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You've come a long way, Bunsen

Today is Robert Bunsen's 200th Birthday.

He is the chemist who invented the bunsen burner which lead to the invention of the Bialetti stove-top coffee maker, so as far as LOML’s concerned he is the best inventor ever.

But that’s not why I noticed his birthday.

We all have a Mean Girls story from our school days. Mine happens to be a Mean Boys story, but we all know how these things play out. Group of kids makes life a misery for single kid for reasons known and unknown to themselves only.

I guess being nicknamed Bunsen and having a large group of boys call out ‘heeeeey BUUUNNNSEEEN’ every single time you walked past them isn’t the end of the world. I’ll take that any day of the week over so much of the teenage warfare a lot of kids endure.

But still.

Ground-opening humiliation for a teenager desperately wanting to fit in, even if the boys only came up to my armpit and, like all teenage boys, had absolutely nothing to offer. On and on and on it went. I went from laughing it off with a sweep of my offensive tresses, to attempting to ignore it, to only ever walking in the centre of a gang of girls, to going miles out of my way to avoid them altogether.

The burden of the peer group.

You know, once those boys stopped being a peer group, many turned out to be very nice indeed. I was oddly the only girl invited to every single one of those boys’ 21st birthday parties. I went along to a couple. To them it was ‘hey old mate!’ and I realised that as BUUUUNNNSSEEEEEN I was always a part of their gang; their quirky little mate who took teasing on the chin. They were boys and that’s just what boys do. Shudder.

The mystery of the peer group.

That’s what Robert Bunsen means to me. Happy birthday, clever man.

Were you picked on as a child? Do you think that Bunsen was bullied? What's the line between teasing and bullying? Is there one?

[Image by giac1061]


Felicity said...

Trust you to find a bright side to something unpleasant and bring light to the positive possibilities.

You are a shining light Bella and not just because of your gorgeous tresses.

xx Felicity

Me 'N My Monkeys said...

Certainly a very clever man..
Happy birthday Awesome man! :)

I guess it all really comes down to bullying..

ClaireyH said...

Bullying stories always upset me, I don't really like teenagers, we might move to the desert when my girls hit the teens and return when they are 25.

Cheryl Gerbera said...

I agree with you that's just what boys do... they tease and quite often, they don't think before they speak.

But bullying I guess is a different story, and obviously is a big issue here in Australia since that big bullied school boy snapped and its video came to light on TV ...

So of course when there's a (thin) line between teasing and bullying. And you just have to know when to stop (or when to start defending yourself if you're in the opposite side)


Faith Hope and a whole lotta Love said...

I was picked on& teased....especially by the boys. It scarred me for life & some days I really want to protect my girls so badly from any of it. XO

Sam-O said...

Sorry it was a trial for you, but what a cool nickname to live up to. I was a science geek at a geeky school. You would have been cool having that nickname there. It would be a compliment! Lots of my classmates are well known scientists, medical researchers and specialist Doctors now.

Today I was thinking of Dr Bunsen Honeydew and his "assistant" Beaker when I heard it was the anniversary of Bunsens birthday. I loved the Muppets and poor Beaker really did cop it from Dr Bunsen.
Still makes me giggle. So simple but clever.

MomAgain@40 said...

Interesting connotation between "Bunsen" and bully! (Nice post!)
Looking back I would think that you would find it kinda cool to be called Bunsen! And it seems it was more of an endearing term, than a snear... You were(is) probably very bright as well! ;-)

A Farmer's Wife said...

When I look back at being a teenager it seems that there were lots of "rules" governing teenage society. I was one of those people who just snuck through the middle - not bullied or anything but definitely not a cool girl....

I loved this post - and Happy Birthday to Bunsen too!

Alice Becomes said...

oh wow...not sure what to say here...i was a middle person in high school, much like the way A Farmer's Wife described...and I hate hate HATE bullying in any form,and I do remember sticking up for people being bullied in high school BUT (and I feel a compulsive need to be honest here)I ALSO remember calling a friend of mine "Bunsen" in late primary school, i truthfully didn't even know what a Bunsen Burner was at the time, but I knew my friend hated it - and I continued to call her it...I was 12 and didn't really know why it got to her but i kept doing it as I got a reaction...had forgotten all about it until now, funnily enough I am still close with the girl I called Bunsen...i even was one of her bridesmaids a few years back

i thought it was teasing at the time. but looking back, and as I knew it upset her, i would have to say that right now, i am feeling bad about it !

calling said friend tomorrow!!!!

Gill xo

Cate said...

Being good at sport was always a really great protection for me against bullies. But yes, I do think there is a very big difference between being teased and being bullied. I'm quite happy to leave my kids to their own devices if I think it is just 'normal' school yard stuff...but I have gone in to bat for my eldest a couple of times with her teachers to protect her from a bully in her class - even though she is good at standing up for herself, there are somethings a little girl should be able to rely on her mummy for :-)

Flaming Nora said...

I think children are actually quite like a pack of wild animals when en mass, they do seen to like to get a reaction and when they do it just gives them more fuel to the fire. I also think that as teenagers there are so many confusing things happening and especially boys find it hard to articulate what they really want to say. Which is "Hey look at me, pay me some attention, I really quite like you". However Children also have no idea of boundarys and when to stop. I don't suppose this will ever change, I think its just what they do. But as adults it is up to us to guide them and teach them the appropriate ways to behave. I've noticed how different things are at my son's school than they were when I was their age. The teachers are very hot on this kind of behaviour and are constantly impressing on the kids the caring way to behave towards their classmates.
Didn't stop my boy being badly bullied last year but it did help with the solution when the crisis broke.
Happy Birthday Mr Bunsen.

Mumbling Mum said...

*shudder* at the thought of my new baby boy going to school, just hope I can arm him with enough self confidence and compassion not to take any notice of the inevitable name-calling and teasing that most kids endure.
I think they do it to show off, trying to make sure they are above someone, anyone in the natural order of popularity.
It's amazing how that stuff sticks with you throughout your life. I didn't make it easy for myself though, we just moved to a new area days before I started High School and on week one I managed to whack a very popular girl in the face playing hockey. Not good!

Kerry x

Glen said...

If it hadn't been for the teasing from the lads at school I would never have given up dancing. Who knows what I could be doing now if I'd kept it up? I could be on the stage - I could be John Travolta - I could be secretly gay!

We will never know for sure because I bowed to peer pressure, stopped dancing and the rest, as they say, is history

Mama of 2 boys said...

What a great post and something new I've learnt for the day also!
I used to get picked on catching the bus when I was in my first year of high school... and like yourself, by boys. They were from our 'brother' school, as I attended an all girls school. I was always taught to rise above teasing and taunts and growing up with 6 of my own brothers, I had fairly thick skin.
But these boys were relentless and meeeean. I think it all came to a head when they threw a tomato at me and the bus driver gave them what for.
From that point on, the teasing stopped. I was quietly satisfied that I never had to handle them personally. Just dickheads really.

Lucy said...

I was teased in similar fashion. At age 11- 14 I was a sporty small thing whom adolesence had not touched. In a geography lesson when our teacher asked one of the boys to point out the flatlands, a whole row of them turned around and pointed at me. I nearly died.

I was know as "Flats" from that point on, despite gaining an impressive rack at age 14. Those boys STILL call me "Flats"

Those same boys became my allies and closest friends. I am still in touch with them all.

Bullying is horrific. Teasing, as much as it irritates and perhaps hurts at the time, is different.

I sense that 12 year old boys tease girls because of a lack of social confidence when the hormones are just beginning to rear...

Daydream Living said...

I just read your talk too much post, and have to say, we are the same, I talk to much all the time! And now my youngest daughter has the talk virus too, so for me, keep on talking, a lot, knowing that you are not alone and please don't stop.
Maureen x

MultipleMum said...

Bunsen was a term of endearment for those fellas, Maxabella! Probably not so obvious to you but plenty obvious to your younger sister!

Happy B'day Mr Bunsen.I have many fond memories of lighting farts in chemistry :)

ForeverRhonda said...

I was bullied. Girls put gum in my hair, I got beat up by 4 girls. Teasing is one thing, but being cruel is another. Sometimes kids need help finding the line I think.

happy birthday Mr. Bunsen...without you I would have missed many a very cool experiment.

Tricia Rose said...

Isn't it odd, we all remember being bullied, but don't remember bullying, and knowing my own wicked tongue I'm sure that was how I chose to 'defend' myself. I can only offer heartfelt apologies into the ether years later.

deux chiens et un garcon said...

Good morning. I remember being teased by boys for having no boobs in early high school. Some girls were very mature and were actually already being quite sexual. I remember being afected at times but in the end they actually became my buddies as well. Their teasing was never nasty. There were some girls who made my life hell. They were a bit more explicit in the language. I just ignored them which I think gave me strength.

Brenda @ Mira Narnie said...

oooh the biglietti - really? who would;ve thunk??
yes, mortifyingly i was picked on a great deal at school - boys, girl, teachers, parents (oh yes!! try being the only child of any race other than Aussie and BAM! licence for everyone to pick on you) after 4 years, they finally gave up. hard, but got through it, and like you, those worse offenders ended up being my friends in the end xx
I think Bunsen would have been picked on too!

Quill and Ink Handmade said...

I wonder if all kids are teased or bullied in some way during their schooling years?
One of the shortest kids in my early high school class also had the biggest, filthiest mouth, and delighted in saying horrid, derogatory things to others. I’d been teased on and off through primary school, so I guess I had thicker skin by then, and tried to ignore him the best I could.
But I have often though of him over the years, and wondered if he was ever remorseful for the awful things he said to others.
Great post, Maxabella :)

Wendy said...

You're a trooper! Way to make it through high school...


Miss Pink said...

For me the line between teasing and bullying is teasing is a little fun, usually at someone's expense, but hey, it's good to be able to laugh at yourself right?
Bullying is when asked to stop if people keep on doing it. That to me is the clear line there, if you're asked to stop, you stop, if you don't you are being a bully.
I had a very awful nickname after a common household pest that i dare not repeat. I didn't take too much offense to it because i was very "whatever" but looking back, i probably should have, it wasn't very nice.
I also used to cop a line from a popular drink driving commercial and get told to go to bed a lot (if you catch my drift... ;])

I was "one of the guys" too and funny you mention because guys giving you nicknames? It's just...well guys. It's not meant bitchy or derogatory, i mean they usually have shocking nicknames themselves. But i copped a lot of the girl bitchiness which is nasty and set out to hurt.

Bron said...

I know, boys right? Ok. And sadly girls too.

I was bullied in high school and it was horrible.

Something interesting (and positive) though -- recently one of the main offenders sent me an email of apology. 16 years after we finished high school! Hmm. Think there may be an article in that...

kitty said...

Teenage boys are a strange animal.
I was teased by two when I was in highschool. Later on, at different times, they professed their "love" for me. Weird!?!? 5 years of teasing & they actually liked me? So strange.
Have a gorgeous day.

Joni Llanora said...

Lucky I was never teased or bullied. But seeing the news stories always give me a scare & gets me worried about my little girl. So far, no unleasant incident in school yet so im glad.

Andrea said...

I was the master of duck water (off my back) combined with obliviousness which worked well when it came to being the 'wierd' girl. 'God your wierd' was about as bad as it got. The nicknames though were a little more interesting....
curtain, lurch, herman, salami, dre, drea, dr. dre, ondiswell, ondy..

Anya adores said...

Teenagers are soo cruel - I also got picked on and had an awful time early teenage years. But then I went away for Summer hols, met some new and cool people - and I started to believe that I was cool, and trust me - went back to school not giving a monkeys what anyone said.
It worked :O)
Good for you buuuunseeeen - you are the coolest :O)

therhythmmethod said...

Boys are strange, aren't they? I think their mouths aren't necessarily connected to their brains for a few years in between childhood and manhood.
I was bullied a bit when I moved high schools, but I was a cheeky little thing and just stuck up for myself. It didn't feel very nice, but you all grow up and move on. The boys who picked on me were very nice to me at our HS reunion. Go figure.

Kymmie said...

I don't care what anyone says, that stuff is with you for life. I was called horrid names as a child thanks to my maiden name (which I no longer carry - thank GOD!) I didn't mind losing that one to marriage.

But yes, those taunts still create a little fear in me...

Happy Birthday Bunsen. Eeew, science is so NOT my thing!


TexaGermaNadian said...

Really really cute! And elegant looking, especially for a science tool :) Stopped over from the Post of the Month Club hop and decided to have a look around. YOu have a beautiful blog!

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