Is personal accountability not even on the table? I refer specifically to the comment, "The faggots at this stupid school system have had me in 'special ed' since the 1st grade!" //   

       I know, I can't really answer on [EvilPickels]' behalf, but this exchange touches on some important (albeit sensitive) areas which are worth looking at further.   

       First, yes, of course we are personally accountable, especially for our words; less so for our non-verbal signals, which are much less likely to be an accurate representation of our intentions.   

       Second, our degree of 'political correctness' (horrible phrase, but I can't think of a better one just now) tends to depend more on ideology than the average person's, and less on personal sympathies and antipathies. That doesn't make us less responsible for it, but it means that, if you want to change our minds, you probably have to use less moral outrage and more dry reasoning - where possible.   

       I disapprove of Pickels' language here, but I wouldn't expect him to moderate it on that account.   

       Over and above all that, there is a sort of twisted historical reason why we Aspergers might, statistically, tend to feel more hostility to gays than to other minorities: namely, that the process by which nerdiness was problematized and medicalized during the course of the 20th Century is eerily reminiscent of the reverse process by which homosexuality was de-medicalized and (relatively) de-problematized. I believe that these are both side-effects of the wider gender revolution.   

       Of course, that's not anyone's 'fault', and it's not an excuse for being nasty to anyone. Of couse, also, there is actually overlap between homosexuality and Aspergers (consider the great Alan Turing) - though this overlap is statistically very small. I just wonder whether that 'their gain has been our loss' feeling informed Pickels' thinking on this subject.
pertinax, Aug 30 2006


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