So the Prof had his set of three (and perhaps more) postdoc fans.
The tale of the Oxford Prof’s group continued
In some cases the Prof was somewhat proactive, arranging activities so that he could spend some time with these fans. But for the most part he was passive. He might turn up if invited. Occasionally there was a degree of physical flirtation, his knees pressed in through the back of a chair. Or a little foot stroking under the table at drinks after the meeting. Sometime he would lean forward and talk into the ear of one of the fans. There was much innuendo. Some of which was even good.
Then there were also pauses. Breaks. Where he could not attend any meetings. For weeks. Or months.
The fans did not know what to make of the gaps. The obvious interpretation was that they were not, after all, what he was interested in. Which they thought was fair enough, if somewhat difficult to square with his previous behaviour.
But infilling the gaps there was also the Departmental Mailing List. Into it were cast many things. Some of which pertained to the fans. Some to work. Some to home lives. By means of the List the whole department would learn interesting snippets. About the postdocs. About the Prof’s view on them. And the Prof’s interests. And whilst the list was often inconvenient and rather public, it was also amusing and considered essential reading for everyone. The List was how information was disseminated. For the Prof might acknowledge other forms of communication from the postdocs in the gaps. But it was usually via the mailing list, rather than via the original form.
That List was key. The postdoc fans did not really know what to make of this method of communication. Maybe the Prof was a little paranoid? Maybe there was a reason for the paranoia? But it seemed harmless. It was often very amusing. Much of it made them laugh. They were frankly a bit hooked. And it was all indirect, so nothing could be said for definite. And maybe that was a good idea in uncertain times?
[end of part 2]