Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Weird Cat is Out of the Bag


After my middle class today, a couple of students were sort of lingering in the room. Finally one of them sidled up to me (I was erasing the blackboard) and asked, "Do you have a tattoo?"

"Um, why?" I asked.

"Just wondering," he said.

I glanced around and noticed that one of the students conspicuously eavesdropping was a guy who's a lifeguard at the campus pool. Sigh. "Yeah," I said, "I do."

There was a predictable outpouring of excitement at this news, One of the students has a bunch of tattoos already, and another one is about to get some; I suppose that that's how the subject came up. The lifeguard-student, who was obviously the one who had got this whole thing started, asked me what my tattoo was of (it's on my back, in case you were wondering)--I was evasive on that score. (It's a symbol of my own youthful design; nothing embarrassing, but some boundaries must be maintained! And besides, it would've taken more explaining than I was up for.)

Anyway, it confirms my fear that the lifeguard-student has told other students (I don't think these are even his particular friends, honestly) about seeing me in the pool, in my bathing suit, and my tattoo, and so who knows what other...evaluations/opinions are circulating. The freshman class already knows all about my yoga prowess (the local teacher is the mother of one of my students), so I guess they're well on their way to knowing ALL about me.

This post should be read with wry humor, not irritation; I'm really just amused. But I'm also a little worried--so far, I think, the revelations have reflected well on me (tattoos might give me some cred with some of the kids; I'm not sure about the yoga), but the mind recoils from what more humiliating things might eventually come out!


Belle said...

You handle it better than I do. I don't deal well with the loss of privacy, and the blurring of (late-blooming) boundaries. I run into students in off-campus locations and just know that whatever I'm doing is going to emerge at the least pleasant moment...

Good for you.

~profgrrrrl~ said...

Rule #1 of being a professor in a small town (learned from a high school girlfriend who worked in a drugstore throughout college): order condoms, etc. from online sources. :)

Sisyphus said...

Now _that_ is an awesome cat picture. Very Lawrence Of Arabia. Except not.

The positive side to the story is that you are keeping up both your yoga and swimming! Yay! I need to get back to that.

Maude said...

i had a moment like that at a CC where i was teaching. the last day of class after papers and everything were turned in the students wanted to meet at a local bar. this of course was optional, and every one in the class was at least 21. and they didn't have to show up at the bar in order to turn in their paper. anyway, after diving into my second beer, i noticed there were two more sitting in front of me (i'm a lightweight, so i was already a bit tipsy by the end of the second beer). into my third beer, one of my students declares, "our plan is to get you drunk and ask you all the questions we want to know about you." needless to say, i was frightened because i was expecting questions about sex or criminal activity or drugs, but their big questions were the number and kind of tattoos and piercings i may or may not have had! but i guess this didn't come up in class, or as the result of a student seeing me in my bathing suit, which, right now, no one would want to admit to seeing that!

it's funny how sometimes so interested in our lives our students are. i remember wanting to know everything about one of my profs. i was so curious about him.

oh, yeah, and i totally ran into a young male student at target once with a cart full of tampons and condoms. i was trying to hard to ignore the big white elephant in the cart and pretend that i was just shopping for school supplies.

Maude said...

p.s. i, too, love the cat photo! i will add to sis's lawrence of arabia--lawrence of arabia at a rainy tailgate party.

heu mihi said...

Well, as I didn't take the picture, I won't take credit for it. It was just the best one that came up in a Google image search for "cat out of the bag" (no quotes).

Maude, I agree, it's funny to think of oneself as an object of curiosity; I'm really not used to that. The exhibitionist side of my personality (ie. the side that talked me into starting a blog) sort of likes it, but the rest of my is a bit freaked out. Profgrrrl, yeah, personal hygiene/birth control are things that will have to be acquired elsewhere. Sis, I'm not swimming or yoga-in much, unfortunately, but apparently the rumors have longevity.

Anyone else have an embarrassing student-curiosity story to share?

Fretful Porpentine said...

Anyone else have an embarrassing student-curiosity story to share?

Ooh, yes, although this one isn't about one of my students, so it doesn't quite count.

Last year, I had a campus interview at an American university overseas. (It was a cool experience; I'm kind of reluctant to blog about it because it would definitely out me to anyone who knows me IRL, but I may, someday.) Anyway, I had to do a teaching demo in an hour-and-a-quarter-long freshman comp class, and as it turned out, I had brought about an hour's worth of material. So, I'm winging it. I chat a bit with the students, tell them how much I've enjoyed my visit to Small Formerly-Communist Country, and then ask them if there's anything they'd like to know about me.

Guy raises his hand. "Are you married?"

I mumbled something about how that was kind of a personal question, but then, it was entirely possible that he came from a culture where it was a reasonable question. Besides, I figured the search committee were probably anxious find out the answer if they were trying to gauge my willingness to move to Small Formerly-Communist Country, so finally I said I wasn't, and I don't think it worked against me. Hell of an awkward moment, though!

Fretful Porpentine said...

Oh, and of course if I'd really been on the ball, I would have retorted, "Are you offering?" L'esprit de l'escalier.

dance said...

I have a bad habit of fidgeting with my navel ring---during lecture.

But my students almost never ask me any personal questions.

medieval woman said...

They're all talkin' about yer hot bod. And your funny swim cap - DON'T SAY YOU DON'T WEAR ONE!!!!!


heu mihi said...

Of course I do! A YMCA cap, at that!

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