The student weekly of St. Olaf College
Manitou Messenger: Cataloging prof crushes

Cataloging prof crushes

By Peter Farrell
Staff Writer
Friday, May 9, 2008

David Lee Roth summed up the problem most eloquently: "I think of all the education that I missed / But then my homework was never quite like this / Got it bad, got it bad, got it bad / I'm hot for teacher." Since time immemorial, undergraduates have often found themselves enamored with their professorsand not just intellectually. Let's face it: college professors can be a pretty talented bunch. Some are accomplished scholars, fantastic teachers or excellent mentors. Some are also sexy.

How do you deal with a sexy prof? It's not easy. Most of the undergraduate experience revolves around pleasing professors. Sure, you're ostensibly working hard to improve your mind. At a liberal arts college, pretending you're just learning for the sake of learning is necessary for survival. But the cynics among us know part of "learning" at college involves understanding how to produce work that satisfies our highly educated pedagogues. Furthermore, up here on the Hill, these relationships can become very personal. A desire to exercise the mind can beget a more urgent desire to exercise one's libido.

Of course, there are different kinds of professor crushes, ranging from the harmless daydream to the debilitating infatuation. The nature of the undergraduate crush also often depends on what sort of professor you have a crush on. Here's a rundown of the three most basic categories of desirable professors.

The Distinguished Elder: Some professors are old, but that doesn't mean they're not sexy. There is a certain element of projection involved in a crush on an older professor. Usually, the lusty undergraduate sees the prof as the type of person they'd like to end up with someday. This type of crush is usually not very dangerous and only involves brief flights of romantic fancy. Still, a touch of gray and an air of authority and accomplishment can go a long way in the heart of the impressionable undergraduate. There's probably a weird Freudian thing at work here too, but for everyone's peace of mind, let's gloss over that potentially unsettling observation.

[b]The Eccentric Intellectual:[/b] Professors aren't always beautiful people, but they often are brilliant people, and a surplus of brainpower can be a powerful aphrodisiac. The quirky, eccentric, intellectual professor crush thrives on the impressionable undergraduate's desire to be in the presence of genius. These kinds of professors may not shower or shave, but they usually wear funny glasses and dress in endearingly strange garb. These crushes can also be alluring insofar as they can be unique and personal. Your classmates may groan about the theory-intensive reading you need to master before class, but your hormones go into overdrive every time your brilliant professor crush uses the term "Foucaultian."

[b]The Sexy New Assistant Professor/Visiting Instructor:[/b] Beware of the sexy new assistant professor or visiting instructor. In the intensely scientific world of professor-crush taxonomy, this is the most hazardous kind of romantic attachment. Assistant professors are usually young and not too far removed from the undergraduate experiences themselves. They may (gasp) like some of the same music as you do and shop at the same stores. They care about all the same crap you do, but their passions are wildly more eloquent. Don't get fooled, though. The sexy new assistant professor is not your peer, and, even more importantly, is not at all interested in engaging in a fling with unenlightened you. This harsh realization can lead to despair and heartache, especially as the sexy new assistant professor is cool with everyone. You're not specialthey are.

Unfortunately, if you find yourself daydreaming about making a professor one of your more enjoyable extracurricular activities, there's sadly not much the lovesick Ole can do besides dream. The college has a strict policy on faculty and student relationships, which boils down to one simple rule: they're not allowed. Furthermore, the college is not interested in your feeble, lust-infused protests. Yes, a professor and a student are both consenting adults. Yes, you're old enough to make your own romantic decisions, no matter how stupid they may be. But no, you're not allowed to get freaky with your professor crush. After all, there is a very significant power differential between teacher and student. For this reason -- and others that are not printable -- your professor-crush fantasy is best kept private. You can't carry beer around campus at St. Olaf. Keep these kinds of romantic cravings hidden as well.

The Manitou Messenger is a student publication of St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn. It is published weekly during the academic year except during vacations, exam periods and interim. The cost for one year's subscription is $45.00. Postage is paid in Northfield, Minnesota. Manitou Messenger
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