The older girls in the upper school; none of them under seventeen years old, held their weekly meeting on the upper floor of the school at the end of the dormitory in an out-of-the-way small classroom used for Geology and Geography. They would not be interrupted here, and could be as outspoken as needed without worrying about teachers blundering in upon them and objecting to their discussion topics (which were sometimes informatively raw), or their outspoken language, which could have them expelled if it was overheard by the wrong party.
There were just six of them when there should have been ten if they had all been there. They waited for their president, Maria, to arrive to report on their meeting with the lone female teacher in the boy’s school, several miles away.
The school rules had been changed in an unexpected way. Schools for girls now had to hire a male teacher, at least one, and the boys’ schools were obliged to hire a female teacher. What idiocy had gripped the school boards to instigate such a dangerous change would take some time to understand, and the ruling would not survive very long, but it could survive for long enough to do irreparable damage if they were not prepared for it.
Miss Prendergast, the lone female teacher in the boys’ school had been there for six months now, so they, the teachers in the girls’ school, decided to pay her a visit, reasoning that how she fitted in there and what she experienced from all of those predatory male teachers, including horny older male students (horrible thought; or maybe not so horrible), might tell them what they might expect from a male teacher brought into their school; as if that population of horny, unrestrained testosterone would be in any way indicative of what they could expect from one, lone, vastly-outnumbered male. Prendergast must understand the enemy by now, and would be able to help them.
Men were all such strange and unpredictable creatures (licentiousness oozing from every pore where growing girls were concerned), that whatever they could find out about men, would undoubtedly help them evade their invariably lascivious and predatory intentions. 'He would steal all of their underwear from the laundry', 'would sneak through all of the toilets after dark and steal all of the toilet seats', or 'would put cameras in there, as well as the dorm'. Men were capable of any indignity, trespass, and difficulty, and god help you if you were ever alone with one!
Two of the oldest girls in the school, Maria and Solange had also been invited to go along with that delegation. Maria was scheduled to deliver her report on it to their select group of older girls, but she had not yet arrived. She was late.
Solange, the other one of the older girls who had met with the female teacher, told them that initially—as far as she had read the situation—Miss Prendergast had smiled at their teachers’ obviously crushing naiveté where males were concerned.
The look on her face clearly said that she was not impressed, and that surely they could not be so stupid. There were males already in their school, working on plumbing and heating, as well as repairing and construction, and the grounds work, so the wiser girls already knew all they needed to know about them, and to keep well away. Or not. A male teacher was likely to be less of a problem than the males they already had all over the place. But Miss Prendergast had not pointed that obvious fact out, in order not to offend them.
Miss Prendergast was only about twenty-five herself, and clearly believed that she could not have landed in a better environment for teaching, and had clearly told them so.
They didn’t want to believe her when she told them that she was treated like a queen by most of the male teachers and was shown unbelievable politeness by all of those she taught, though they’d initially tried to find out about her weaknesses, as boys general do.
There were also women in the boys’ school in secretarial roles, and in the kitchens. She had let it be known that she was one of those peculiar women who preferred working for and with men, rather than for catty, small-minded and prudish women, but she didn’t tell them that last part as it was likely to hit too close to home.
Fortunately, she had not derided them or refused their simple request. She was willing to tell them about her everyday experiences, and about some of the inevitable tricks that boys and teachers got up to around her to test her metal and to learn of her weaknesses.
To hear more about what Miss Prendergast had told them in the present select gathering, they would have to wait for Maria to arrive, but until then, Solange would call the meeting to order, and would share something important with those sitting around the large table.
Despite her French name, Solange had a distinct, Edinburgh accent.
“While we are on the topic of men and their potential danger to us in this school, and before Maria arrives to tell you about our boys’ school visit, I should tell you that one of the contractors; the youngest of those Harcourt brothers; Tony, the one who had the job of making adjustments to the showers in the changing room, loosened a brick in the corner of the building beneath a change bench so he could spy on us.”
There were gasps of horror, and other comments from two of the girls, but also a couple of audible chuckles from other of the more-mature and worldly-wise girls, who were young women in build and mental outlook, and were not at all disturbed by that observation, but were eager to know more.