Awkward Love: Toronto filmmaker explores dating, intimacy on the autism spectrum
'There's a stereotype that people with Asperger's are anti-social,' says Evan Mead
Dating can be complicated, uncomfortable and downright overwhelming — something Evan Mead know all too well.
The 24-year-old Toronto filmmaker was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome when he was five years old.
"Forget Asperger's syndrome; love is awkward in general," said Mead.
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Still, people with Asperger's, which is on the autism spectrum, can have difficulty with social interaction and non-verbal communication and are especially prone to social anxiety.
"We're very selective about who we're comfortable being around," Mead said. "So you can imagine what that's like in finding a romantic parnter."
It's a topic he's exploring in his upcoming documentary, Awkward Love, which he hopes to debut in mid-2016.
Mead's social anxiety has been a major romantic roadblock for most of his life, he said, but he's made a lot of progress by working with dating coaches and relationship experts.
Date Camp For Asperger's
This weekend, he rounded up some of those experts for Date Camp For Aspergers, a workshop for people with Asperger's syndrome to learn about things such as body language, dating etiquette, conversation skills and more.
"We all have these questions. We all have these concerns. But with people with Asperger's, they may not have had the opportunity to really look at intimacy and sex and relationships," De Wit said.
"There's a stereotype that people with Asperger's are anti-social," Mead said. "That's not entirely true. We're very social. But there's social boundaries that we're not always comfortable crossing."
"I'm just looking to learn a little more about approach anxiety and, you know, whether certain things mean someone is interested in you or just being friendly," he said.
"Those are the kinds of things that I've been more struggling with."
'Love is a universal emotion'
Mead will explore those types of struggles further in Awkward Love.
"I wanted to make a movie that shows what it's like for these people and to show that there is still hope," he said.
"The ultimate message that I want to drive home with Awkward Love is regardless of who you are, love is a universal emotion that flows through all of us and that unites all of us, and that it is always possible one way or another for someone to find love in form of their lives."
With files from Ali Chiasson