The Noble, Honourable and Well-Respected Crotch —- Cadiz,Spain, 1973

It's 1973 and I teach English privately to students located on and around the Avenida Cayetano del Toro in the city of Cadiz. It's a thrill to enter their homes, smell the aromas of garlic and olive oil, of cologne, of black tobacco. Spain is an olfactory delight. Not that I enjoy  the smell of black tobacco, but even that seems exotic in an obtuse manner. I feel happy teaching and I look forward to seeing my students progress in English.

I have never met so many wealthy people in the whole of my life.  Some even have maids who wear little pink uniforms and who treat me as if I'm from the aristocracy. They bow their heads when answering the door then they usher me into a room with a round table draped in a thick tablecloth. On the walls are tapestries. The wife of the man of the house usually welcomes me, offering me sherry, Anis, coffee, cigarettes, all of which I refuse as graciously as I can. I'm here to teach English, not to socialise.

Anyone who is anyone has a rudimentary knowledge of English, and anyone who thinks he is Someone  has his own private English tutor. And since I'm a private English tutor whose native language is English, I am indeed a prize that my students and their families enjoy bragging about.

Before long, their neighbours are wanting English classes.

"Señorita, I see you tutor the cardiologist. My husband is a very important man with a very important job, and he'd love to have you tutor him as well. We can pay you more, you know, if that helps you find the time."

"Señorita, you tutor the Comandante of the Guardia Civil three times a week? Well, MY husband would like you to tutor him FIVE times a week. We can afford it."

Sounds great, doesn't it?  Well, there is one problem. Most of the students really don't want to learn English at all. They have no interest whatsoever. It's just a game of who can outshine the other by flaunting the fact that they have the wherewithal to hire a private tutor. Never mind that there are language schools close by where you can learn English cheaper than paying for a private one-on-one class. These 'very important' men of the house wouldn't dream of mixing with the proletariat.

They love the charade, however. They get the chance to flirt with a rubia who is much younger than they are. Their wives can't complain for they're the ones who set it up!  For the most part. during the lessons, the men pretend to show interest in English. They may giggle a bit too much and they may even exhale their cigarettes all over me. However, they don't say or do anything untoward. I always get paid and their wives and maids are always close by.

It's a different story whenever I happen to meet one of them on the street. He calls out loudly to me, as if he's some gypsy at the local market. He introduces me to his married friends with a huge, gigantic wink.

"This is my private English tutor. She's a native speaker. Rubia, blond, just like the Swedish girls!" He touches his crotch with an upward motion and grins knowingly.

Perhaps he's dying to urinate?  Hope he doesn't pee right here on the street in front of me. I've seen lots of men peeing on the street. Some don't even turn their back to you.

I don't understand the meaning of the exaggerated wink. He and his friends eye me up and down and down and up, strip me with their eyes and grin lasciviously. They scratch their crotches so eagerly that I begin to wonder when was the last time they bathed.

"Señorita, do you have any friends who look just like you? Rubias?  We could all go for drinks some time."  His tongue licks his lips and his nostrils flair. His back is erect and his chest expands so much that I'm sure he'll burst the buttons on his tight fitting shirt. Even the thick gold chain dangling from his neck bounces up and down as he strives to breathe. "My cousin has a holiday flat just round the corner. We could go there."  He grins like a buffoon and pokes at his teeth with a toothpick.

I never knew I had this effect on men.

And I never know how to respond when a situation like this arises. I should perhaps be honoured. Maybe I should ignore the scratching of the crotches, the licking of the lips, the innuendos.  In the end, alas, I always feel awkward, disgusted and very disappointed. I feel like saying to him, "I'm going to tell your wife!"

But I don't. I tell his wife that I have just too many students, and that I can no longer tutor her husband. She looks at me knowingly, as if perhaps this has all happened before.

"I understand, señorita. I do. But,  I want you to know something extremely important. My husband is a very noble, very honourable, very well-respected man. Remember that." Then she sees me to the door.



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