Friday, October 21, 2011

Mass Hysteria

My Psychology instructor teeters on the edge of reason, as any good Psychology instructor should. On one hand, he’s a genius; on the other he is a plodding older man who doesn’t know how to use Windows. Each week into this semester has proved more interesting than the last, but I’m hoping that this past Tuesday will be as far as he will push the envelope. I can take it, but I’m not so sure the majority of my classmates, all wide-eyed in wonder and younger than me by at least 15 years, would be able to.

Class started normally enough until he suddenly said “Shit!” and spit his upper dentures into his hand. “Well, they broke,” he concluded upon examining them briefly, then shoved them into his back pocket and continued the lecture. This elicited a few blinks from the audience, and a few bodies shifted in their chairs. Well, it’s not every day that your instructor spits his teeth out.

Thus, he spoke with a lisp the rest of the night as he lectured about Freud and the Victorian times. He started to delve into the phenomena called “Hysteria” that many women were diagnosed with at that time. Students sat close to the edge of their seats, intrigued.

I turned to my partner, one of three of us in that class who are older than the majority of the students and said “Oh my God, is he going there?”

He told us how women with hysteria would make appointments with Dr.’s who would have them sit in modified dental exam chairs with stirrups attached to them and suggested that the female members of the class would know what he meant. Again, I turned to my partner and said “My God, he IS going there.” At this point I had to lay my head sideways on my desk to muffle the giggles I knew would come (pardon the expression).

He continued to explain to his wide-eyed audience how the Dr.’s would reach up under their patient’s skirts and use an apparatus with a rubber tip (of many different designs), stimulating their clitoris and bringing them to orgasm, thus curing them of Hysteria. A pin could drop in the room. My body silently convulsed from giggles and a tear slid down my face. Mind you, his dentures are in his pocket and he is talking with a lisp. He proceeded to explain in detail the differences between a clitoral orgasm and a vaginal one.

After regaining my composure, I wiped my eyes and sat upright to listen again. It’s a good thing I sit in the back row.

That night I learned there are several words that induce severe giggles from me when spoken in a public forum by an older man missing half of his denture palette: Vagina, Clitoris, Dildo, and Orgasm. Heck, these words induce giggles from me anytime I hear them, but hearing them from a toothless teacher is special.

I’m certain that my posting here has failed to accurately depict what occurred in the classroom that night, but I’m pretty sure some of the students were traumatized based upon their lightning fast exits and red faces. And, I learned that after all, I am still a 13 year old girl in Health class who can’t help but giggle like a loon whenever she hears certain words.

And what do dildos have to do with Freud? Well, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

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