No one would tell me why Zev's swim instructor left. One day, a few
months ago, the office staff at the school just said, "He's not here
anymore." And then followed that up with a heavy silence that
suggested, "And you know why."
Thing is, I didn't.
thought Ta-Da (that's what Zev called him, "Ta-Da!") was a bit of a
diva. From what I could tell, he tried to change his schedule every
week. He insisted on eating his lunch in the pool. He was a bit snippy
But he was fantastic with the kids, really
able to read them and challenge them in a natural and gentle way. So, I
couldn't imagine what he could possibly have done to get kicked out of
Then a few days ago, a fellow Pool Mom asked me, "Did he ever hit on you?"
were sitting poolside, watching our little swimmers squirm and squiggle
in the water, and she explained, "He hit on all the moms. People
complained about it. That's why he was fired."
"Seriously?" I said. " That's why he was fired?"
"Yes," she said. "He didn't hit on you?"
guess I have a different definition of being "hit on" than the other
moms. Yes, Ta-Da would often comment on my appearance. But it's not
like he ever asked for my number. Frankly, I thought his attentions
were exaggerated attempts at small talk.
Once, when I showed up
with unwashed hair, glasses and my favorite 17-year-old sweatshirt, he
said, "Damn, girl, you're looking fine."
I nearly fell over laughing.
"I'm serious," he said. "Did you lose weight?"
is not the stuff of a sexual predator. This is the stuff of someone who
wants a nice Macy's gift certificate at the end of the school year.
quizzed Pool Mom a bit about her own experience: Had Ta-Da been
aggressive? No. Did he use foul or explicitly sexual language? No. Did
he ever proposition her? No.
So what was the problem?
"He really intimidated me," she said.
Ta-Da really did cross a line with someone – I have no way of knowing.
But if just saying stupidly inappropriate things is intimidating, then
I must come across as Andre the Giant.
treatments failed me, I told curvaceous Lyn that I was going to start
burning incense at her feet. I compared a buff former NYPD cop friend
to an oak tree, ready to climb.
If I had to communicate without innuendo for one week, I'd be reduced to shadow puppets by Wednesday.
me, flirtatious banter is the currency of everyday interactions. Maybe
I'm wrong to call a beautiful girlfriend of mine "Gorgeous." Or maybe
complimenting a waiter's smile can be constituted as harassment.
maybe, just maybe, the complaining Pool Moms had their bikinis in a
bunch over nothing. Maybe Ta-Da wasn't coming on to
people, he was talking to them.
It's been nearly four months
since Zev has seen Ta-Da, but he still talks about him – a testament, I
think to the instructor's gift with kids. Ta-Da earned his nickname
because he taught my son to say "Ta da!" after every impressive
accomplishment – floating on his back, kicking his legs. Zev loved the
encouragement and will now routinely say "Ta da!" when he feels proud
of something he's done.
I usually clap my hands and repeat the exclamation. But I think I won't just repeat his "Ta da!" anymore.
Now I'll tell him, "And you looked good doing it."