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Did your school offer any alternatives to school dances?

Discussion in 'Education and Employment' started by IContainMultitudes, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. IContainMultitudes

    IContainMultitudes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    When you were in High School (or if you're still in it), did your school offer any kind of social events as a sort of alternative to the traditional school dance for the geeky misfit kids? I don't recall mine ever doing anything like that. I always found the idea of going to a school dance about as appealing as a Draino milkshake (to paraphrase a blurb from Harlan Ellison on the cover of the edition of Frank Miller's Sin City: Family Values that I have), which I imagine is pretty standard for teenage aspies for a variety of reasons (am I wrong in assuming that that's about the last thing most teenage aspies would choose to do on weekend night?). Whenever I watch tv shows or movies set in a high school where the prom or something like that is such a big deal, that always seems like such an alien thing to me, almost like something from another culture (then again, nearly all of the major rituals of the culture I was born into feel a bit alien to me). When some people learned that I didn't go to school dances, they were really kind of shocked and appalled by that for some reason, which didn't really increase my desire to start going to them (I remember one classmate berating me for not going to the Favorites' Dance when I was in the ninth grade, he/she [I don't remember] mentioned that even one classmate who was about at the bottom rung of the Junior High "caste system" went and he/she said "He didn't look like he was having a very good time, but at least he went!") I think some kids were sort of forced by their parents to go to them because that's what all "normal" kids did, but mine thankfully didn't seem to care much about that (or if they did, they knew better than to try to push me into doing that).

    I would really like to see schools offer more aspie-friendly, "non-tradtional" social events for the more "non-traditional" kids (whether aspie or not) for whom going to something like a school dance isn't much of an option (or, to put it another way, more social events where working up the courage to ask someone to accompany you isn't an issue). If my school offered something like that (like, for example, a big video game party or some kind of anime/manga-themed event), I probably would have gone to it. I think that if schools offered more social events like that, I think it could go a long way toward making the more "non-traditional" kids feel less like outsiders and more like they have a peer groud. I didn't have to deal with a whole lot of overt bullying by the time I got to High School (with the exception of a few isolated incidents), but I think that constantly feeling like an outsider had an adverse effect on my mental health. The "gifted and talented" English classes I was in provided a little bit of a refuge from that; those classes felt like pretty much the only time during the typical school day where it felt like I was around like-minded people and it was okay to be a little bit of a misfit. One year, my GT English class had a lakehouse party to celebrate Chinese New Year that I actually went to and enjoyed (I remember my mother being a little shocked that I actually wanted to go to a party with people from school; the fact that it was a relatively small party probably kept it from being too stressful for me). I try to remember more pleasant aspects like that of my High School experience so I don't just look back at it as non-stop misery.

    While we're on the subject, I suppose I might as well ask if anyone here actually did go to any school dances (Am I wrong in guessing that it's primarily part of U.S. culture and not something you have much in other countries? Maybe that's because pretty much all I know about proms and school dances come from tv and movies, and I can't think of any non-U.S. tv shows or movies at the moment that feature them.) and how that went (No offense intended to anyone here who enjoyed going to them. Just needed to vent a little bit, partially since I've found myself doing quite a bit of imaginative "time travel" back to my teenage years lately. Maybe I can at least get a short story or something out of it).
     
  2. jaws

    jaws Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I went to EVERY dance at my school(s), and even went to two with younger friends after I'd gotten out of school. I never stayed long and found them more entertaining than social. I think I only took a date to 4 out of about 15 or more, might have enjoyed more IF I could have taken a male date...but my generation and school were not quite that accepting (getting there, but a ways to go...and I was not "out").

    It was basically a night of taking pictures, free food/beverages, and watching different groups not mingle...there were very few people who would actually dance (they were the most fun to watch). I would always try to dance or joke around, and then I'd go to a friend's house and we'd watch movies after. I recall going to 3 proms and a maximum of 5 couples dancing at each...most seemed to just go for pictures then to after parties. I'm glad I went, because they are NOTHING like you see on television, but were interesting places to observe social behavior. I enjoyed them much more when I quit the convention of getting all dressed up, I found that a comfortable casual dress (khakis, shirt, and tie, not a suit) was better for me than formal attire...except at "proms", which like I said are all about pictures (most people change into casual clothes after formal pictures and then go to after parties.
     
  3. IContainMultitudes

    IContainMultitudes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    That probably still wouldn't have been my thing at that age, but I'm kind of glad to hear that events like that weren't necessarily the social nightmares that I had always imagined. I think the main thing was just that I didn't want to spend one more second around most of the people I knew in Junior High (and to a lesser extent, in High School) than I had to since they were generally pretty horrible to me (I can't help but wonder if they were disappointed that I never attended school dances because they wanted to see me embarrass myself somehow). Of course, I don't entirely trust my memories of that period of time since that was so long ago that it's all starting to feel slightly imaginary at this point (it kind of weirded me out a little bit to realize recently that the 20th anniversary of my first year of Junior High will be next year). I've had this quote from the graphic novel Asterios Polyp (which probably originally came from somewhere else) rolling around in my head quite a bit lately: "Memory is always a recreation, not a playback."

    I know that it probably seems odd for a 31-year-old (albeit one who mentally feels about 12 years old most of the time) to dwell on this issue so much, but I think it may be because it's something I associate strongly with the first period of time in my life where I remember really catching grief from people for "swimming against the tide" socially.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
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  4. jaws

    jaws Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I see nothing wrong with reflecting over that time in ones life, as it is a period of developement that will influence the rest of one's life. As far as, not wanting to spend any more time with school mates...that made me laugh, as I do understand how you feel about that. I normally "hung out" with a friend or two that I'd known from my neighborhood for several years but did not see much at school. To explain, I had a large class in my grade...something like 500+ students. While it may seem like that would be a nightmare socially for an aspie (a gay one at that) but the class was so large it was easy to go un-noticed.
     
  5. IContainMultitudes

    IContainMultitudes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    This makes the whole ritual of The Prom seem even more alien to me:

    Couldn?t Afford to Send Your Kid to Prom? | Moneyland | TIME.com

    I think that even if I had wanted to go, I would have found spending that amount of money on the experience to be kind of obscene. I think a big part of what rubs me the wrong way about this type of ritual is the conspicuous consumption aspect of the whole thing.