Sunday, November 15, 2009

Oceans of Lotions

I seem to be giving the impression this month that my students are just a bunch of victim-blaming, narrow-minded, callous little begrudgers, and this isn't the case at all, of course. To present a lighter side of them, let me tell you about my locker-room gig.

Last year, St. Dymphna, in the rush to balance the budget, let go the only female gym teacher. Part of the reason I was called back is that they realized in the fall that they were going to have to answer the first question everyone else asked--'who's going to supervise the girls' locker room'?

Three blocks a day, that would be me. My role, such as it is, is to be there at the beginning and end of the block, and supervise as the girls change into and out of their gym gear.

This would be simple, except that:

1. They often forget stuff, and run around screaming things like "Does anyone have an extra pair of shoes?"

2. They have to remove all their jewelry to play, and this sometimes takes a while.

3. Some of them are more modest than others, necessitating hiding in the bathroom stalls to do all this.

4. Some of them feel it necessary to reapply their eyeliner both before and after playing volleyball.

and 5. The lotion thing.

They get ashy, you see. Now, when I was the age of my students, ashiness was a specific African-American issue, and mostly limited to things like elbows anyway. But ashiness has gone big-time since then. Now it is racially universal, and everyone worries about being ashy. They worry about their arms, and their legs. They have to be completely moisturized at all times, or a flake of ash might show, and then they would die.

So they moisturize. They apply lotion before leaving the locker room, and when they come back. They borrow lotions from one another, and apply them with a liberal hand, while the air fills up with sweet fruity-floral odors. They run around screaming "Does anyone have lotion? I'm ASHY!" Someone always comes to such a classmate's aid. The ashiness of one is the ashiness of everyone.

Then, just in case they might not smell fruity-floral enough, they pull whole bottles of body spray or cologne out of their lockers, and spritz each other until the whole place smells like Bath and Bodyworks after a bad earthquake.

I don't complain. The male gym teacher gets to supervise the boys. I don't know if they care about ashiness, but they worry about smelling bad. So they use AXE.

I'm getting off easy.

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