I never thought that I would be forced to encounter sixth form bullies Nasty N and Crafty C after I left school, but here they were, just across the room. It was over thirty years too late, but now – at long last – I had the courage to tackle them.
I shouted loudly that it was shameful to pick on someone on the basis of hair colour. My audience cheered. I continued in my rant drawing parallels with unwarranted discrimination against others on the basis of race, gender, and sexuality. A man in the front row offered his support by declaring that everyone should give a donation to the zoo to help fund the pandas.
Nasty N, dressed in a bright orange cocktail dress, was clearly ashamed of her part in the name-calling. She broke free from her partner in crime to ran up to me and start a private conversation. She told me about her wayward sixteen year old daughter, and her own failure to find a life-partner. Meanwhile Crafty C was unrepentant. She screamed back at me angrily, topping all her insults with the cruellest one of all: calling me “Ms” instead of “Dr”.