My dad and I recently replaced the hand shower and rail and mixer taps in over 100 Mater Private Hospital bathroom ensuites. Due to the size of the job and the complexity of working in rooms with patients, we had to get two other plumbers from our commercial fit out work to help out.
It was during smoko that I talked with the guys and reminisced about studying at Tafe and how I disliked the experience immensely and the other plumbers agreed that they hated college too. Both the plumbers were mature age, a father to five children and were happily married.
I complained about the number of smoko breaks and how the other apprentices would dessert the tafe at lunchtime and check out the topless waitresses at the Pinkenba hotel. I was invited a number of times to ‘tag’ along for lunch to which my only reply was ‘I don’t drink beer, and I’m not into boobs’. (Bad talk, I know, but I unfortunately succumbed to this purely as a social ‘survival’ mechanism) What greatly disturbed me was the number of happily married men or guys who had girlfriends, who without hesitation rocked up to the Pinkenba and took photos to bring back to show their class of their ‘encounter’ with Chantelle, or Fantasy or whatever their names were.
What did I expect though? I was in a man’s world, but is a ‘man’s world’ really dominated by their sex drive and need to view another woman’s body when they have the free viewing of their own partner’s body?
‘Sexy’ is a man who works hard, and is driven to succeed and look after what he’s gained. Nothing screams more sexy than a man who chases the woman of his dreams, catches her and keeps and treasures her for the rest of his life, not a guy who chases after lust and who’s private parts have been who knows where!!
I thank the Lord that I was married when I went to tafe and that I knew what sex was all about. I wouldn’t have survived tafe if I didn’t have this prior knowledge and a very supportive husband who was equally disgusted by the behaviour of the guys I went to college with.
The reality is most plumbers aren’t like what I have described, but the majority of the guys I went to tafe with were. This is why I cringe at the thought of putting more girl apprentices through the tafe system. It might be equal opportunity, but it’s socially inequitable and quite simply a very degrading environment and atmosphere to learn in.