Monday, December 05, 2005
the teacher-student relationship
When I tell people that I went to an all guys high school, the most common response is, “Eww – that sucks.” Their logic is that since I was surroundded by 800 guys during my sexual peak, high school must have sucked for me.
But in truth, I have no regrets about going to an all guys high school (and not because I am actually an aggressive homosexual and spent four glorious years in high school giving handjobs to bi-curious classmates in the locker room). My counter to the no-girls argument is that a) just because I wasn’t with girls in class doesn’t mean I didn’t know any girls in high school; and b) I still wouldn’t have gotten laid in high school even if half of the student body was made up of young ladies. So the “no girls” argument, the biggest negative to the all guys school, is thus rendered moot.
And there are a lot of good things about going to high school without girls. The first is the absence of sexual pressure. Every day when I went to class, I didn’t have to worry about what I looked like. Hell, I didn’t even have to worry about whether or not I properly wiped my ass. No girls around meant a lot less pressure, and that meant that we guys could be total fucking pigs.
This, in turn, led to more male bonding (and I don’t mean that in the circle jerk kind of way). I’m trying to decide how I can explain this without it sounding gay, and I don’t think I’m going to be able to. But let me put it this way: if I went to a co-ed school, I would most likely now be living in my dad’s basement, working at the local Costco, and spending my nights drinking cheap beer and masturbating to amateur British pornography (also, I’d have no sense of humor). Instead, I’m not working at all, living above an Italian restaurant, and spend my nights drinking expensive beer and masturbating to equally expensive pornography (also, not to toot my own horn, but I have a pretty good sense of humor).
The bottom line about my high school experience, with its 800 guys and all, was that it was fun. It was more than fun – it was a fucking blast. When I look back, I can’t imagine going to school with girls and what an awkward mess that would have been for me in those years (or now even).
But there is one minor drawback to going to an all guys school: the teachers want to fuck you.
A few weeks ago, a much-loved (no pun intended) teacher at my old high school abruptly resigned. According to a letter sent to parents of current students by the president of the school, “Church officials received inquiries concerning [teacher] and incidents of alleged inappropriate kissing and hugging with three students in the mid-1990s.” The letter continues, “In 1996, [teacher] denied any inappropriate intent when confronted with these allegations. Nonetheless, at that time, [school] reprimanded [teacher], mandated psychiatric evaluation and counseling for him and restricted his non-class time interaction with students.” But it wasn’t until now, under threat of official Church inquiry, that the teacher resigned. The letter doesn’t give any more specifics of the inappropriate conduct.
Before I continue, you should know that my old high school is a very prestigious and very expensive prep school. Kids come from all over the region to go there and their parents pay buckets of money for them to do so. The only reason why I even went to the school was because I got a scholarship (the same reason I went to notorious stingy and very expensive BC). But what I’m trying to get at is this is a big deal school with some very wealthy alumni and parents.
There are several possible stances to this that students, parents, or alumni can take, but I think there are two main ones:
a) “You’ve known about these infractions since 1996 but did nothing until nine years later! I pay a lot of money for my son to go to this school and I expect nothing less than his well-being to be cared for! This is a travesty!”
b) “[Teacher] is a longstanding member of the [high school] community and is very well-respected. Have you any proof of his inappropriate conduct other than the words of the students?”
Both have merit. However, I won’t get into either of them, as we all know that we discuss nothing of merit or substance on this site.
Instead, I will tell you about my reaction, which followed this progression:
- “This guy made out with students in 1996, my junior year.”
- “I wonder who he made out with?”
- “Wait a minute – I was in school at that time!”
- “And I knew [teacher] pretty well!”
- “So why the hell didn’t he make a pass at me?”
- “What, like I’m not good enough for him?”
- “You know what? Fuck him.”
- “His loss.”
- “Bet those others assholes aren’t famous now.”
This may sound like a joke, but it’s really not. When I first learned about all this, I was a little offended.
I would have been an ideal target for a pedophile during my high school years. I was the total package: sexually confused, popular because of a sense of humor that belied my low self-esteem, and desperate for anyone to get my nut off that wasn’t me, in a place that wasn’t the cold tile floor of my bathroom. Really, all the elements were there.
So when I learned about my teacher making passes at guys I went to school with, after I got over the nastiness of it, I wonder what I did wrong that I was off this guy’s radar. Maybe I wasn’t his type. Maybe he preferred the athletic type, though I don’t know many athletes that I went to school with that would like a teacher kiss them on the mouth. Maybe he preferred nerds. But who “prefers” nerds? Why would you take a nerd when you could have the Student Council Vice President (notice the caps)? I mean, c’mon.
But after much thought and discussion with some of my old classmates, I figured out why this teacher didn’t go for me. I can’t keep a secret. I don’t know if you guys know this, but I like talking about myself and things that happen to me – a lot. This teacher thought to himself, “Well, that Mulgrew kid is ripe for some doing. But he’ll probably tell just about everyone under the sun if I invite him back to my office and slip him the old mamba.” Perhaps he even knew that years later I would start a website which explicitly details my masturbatory habits, one that makes me highly undateable and completely unemployable. So though you may be against using a position of authority to sexually molest young men, you have to at least give the guy credit for doing his homework. Mostly.
But ultimately, I don’t know how I feel about the whole situation. Part of me agrees with the first camp (though not for money reasons): why, if the school knew about the infractions in 1996, did it not dismiss him then? But part of me aligns with the second camp. These are allegations only, and school officials have no concrete proof that any misconduct actually occurred.
So my bitterness about not being a target and my ambivalence about the issue leads me to apathy. I really don’t care. I don’t think touching up on kids is right (unless she’s really hot and looks much older than her 15 years), but I’m not entirely sure if it really happened. So instead of taking a stand, I’ll lean back in my chair, think about it for a second, and then say, “Eh.”
(But that doesn’t mean I won’t think about what could have been. Man, that teacher really missed out. Again, his loss. I’m going to read your emails and masturbate, because I need a self-esteem boost over here.)