Saturday, April 07, 2007

I, stud

Yesterday (Friday) was quite the day for female attention. As the resident Plump Guy On Staff, I'm not normally the object of such attention, but Friday saw three incidents of note-- two of which occurred in my 1:10pm class, and one of which occurred around 4:15pm in our department's main office.

Students in English conversation classes sometimes work out their Freudian issues while practicing English. For example, if I'm teaching the grammatical construction "going to," it's not uncommon for me to see a student turn to another student and say, with a smile of supreme naughtiness, "I'm going to kill you." Students seem willing to reveal their innermost thoughts while practicing English, perhaps because speaking in a foreign language somehow puts one at a remove from one's own utterances, desensitizing oneself to the impact of what one is saying. I can understand this to some degree: I began swearing in French-- vividly-- long before I took up the practice in English. I had little sense, at the beginning, of just how vulgar I sounded in French. Now, of course, I swear because I mean it, both in French and in English.

Friday's 1:10pm Level 1 conversation class began with a quiz. We had been studying how to craft voice mail messages of the "please leave a message after the beep" variety, as well as how to leave voice mail messages in English. For the quiz, I first asked each student to make up her own "please leave a message" message. After I had gone through all the students, I then asked each one to leave a voice mail message-- any content was OK.

Two of my students took that opportunity to ask me out. It was quite cute.

One said, "Oh, Kevin! It's me! How about doing lunch on Saturday if you have time?"

The other one said, "I have two movie tickets. Do you want to go see a movie with me?"

I teased both of them when class ended: "So! A lunch date with you and a movie date with you! See you tomorrow!" That's about as close as I'll get to actually flirting with the ladies, because women, while capable of great, sisterly love, can become extremely competitive with each other if they sense that a rivalry for someone's affections has begun to develop. (Not to say that men are immune, ladies! Stay your tomatoes.) As you might imagine, this competitive dynamic has ramifications in a class of nothing but women. I've seen this phenomenon at work, both in my own classes and in others': two students get catty with each other, and then one stops showing up to class. That, or they attend class on alternate days. It's childish as hell, but it happens with disconcerting frequency.

Later in the day, after classes were over, I was held back for two hours to do more placement interviews for an extra class we'll be teaching, starting this coming Monday. When I finished the interviews, I dropped my paperwork off at the office, and one of the office staffers-- from out of the blue-- blurted, "Hey! Do you have a girlfriend?" The other staffers began ribbing her right away (I got the impression that this has been an intra-office issue for some time), and the woman who blurted the question turned red and muttered back to her coworkers, "Uh... he doesn't look interested, anyway." She then hid her burning face behind some paperwork.

In the tradition of most men who find themselves thrust into a situation where a woman has publicly made herself vulnerable, I decided that the best thing to say was nothing, so I smiled cordially at the entire office and took my leave.

In truth, that woman's question wasn't "from out of the blue." She had intimated, earlier, that she'd had her eye on me-- a vibe I'd picked up based on how she had been joking with me and on certain looks she had given me. Yeah, I had an idea where she was heading with her jokes and her looks, but I'd been reacting in as robotically noncommittal a manner as possible, because, well... she doesn't do anything for me. Sorry, ma'am.

It was, in all, an interesting way to end the work week.



  1. Yikes! A place to leave comments? I am caught off guard and not quite prepared...

    Okay, now, what was I going to say? I was going to acknowledge that even for the hesitant second language speaker (that would be me in French), there is something freeing, like wearing a mask when using foreign words. I've caught my husband engaging in word play that we usually reserve for home out in public and I have to remind him that all the people around him can understand his sayings.

    As for the inklings of romance...sounds like you are making an impression. Life is interesting, n'est-ca pas? What's going to happen next week???

    Congrats to your parents...mine just celebrated their 50th and I traveled back to the States to be with them for a week.

    Comments? Here? I just can't get over it...

    Meilleurs voeux!!



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