Ursula Stanton is our pathology professor mystérieux. She is a woman with the type of body every man checks out and every woman scoffs at, but secretly wishes to have. At 5’8”it’s very rare that I find a man taller than me. So you can guess how rare it is for me to come across a woman a couple inches taller. And before you say anything, I know that people much taller than me exist, but trust me when I say they are not as common as you would think. (Do you think I haven’t looked for tall guys on every street and public place?)
Anyway, so I was really impressed by her height and her body shape, considering that she didn’t have the “generous curves” like me on that tall body of hers (something that I always wanted to achieve) made me highly interested. Yup, I’m shallow that way. And I paid attention in her class, and in a week I noticed a few things about her.
- She tries to fake an English accent. – Its sad, really. Worse than Ross’ accent in F.R.I.E.N.D.S.
- She never wears clothes that flatter her figure, mostly going for black. – we all know black is the color for hiding yourself. Especially, if you happen to have the aforementioned “generous curves”.
- She is really cranky, especially towards boys – she’s mean to girls too, but is especially hostile towards boys who laugh at her sullenness.
- She does not allow us to remove our lab coats even in the scorching heat of May/June, so we can safely assume that she is either a sadist or an anal retentive person (maybe both).
When I talked about these with Margaret and Anne, they agreed wholeheartedly. Then came the part where we started to ponder over the reason for her being that way and came up with a theory.
Miss Stanton must have been a tall and scrawny girl before she hit puberty. She was considerably taller than all students in her grade, even the boys, and was continuously ridiculed for it. Over the months, she became insecure with her body except around a few close friends, who being kids themselves couldn’t offer any words of sympathy to reduce the sting of their classmates’ jibes.
She somehow managed to go to school each day, after a lot of convincing from her parents and had learned to live with things as they were, when at 13, Puberty hit her. The awful P-word that made her body react in strange ways- sudden growth of breasts (unequal at that), the menarche-absolutely the worst enemy of a woman and her moods; and last, but the worst -further increase in her height.
Due to the above mentioned changes in her body, she was now as confused as ever about her body image. She didn’t know whether to feel proud of her height, or embarrassed about her non symmetrical breasts. Amidst this identity crisis, a teenage boy from her class must have had a crush on her. He might or might not have approached her; nonetheless, other boys got wind of this and started teasing her about the other boy’s crush.
She became so self-conscious that every time she saw someone laugh at anything, she just assumed it was about her. She could no longer trust anyone and retreated further into her shell and created an ice-cold capsule around her, to protect herself. She drowned herself in studies, sure as ever that she was just not meant for social interactions.
Years later, after she finished her medical school, she was hired as a Medicine teacher by a reputed college. All her life, she had been insecure which stayed with her till she was an adult. She decided to try and fake an accent to make her students like her, hoping they wouldn’t catch it. Despite of having come a long way from the scrawny kid that she was, (she’s happily married now), her insecurity re-emerges every time the boys in her class laugh amongst themselves, or the girls giggle about anything.
She could never raise her self esteem enough to even look her students in the eye while teaching them, despite of being confident of her syllabi. The only person she can really trust anymore is her husband who assures her every day after she comes from work that there is nothing wrong with her, and the students were indeed not laughing at her.
As far as I know, she’s only been teaching for about a year, so there might still be hope that she become a good teacher with optimum self confidence as she grows older and realizes that the only reason she is ridiculed anymore is for the protective capsule that was meant to shield her from the mean world is what has become her greatest hurdle and is keeping her from being an overall well-liked teacher.