Naked Butt, Naked Tits, Oh, Wherefore Art Thou, Romeo?

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Many years ago, back when I was in junior high school, I was in a 7th grade class they called ‘enriched English’. This class was a precursor to the advanced placement (AP) classes that many students are familiar with today, but back then, the AP program was not even a dream yet. The ‘enriched’ class let students who had shown an excellence in certain subjects work at a slightly faster or higher pace or level than the tradition curriculum. If someone was good at math, but sucked at English, they could take an ‘enriched’ math class but a regular English one. Anyway, I was enriched English, which meant we weren’t reading the same books that year that the regular class read. We, lucky, lucky us, were reading Romeo and Juliet. The real one. You know, written in like Olde English or something. Fun!

Our treat for slogging through Shakespeare in our teen years was that when we finished reading it, we could watch the movie… which wasn’t much of a treat, since it had been filmed in 1968 and was dubbed from, I think, Italian, so it wasn’t exactly a fun flick for teens.

With one exception.

There was a nude scene.

The movie was rated PG-13 (though I’m not sure this was a rating at the time), and it was highly controversial, because the girl who appears nude was only 15 when she made the film. She wasn’t even old enough by law where she lived to go and see the film when it was screened, because of the nude scene, and yet, she was the one who was nude!

Well, the guy showed his ass too, but she showed ass and tits.

And we were 13-year-olds. Some were horny teenagers… some had never seen a naked person, other than perhaps themselves, or maybe their parents or siblings by accident. So the concept of seeing a naked person, for about a total of 10 seconds on a movie in a classroom. Well, that was something exciting!

There is something sort of innocent about being a horny teenager.

So the week before we were to watch the movie, some of the parents sort of balked at the concept of us watching this very short, very ‘innocent’ nude scene in this movie adaptation of a classic piece of literature–and the school came to the decision that the teacher could still show the movie ( we even got pizza during it!), BUT–and this was a big but–she wasn’t allowed to show us the nude scene. This video was on VCR, so they clocked the time on the counter where the nude scene was, and she was supposed to stop it before that point, and then fast forward the counter to the place where the administration had approved it for us to resume watching.

The day of the movie viewing, we all filed in, started to watch the movie, and then we ate our pizza, and then, lo and behold, the moment comes when the teacher is supposed to stop the video. She stops the video and there’s this long pause before she turns around to us and says, “I’m not allowed to show you this part of the video…” and then she went on to explain what I have just explained to you. Then she said, “But I have to go to the copy room and pick up my mimeographs…” On a side note: do you remember the smell of those sheets? Don’t know why, but we always ‘sniffed’ them when they were fresh and still ‘purple’…

Anyway, she basically went on to say that we were young adults, in an enriched class, and she felt there was nothing wrong with the video, but she wanted to keep her job, so she was going to leave the room, and if we would please wait a bit, then fast forward to the marker point in the  movie that admin had approved, she’d appreciate it. But if one of her students neglected to do that, she figured she couldn’t be held responsible for what happened while she wasn’t in the room.

Of COURSE we watched the nude scene. Did you even need to ask? We were horny teenagers!

But we also thought she was the coolest teacher EVER for doing that. She ‘trusted’ us. She thought we were young adults, responsible, and mature enough to handle some tits and ass.

So did we tell? Never. I didn’t, and I was one of those annoying goody-two-shoes back then (boy, have I ever changed!). I never heard of any other students telling what had happened either. Would you have?

This teacher, in the students’ eyes, was a hero, at least for the rest of the week. But I have to wonder: What would happen if a teacher did this today?

I guarantee you, she’d be fired.

Worse yet, it’s very likely she’d have criminal charges brought up against her, and might even end up having to register as a sex offender.

For what?

The nude body is not a crime. The nude body is not a sin. The nude body is not a bad thing. There was no sex. There was, of course, some ‘implied’ references to sex, but we saw nothing but less than 10 seconds of tits and ass, and about 2 seconds of a male ass when he rolled over. It was exciting for a horny teenager, but it was, for every single intent and purpose, completely HARMLESS.

It’s comparing my childhood like this to the present and scarily concerned for the future of our children…. but also of our teachers.

I had a coach who let us curse in class, and we proceeded to call him Shitty Schmitty… he loved it. He chewed tobacco on the baseball field, even though it was against school policy to have tobacco on the school grounds, and he turned a blind eye to the kids who also chewed/dipped–hey, I’m from West Texas, and chewing tobacco is more common there than you think. This coach used to make what could only be called inappropriate comment about female attire on students. He was harmless. Truly, he was… we were high school students at the time. But if a parent heard him today? Who knows… I really actually enjoyed his class.

I had a teacher in 9th grade who preached to us in class. She wouldn’t call anyone by their nicknames, because she would say, ” (fill-in-your-real-name) is your God-given Christian name, and by God, that’s what I’m going to call you.” She would put her hands on us and pray for us when she thought we were slipping or not doing what we were supposed to in class. She taught homemaking, arts and crafts, sewing, etc. I really disliked her, but not because she was a preaching Christian. I disliked her because she was a hypocrite, who definitely did not practice what she preached. She also lied to my parents about something, and left me in trouble at one point for something I know to this day that I did not do.

None of these teachers would still have jobs today. Seriously, they would have been fired and/or prosecuted… l;ike I said, the one teach probably would be registering as a sex offender–and yet, I remember her as one of the toughest and best English teachers I’ve ever had. She made me love writing again when I thought I had to give it up. She fostered a love in me for journalism through encouraging me to try out for the school paper, giving me extra fiction writing assignments, and complimenting with effusive excitement my poetry that my parents made fun of and said was a good ‘hobby’ but I’d never make a living doing it. I’m making a living writing now… it’s all I really do any more, and this teacher is a big reason why. What would have been lost had she been fired because she thought 13/14-year-old teenagers in an enriched class could handle seeing a few seconds of a human body without clothes.

What a world we live in.

Maybe I notice it more now because I’m older. Maybe because I’m moving fast in one direction while the world is moving faster in another direction, I see it progressing more rapidly than I ever did before, but things have changed. Yes, I know change is constant. I thrive on change, but many of these changes just don’t seem to be the right direction. I’m scared, literally fearful, for the future of our country, of our children’s children’s lives. Freedom is dangerous. Losing freedom is dangerous. The world is a strange, strange place.

QUESTION OF THE DAY:

Did you ever have a teacher do something that stood out to you, something you remember well, but that you feel fairly certain would get that teacher fired or at least reprimanded today…? Tell me/us about it!

What’s your take?

Love and stuff,

Michy

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6 comments to Naked Butt, Naked Tits, Oh, Wherefore Art Thou, Romeo?

  • Wendy Miller  says:

    I have to disagree with you on some things. Namely, that what that teacher didn’t wasn’t wrong. The problem is not that she allowed you to watch 10 seconds of nudity. The problem is that she did it against the very obvious wishes of multiple parents. You talk about loss of freedom – what about a parent’s freedom to parent their child the way they choose? Why does a teacher’s desire to allow teens to see something she thinks is fine override the desire of parents to not allow their child to see that – or at least, not to see it without their presence.

    I agree that 10 seconds of nudity isn’t much, and no, it won’t scar a kid for life. But the point is that parents, whether they are right or wrong, have the right to say they don’t want a teacher showing their child something they feel is inappropriate. The teacher needs to respect that.

    • Michy Devon  says:

      I understand that her fault was in going against the instructions of her superiors that she was given… of course, she didn’t ‘technically’ go against those instructions… she left us in the room alone and let us do what we wanted to do. She did technically tell us to fast forward the VCR.

      I realize it’s a very fine point… she probably realized that too. She did risk her job for something she apparently thought was worth risking her job for. Shrug. Would I have done it? No.

      But at 13, I thought it made her really cool.

      Now, as a parent, I don’t know what I would have done if a teacher went against what I asked for my child. I do know, for a fact, I wouldn’t have asked for her job. I do think sometimes people need to lighten up.

      Then again, it was against the rules for the other teacher to preach her faith to us too, but she did that openly and no one called for her termination either.

      My point is, these things were treated differently in the past. The question is: Is it better or worse that these things aren’t treated the same now?

      My kids are too old for school now… but when they were in school, things were quite different for them compared to when I was in school. I’ll be writing about that later too.

      Anyhoo, thanks for the comment! You make a very valid point about disobeying the wishes of the parent. Very valid point.

  • M. Lori Motley  says:

    I walked home in high school and, instead of going out the front or back door like the rest of the kids, I went out the side door because it was a lot closer to the path home. One day I headed out a bit late and found it mostly blocked by the male history teacher with his arms around the male English teacher’s waist. A cigarette dangled from his free hand… practically IN the school. He looked at me and said “I won’t tell about you sneaking out the side door if you don’t tell about this.” As far as I know, going out the side door wasn’t against the rules, but what he was doing sure was. But it was also completely harmless, except to his lungs I guess.

    • Michy Devon  says:

      That would probably be, what? early 80s? It WAS quite a bit different back then about these things. Fortunately, now, a teacher could be openly gay and not risk his job for it.

      But I wonder, even now, if he were caught with his arms around another teacher on campus… what would happen if he got busted?

  • Derek Odom  says:

    Haha, my first grade teacher fake-fainted when I actually did my homework once. Fell on the ground and everything. I’m sure someone would sue for that today.

    My sixth grade social studies teacher used to burp out loud and then pound his chest while making a funny fish face.

    Gotta love the eighties.

  • Cheyenne.  says:

    Hey! I think you make a great point! We, as in my class, just got done with Romeo and Juliet and once we finished reading it, discussing it, and all that, we watched the ’63 version of Romeo and Juliet, the same one as yours. Of course, we had to skip the breasts and all that, which I don’t really care whether we do or not, since I’m 15 and well aware of the body of the opposite sex and of my own. So, whatever. Anyways, after that we watched the newest Romeo and Juliet from ’97 which was bogus, btw. Our literature teacher passed out this paper that she printed from the Internet that another fellow teacher had written on some blog or something, I wish I knew what website but I can’t find it. Well, the other fellow teacher was stating how she thought it was wrong how the students are able to watch the scenes of violence, death; such as Tybalt being slain by Romeo and Juliet pulling the dagger on herself, but we can not see innocent, naked bodies, and only a glimpse of it, at that. She made it sound more significant and she concluded, saying how we’re typically showing our kids that it’s okay to witness violence but its wrong to see a glimpse of boob?
    Thanks,
    The Children’s Children

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