If you find yourself getting up earlier on Tuesdays and Thursdays more refreshed and excited to go to class, it’s usually one of two things: you really love your class or you’re looking forward to seeing a certain special someone in class who you may be admiring from afar. But what if, in the latter situation, that special someone is your professor?
Our perception of college professors as high school students was an old, stuffy, overweight man with a comb-over and dingy tweed jacket. Little did we know that professors came in shapes and sizes more appealing to our youthful tastes. But while you sit in class and fantasize that your crush could potentially turn into something more, student-teacher romances are generally frowned upon as inappropriate and unethical-and in certain universities such as Duke and Ohio Wesleyan, even banned.
Even students see the potential downside to getting involved with a professor. Beulah, a senior at University of Toronto says, “It could encourage favoritism, but if it is two consenting adults, one could argue why not? Especially if it is a professor you’re not taking a class with.”
“I have had a couple crushes on professors, but definitely have never thought to pursue it,” says Anna, a senior at University of Maryland. “I want to look back on my relationship with a good professor as an interesting teacher, not a dating mistake.”
The societal disapproval of such relationships doesn’t slow the occurrence of professor crushes, shows a study by Emily Travis and Traci Giulianoof Southwestern University. In this study, it was found that 57 percent of students reported having a crush on an instructor. Even more surprising? Of the students with teacher crushes, 75 percent claimed that their crushes were based upon the professor’s intellect rather than looks. But whether the crushes are based on intellect and looks, factors such as a professor’s humor, rapport, role model status and attentiveness are most important in solidifying the feelings.
“It's more of an intelligence/personality thing,” says Anna. “Especially when you're surrounded by guys your own age that definitely are not on that intellectual level.”
Although it’s been shown that looks are not as important in a teacher crush, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a hot professor. In fact, it may even lead to higher scores. It has been discovered through teacher evaluations that professors who are rated as attractive are also rated more effective. That means that you’ll seldom find a bad word on RateMyProfessor.com for instructors with that red chili pepper of designated hotness next to their name. Who could find that hard to believe? Try falling asleep in a class taught by a professor with movie-star good looks.
So go ahead and make yourself look a little more presentable on Tuesdays and Thursdays; your GPA may thank you for it later.