A History Lesson
My high school history teacher wore light blue polyester pant suits straight from the seventies, not the Saturday Night Fever seventies, but something you’d imagine the suburban swingers set wearing. His hair was styled in such a way you could only describe as Beatles-like and every time he wrote something on the black board his shirt would lift up to show his belly. If the Marquis of Sade had been born in an anonymous rural town in 1950’s Quebec you’d end up with a man a lot like my grade 10 history teacher.
He was known as the kind of guy you could go talk to. Someone who would listen to all your dirty teenage secrets. Wanting to put this rumor to the test, I started hanging out in his office, a decision that would mark the beginning of a strange student teacher relationship. If anything, I was a bad teenager and I certainly had my fair share of stories to tell and what teenager doesn’t like the sound of his/her own voice. I certainly pushed the limits of the kind of things that are appropriate to confess to your high school teacher. What soon became obvious is that he resembled the Marquis of Sade in more than one way. Innuendos started popping up all over the place and although he never came out and said it, I knew that he and his wife were not strangers to kink in all of its forms.
I would sometimes were a dog chocker around my neck to school and he did not frown at my choice of accessory like other adults were inclined to. In fact, he more then approved. One day, in his office, he tugged on it a little and asked me if I had any idea what such a thing meant and suggested. I nodded my head and looked at him with my big brown eyes, a look that perfectly married the innocence and playfulness that only a fifteen year old can muster.
The only rule was blatant honesty. He occasionally lent me money to fund my extracurricular activities, which at the time meant getting as high and drunk as humanly possible. He never asked why I needed an extra 40$ as long as I paid him back as promised. Anything was a go, all I had to do was be honest. A point clearly illustrated when he caught me cheating on a test. He hadn’t caught me red handed, but it was rather obvious and when he asked whether I had cheated or not, I said yes. An honest answer that was rewarded by a 70% passing grade without having to redo the exam. He’d sometimes tap my ass when I left his office after one of our talks and when I told him it made me uncomfortable he said: “I wouldn’t do it otherwise” and for some reason his honest answer had, like mine, been a good enough answer.
Quite a few years after high school, I started corresponding with him through email. He was now retired, but the dynamic hadn’t changed. I was telling him about a time when I had posed nude for a painter when I was in need of cash. I had let the painter take photographs of the session, I was eighteen at the time and it was all done in good taste, but I refused to go back when he suggested I expose myself a little more during the next sessions. I said no and took my copies of the photographs (and the negatives) and went on my merry way home. Some of the pictures remain my favorite self-portraits to this day and when I brought it up, my now retired history teacher asked if I would email him a copy.
I did. Don’t ask me why. I was never attracted to him, I got off on the inappropriateness of the whole situation. It energized me. In response he sent me part one of an erotic story that he had written and that had been inspired by a chocker wearing teenager. Sound familiar? I was simultaneously disturbed and fascinated, when he asked me whether I would be interested in reading part two, I said yes and on and on it went like his for a few emails. That is, until I was telling one of my friend’s about it and she reminded me that I was corresponding with a man who had once been my teacher when I was a minor and that he was by now well into his sixties. Reality took the fun out of it or perhaps I wasn’t willing to see how far our story would go.