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Ask Judy December 2007
I think my son’s 5th grade teacher is gay. She isn’t married, is very overweight and masculine looking, and checks me out every time I come to school, whether it’s to pick my son up for a Dr’s app. or attend a conference. It makes me feel uncomfortable. Last time I came in I was dressed up to fly to an event out of town. She commented that I looked “so sexy “that I “might get kicked off the plane.”(This is in reference to a recent news story where a woman was kicked off the plane for wearing a skirt that was too short and sexually provacative.) I was stunned. While I was flattered she thought I looked nice I thought it went too far. Should I say something? What if she tries to touch me?
-Skeeved in Sharon
Wow! What kind of outfits are you wearing to school? Are you the Pam Anderson of New England? Seriously though, I do think the teacher’s comments are out of line. The reference to the plane incident does imply that you are dressed provocatively. If that is the case then you would be attracting men and women alike, You don’t work for her, so I wouldn’t call it sexual harassment. It’s just inappropriate. She hasn’t tried to touch you, so unless you’re interested I don’t think it will go any further.
I wouldn’t get primed for a lawsuit or News- at -11 story unless her slobbering reaches a more advanced level. It does sound like she’s flirting, so just ignore it. If you don’t want her to notice, then don’t wear things that are noticeable. School is where your child learns. Not the red carpet. Tone it down Ms. Hottie and you’ll avoid potential Skeevesville.
Every time my wife walks into a room she opens up the window to “let in the fresh air”. It doesn’t matter how cold it is, she thinks this is fine. I think it’s obnoxious. I get cold easily. I don’t object to fresh air but I’m freezing my tush off and suffering in silence. What should I do?
-Cold Buns in Canterbury
Dear Cold Buns,
Why haven’t you ever stated your preference? That would be my question. If you are sitting in the same room as she, you are entitled to the same consideration. To not even be asked is simply rude. If your wife really needs the fresh air she might ask you if you “mind” if she opens a window. That would be fair.
If you’re still uncomfortable you might agree on a time limit to the window being open. She might go to another part of the house if she wants her fresh air. Opening windows whether it be in a room or in a car with someone else, without taking into consideration their comfort, is controlling and thoughtless. Your wife may not even realize she is being obnoxious. If you’re a little mouse who never said a word, how would she know? Get empowered and assert yourself. It’ll be a lot more fun than getting left out in the cold.
My best friend told me tonight that she doesn’t respect me, because someday I want to be wife and mother more than anything else. We are both juniors in college. She says that I will have no power if I do this. She is hoping to become a lawyer. I am majoring in Art. Does she have a point?
- Domestically Driven In Danbury
Dear Domestically Driven,
I think the point would be that your friend is judgmental and ignorant. Just because you are a wife and mother does not mean you have no power. You have a lot of power. It may just not be financial power. Nothing says you can’t be a wife and mother and work too. You didn’t say if you wanted to have a career also. Many women do this. Many women also give up high powered jobs to stay home with children if they can afford too. That’s a luxury these days. It takes a powerful woman and a confident one too, to give up a career in full swing to raise children.
The point is, women have a choice to have a career. Somehow the gains in the women’s movement have been twisted into working constituting a greater value in the eyes of women evaluating other women. That leaves those staying home as having less respect. It is an old model, and one initially perpetuated by men, who believe that value is income driven. In our out of proportion world it’s sexually deviant basketball players and animal abusing football players who make the big bucks, not kindergarten teachers who are shaping children’s lives. They are seen as irrelevant.
The saddest thing that’s happened as a result of the women’s movement is the pitting of women against each other. The working one seeing the stay- at- homes as sell outs and the stay- at- homes see the working ones as selfish. In reality neither group of women are either. They’ve just made a choice. No one really knows what those choices are based on (other than economic necessity) and in the end it’s nobody’s business.
Value systems are tied to deep core beliefs and experiences. To judge those decisions of others is to be presumptuous and arrogant. Whether baby or the bar -shoot for the moon. It’s your life.