Does rejecting a disabled girl automatically make someone a bad person? An eighteen-year-old male high school student shared his story on social media after what he labeled as a “quite traumatic” day.
It Was Promposal Season
Prom season was in full swing, and “promposals” were starting. A promposal (a blend of the words “prom” and “proposal”) is an elaborately staged request to be someone’s prom date. These can range anywhere from a simply decorated locker to an intricate classroom surprise. The common theme is that these proposals are incredibly public, unlike asking someone to prom on a one-to-one basis.
The male student was sitting in his Advanced Placement (AP) Chemistry class when all of a sudden, an entourage of people burst into the classroom. This group entered with a female disabled student he knew.
He Got The Shock of His Life
The female student has a condition called cerebral palsy. The Cerebral Palsy Guide, an organization dedicated to providing free educational materials and other resources, defines cerebral palsy as “a group of neurological disorders affecting motor and developmental skills.” Symptoms and their severity vary, with some people able to walk with assistance and others unable to walk at all. Some people with the condition may even require lifelong care.
The male student knew the disabled student from a class they had together the year prior. They had sat next to each other and talked “quite a lot.” He said the disabled student was “really nice,” and he considered her a friend back then.
When she and her group entered the AP Chemistry classroom holding signs and a bouquet of flowers, he thought, “Aww, that’s sweet of her.” Once the coverings on the signs were removed and he read his name, his feelings quickly changed.
The male student was completely shocked. He claims he “almost had an anxiety attack.” He didn’t know what to say or do as his classmates started cheering and recording the promposal. He felt humiliated and paralyzed.
He Admitted His True Feelings
“Of course, I wanted to say no,” he states, “but since it was so public and everyone was waiting for me to say yes, I did and hugged her.” Everyone in the classroom, including the teacher, clapped and celebrated. Meanwhile, the male student was mortified.
After the promposal, a friend of the male student approached to check on him, claiming that he looked like he was going to “burst into tears.” Only then did he confess his true feelings. He told his friend he did not expect the promposal and did not want to say yes.
He felt ambushed by the disabled student, given that they had barely spoken all year and he no longer considered her a friend—“We’ve definitely drifted apart.” No longer close to her, it was especially confusing for him when she staged the elaborate invitation.
He Was Blindsided
According to the male student, typically, students will have their friends assess interest before staging a promposal. While the invitation itself remains a surprise, there is some awareness on the part of the would-be date. This is done to make sure no one is blindsided.
The male student stated that checking in with friends is an important part of the process to “prevent situations like this.” He felt so pressured by the promposal that he contemplated if he should “just bite the bullet and go with her.”
He Wanted to Ask Another Girl
It might have been easier to go through with the agreed-upon date, but he had planned on asking his crush to attend prom with him. He had liked a girl for months and had recently learned she liked him too. He hated the idea of spending his senior prom—his last prom—with a date he wasn’t interested in when he could spend it with his crush.
He Broke The News
After school, the male student visited the special education classroom and asked to speak to the disabled student outside. He told her his true feelings and emphasized how much he “really, really appreciated the gesture,” but had already planned on asking his crush to prom.
The disabled student started crying loudly. She demanded to know why he didn’t just reject her in the AP Chemistry classroom. He explained that he didn’t want to embarrass either of them “in front of all those people.”
One of the special education aids heard the disabled student crying and checked in on the pair. The disabled student informed the aid of the situation, at which point the aid glared at the male student and said, “That’s not okay.”
Left feeling like “absolute s**t” the male student reached out online and shared his story, wondering if he perhaps acted poorly.
Commenters Reacted to the Viral Post
The internet was sympathetic to his side. Several users commended him on his decision to bring the conversation to the disabled student privately. A few went as far as to blame the teachers and the special education aid for allowing the display in the first place, one person stating, “I blame the aides and teachers on this whole debacle. They set up the situation in a way that makes you look like a douche on social media if you say no.”
Another teacher echoed the sentiment, stating, “I am shocked if any adults encouraged this. As a teacher, if she would have come to me for advice or help, I would have talked ANYONE out of doing that.”
It Shouldn’t Have Happened
Most users felt that the public nature of the promposal put the male student in a horrible position. A mother of a daughter with a disability sympathized with the male student and emphasized that he wasn’t cruel and handled it well. “All I ever want for my daughter is to be treated just like everyone else,” the mom wrote, “and sometimes that means being disappointed when things don’t work out as you wanted. You did nothing wrong.”
Ultimately, most Redditors agreed that the situation should have never happened and that the male student made the best out of a very unfortunate circumstance.
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