I have to admit that twice during my time at Secondary School I was the only boy in a class of girls. What's more it wasn't an unpleasant experience. In one of those classes, it happened by chance. I was the only boy in my year who signed up for higher German. The other class was voluntary.
It was an elective class. We had the choice of Woodwork (or was it Metalwork? I can't remember, I didn't take that class) or Home Economics.
It was one of those moments when I realised I could do what I wanted to do and not what I was expected to do. I didn't fancy a term learning how to make a wooden racing car (I gave that to my little brother as a Christmas present) or a metal teapot stand (Mum's still using it twenty-five years on), in the presence of a group of teenage youths who I had no affinity with, so I went for Home Economics.
I reasoned that learning cooking would be much more useful to me in adult life. Besides, chefs were men weren't they?
So to the great surprise of my teachers, I went with my gut instinct and spent the next term in the...
(I didn't see that coming.)
This was one of the most useful and practical classes I ever took. Today I darn my own clothing, sew buttons, and take up hems. It was a haven from the stress of school life. The girls were nice. The teacher was nice. I made two glove puppets that term. I didn't get any hassle or teasing. Their may have been an initial reaction of 'how odd, a boy doing sewing' but I was accepted as one of the class.
It must have been a portent of things to come. I now work on a ward where I am the only male staff nurse amongst a team of women. I guess that's the way it was meant to be.