Monday, March 7, 2011

After we genuflect, do ya wanna exfoliate?

Tonight was scheduling orientation for next year's freshmen. Nothing freaks out eighth graders and their parents like the thought of making a scheduling misstep that will potentially screw up THE REST OF THEIR LIVES!


So I'm standing behind a table with my compadres in the the English department on one side and my Social Studies buddy, Linda, on the other. Linda and I team teach an Honors Social Studies/Honors English Block class. We get tons of questions about that class at orientation, so we hang together. (Side note: 95% of parents at scheduling orientation are parents of kids interested in honors classes.)

The only male member of the English department excuses himself from the parent he's speaking with and leans over to me.

"Excuse me, oh queen, but I have a question." (I'm the department head, and as such, insist on being referred to as "oh queen" or "your royal highness.")

Ok, not really. I generally respond to smartassery with more of the same.

"If you're gonna call me 'queen,' I expect you to genuflect."

My colleague's eyebrows raise, and he looks at me like he can't believe I've just said that out loud. People are waiting, so I answer his question, and we both get back to the business of reassuring parents.

After the crowd clears, another one of my fellow English teachers leans in and whispers, "He thinks you said something dirty."


"He doesn't know what genuflect means. He thinks you made a suggestive comment."

Well, hell. I'm not sure whether to laugh or be horrified. Linda, who has overheard the whole exchange, solves my problem. She calls out to him by name.


He joins us with obvious trepidation. Linda bats her eyelashes at him and adopts a breathy Marilyn Monroe voice.

"After we genuflect, do ya wanna exfoliate?"

My abused colleague rolls his eyes, realizing he is being mocked. To his credit, he dishes it right back.

"Should we exfoliate on the table or underneath it?"

We are all laughing riotously at this point, and it is good. Stress relief at the end of a long day. I left the orientation thinking A) We all spend too much time with 15 year olds. And B) It's surely difficult to be the only man in a group of smartass women.

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