This Aggression Will Not Stand...

While watching Last Comic Standing, the last female contestant had a bit about butch lesbian P.E. teachers. At commercial, Chris said, "Oh, hell yeah, our P.E. teacher was a lesbian."

"Me too!" I said. Then I reminisced on the ghastly elementary gym experience that was Ms. Bonnie Bell.

Yes, lip gloss fanatics, my P.E. teacher's name was Bonnie Bell.

Bonnie Bell was a 5'2" slim, greyish blonde Walter-Sobcheck-meets-Mary Martin that took her job way too seriously. She even had those tinted glasses so you couldn't see her eyes.

At Garton Elementary on the East Side of Des Moines, Iowa, when your homeroom teacher took you to PE twice a week, you were expected to sit in your assigned seat. We had designated rows with designated seats that rotated periodically. Ms. Bell was prone to making a late entrance, like pressing matters existed for her outside the gymnasium, a P.E. G8 summit that kept her a few minutes past the bell. She would stroll in, deliberately nonchalant, twirling her massive keychain. She'd lean against the wall that we all faced, sitting cross-legged and quiet.

Then she's start calling eight-year-olds out like a Maury Povich paternity test.

"Respect." Pause. "Apparently some people in here feel it necessary to socialize with classmates that are not seated near them. Apparently shouting across the room is acceptable gymnasium behavior. Apparently 'respect' is not something they see as acceptable gymnasium behavior."

Everyone would look down at their hands, nervously twisting in their laps. They dared not make eye contact as it may somehow lock them in as the culprit. Then she'd use the old proximity tactic. She would walk slowly around the gym, stopping by whoever she deemed was plotting an anarchist revolution. She would stop by you and you wouldn't look up, instead staring at her navy blue Roo's. She had posters of words, a foot and a half high, on the walls with behavioral words, words like "respect" and "responsibility".

"Kelli Best is choosing not to 'respect' when she yells across the room at her classmate." The class would sigh a collective sigh, out of the line of fire. Then, Ms. Bell would throw out the curveball.

"Kyle Wilkinson thinks it's okay to socialize across the room with Kelli. Hallway."

25 eight-year-olds hum the familiar "Ummmmmmmmmmmmm!!!" of someone being disciplined.

In the hallway, Kyle and I both protest and, almost immediately, turn on each other.

"He was making fun of my hair," I say.

"Kyle," Ms. Bell said. "Just because Kelli's hair is out of style right now, doesn't mean that in ten years, people will get perms again."

First of all, this is NOT a perm, motherfucker. Take one look at Big Ed and you will know that a bitch did not sit under a dryer with some spiral rods since age three. Do I look like a pageant kid? No, I look like an alien fucked a q-tip. So not a perm. Second, it is 1988. Don't tell me there aren't a million ladies out there getting perms. Third of all, aren't you supposed to refrain from making fun of eight-year-olds in passive-aggressive ways? Like, isn't that the first thing they teach you in teacher school? Fourth, is this Peter Pan-looking bitch really trying to flip the switch like that? You have a bowl-cut and a quilted sweatsuit. Fuck no.

Then it hits me. This bitch just straight doesn't like me. I'd never really noticed an adult show complete contempt for me. Most adults have to fake it.

Long story short, this bitch gave me Cs constantly through elementary school. I got Cs in elementary school gym class. Who does that? My ass played four years of college soccer and she gave me the only Cs I ever got in elementary school.

So, yeah, I had that gym teacher.


SusanIsk said...

That's pretty bad. When I was in elementary at Wilson School (in STL), the gym teacher used to take us out to the track/playground and make us circle up for stretches. After stretches, she'd make us start running while listening to a tape with a song called "Chicken Fat." Basically the song tells kids that if you don't exercise, you'll be fat. Nothing like telling a 7 year old that if they don't keep running, they'll be a fat chicken...

stephanie said...

I had Ms. Jones (who was in a relationship with a social studies teacher, Ms. Douglass, and by some bizarre twist, looked more like Ms. Jones's twin than her lovah) in junior high. She once told us that the night before each first-day-of-school, she has a recurring dream in which she teaches her classes naked and doesn't realize it.

According to urban legend, Ms. Jones would check us out in the locker room. Don't you worry, my friends. . .homophobia is alive and well in West County. Ms. Jones likes REAL ladies, not 13-year-old girls with braces and training bras.

Ms. Jones was pretty nice.

Crafty and Crap said...

I think every school has the lesbian looks at girls locker room chick. Actually I don't think they were either half the time but we projected stuff like that. I hated the dreaded curved spine test.. boy did i fail every time.....

...Banter said...

I can vouch for Wolverine on that one. Did he mention her name was Ms. Mann. No lie!

Anonymous said...

My middle school pe teacher was in an estranged marriage to Cookie Thornton, the guy who shot up K-wood city hall. We had two hs pe teachers, one was of the isle of lesbos and the other was in her 40's and repeatedly tried out to be a Rams cheerleader. The lesbian teacher harbored a fierce crush on the cheerleader that we all watched in horror and a small dash of sympathy.

Mom said...

What you didn't know about Miss Bell was she's a hoarder. Lived in some crappy house down by the fairgrounds with small paths through the whole house. Crap piled to the ceiling. Yeah - she was one crappy nutcase!