Saturday, May 09, 2009

Pleasant wind

Yesterday a couple of the bad guys in one of my classes asked me where I was from. I realized I had not given that information when I introduced myself at the beginning of the semester. Usually I do, but for some reason this semester I forgot.

I stared at them, and they stared at me, grinning cheekily. It was obvious they had some naughty comment prepared for me, and were waiting for my reply so they could use it. I thought of telling them to guess where I was from, but decided that would be too depressing. That conversation usually goes like this:





(Silence for a few seconds while the students try to remember other country names.)




"Eh? Cuba? No! It's an English speaking country."

"Er . . . Greenland?"


Usually the entertainment value runs out around this point, and I give up and just tell them rather than be further tormented by their appalling lack of geographical knowledge. And yesterday I was too tired to bother with any of it. I decided to tell them right away.

"New Zealand," I said.

I waited for the cheeky comment, but it didn't happen. The two boys continued to grin cheekily at me, but their grins started to look a little frozen when neither of them said anything. They glanced sideways at each other somewhat desperately. I smiled at them and waited.

Finally one of them hissed to the other, out the side of his mouth,

"New Zealand? Where's that?

"Europe," his friend muttered back.

I laughed.

"I'll give you a hint," I said. "It's not in Europe."

I continued my perambulation around the classroom to the sounds of one cheeky student beating up the other cheeky student.

And speaking of cheeky students, I have noticed this year the continuation of a fashion that started a few years ago but seems to have suddenly become more extreme: of boys wearing their trousers so far down you can see their underpants. It used to be that you could see the tops of their underpants, but now you can see their entire underpant-clad bottoms. You can see the LEG OPENINGS of their underpants. Their trousers are so far down the trouser waist is around their thighs. They look like they forgot to pull up their trousers after Number Twos. When they walk, they have to hobble.

I am not a fashion critic, usually. I don't normally concern myself much with what my students wear (and it's just as well, really). But whenever I see this particular fashion I get a terrible urge to take the victim aside and place him between two strategically placed mirrors, so he can see what he looks like from behind. This is a tasteless and rather unfortunate look at the best of times, but should be PARTICULARLY avoided if you are skinny, have no bottom to speak of, and have short legs. As far as I'm concerned any fashion choice that causes kind onlookers to want to offer you a wheeled trolley so you can rest your poor stumps is a Big Mistake.

This style should also be avoided if you are wearing underpants with funny Engrish on them. I am fairly sure that the 'PLEASANT WIND' emblazoned across my student's bottom was false advertising. Also, things like that make me stare and laugh. Teachers should not stare and laugh at their students' bottoms, but this particular fashion is making it very difficult for me to maintain a professional demeanor.

I wish they'd stop it.


Prof Curley said...

Think it might be Tom Wolfe who saw that fashion moves up - that what the dealers on 17th West wear one year they'll wear on 5th Avenue the next - but we join Bad Aunt in wishing that pen wear - falling all the way down because without a belt - hadn't moved _all_ the way up and around!

shammi said...

Oh god, that bottoms-on-display fashion is SOOOO common here as well. My 16-year-old stepson exhibits his bum ALL the time (fortunately clad in underpants and no skidmarks either)... and it's much more than I ever want to see. :(