In the movie The Shadowlands , C.S. Lewis' collegues in academia were intrigued with his personal life. Some thought his relationship with the divorced American woman, Joy, was immoral-others, scandelous gossip material.
In particular I remember a scene when Joy was visiting the University. She noticed the looks of Lewis' collegues and took special measures to touch Lewis' face in a familiar way. Later Joy confronts Lewis about their relationship. It isn't until Joy is dying with cancer that a distraught Lewis opens up to a collegue about his true feelings for Joy. Lewis and Joy had been married for some time as a means to allow Joy to stay in England. Ths confession of his true feelings for Joy to his collegue is a catalyst for Lewis after which he asks Joy to marry him for love. They are soon married by a Priest in her hospital room.
I've received recently at my reception desk in the communication department inquiries about the personal life of a faculty member. I tried my best to be diplomatic and truthful in my answer while being respectful of the faculty's privacy.
As I was reflecting on these incidents I was reminded of C.S. Lewis. I wondered if the academic environment was prone to such musings about the private lives of its constiuents? Or was it the personality of those attracted to the academic life that led them to be hesitant to share details about their lives? I don't know the answer to either of those questions, but I rather think that there isn't just one answer.
Is it better to be open about your life or to ignore the wispered murmering in the hallways?