There’s something electrifying about crushing on your professors. It’s fun to giggle about it with your friends and overanalyze every comment and glance… because you can. In my experience, my crushes on my teachers are based on their superior knowledge— it doesn’t matter if they’re single or married, attractive or ugly; if they’re smart and eloquent, I’m going to giggle about how I want to hang out with them. They are the arbiters of knowledge that we crave so desperately and it’s easy to misread thirst for knowledge as lust for professors. Knowledge is sexy.
I’ve had a crush on my sixth grade Language Arts teacher since my very first day of sixth grade. To be perfectly honest, I have had a crush on every single male English teacher I’ve ever had (I’m an English major if you haven’t guessed), he was the best English teacher I ever had; he was the one who really taught me how to write and was always telling coworkers how smart I was. I saw him around all through high school and would always flirt shamelessly with him. Physically, he was short, compact, with a squished nose— and less than a looker. But I had him built up in my mind as an awesome guy, despite not knowing him on any sort of personal level. He knew so much about English and I wanted him to like me. And I was not the only one.
There’s something thrilling about coveting something off limits. I think part of that is because these crushes feel safe. You like your professor from afar because you’re never going to have to tell them, because the normal person doesn’t have a shot with your professor. You can crush on them all you want and never going to have to act on it. Until you do.
I’ve had friends from other universities who have accidentally gone on dates with their professors. My one friend, we can call her CJ (not an Amherst student), had a Professor ask her to grab a drink after the course was over to “discuss good books.” It was not until CJ realized the Professor had intended for the discussion to take place in his apartment did it become abundantly clear that this was not a platonic meeting. She had flirted shamelessly, assuming it would never go anywhere, until it did. And when it does go somewhere, it’s uncomfortable.
It’s hard to remember that our professors are people with their own set of desires, ambitions, and morals. And much like doctors and lawyers, professors just as people. Without their knowledge to hide behind, most Professors would be a lot less desirable.