Follow the thread

25th March 2005 at 00:00
Bill Hicks takes a weekly look at the hot topics in the TES chatrooms

Several weeks ago, I promised you lashings of sex, then promptly forgot and wrote about all sorts of more pressing issues, such as Shakespeare, British schools overseas and the Heimlich manoeuvre.

This week, I'll deliver on my promise and prove that the TES Staffroom is indeed a lovers' paradise (even though my thunder was stolen by Radio 4's Learning Curve, which devoted a quarter of a recent edition to TES dating, and even interviewed the Personal forum's famous speedater).

While the TES forums have trashed popular misconceptions about teachers (about their use of language, their political leanings), they have also highlighted the above-average potential for social isolation in the profession. Hence the 700 postings we get every day on the Personal forum alone. At times, it resembles one big online singles bar.

Two threads this week went straight to the heart of the matter. On Wednesday, beds asked how many others had met their partners at work, having met hers at the school she taught in. Initial response was coy.

"Nothing like that in my school I'm afraid," confided josephj. "Most are attached already (to other teachers)..."

Things took an even more unpromising turn with deus's "no way in hell have I or am I ever going anywhere close to a colleague's bed".

But seven posts in, a joint posting from mcsg restored the forum's reputation as a fur-lined incubator of lovey-doveyness, and - let's face it - sheer lust: "We started on here last summer! My lovely man started a thread complaining about the lack of nice single girls. Pretty soon we were an electronic item, and we met as soon as could be arranged. We're still in love. Still together. Getting better all the time."

The pheromones must have penetrated the broadband network. Within minutes, some of the forum's most celebrated couples were there, celebrating their coupling. There was AngryJedi, blowing electronic kisses to "Jane: my lovely, gorgeous, beautiful, wonderful oh."

There, too, was Hellvixen: "Who's complaining? Met my oh on here too." At that moment, a poster called lookingfornemo started a new thread with the question: "Who is up for being considered to be the next happy couple to meet on here and why?"

Just before the deluge started, Cassandra slipped in a history lesson: "We first started chatting on here in April 2002. We then met in late August and finally set up home together in July 2003.

"If it hadn't been for this site (and our mutual love of football) we would never have met."

One, two, three, everybody: "Aww."

If you have the stomach to follow the rest of this 130-post thread you'll find such experiences are by no means uncommon. One piece of advice, though: carry a pack of tissues.

Bill Hicks is editor of the TES website:

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