Anne Thrope (Ms) - The dark side of the whiteboard - Yee ha! After therapy, fantasy

26th March 2010 at 00:00

I have been back to see the therapist. The session clashed with my Year 8 ballads class - where the children are patently more interested in flicking bogeys than in battling Beowulf - so being dumped by your husband does have its upside. I sense that my therapist is not impressed with my progress: I'm stuck in denialanger and no matter how much scaffolding she puts in place, I just can't make it to acceptance.

Desperation leads her to shock tactics: "Do you really think he still loves you?" I howl an unintelligible reply into my already sopping Kleenex. "After all he has put you through, do you honestly believe that he cares for you?" Forty minutes later, I leave her surgery with a new determination.

She sees me off with a cheery rejoinder to steer me through the wobbly times ahead: "This terrible experience will change you. You will become a new woman." Great. Katie Price would be nice, although I'm not sure how I would manage to get my contact lenses in past those massive eyelash extensions.

I take my resolve into school with me. My department abandons the suicide watch and the hugging rota, and I'm back on the cover list again. Two hundred minutes in one week - my God, I must be doing well. They are even allowing me to visit the photocopying room, on condition that I restrict myself to enlarging, reducing and laminating, rather than spilling my guts all over the A3 when anyone casually inquires: "How was your weekend?"

I seem to be making progress. I have short-circuited away from acceptance and gone straight for the much more palatable revenge. Greek-style and with knobs on. I am now fighting the urge to shag every man in sight. The only problems are that this will only hurt me and there are no men in sight.

Teaching is disastrous for singles. There is no opportunity to link up with new people; weekends are spent planning; week nights marking. One close friend combats this through couch surfing, where she hooks up with unsavoury travelling types by offering them a bed for the night. Since my sofa is occupied by Charlie the flatulent golden retriever, that's a no-go.

But my English department is on the case. The team is currently shortlisting from a dating site called Muddy Matches. Seemingly, if you like the countryside and don't mind doing it in a Massey Ferguson with someone whose best friend is called Moss, then this is the place for you.

I'm not sure that is where I want to go. Instead, I decide to trawl closer to home, via an all-staff email. If others can clutter up the school's communications network with small ads for Maclaren buggies, Ikea futons and insincere apologies for blocking in other people's cars in the lower car park, then by all accounts I should be able to advertise for a new partner.

I ponder on my priorities. "Wanted: dependable man. Must like strong tea and be handy with a hammer drill. Previous applicants need not apply." I resist the urge to hit send. Instead, I nurse my wounded ego and succumb to Nancy Friday-esque fantasies. My current favourite? Being taken roughly from behind by the head of maths dressed in a cowboy hat and spurs. Yee ha! Now where's that number for my therapist?

Anne Thrope (Ms) is a secondary English teacher in the North of England.

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