Life On The B Side

Taking all that life throws at us one moment at a time

Progresso Soup Commercial and Losing Virginity – Autism Style March 9, 2012

Have you seen the Progresso soup commercial where a lady phones in to Progresso and another woman answers.  Then the woman who made the call says “I’ve been eating Progresso and now my old jeans fit“.  The Progresso employee oohs and aahs and makes a big deal about the weight loss much to the callers delight.

Then another woman calls but this time a man answers the phone.  When she tells him of her weight loss he says “ok“.  She explains to him that she can now fit into something she hasn’t been able to fit into for years.  Again he responds with “ok“.  She then asks to speak to a woman. (Knowing that a woman would “get it”)


I remember when I was in high school, I found out that my friend had begun to have sex and she had told another girl about it but had said nothing to me.  I asked her why she hadn’t told me but had instead told this other girl who wasn’t as close to her.  She said because she knew that other girl was also having sex and I wasn’t, so it was easier for her to confide in that other girl.  She wasn’t sure how I would treat her if I knew.


It’s like that with all things in life I guess.  It’s easier to talk to someone whose reaction you’re sure of.  Someone who you know for sure is in the same boat as you.  It’s hard to open up or expose ourselves.  Vulnerability is not comfortable.  We want people to feel our excitement when we are excited.  We are afraid of judgment.  We need to feel emotionally safe.


Around this time last year I sent an e-mail to some people telling them that I was walking to raise money for Autism Speaks.  Admittedly, I was selective with who I sent the e-mail to.  Back then, there were still some people that I didn’t want to know about what was going on in my house.  I was blown away by everyone’s response and generosity.  What I didn’t expect, was to get an e-mail from 1 of my co-workers telling me that his son has Aspergers.  (Lets call my co-worker Bob).  Bob is someone that I like very much but I don’t see often.  His son is around 10 years old and I had met him before but I had no idea that he had special needs.  Bob told me that he and his wife haven’t told anyone except immediate family about his sons diagnosis.  (I understand why.)  But after I opened up about my son he felt comfortable telling me about his son.

Bob recently sent me an e-mail asking how Jay was doing.  I replied telling him that the progress is slow but it’s there so we’re happy with that and then I gave him the big news about Jay using the toilet on a regular basis now (with prompting).  His response was great.  He got it.  He was so happy for us.  Then he told me that after 4 years of them trying to get his son to join boy scouts and him refusing … he finally decided to do it this year and so far has been loving it.  I could tell how very proud he was and of course I get it.  I was so very proud of his son too.  I let him know how amazing that is and wished him much more success in the future with everything.  I hope he felt my genuine joy for him.


I’m not sure why I’m writing about this stuff now.  I didn’t have an end in mind when I started typing.  I was just thinking about how much I understand peoples need to stay in their comfort zone. But I have found a lot of comfort in opening up.  It hasn’t all been positive, but I have found friends and camaraderie in places I never expected.  I have found that there are people who I never thought I had anything in common with but I do.  (Bob is as opposite to me as you can imagine.  In an effort to respect his privacy, I won’t tell you anything else about him.)  There are definitely people who will never get it.  Like my bitch of a co-worker who once told me to “do something about my son before she does” or like the man on the phone at Progresso.  But there will be people who don’t judge, they just care.  Like I would have been with my friend and like so many of my friends and family and all of you who read this blog.


5 Responses to “Progresso Soup Commercial and Losing Virginity – Autism Style”

  1. Brinabird Says:

    This post makes a lot of sense to me as a person who HATES (a strong word I know) coming out of their comfort zone and opening up to people. I am probably my worst enemy sometimes when it comes to worrying about what other people think as I just think the worst for them (if that makes sense). It’s so great keeping up with Jay’s progress. You are one lucky mum with two gorgeous boys! (and a good hubby too of course)

  2. solodialogue Says:

    Progresso is my new favorite soup! Lol! This post is everything I was trying to say today, in a much clearer way. I had that same friend in high school (I think we all did) not to say there are not guys out there who “get” it (Jim comes to mind) but relating to someone is what it’s all about right? And that is certainly what we give each other by the posts in our blogs. Thank goodness for the internet! Yay! 🙂

  3. rhemashope Says:

    yes, i’m so grateful for friends and community who “get” it. it helps to know we’re not alone. we “weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice.” thank you for opening up in this little corner of the blogosphere.

  4. quirkyandlaughing Says:

    I am seething about your co-worker, but I won’t harp on that. I love finding people who “get it.” I tell anybody and everybody that I have Asperger’s & most people react awkwardly. But every now & then I get a treasure of a friend who was completely worth all of the clumsy exchanges that came before. Honestly, now that I’m “out,” I feel like my life is bursting with positive & nurturing people – blog buddies included!

    • I’m so so so glad that you’ve found “coming out” to be an overall positive experience. It’s def helped me to be open about our story. (Despite the few jerks that I’ve come across)

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