"So. What do you do for a living?"
It's gotten so I consider lying, just so I don't have to deal with what will inevitably follow.
You see, I'm a teacher.
I mean, I guess I understand. We were the instruments of your adolescent torture. We made you sit in your desks when you wanted to stand and told you to keep your mouth shut when you wanted to talk. You all dealt with it in different ways. Some of you wrote nasty things on your desk about us. Some of you muttered angry things behind our backs. And some of you? Some of you just sat back and imagined us naked.
There's a huge subculture of this teacher fetishization. I get it. The only trouble is, it turns you into slavering idiots the minute you find out what I do.
Response 1: The repressed masochist. You immediately shiver and say, "Ooh, teacher! Will you punish me?"
Gee, I've never heard that one before. But yes, come here so I can punish you just for being stupid. I'll even wear my porn star outfit while I do it.
No. I spend day after day in my classroom looking at the same kids every day and I never teach them anything. They're lucky if I teach them how to read.
Of course I think I reach them, otherwise I couldn't stand the job for more than a week. They wouldn't let me.
Response 3: The cynic. You look at me and smile a very nasty smile. You think I'm in this job because I'm not smart enough or too lazy to do anything else, and you think I don't work hard enough. "So you took this job because of summers off, huh?"
Yes, that's precisely why I took this job. Because it's so easy. No, really. You should see me in my classroom. I just sit down and chat with the kids and it's all so lovely and soon it's June and I'm in my bathing suit down on the beach. I know you're still slaving away in your office in your wool suit and I laugh at you, sucker.
The thing that kills me is that 95% of the men who take that tone with me would get ripped to shreds by my kids. I don't teach in one of those fancy, clean private schools. I'm in the inner city, and my kids are dealing with the stuff you see in the movies every day. The only trouble is, it isn't the movies. It's life. And when they die, they really die. So shut up, asshole. The minute you can tell me that one of your coworkers got knifed in an alley or his head blown off by a ten-year-old, then maybe you can talk to me about summers off.
Response 4: The guy who actually knows teachers. "Tough job. You like it? You going to stick with it?"
But this guy at this particular party? He was an amalgamation of 1, 2, and 3. I answered his questions politely and then escaped to another room. Because I never say these things out loud. Only in my head.
If you really want to know the truth, I blame Van Halen.