Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Some things you can't discuss with even the most divinely snarky colleagues. From Curly.

Ever had a crush on a student?

"Crush" as I understand it has more to do with excessively dorky interest in the person / excitement at seeing them and less with slavering sexuality, but you all are welcome to answer the question as you prefer, as you no doubt will. 

No need to share what you did about it unless you want to (and if the answer is "it was 50 years ago and I married her despite our 30-year age gap," SPARE ME.) 

And be honest, dammit. 

--Curly Charlan 


  1. A vague sense that, had we met in other circumstances, I might possibly have found this person attractive? A few times. Anything resembling a real crush? Not really. Students, by definition, tend to come in herds, and it takes substantial one-on-one, or at least very small-group, time for me to be attracted to someone. There are some downsides to the fact that I don't really deal all that well with large groups of people; this, I suppose, is one of the upsides.

  2. I had a student in my 4th yr class that sure as heckfire looked like my wife looked 20 years ago when we were both still uni students.
    I sure as heckfire was glad when that semester was over and the student graduated.

  3. When I was a student, I had a MASSIVE crush on my comp-lit professor. I therefore actually read all those great works of Western lit, especially her specialty, Dante.

    As far as students go, naaaah...I go for the intelligent types, you know?

  4. I had a student once who never registered on my radar. Then something I taught in class lit that fire inside him. He was a graduating senior and I somehow (miraculously!) made him think about the importance of his future profession in a way that his own professors-in-his-major had not.

    He was a very good student, but several of his classmates had been distracting me all term with their shenanigans (you know, the 10% that take up 90% of your time...). I was grateful for the little perk in my own ability that his attention gave me.

    Then he started hanging around for a few minutes after class to chat. It was just a few times, but it was nice talking to someone smart. Sadly, it also made me "notice" him -- dude was HOT! Honestly, I had never really even looked at him before (although, reflecting back, there was another guy in the class I had *noticed*... Sheesh... what was up with that group????)

    On the last day of class, he wanted to chat afterwards again, but I got swarmed by the needy lazyasses who wanted extensions, to bitch about their grades, etc. I never saw him again. I regret not being able to thank him for making a hellish semester a little better simply by paying attention and letting me know he learned something.

    I will admit that, after he was no longer my student, I let my mind wander to other avenues of intercourse beyond classroom discussion. *wink-wink* I still think about him sometimes.

    - Anon y Mouse

  5. Replies
    1. A classic.

      Historiann regularly takes on why we just shouldn't go there, including in this recent post.

      Of course, admitting that we're sometimes tempted to go there and actually going there are two very different things. Occasional temptation is probably inevitable for most of us; acting on that temptation is not.

  6. When I first became a full time prof, I had a recent combat veteran in my literature class. He was young and handsome and interesting and mature and very smart. He definitely caught my eye, so I ignored him all semester. However, toward the end of the year, he took a shine to me, and would stay after to chat. On the last day of class, he brought photos of his time in Iraq, and stayed a long time, telling me stories about each photo. It was so interesting and flattering! My heart actually fluttered! I was thrilled. The whole thing is really a blur, but he definitely said something about.....getting together? I actually think I felt faint, and I muttered something, gathered my stuff and left.

    Years later, I saw him on campus in full uniform. He was there as part of some military activity. As soon as I saw him, I went the other way, and I have not seen him since. I'm a happily married proffie, after all!

    1. This was the first thing I thought of, too. The vets.

      I don't think I've ever had a crush on a student, but there have certainly been the students who have made me much more excited and happier to go to class. They can be so interesting. In my experience, they have been the vets, the older students, and the students who had previous careers in other countries. In other words, they had survived shit, they'd had interesting experiences, and they weren't taking anything for granted like so many of their 20-year-old classmates.

      I had a student who was maybe 40 years old and had been a medical doctor in Bangladesh (his homeland). The sea of teenie-boppers sitting around him in class looked like zombies. They didn't look very interested. They skipped class. But the Bangladeshi student never missed a class, always asked great questions, never brown-nosed me, was able to relate stories from his previous medical career to the material we were discussing. He made what could have been a miserable semester into something so much more enjoyable.

      Those are also the students who, at the end of the semester, are much more likely to formally thank me for the experience they had in my class. And it's not that they're trying to get a good letter of recommendation from me. They rarely, if ever, are. They're just fellow adults on a journey of discovery, I guess.

      This makes me think that maybe a required 2-year national military or social-service commitment would be a good idea for our 18-year-olds.

  7. not since I was a grad student in my 20s.

  8. I would be lying if I claim to have never noticed, at least once in a long while, the charms of one of my students. But I've done so more in the sense that I've seen beauty in a Renoir or Monet; to borrow from Ray Davies of The Kinks, I'm an art lover. It never goes beyond the briefest distraction, in part because of thought processes that I'll try to recreate now.

    What could the student offer me? At my age, I'm increasingly able to find substantial gratification in my internal wires and tubes and pumps simply doing what they all should at the same time; a roll in the hay is over far too quickly to compete with that. So, on to emotional intimacy. That's a non starter: I don't enjoy their music, past-times, etc., and they are typically too ignorant of the world to sustain more than a brief conversation about it. Not even if I weren't married for longer than my students have been alive would these things change.

    What about the thrill of the chase or the allure of forbidden fruit? Every working day is head-deskingly, face-palmingly full of unrequited pursuit that plays out in almost every interaction with those above and below me in the organizational ladder; I don't need or want another. Which brings up the idea that I would develop a crush on a student who is "attainable" in that she also seems to have a crush on me. Nope, don't want any of that, either.

    What could I offer a student? I suppose there's the power of my position and the attendant favors it could bestow, and there's the "worldliness" and emotional stability (ha!) that my maturity might provide. If there's an attraction to my physical appearance, it's most likely because it evokes the aforementioned power and maturity; I am far from meriting a chili pepper for adhering to norms of youthful fitness and handsomeness. I don't need to be anybody's daddy or gift-giver, my own child excepted.

    1. What could I offer a student? Very little, unless they had an unhealthy interest in a Marty Feldman lookalike.
      On the site that shall remain nameless, the only flora I am likely to acquire is a durian.

      Not a crush on a student, but I have a guy now who is so similar to my son. Disconcertingly, he moves the same way, and has many of the same little quirks. It’s really odd (for me) interacting with him.

      The good news is that neither of these guys has much of the Marty Feldmans about them, but I suppose it is possible that Mrs. EC1 has some explaining to do here.

    2. EC1, that reminds of my own situation: I have a student who would be the doppleganger of my best friend since university (and we're old enough that our oldest sons are only several years away from university themselves). When I see him on campus I feel like going up and giving him a long solid heartfelt hug and some strong claps on the shoulders while I'm saying "hey man, how's it going? so good to see you!!" as I do when I see my friend a couple of times of year. I feel like sitting on the faculty lounge couch with him beside me while we both drink some beer and shoot the shit, because it is much more enjoyable to do face-to-face rather than down a long-distance phone line. And I'm reminded of the shenanigans we used to get up to when we were young, and which we like to reminisce about when we get together, to which I'm sure this young fellow would become bewildered, listening to this grey-haired fellow prattle on with stories like "Hey, there was this one time when at 3 in the morning, after a long night at the bar, we..." I'm pretty sure all of these emotions play across my face as I openly stare at him as we pass each other in a hallway or campus path.

    3. Totally with you on this, PP.

      I really hope I control my face when this student either does something great or something dumb (much like my son, he rarely stays anonymously near the mean of any group). I can't recuse myself from teaching this guy, but I wonder what the hell anyone makes of my face as we interact.

  9. At my first tenure-track job, I was preparing for my first graduate class, and a woman knocked on my office door. She asked where my suite mate might be. She was in a word stunning. Near my age, a grad student I assumed.

    I saw her an hour later--when I walked into my classroom. And from that moment, she was my student.

    Once a student a person should only be that.