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Not that kind of relationship, Tomsett

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Vince_Ulam, Oct 23, 2018.

  1. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

  2. stonerose

    stonerose Occasional commenter

  3. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    If memory serves me right one of our greatest mathematicians was rescued from depression by his 16 year old student. As I recall the story she almost dragged him up the aisle, and by all accounts they enjoyed a long and happy marriage. I wonder what most people would say about this. Should Lagrange have resisted her advances, and maybe had his life (and accomplishments) destroyed by his depression?

    I'm certainly not in favour of older men preying on young girls, but too many people adopt a one size fits all approach to life: it's really not that simple.

    And, perhaps, in later life, fewer women would experience mental issues, due to youthful flings, if our puritanical society didn't tell them they had done something wrong. Perhaps next time a radio station plays Summer the First Time the police should batter down the studio door and arrest the DJ.
     
  4. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I recall a college associate (we were about 21/22. We all went out for a beer with partners and he brought along a considerably older women (she was probably well into her 30s). They told us that she had been his English teacher at school. They had photos that they handed round (this was pre mobile phones) with then together and he looked very young (still at school). Perhaps things were different in the 80s? Although their relationship must have began in the 70s.
     
  5. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    I think it’s more of a perception. I was 23 when I started in a college and my oldest Alevel repeated was 19, nearly 20, but even if we had fancied each other, I wouldn’t have acted on it, because the gossip and potential for disasters would have been huge. Most teachers, like most doctors (apart from Harold) have implemented their own safeguarding and common sense policies for decades. But I accept that these days, we do need safeguarding. Digital media and a changing attitude from both teachers and kids seem to be the main culprits. I swear that A level kids were far happier and far less distracted before mobiles and wireless tech invaded our lives.
     
  6. SparkMaths

    SparkMaths Occasional commenter

    I don't think that we should judge people in the past by modern standards given our increased average life expectancies now, but someone in that position today should be resisting those advances.

    If he figured out that having a wife would cure his depression, he could have found someone age appropriate. Not being able to look after his own mental health doesn't entitle him to take advantage of his student.
     
    Missbubbleblue likes this.
  7. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    And here we have a perfect example of the rigid one size fits all thinking that is so prevalent in UK society. We don't choose who we love: how pretty, intelligent, or how old they are. That's one of the reasons it's so alluring. Did the dragged up the aisle comment not suggest that Lagrange did indeed initially resist her advances? And is not a happy marriage (which is not that common) the real test of whether what he did was appropriate?

    I know someone who responded to Lagrange's story in a very similar way to SparkMaths. The supreme irony is that her marriage was a total disaster. Her divorced alcoholic husband drank himself to death several years ago.

    Finally, not being able to look after his own mental health sounds very much like the kind of thing people expect me to say, as if it's the individual's fault that he has a mental illness.
     
  8. SparkMaths

    SparkMaths Occasional commenter

    You have to be quite rigid on this issue because people who do abuse their position are manipulative people and are always going to be able to justify what they do by manufacturing a story about how it's a really someone else's fault. I'd rather err on the side of caution.

    That's a shame for the Lagrange's of the world if that story really was as nice as you describe, she did have to remarry after he died and didn't seem to have any children so I do wonder what her old age was like, but I'm sure it happens as nicely as you describe in some cases.

    I do have sympathy for his mental health issues, I'm just not comfortable having human beings being used as a cure. Like you say it appears to have been a happy marriage so as long as she got something out of it that's fine!
     
    sabrinakat likes this.

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