As an index of how bad my situation is, of what I’m reduced to, I’m listening to Liveline. They’re talking about a girl who got into an all boys’ school. Some callers are supportive, others not. One manly PE teacher implied with a chuckle that boys aged 12 are like bull elks on PCP and to allow a young maid anywhere near them would be catastrophic. Another caller wondered what would happen if the girl got her period and, having forgotten her lunch money too, found she had no-one to ask for a tampon. That might have been the same caller who -this was my personal favourite argument against, for the immaculate idiocy of the logic employed- argued that it was wrong to send the young girl to an all boys’ school because in the future she would not be able to converse properly with other women in the workplace.
I went to what is often referred to as a ‘co-ed’ school myself, so I must confess that the idea of fully segregating children according to the content of their underwear, for the purposes of an education, strikes me as one of the follies of the age, a vestige of more explicitly patriarchal times when young gentlemen got hot and bothered at the glimpse of an uncovered piano leg. But I’m prepared to accept that being surrounded by girls and boys together from a fairly early age has left me somewhat indoctrinated on this score. Maybe the saner way of conducting things is to assume that every child in a co-ed school is at risk of either becoming some sort of slavering sex fiend or falling victim to one, and take it from there.