Saturday, 10 March 2012
Ramblings: Private Acts
I'm well known for my willingness to share. Ask and I'll tell. In fact, ask me not to tell you about something and I'll probably still tell it anyway as you frantically shove things in your ears and scream "Make it stop!". There are however, some things which are sacred and private and shouldn't be shared.
Four years ago I had a six month relationship with a public school teacher who was a couple of years younger than me. He was bright and articulate, well presented and faintly amusing at times. He had a lovely tweed suit and a nice collection of nic nacs. He could also be irritatingly childlike and had an immature sense of humour at times. To be honest our backgrounds were very different, he was devoutly religious and he was also incredibly sensitive. It was never going to work.
I was really puzzled by the whole idea of boarding school. It horrified me when I visited his quarters at the school where he worked and lived in. I didn't have idyllic fantasies of jolly japes in the dormitory, midnight feasts and pillow fights. I imagined a horrifying lack of privacy and a terrible amount of having to join in with things you really didn't want to join in with. I'd question him often about what went on there (what they ate, how much freedom they were allowed, how often they were allowed to leave the school, what happened if they got caught smoking etc.) He was puzzled by my puzzlement and having gone to boarding school himself thought that my being perplexed was perplexing.
Sometimes there are huge signs which present themselves to you in life which you really should stop and take heed of and there was a gigantic sign right at the very beginning. He used the toilet in front of me. I'm not talking urination, us men have to suffer the indignity of shared urination constantly. Woman wouldn't put up with urinals, that's all I'll say on the mater. They have that one sussed. It was far worse than that.
We met for the third time after a couple of lukewarm dates but I was starting to quite like him and trying hard to convince myself that I could find him attractive enough to have sex with, when it happened. He disappeared upstairs to "use the bathroom" and was gone a long time. I carried on watching TV, made a coffee and then remembered I needed to get some papers from my office upstairs for work the following day.
Walking along the corridor upstairs I was horrified to see the bathroom door wide open and him with his trousers round his ankles, pink faced and trying to push a hearty stool out. I was stricken and stood frozen, thinking to myself, "Oh how hideous! He forgot to lock the door!" and scurried off, hoping he hadn't noticed me noticing him.
It turned out I was wrong. Apparently he hadn't forgotten to lock the door (or even close it). He did the same thing the next time we met and the time after. Cue a stern conversation. Apparently, growing up in boarding school, followed by shared University accomodation followed by life in a public school gives you no sense of privacy after all. I was right about how horrific and dangerous it all was. You become the sort of horror who inflicts witnessing your bowel motions on others.
I should have seen the signs and ended it there and then but I didn't. I did however set ground rules. I may be a nurse and may have seen a fair amount of grisly things in my time but if at all possible I find it best if friends and family and lovers keep their bowel motions as discrete as possible. I don't think that's an unfair manifesto, do you?