Last week, I was knitting in a Theory tutorial. Yes, knitting. Not metaphorically, but actually, really, with needles and wool.
This is the set up, as I arrive at my 5th out of 6 theory classes this week, one of the earlier ones was described in the previous post):
Female student: What are you doing over there?
Male student: Knitting [and he was]
Female student: Why? [my thoughts exactly]
Male student: Well, it's feminism this week, so I'm subverting stereotypes.
Me: Very good, Student with Welsh Name, carry on!
Male student: Actually, I've got a problem - look, that bit's gone all loopy, have I dropped some stitches?
Me: Looks like it.
Male student: How would I fix it?
I explain how I would fix it.
Male student: Could you fix it for me?
I point out that this might in some ways re-institute stereotypes, and I also suggest we should get on with the class - other students are extremely amused by this interchange, but aren't learning much (other than how I would fix the dropped stitches). He doesn't object, and we turn to feminist theories. Shortly afterwards I set them some tasks to work on, without me, in small groups.
Me: Student with Welsh Name, would you like me to fix your knitting whilst you're group-working?
Male Student: Yes, please!
Goodness knows what the Head of Department whose office is across the courtyard and whose window looks in on my tutorial room will think if he looks over at this point. Some time elapses, and I give the knitting back to the student.
Male student: It's fixed! how did you do that without undoing it all?
I'm tempted to say 'By Magic', but the truth is that, on closer inspection, there really wasn't anything wrong with it - he'd just pulled some of the stitches by sticking his needle through it in an odd place. I just knitted a row or two and then gave it back.
Theory. It isn't all dull, or such hard work as the previous post suggests. Thank you to Student with Welsh Name for making me smile so much this week, both in your lively attempt to subvert stereotypes, and in having faith in my knitting skills.