Last night I attended a class to learn teaching English as a foreign language. It was all jolly enough until sensitivity to cultural differences popped up. Oh dear God! I've written at length about the phenomenon of white people taking offence on behalf of other cultures but it would appear that it has reached new levels of insanity.
The dreary teacher kicked off sensibly enough by pointing out that low cut and revealing clothes would be inappropriate in any classroom situation but might cause particular offence to people from other cultures. I have no argument with that. She then went on to explain that Muslims might be offended by female teachers wearing make up. I should stress at this point that the classes I'm being trained for will take place in Scotland not Saudi Arabia.
That was it for me. I shyly raised my hand and asked if they'd ever had any actual complaints about teachers wearing make up on cultural or religious grounds. 'Not so far' she replied, I quickly looked round at the other students and teachers and thought she was probably correct.
I then went on to explain that I only wondered because I'd been working with a number of Muslims for nearly two years and no-one had ever seemed offended by me wearing make up. That's when the real liberal madness kicked in, apparently Muslims would be 'too frightened' or unable to say in English that I was upsetting them. I thought of asking which part of the Qu'ran they'd taken this from but doubted any of them had ever read further than a particularly insane council memo issued in 1987 and let them ramble on.
I could have gone further though, I could have mentioned the particularly glamorous and heavily made up Iranian Muslim women I was dealing with earlier in the year, I could have pointed out that many of my clients were English speakers and very assertive. I could have stated that my cultural sensibilities were offended by imaginary Muslims taking offence at mascara. I could also have dipped into my handbag and produced a 45% proof bottle of Turkish Raki, given to me by a teetotal Muslim as evidence that not everyone is an idiotic, censorious, politically correct bore.
Anyway never let it be said I'm not a reasonable person, in order to placate the touchy Muslims living in the minds of the politically correct, I intend to purchase the abaya pictured above under which I can paint my face with the entire Dior counter if I so choose. Oh for heavens sake! Who am I trying to kid? I did what anyone would do in my situation and bought a pair of false eyelashes and a tube of bright red lipgloss to wear when I take my first class.