Thursday, January 31, 2013
Why I Do Dinner
Also, and no less important, they need a place to practice their grown up manners, goddamn it. I've had students ask "Do we need to bring anything?" and I tell them directly "Yes. When invited to someone's home for dinner it is customary to bring some small and inexpensive gift, usually consumable. Chocolate or wine is acceptable. Don't bring flowers; I won't have time to put them in a vase. Don't expect the wine or chocolates to be opened that evening, because they may not go with the menu we've planned." They need to know these things, and possibly no one has ever told them. I sometimes think we need a class in how to hold a fork and put a napkin on their laps.
I certainly do not do this to be liked. I do not become BFFs with students or have them over outside of that rather formal gathering. Hell no. I learned that lesson early in my career. But also, I do like most of my students, in the sense that I wish the vast majority of them well and am interested to hear about what they do after college. I think at least some of them probably like me, which is fine. Where the social interaction with students goes wrong, I think, is not in wanting to be liked. We all like to be liked. I think it's in needing to be loved.
And I could never love them. They have abysmal taste in wine.