July 05, 2006

Jerry's Ink


Jerry was too hungover from his July 4th party to write a new column. This gem first appeared in 2001.

Beware of anything you read that begins with "I know this is going to sound sexist, but . . . " That said, let me begin.

I know this is going to sound sexist, but I truly and thoroughly enjoyed the story of the 25 year-old female schoolteacher who was accused of granting a number of her 16 year-old male students sexual favors.

The most shocking part of the story to me was the attitude of the boys, who are now 19 and 24 or 25, and are, at this late date, confessing about how they fell into this woman's er . . . er . . . clutches. In one interview, a former student was whining to his parents that his life was "ruined" by his experience with this "older" woman of 24. His parents were urging him to fight and get past this, and attempt to pick up the bits and pieces of his now tarnished life. I find myself detecting the distinct odor of a lawsuit against the Board of Education. Give me a break.

Now let me establish some ground rules about this. The magic number is 16 years-old — not one day younger. And we're only talking about female teachers who get involved with boys 16 years and older. All other combinations should not be tolerated and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. I'm talking major jail time here.

A female acquaintance recently challenged me on this and subtly played the gender card by saying, "You sexist pig. What about a 16 year-old girl and a handsome 24 year-old male teacher?" My answer was, "Absolutely not. A male teacher being involved with a 16 year-old girl student always involves seduction on his part. A female teacher and a 16 year-old boy is not about seduction, it's about mercy." It was a wise sage (perhaps Billy Crystal) who once said, "Women need a reason, 16 year-old boys need a place."

Sixteen is the magic age when a boy stops fantasizing about playing shortstop for the New York Yankees in the summer and quarterbacking for the New York Jets in the winter, and gets down to wholesome fantasies like getting it on with his sexy female algebra teacher.

It hasn't changed since I was a boy. Granted, when I was 16 years-old, dinosaurs still roamed the Northern Hemisphere. And I must admit that my skin had erupted to the point that I resembled one huge strawberry. Like millions of other 16 year-olds I had nothing but fantasy to get me through my miserable life.

Such a fantasy was the reason that at Lafayette High School in Brooklyn, I took Earth Science, a class that had to be the most boring subject in the world. But I didn't take it just once. No, I took it two years in a row. I can still remember my happiness after the first term when I stared at my failing grade on my pathetic report card — it was a 55. This meant I had to go back to learning about stalactites and stalagmites.

The teacher of this class was a woman I will call Mrs. Wicker (not her real name) who was pretty and buxom and in her late 30s. The class was made up of four or five girls who were interested in Earth Science and 34 boys who were interested in Mrs. Wicker.

She sat at her desk prim and proper, always wearing a nice, starched, white blouse and a tasteful skirt. Thirty-four boys and their 68 eyes were focused for the entire period on the front of her blouse. She would reach up with a piece of chalk to write on the blackboard and then when she innocently stretched, her blouse would be pulled against her ample bosom. Those boys sitting in the choice row of seats on the far side of the room would be treated to this incredible sight.

It was oh-so-many years ago but I'm convinced that if you listened closely you could hear the crackling sound of hormones raging. I can still see my friend Vinny R. taking in the scene and mouthing to me the word "Madonne," an Italian call to God.

My own sexual experience with Mrs. Wicker — a scene whose memory has launched a thousand cold showers in my life — was when she called me to the blackboard in a final attempt to get the theory of stalagmites through my thick head. "This," she said, drawing on the blackboard, "is the cave."

My mind racing, I thought "Ohmigosh! The cave looks just like a . . ." Then she drew a stalagmite sticking up in the cave. There is no way that a stalagmite doesn't resemble a phallic symbol. At that point, I remember thinking, "I can't breathe."

Then it happened, the culmination of two years of my studying this incredibly boring subject: Mrs. Wicker reached up to finish drawing the stalagmite and a button at the top of her blouse, straining under the force of her magnificent breasts, popped open. It was then I saw a sight that will stay with me the rest of my life — Mrs. Wicker's bra strap. It was a white, virginal bra strap and it contrasted so beautifully with her soft pink skin that I felt tears of happiness filling my eyes. It only lasted a few seconds and then she shifted her arms and it was gone.

I remember hobbling, bent over, going back to my seat with the giggles of the male students ringing in my ears. It was all worth it. The picture of that white bra strap will stay with me forever.

Are these the ramblings of your common, garden variety, aging degenerate? No. I discussed this with my male friends this weekend and they all had similar stories to tell when they were 16. I had a brilliant writer friend tell me about joining the Glee Club at his high school in the Bronx just to stare at Mrs. Lieberman whom, he insists, had a body that would put my Mrs. Wicker's body to shame. There was also the financial wizard who took part in his Queens high school's theater program for four years just to stare and drool at Mrs. Levy, who ran the program.

I heard countless tales of dropped pencils to gaze at the crossed legs of teachers whose beauty obviously grows sharper with each dim, passing year. Men over 55 can no longer remember where they put their car keys 10 minutes ago, but they can vividly remember the outline of the well-covered thighs of a substitute teacher they saw for five hours, 40 years ago.

I don't expect women to understand or agree with this. In fact, as they are reading this, most women are thinking, "How disgusting," while their husbands are thinking, "Miss Harrington!!!" "Mrs. Shaine!!!" "Miss Linder!!!" "Mrs. Russo!!!" "Miss Cresdee!!!"

All I can do to placate women who are shocked at how men really think is to remind them of the great lines in the Tammy Wynette song "Stand By Your Man," in which she sums up and puts down men from 16 to 90 with these words:

"But if you love him you'll forgive him

Even though he's hard to understand

Cause after all he's just a man."

If you wish to comment on "Jerry's Ink," send your message to jerry@dfjp.com.

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