By Laurel Santini

October 1, 2018


You hoped she wouldn't show up today, the student who scares you. She in her crop tops and lace-up tanks, her camis with labels like Juicy or Nasty Gal that stick up between her thick shoulder blades. But here she is, late. Huffing and banging, she takes a seat next to you in the circle of desks. "I need one of those," she demands, pointing to a handout she notices the other students reading.

She speaks up, takes notes with a pencil that has lost its eraser. And when it is clear to her she's got it, this lesson you’ve prepared, she pulls out her phone. You have rules about them in your syllabus, but say nothing. Her fingers swipe the screen, then she stops to cluck at a post. She must feel you looking. Here are pictures of women in bathing suits, underwear. Rears popped out like turkey timers. Some rest a heeled foot on a toilet seat or their buttocks on a crowded vanity. They pose before bathroom mirrors, moldy grout, drugstore shampoos corralled in plastic bins, suction cups loosening from the tiles. They hold up their phones, and it is the way they look at the camera. That love for themselves, so bold and shameless. It is something your student knows, too. Something you’ve never learned.

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