It's taken me a while to get to posting this, but it was such a bizarre interaction that I have to share. I teach at a CC where it isn't unusual for students to just disappear a few weeks into the semester. Sometimes they magically reappear in the last week or so, foolishly believing that showing up the last week will somehow negate the months of absences and they will pass the class. At the end of last semester a student appeared in my class who looked vaguely familiar. He seemed like your average frat-boy-ish kid, chatted with his classmates, both male and female, and participated in class. At the end of class, he asked to speak to me. It turns out he had been in the class the first few weeks and then stopped coming except for the occasional cameo. He wanted to apologize for his lack of attendance and find out if he could possibly pass the class.
"I'm sorry I haven't been in class very much this semester," he said. "I'm really not a bad student or a slacker. I just have this problem when I have women teachers." (while my CM name may suggest otherwise, I am young(ish) and very conventionally feminine). "When my teachers are women I stare at them a lot during class and it just gets really awkward, so I just don't come to class very often."
I mean, really, what do you say to that? I know, it's amazing, we actually walk and talk like real people! I have a hard time believing it myself!
"It's not that I didn't want to do the work. I just have that problem with female teachers. I stare at them."
I told him that this was something he would have to deal with because the world is full of women and that he had missed too much work to pass. I then suggested that he make sure his professor was a man next time-- we have plenty of them!