As with Shane, I miss those days. Although life with my beautiful lady, in these years by the river, provides me with ample fun, I do still miss the glee of those years. Shane misses it because she is a victim (of sorts) of #MeToo. I was out of it and retired before that – and I stress this necessary movement took place. There were indications of what was up ahead in my later years and that more care needed to be taken in one’s working relationships with the opposite gender.

shane watson

I am largely comfortable around women. Many of my dearest friends are women – women I have mostly met in the schools I have practised my profession in over the decades. I developed a bond with them and I take pride in saying they are still incredibly important to me. On the staffs of my experience an easy collegiality existed. On occasions I saw romantic relationships develop in others, but behaviours were perhaps tempered by the abundance of young minds about. I never experienced a toxic workplace, nor one where it seemed to me that women would feel sexually threatened on a day to day basis. I’m male though. How am I to judge? There were flirtations (I may have very mildly participated at times), as well as the sort of contact around the corridors that may raise eyebrows now.

As I aged I became increasingly wary around young female staff – and it is perhaps because of that I retain friendship with some of them to this day. Over the years I did encounter a few male types who were overly attentive to the younger women on staff, but I was more in my comfort zone with staff members of the opposite gender closer my own age. I enjoyed the cosy familiarity I shared with them, at times even comforting them when the occasion arose without it posing in any way as something out of order. I wonder if that could happen today? These women seemed as secure in their own skins as I became under the influence of my wonderful Leigh. And they enhanced my life each and every day.


Has #MeToo now rubbed off in the sort of staff rooms I worked in? I have no real way of knowing. Most workplaces, by their very nature, encourage close contact and lines can be crossed – deliberately or otherwise. Any boss who feels she or he can control affairs of the heart under their watch is deluding him/herself. It’s human nature to put the heart before the brain, or at least how the brain is ordained to behave. And, anyway, this is distinctly different to the systematic, ingrained harassment of the female gender that has raised its ugly head in the armed forces, hospitals, banks and even on the musical stage in recent times.


I do admire the women who were the whistle-blowers in this regard. Odious men of the ilk of Roger Ailes and Harvey Weinstein need to be called out. The former has been brilliantly portrayed in all his rottenness by Russell Crowe in one of the year’s best tele-series, ‘The Loudest Voice’, with the forthcoming big screen production ‘Bombshell’ soon set to further blacken his name. Hopefully Hollywood will similarly turn on Weinstein. These are repugnant guys and not at all reflective, I would hope, of most of my gender.


The fun police have had their beige way with so much in how the world operates in these early decades of the 21st Century. Is a sterile staff room, office or industrial site more productive than one where, in Ms Watson’s words, ‘…something slightly inappropriate…’ is turned a blind eye too in the name of keeping morale up? For me, close and caring encounters with the beautiful women of my orb, now completely away from the workplace, gives my life extra fizz. And, to my mind, the human condition needs all the fizz it can get these days.

Shane Watson’s opinion piece =

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