Bloggers and commenters involved in our discussion of the romantic lives of faculty have brought up the problems associated with dating colleagues in the academy. This reminds me of the adage, more true now than ever.
That's what I did. Let me be clear: prior to being married, I was very "pro dating students." I dated several and made overtures to many. Only undergrads - I considered grad students to be too old for me. (No offense, we all have our peculiarities about dating partners.) Sometimes it was for love, other times only a short-lived passion, once because me and the student had nothing better to do after my summer class. My most memorably romance was sustained by her need to pass a chemistry class. I did all that I could to help. I don't have any regrets except for those students who turned me down.
If I had to guess, many of you are disgusted with me. Although I shouldn't need to defend myself against your puritanical viewpoint, I will say that at the time, everybody just accepted it. Dating students was part of the culture of the institution. The administration knew it happened. Female students weren't clueless, that's for sure. It was not just a lot of sex on the desk, though, well, it wasn't just sex on the desk. We cared for each other and in some cases, loved each other like human beings are known to do.
Look, it's hard to find a compatible partner in the best of circumstances. Are any of you going to cast the first stone at me?