My Most Embarrassing Moment

As a side-effect of my Asperger’s Syndrome I am face-blind.

I can see a person’s features; nose, ears, eyes, but can’t put them together to make a face that I can recognise. So I have learnt to remember a mixture of other features that a person shows and that I can use to identify them, such as their build, their walk, the funny hat they always wear, their dog, their voice, and so on.

Sometimes it just doesn’t work.

Cutting through the car park one day. I see a woman getting out of a car, but don’t pay much attention. It’s not someone I recognise, so I carry on past.
Then she speaks to me, and suddenly I recognise her.
It is my sister, and I don’t recognise her because she has just got rid of her big blue car and got a small silver one.
Fortunately, she knows about my face-blindness and we share the joke. It was still very embarrassing though.

Unfortunately, not everyone is so forgiving. I often get bad vibes from not recognising someone I should know because they have started dressing differently or changed their hair style.

I have particular problems with elderly men who suddenly decide to grow, or remove, long beards. This is very troubling, since I am an old codger with a long beard.

Oddly, since faces are not so important to me, I don’t have any trouble recognising people wearing masks.



At least your sister understands your disability. I accidentally called a woman “sir” once. From behind this woman was very androgynous with a short haircut. She looked a little closer to male from behind and when I said “excuse me sir” she turned around and had a very obviously feminine cast to her face. I fled after apologizing.

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I am forgetting who is who even without having face-blindness. I think it is more of a remembering-blindness. :slight_smile:

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Reminds me of something I heard in a stand-up comedy routine.

She was talking about how your brain acts against you when meeting someone for the first time. Your brain will let you hear them telling you about their job, family, and all other things about them, but as soon as they say their name, your brain puts fingers in your ears and screams “LA LA LA I’M NOT LISTENING LA LA LA”

Ironically (or appropriately), even though I can remember exactly where I was (driving round a roundabout just outside a village near Leamington Spa), it was late autumn and about 6.50pm), I cannot for the life of me remember who said it!

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my husband is at least somewhat face blind as well. he has on occasion had a conversation with someone, pretending to recognize them while hoping the conversation will give him some clues as to how he knows them. one time he had a fairly lengthy conversation with someone, and after told me he thought it was a co-worker but he wasn’t sure.

Yeah. Been there, done that.
Particularly the one about having a long conversation with an ‘unknown’ person. I find it often happens and that I later remember that I have never spoken to the person before. It explains why I sometimes get strange looks from people I’m talking to.
I don’t worry too much about it though. I am what I am, and have learnt to live with myself.

I have a t-shirt which I got printed which says:

I have Asperger’s Syndrome
I can’t cope with Normal people.

It helps to keep away those ‘normal’ people I have trouble with. They read the t-shirt and avoid me because they think I’m a bit strange! In fact I find ‘normal’ people rather boring. I much prefer weird and strange people any time, and I make an effort to be as much that way myself as I can. Makes life much more interesting. Who wants to be ‘normal’ anyway?