I’ve always had a thing for men who teach. I don’t know what it is. Must be the intelligence, the power to make me think, the desire on my part to show that I understand. But before you go all 50 Shades of Grey on me (I tried to read the book, I really did, but I just couldn’t get past the first few pages because I thought the writing was so abysmal), I’m not talking about that kind of “thing.” I’m talking about having a crush (think of the co-ed in the front row in Dr. Indiana Jones’s class who writes “I love you” on her eyelids — except without the eyelids part).
Where should I start? Okay, how about with one of my college English professors. Not that much older than me, totally adorable, and so smart. No one could discuss Hart Crane’s poetry like he could (or make me care about Hart Crane to begin with). The fact that he thought my papers were excellent (both my analysis and my writing) was enough to convince me that we were MTB (meant to be). So, on “Ask a Professor to Lunch Day,” I did. He accepted, I threw up before lunch from nerves, and the conversation was, shall we say, less than brilliant on my part. I even got my roommate to call his home and ask for the “lady of the house” to find out if he was married. (I said I was smart; I didn’t say I knew my way around any of this stuff.) Finally, when senior year ended, and I had gotten an A in his class and he was no longer my professor, I asked him out. He turned me down so nicely that I couldn’t even feel bad about it. Like I said, a good guy. Funny thing is, years later, I discovered at least one reason why he wasn’t interested — the man was gay. Now I could feel bad (in a dumb kind of way).
Okay, next. My Russian Lit professor, also senior year. Now this man had student groupies — girls who thought he was so good-looking, so charming, and so sexy that they signed up for his course just to stare at him for 90 minutes a couple of times a week and to go up to him after class with “questions.” Not me. I took his class for the content (or so I thought). For the chance to read Crime & Punishment, Brothers Karamazov, War & Peace, and Anna Karenina. The reading was tough (about a gazillion pages worth) but his classes were amazing. I was smitten. He was one of those teachers who really made the material come alive — and the fact that he was so attractive (did I mention he had a beard? I love beards) made my heart go pit-a-pat. But nyet, the man was married, so I (and the rest of the babushka-ettes) could only admire him from a few rows back.
And lastly, professor number three. Also tremendously smart. And funny. An excellent writer. A terrific explainer and storyteller. Someone who, once you get him started talking about the Constitution, can light up the room with his love and knowledge of the subject. Incredibly nice. Very attractive (if you like the New York intellectual type). And the man can rock a beard. While I’ve never taken a class with him, I have learned so, so much in his presence. Like why marrying him was one of the smartest things this smart girl has ever done.
And, finally, I can say it — I get to sleep with the professor. Class dismissed.
© 2014 Claudia Grossman