People seem to enjoy it when I rag on college, and modern romance. Since it’s the frozen ass-end of winter and maybe fourteen people read this thing anyway, might as well give the people what they want. But first, check this out. It’s a nearly decade-old piece from a sadly defunct site called The Last Psychiatrist, answering the burning question “Are all drug reps hot?”
I get asked a similar question a lot. When people find out I’m retired from “higher” “””education,””” if they’re anything but rabid Leftists they usually ask me a series of questions: Why are professors such hypocritical assholes? and Is there really any point to ___ Studies? and Why do they pay the football coach umpteen zillion dollars a year to never finish higher than third in the conference? If the questioner is a man, though, and we’re out drinking, after a few martinis they always get around to: But what about…. you know… the girls?
Where to start? Since there’s no avoiding prurience here let’s get one thing out of the way up front. This is TLP, not me, but it holds for coeds, too:
These people are prone to two errors. A psychological one: fetishization; and a biological one: mistaking for beauty what is merely youth.
Taking the second first: I made the same mistake. I came to the ed biz later than most, having had a “real” job back in my other life, so when I first got to grad school I was amazed at how hot the girls were. Like everyone else I was a TA for Intro to Studies 101, but unlike everyone else I must’ve gotten the “sorority girls only” section, because every single chick in it was a knockout.
Now I’ll cop to being a little slow on the uptake, but I’m not that dumb. So I started looking a little closer — purely in the interests of science, you understand — and it wasn’t long until I realized that yeah, what I thought at first was smokin’ hotness was just youth. Back in the office I’d been surrounded by women who were equally attractive, but not equally young. A few years in a high-stress job puts a lot of miles on you.
But the other, fetishization element came into it too. Not like that, get your minds out of the gutter, let me explain:
I don’t think it ever really was, but if “coed” was a fetish its days are long past. In a country where the vast majority of people have at least a semester or two of college, not even “sorority girl” really moves the needle much. Rather, all the “fetish” stuff comes from the other side. After spending oh-god-sooooo-many hours getting harangued by the HR ladies about “sexual harassment,” even the most cynical teacher finds himself wondering what he’d do if some slinky young thing really did show up at office hours, close the door, and declare she’ll do anything to pass the class…
Which never happens, of course. I’ve never even heard of it, and I taught at lots of places, for many years, among male colleagues (and a lot of lesbians) who were desperately horny losers. The reason is twofold. The first, and most obvious, is that even if some girl really is that mercenary / sociopathic — and y’all have me on record, at great length, describing what little sociopaths modern kids are — there’s a much simpler alternative available: Straight-up bribery. But notice that’s the one thing you never even hear suggested, though it’s the easiest thing in the world. TAs get paid peanuts; I don’t know how low the bidding could’ve gone, but having seen the squalor in which lots of my fellow grad students lived, twenty bucks doesn’t seem unreasonable….
But no, not even the goofball Hollywood parents busted “bribing” their kids’ way into places like USC offered a straight quid pro quo transaction. Their scam was, in fact, bizarrely elaborate….
Which is the “fetish” thing. College is more than a closed system; it’s its own ecosystem, its own world. Everyone is deeply invested in it, while they’re in it. I have no doubt that the thought “Maybe I should’ve slipped him a Benjamin” has occurred to more than one of my former students… long after they’ve graduated. And believe me, the thought “I would’ve taken it” has occurred to me more than once… long after my retirement. But at the time? Fuhgettaboudit.
Even though we act like everything we do is a straight cash-for-services transaction, we can’t possibly acknowledge this obvious fact, lest we find ourselves wondering just what the hell we’re doing there in the first place. Snowflake knows she’s going to get her A if she gripes far enough up the chain of command, just as the prof knows he’s going to buckle when the Dean (or whoever) finally calls. So why not just skip the rigamarole? Like the man said, we’ve already established what kind of people we are; we’re just haggling over the price. So why not just say “Fifty bucks buys you an A?” Hell, why not just say “Blow me for an A?”
Again, this never, ever happens. I’ll tell you what does, though: Teacher-student relationships. I’ve never even heard of a professor having a one-night stand with a student, but I personally know people — plural — who have lost their academic gigs, not to mention the rest of their lives, by having an affair with a student.
I get it, I really do, when you reduce the whole thing to raw hormones. Honestly, I could understand — not condone, certainly, but understand — some geeky loser getting fired for propositioning a student. As the other man said,
Look at it this way. Considering the type of people you are and the environment you’re in, you have to admit the strong possibility this may be the only chance you ever have, in your entire lives, to have sex.
Are we not men? And yet, as I said, that never happens. Adultery does.
I usually only tell this to guys after a few additional martinis, but the truth is, pretty much any professor who isn’t redlining the autism spectrum has had the chance for a relationship with a student. Not “a chance to sleep with;” a chance for a relationship with. That there’s sex involved in both cases is incidental. Again, it’s the fetish thing, and if you wanted proof, the most ironclad evidence I could give you would be the pictures of the profs involved. Just do a google image search on “professor” and you’ll see what I mean. No girl in her right mind would want one of those goofballs. Ergo — Latin!! — the girls who very obviously did want them weren’t in their right minds, and again, any prof who isn’t far up the spectrum has seen one. There’s a certain cast of face, a certain set of the eyes, a certain glint in the nose ring that just screams D-A-D-D-Y I-S-S-U-E-S of a very particular sort, and you don’t have to teach more than a semester or two before you encounter it.
Ironically, I’d bet #MeToo and the rest of it actually result in more, not less, of this behavior. Like I always say, today’s blue-haired, nose-ringed slam poet is tomorrow’s obergruppenfuhrer, and one of the main reasons I say it is that I’ve been around a LOT of college people. Shrinking violets who need “safe spaces” everywhere very obviously long to knuckle under to power, any power. Goofy losers who suddenly find themselves with a lot of power naturally start carrying on like Heinrich Himmler. Put them together in the closest possible proximity, in a place explicitly designed to shield them from the real world, and, well, you figure it out.
Once again, and as always, thank god for retirement. Happy New Year, everyone.Loading Likes...