Sex Ed in Higher Ed

College instructor teaching human sexuality rants about the dumbing down of America, the lost art of manners, grammar and (the perfect combination of both) the thank you note. Also includes random rants about life, pet peeves, and sometimes raves about favorite things.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Occupational Hazards

Because this is the last week of classes before spring break (cue Homer Simpson "Woo-Hoo!"), I think it's okay if I list a few of the things I really, really don't like about my job. And honestly? Today, very few of them have to do with students. In no particular order:

Telling people I am a "sex educator" or that I "teach Human Sexuality at the college level." This is great. I can only imagine what strippers and hookers (oh - excuse me. The correct term we use in class is "sex workers,") feel like. Typically here is how the conversation goes:

Husband's-creepy-slightly-sexist-boss-type-person-at-holiday-party: So, what is it you do, little lady? J. said something about you being a professor?

Me: (stalling) Well, actually, no, I'm, ah, not a professor yet. Someday soon, though, I hope. Right now I'm a teaching fellow person-thing.

Creepy-sexist-boss: What subject do you teach?

Me: (covering mouth with hand and mumbling while desperately avoiding eye contact) Human sexuality.

CRS: Whoa-HO there! Wow! (Looks at J., does the nudge-nudge-wink-wink thing). Well, somebody's a LUCKY guy!!!! (Gives ME the visual once-over-up-and-down thing) Who knew! That's great. Hey! Larry! Come over here! J's wife teaches human sexuality! Can you believe that!

Me: (to husband) If you really love me, you will kill me now. Kill them first, though.

Here's another negative side effect of telling people what I do: Because they think I've heard it all, they assume I always want to hear everything. From everyone. All the time. Under any circumstances. Even if I've just met you. Especially if I've just met you. For example, just last month I was in one of my doc classes and my partner in a discussion activity said, "I've been hoping to work with you all semester."

Me: (Flattered, for a moment. Then I realized why she probably wanted to meet me.) Oh? That's so nice. I was hopin-

Classmate who resembles a 1950s librarian from my dad's yearbook: You know, when I drink more than two Scotch and sodas, I get really, really, um, you know, um amorous?

Me: Yep. Really? Great. Okay, so do you want to present our answers to the class or should I?

Classmate: Why, just last Friday night, I had two drinks and then I locked myself in our walk-in-closet.

Me: I used to have a walk-in-closet. I sure miss it. But we moved. The new closet's nice, though. No light in it. Boy, oh, boy, what I wouldn't give for a light in -

Classmate: So my husband wondered what I was doing and then? I just jumped out of the closet wearing high heels and a bustier and fishnet stockings and I even had my feather boa on. I just kept dancing around and around.

Me: (Realizing I probably sound like an 11-year-old kid with attention deficit disorder or worse, an adult with zero social skills) I love high heels. Love them. There was this one time, though, that I tripped and I was in a big hurry to get-

Classmate: So, do you find that when women drink more than two drinks they want to dress up and dance around?

Me: Um, what? Because really -- I don't -- you know -- like today? Aren't we going to present our answers to the rest of the class? (All the while thinking to myself, "How much will I have to drink to make sure that visual is PERMANENTLY removed from my brain?")

Interestingly, people also seem to think that teaching Human Sexuality gives one many, many superpowers. Like the ability to determine pregnancy based on visual assessment only. That one's pretty common with my female students and it usually goes like this:

Blonde undergraduate who looks like she's 12 stops me in hallway and says: Do you remember me? Last semester I was in D.'s class and you came in to substitute that one day when she was sick? And you talked about birth control?

Me: Sure. Right. Okay. (Thinking, "Is it bad that I'm thinking that this campus is filled with little blonde girls and you all look exactly the same to me?")

Blonde: Well, like, three weeks ago? My boyfriend? (Gotta love how undergraduates end every sentence? Like with a question mark?) Was visiting from out of town and we, like, had sex? Like a dozen times? But then his roommate's band was playing at a bar over at a college across the state so he had to leave. And then my roommate and I got Taco Bell? And I got really sick? And I think I forgot to take my pill once or twice? I took a pregnancy test and it came back negative, but I've also, like, put on, like, five pounds? And I'm really tired. Am I pregnant?

Me: Ah, well, I'm not a doctor or anything, and I think if you're worried, you should probably ge-

Blonde: But what about me getting sick? Do you think that getting sick from Taco Bell is the same as missing a pill? 'Cause didn't you say in class something about antibiotics or diarrhea or something -

Me: (Interrupting) You know, we really don't need to be talking about diarrhea in the middle of the hallway while using our outside voices. (Sighing, thinking I might as well just play along), what's your name again?

Blonde: Trina.

Me: Okay, Trina. How late is your period?

Blonde: What? It's not really late. I was just feeling fat and I'm really freaked out because my roommate's high school boyfriend's cousin's girlfriend had the same thing happen to her and she got pregnant!

Me: (Completely confused) She had sex 12 times in one day and then ate some Taco Bell and got sick?

Blonde: (Speaking slowly because she thinks I'm stupid) No! She had the stomach flu and puked for eight consecutive days and she was on the pill.

Me: Again, I'm not a doctor, but I don't really think that's quite the same.

Blonde: (Clearly exasperated by my stupidity) Okay, never mind. Forget it. I'll just go to the doctor then.

Me: I think that's a great idea.

And that folks, is my life!


Blogger Veronica Mitchell said...

Hilarious! The trials of being an "expert."

Maybe you could come up with a complicated name for human sexuality to use when introduced to strangers.
How about specializing in coitial behaviour of non-extinct hominans or copulatory patterns of bipedal primates?

March 21, 2006 10:52 AM  
Blogger ColoradoCastaway said...

Oh Man!, Too Funny!! BTW my daughter gets sick EVERY time she eats at Taco Bell. I can't even fathom what it must be like to have people equate your job with your sex life. I can relate however to the requests for assistance at every turn. "Oh, You work at the Ford Shop?...My Car is acting funny, It's doing this and this and so and so, what do you think is wrong with it?" Give me a break!! Like Bill Clinton said, "I feel Your Pain." and he knew a thing or two about Human sexuality too LOL :)

March 21, 2006 11:22 AM  
Blogger liberalbanana said...

That IS funny! (Well, not to you. But to us. So thanks!)

You should've told "Trina" that yes, you think she could be pregnant and just seen what happened. ;-)

Teacher Lady: "Well, if you missed your pill once or twice and you had an unbelievable amount of otherwise unprotected sex and you're gaining weight and you're throwing up? Sure. Why not. Despite the fact that your period's not late and your pregnancy test came back negatory. It's probably just too early to tell. I'd stop drinking now just in case." HA!

March 21, 2006 2:31 PM  
Blogger Art Nerd Lauren said...

I feel your pain, sistah friend! Art...historian?

March 21, 2006 9:21 PM  
Blogger Teacher lady said...

Veronica - I LOVE your idea. That's exactly what I'm going to do from now on. Banana - don't think I haven't thought about it. Even I cannot be fully and completely evil all the damn time. Just most of the time. Colorado - don't people write to Ann Landers all the time and bemoan the fact that "I am a doctor, lawyer, accountant, expensive professional whatever and everywhere I go, people want free advice that ordinarily I would charge them a million dollars for. Can you tell people to please not show me their infectious lesions at cocktail parties or whatever?" This is true, I think for most professions. Except I don't charge anything for my advice (yet.)

March 22, 2006 12:37 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home