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.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Six Degrees of Guilt and Weirdness

Public health final complete. Heinous in many ways, but in the past. Perhaps I will discuss later. Perhaps not. Really not interesting to any normal person. Summary: At one point in the two-and-a-half-hour multiple choice, short answer/essay exam, Dr. T. Left the room. All seven of us put down our (no kidding!) TWENTY page exams and looked at each other. Sarah looked at me and mouthed: What. The. FUCK?! Exactly.

Now on with the show! Yesterday I got my roots done. Hooray! Small children cheered! A parade was thrown. It was time.

Pierre, my stylist opened his own salon two weeks ago. He was cute and proud, prancing around, giving me the grand tour. Look at this. And this! And THIS! I really don't know much about the super-expensive and mighty shiny and sharp hair clippers that can also clip off your ear and make you hemorrhage, but Pierre was excited so I tried to enjoy the very detailed tour. Look! Pierre has a new beautiful, shiny leather appointment book! Look whose name is in the appointment book!!!

Today, on a very special Teacher Lady:

A name that looks much the same as inappropriate brother and sister's last name. I felt light-headed and nauseous. I asked, "Pierre, Mrs. Sister is one of your clients?" Why, yes, yes, she is.

Me: She wouldn't happen to have, say, two kids of college-going age, would she?

P: Yeah, I think she does.

Me: Uh-huh. Male and female (thinking no, no, no, NO!)

P: Yeah! The daughter is adorable. Blonde hair, big blue eyes.

Me: (More to myself than him.) This can't be. This can't be. It's not the same (now I'm starting to rock back and forth in an effort to get to my happy place.)

P: They haven't lived here very long. They moved from out of state.

Me: I. think. they're. my. students.

P: I know where you're going with this.

Me: You couldn't possibly.

P: Be nice.

Me: NICE?!?!?!?!!? Nice?!!!? If we're talking about the same people here, I have got to ask: What, exactly, is wrong with them? HER in particular?

P: (Looking all serious and not the least bit snarky, which is very, VERY out of character for him) You need to cut her some slack.

Me: Mouth opens and closes - no sound comes out.

P: I'm not saying give her an "A" if she doesn't deserve it, but they've been through a lot. Her especially.

Me: Was she molested or something?

P: Well, not by her father. Just - I can't- just - never mind. Just give her a break, okay.

Guilt. This explains a lot. Maybe she and her brother weren't snuggling up in an inappropriate way; maybe he was just being protective of her. Maybe she's not all hopped up on Jesus fumes, intent on announcing her virginity to the world on a weekly basis - maybe she feels like she must tell herself this because her therapist told her this. Maybe she writes really weird papers because she was completely traumatized by that visit because of previous abuse. (And I think some of you thought that might be the case.)

And this whole time, I've been both repulsed and fascinated by her. You know what this means, don't you? From now on, I have to start being universally patient. And nice. To all of my students, no matter how much of a giant PITA they might be. Because why? Because you just never know. Stupid valuable lesson. Dammit.

EDITED TO ADD: It is now 11:52 a.m. Inappropriate Sister was scheduled to take her make-up final at 9:00 a.m. I waited for an hour. And a half. She did not call; she did not e-mail. Because I have other shit to do (like update this blog, for example), I left. The saga continues. And the guilt? Now, not so much. Thank gob I no longer live an hour away, or I'd be all, "Someone get me a gun."


Blogger ColoradoCastaway said...

Everyone in the world has their own faults, demons, handicaps, illnesses, past traumas, etc. you name it. It's part of what makes us all individuals. And I believe that each and every one of us discriminates against others in some way. Even if it is just a personal thought that is never verbalized. You can't know everyones history, so don't waste your time second guessing your first impressions when they really don't matter. if you let your opinion of siter and brother affect their grade then it would be a problem. Otherwise you are free to think whatever you want to about them or their actions.

May 12, 2006 10:55 AM  
Blogger liberalbanana said... an uncle? Family friend? She was abused, though, huh? That's just awful. And what a strange way to find out! People really do tell their hair stylists everything! Still, I'm with Colorado - you couldn't have known. And while being abused is completely life-altering, it doesn't excuse, say, SKIPPING FINALS WITH NO EXPLANATION - and then missing the make-up! I feel bad for her, no doubt, but this chick has issues aside from the abuse for sure.

May 12, 2006 11:50 AM  
Blogger ColoradoCastaway said...

Judging from her term paper, I'm thinking she must have been abused by her English teacher.

May 12, 2006 4:58 PM  
Blogger Teacher lady said...

Oh, that is wickedly funny.

May 12, 2006 6:31 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

I can't wait to hear the excuse, if there ever is one, as to why she missed her make-up exam. Man, I didn't know they did that sort of thing in college (in cases other than hospitalization of the student, death in the immediate family, etc).

Wow. Just, wow.

May 15, 2006 2:38 PM  

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