When I was about fifteen, we got a new French teacher at school. I went to a girls’ school so anything male was an object of interest. Boys were accepted in the sixth form (the final two years of school) so there were groups of girls dedicated to spotting their boy of choice and reporting back on his activities. Brushing past one’s favourite boy in the corridor was sublime in our fifteen year old minds. Talking to them was a dream come true.
The teachers were slightly different. You couldn’t fantasise about potentially falling in love with them in the same way. Instead of being a few years older, they were twice or three times our age and in charge. There was the Maths teacher who a few girls fancied but it was generally accepted that he was not up there with the best. There was the Music teacher who was lovely and friendly and a great teacher but not fanciable. But then there was his son who came in a few times to help him with something, who looked like Seth Green and had quite a following. The rest of the male teachers made for slim pickings. All great and liked a lot by the students, but not attractive to 15 year olds.
Then along came the French teacher. Cue some atmospheric French music (Joe Le Taxi by Vanessa Paradis, for example) and in strolls Monsieur Perais through a haze of clouds and fuzziness, to the cheers of adoring schoolgirls.
Monsieur Perais was perfect for our cause, ideal for someone predisposed to fixating on things for long periods of time. He divided the girls into those who ridiculed him for his body shape and those who wanted his children.
His body shape. Let me explain. He was a bit short and obviously had worked out a lot in the gym or been a rower or something because he had very muscular shoulders and his upper arms were quite big. From his shoulders down, he got slimmer and slimmer. His waist was quite small and his legs and feet even smaller. There were unfortunate comparisons to Johnny Bravo and quite a few of us took to calling him The Dairylea Triangle.
The crescendo of this Dairylea Triangle love came one evening when I was listening to the radio. It was Sunday and I was waiting for a regular feature with a local Liverpool presenter called Pete Price. One of my claims to fame is that I once called into the Pete Price Show and offered an opinion about whatever he was talking about that day.
Anyway, back to this Sunday evening when I was waiting for Pete Price to come on. It was the section of the show where people can request songs. As I listened the presenter said, “And this next one is a request for Nelly Furtado, I’m Like A Bird, and it’s dedicated to Monsieur Perais.”
One of the girls from school had called in to dedicate a song to the French teacher! I remember thinking, if you’re hoping he’s listening and you’re telling him how you feel, you’ve chosen the wrong song to do so. How does ‘I’m like a bird, I’ll only fly away, I don’t know where my home is, I don’t know where my soul is,’ let the French teacher at school know how you feel about him? If he was listening to it, he must have thought, ‘Ok, well there’s someone out there who telling me she won’t be around for long… Ok. Wierd.’
We all talked about it in school the next day and giggled. Someone had dedicated a song to the Dairylea Triangle! Teehee! I’m going to take a guess that that ‘relationship’ didn’t come to fruition as hoped following the song dedication….