At 16.00 am teaching one of the most beautiful women I have known personally. I easily and spontaneously compliment people, not just women, and my compliments are almost always genuine. Yes, almost. Am human after all.

Am not expecting anything in return. Well, it makes my day to see her smile and glow.

So yes, I have complimented the lady in question on her looks several times. She’s my type to a T. She tends to laugh out loud or gives a compliment in return. I know, you can think, she has to smile you’re her teacher. You may think am being overconfident here, but I score pretty high on the empathy scale and always check if she is getting uncomfortable or if she is having fun. Yes, humans are capable of determining that. Bart De Pauw himself has written that he has NO empathy.

She knows am married, she knows I have a son. I know she has a boyfriend and she’s definitely not the type to stray.

But a case like the one we have going in Belgium right now does make you more careful. The past two days I followed Belgium’s first metoo trial minute by minute, live, via several newspapers every chance I got. I grew up watching this dude’s television programmes…

There is – I think – a very wide, Grand Canyonish gap between what Bart De Pauw did and what I do. I don’t contact her outside of class, even though I have her number, I don’t appear at her doorstep, I don’t tell her this has never happened to me before, I don’t say I want to leave my family for her, I never touch her and don’t intend to touch her, if she were to tell me to cut out with the compliments I wouldn’t grade her differently – that would be preposterous -, not a single compliment was sexual in nature, nothing like ‘you look smoking hot in that dress’ at all.

The #metoo movement has been extremely valuable and necessary, but compliments, flirting and humor are some of the things that make life worth living, so am not letting this source of joy be stolen from me.

Today she spontaneously told me something very, very personal. She always shows up earlier than the others, so we were alone. I didn’t compliment her (other than a compliment to the whole group, they’re fast learners), because we had to focus on grammar and we were both in a slightly more serious mood. Her birthday is coming up, so yes, I will get her something. Small, but original.

If #metoo was about stopping exchanges like this as well then we have lost some very toxic shit, but some of the very nice stuff too. Just this morning a 40 old student told me he used to ask women for their phone number on the street, but that now he’s afraid they will call the police.

Throwing out the baby with the bath water.