To Prom or Not to Prom?

The most defining event of the senior year of any high school is probably the prom. It is something that students look forward to for years beforehand. Girls begin fantasizing about their dresses, the afterparties, and, most importantly their dates when they are still in middle school. For somebody with Asperger’s like myself, though, the night sounds more uncomfortable than fun, and I have been struggling with the choice between going or not.

On one hand, prom is an important social experience. It is an opportunity to spend a formal night with friends and learn about different manners and behaviors that are more appropriate for such situations. It is a good place to learn about my peers and gauge my social development.

However, I know from prior experience that there are many aspects of a prom that could quite possibly set off sensory overload. I never have enjoyed dressing up, dancing, loud music, crowds of people, dates, partying, driving in limosuines, and I know there will be nothing for me to eat at the venue. I am not completely blind to activities of my peers and do recognize that many of them will leave the prom and go and drink or do drugs or have sex and party, but none of that appeals to me.

As the prom day approaches quickly my question to myself is whether I am running away from my fears by not going, or if prom really is not a big deal. I feel like in a way I am using Asperger’s as an excuse to not challenge myself socially, but I really cannot find any redeeming qualities in going that would make me feel satisfied. I am not even sure that I would feel a sense of accomplishment in making it through the night, and the risk of having a breakdown is too much for me. In the end, I would rather have memories of a quiet night watching movies at my friend’s house than a disastrous meltdown any day.

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5 responses to “To Prom or Not to Prom?

  1. I never went to my prom. I thought the whole idea was just plain old lame. A small group of us friends (the weird kids that liked crazy music) instead went downtown Annapolis and walked around on the docks. Thinking up ridiculous ideas to make each other laugh. If we’d all wasted our money on prom, we’d probly’ve done the same exact thing there…..only we’d probly’ve been laughing at our peers, which is tempting….but not very nice. :^)

  2. hang in there. High school is tough. I wouldn’t go back for anything. 🙂 But time’ll fly faster than you think I promise….

  3. Yes, hang in there.
    I skipped both of my proms because I swore to myself that I would not go if I didn’t have a date. And if I did end up getting a date, I would want it to be with somebody that I really really like and that is really special to me – I would not want a date for the sake of having a date, which would essentially be renting a girl out for the night. Not to mention, it seems like everybody knows who they’re going with by the end of September, and then by the end of October you’re essentially looking for a needle in a haystack.

    Also, when it’s April/May (when 95% of proms happen) and it’s warm out, I want to be wearing a T-Shirt, shorts, and flip flops, not some tux. 🙂

  4. I have a somewhat different situation. My Daughter is 17 and has Asperger’s. She has never, until today, shown any interest in Prom at all. She has always struggled socially and has very few friends.

    She has decided that she actually does want to go to Prom and she knows who she would like to ask. The boy in question is just a very good friend of hers, so it wouldn’t be a ‘date-date’. It would just be 2 really good friends going out for the night.

    The problem is this: He very probably has Asperger’s as well, although has never been diagnosed. Trying to get the two of them to arrange a social situation is like herding cats.

    He is in band and is taking some college courses while in High School. He is busy with school all the time. She doesn’t want to talk to him about Prom via Text Message, but she never sees him during school hours as they do not have any classes together nor do they have lunch together.

    I told her to text him to let him know that she would like to talk to him and perhaps arrange for him to come over for an afternoon or for her to go to his house, but then it becomes a situation of, “I texted him but he hasn’t texted back yet. He’s always busy and doesn’t have time for me.”

    This whole situation is frustrating for me as her Mom and I know it’s very upsetting to her. Any advice on how to handle this?

    As for my Prom, I never bothered. It was a whole scene I had no interest in. On the night of my Prom, me and some friends went to the beach and had a bonfire. lol I guarantee we had more fun wearing cut offs, t-shirts and going barefoot in the sand than those other kids did. =P

    • Hello, Julie!

      This is an interesting situation. My suggestion depends on the proximity of the prom night. If it is in May or June as most are, the boy may find it overwhelming to consider an event so far in advance as there can be many changes from then until now, such as what if one of them finds a boyfriend or girlfriend, or what if they have a fight? In this case it might be beneficial for your daughter to wait a little while and hope that the opportunity arises to ask her friend at some point closer to the actual prom. If the prom is closer, or if your daughter is disturbed by the idea of lacking solid plans for prom night, I am not sure what a good way to approach this would be besides persevering. I know that in many situations like this I have interpreted a lack of response as rejection, and it is important to never assume that. I hope this helps!

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