Not that I was ever competing with Brad Pitt, but as the “only (heterosexual) male in the (village) school”, I was sometimes the butt of light-hearted flirtatious jokes and occasional sexualised but harmless banter.
And to be perfectly honest with you, I enjoyed it. I was flattered.
There was a range of stalls from Tombola to ‘Bash the Rat’ to Santa’s Grotto but this year there was also a new one: ‘A Christmas Kiss under Santa’s Mistletoe’ where each patron put on a Santa’s hat, stood under the mistletoe and kissed their choice person on the cheek – with a photo snap-shot pasted up in Christmas card as a souvenir to take away and keep.
All good clean fun…! (though I think you can see where this is going…)
The stall was attracting hoards of people and making lots of money. Parents kissing their darling little children… children kissing their “Best Mum”… proud grandparents with their grandchildren… classmates kissing their best friends… This thing was printing money.
Then one or two mums started coming up to me making requests – the kind of request that was difficult to refuse. They wanted to have their picture taken under the mistletoe – kissing me. It seemed harmless enough, especially as it was for school fund so under pressure – as much from some of the excited children as the mums – I made the mistake of joking: “Oh alright… just one… for the sake of money in the School Fund…!”
It was all done in a very jovial way, intended and executed in good fun. I enjoyed it.
But within seconds, there was a line of mums queuing to kiss the only male teacher in the school. Suddenly, there were a lot of mums exclaiming “Just one kiss for me too…!”
The stall made a lot of money that day.
But was I an asset to the coffers of the school fund?
Or had I become a liability to the school’s reputation?