For the first time in my academic career, I had a hot professor. I couldn’t help but stare at him throughout the class. His name was John, or Professor Cameron, and his class was required for my music business major. After a month of occasional drawn-out glances over his perfectly accessorized reading glasses, I couldn’t help but wonder if the attraction was mutual.
When I asked John to help with my resume, I knew I was testing dangerous waters, and after I met him at a very cool local hotel bar at 6 p.m. on a Tuesday night, I knew I had moved on to wading. We sat there, mulling over my pathetic little resume and sharing “professional” stories for four hours. While he clearly cared a little more about my “word choice” and layout than your average professor, he also seemed to genuinely care about what I had to say.
The following week, John assigned the class an easy extra-credit opportunity—attend a show of a local songwriter who recently spoke to our class. I was one of four students who showed up and the only one who stayed until the end. After a few drinks with John, he invited me to join him at home. I accepted.
We sat on his suede couch, in his perfectly manicured bachelor pad, discussing our confusing situation. Here’s the thing: once you acknowledge the mutual attraction, there’s no turning back. Then he asked if he could kiss me. I smiled, giggled, and before I knew it, my dress was somewhere on the floor of his living room. I didn’t stay the night, but the pit in my stomach was an obnoxious buzz-kill for my ethereal drive home. What the hell had I gotten myself into this time?
For the rest of the semester, the lingering glances turned to teasing stares. We shared meals, beds and weekends. Despite the fact he was twice my age, we had a connection, or so I thought.
The tricky part about older men is just that: they are older. He had been married. Twice. He graduated college, held and lost jobs, moved to and from multiple states, and created a name for himself in the music industry. Could I really have a future with a man that much my senior, with experiences and wrinkles to prove it?
Over the six months of his class, when we were an official couple, I became completely addicted to the attention, consistency, support and luxury. I knew I was taking advantage of him. Why was he so generous? I never paused to view the relationship from his perspective. He was dating and sleeping with a 21-year-old fitness instructor with an unquenchable thirst for success and experience in the music biz. He had the bait and I had the prize.
After experiencing his older lifestyle, however, I started to get bored, and he grew clingier. I pretended not to notice, but eventually I could no longer handle his suffocating role in my life.
When I ended the relationship at the start of the next semester, I thought he would be fine—he was mortified and the conversation lasted three hours. After that, he called me daily sobbing, yelling and arguing. He said that my “abandonment” was more hurtful than either of his divorces, and that I was the most selfish person he knew.
The worst part: I still had another year of school and our interactions were unavoidable within the Music Business department. I had designed an independent study that required guidance from a “faculty mentor” chosen by the department head. John was chosen as my mentor and we were required to meet weekly for about 20 minutes to discuss my work.
I told John that once the project was over, he and I would no longer communicate. But after getting me an interview for my first full-time job in the music industry, it was impossible.
He still won’t leave me alone and we’ve been broken up for almost a year. I’ve ignored emails, phone calls and the scary instances where he shows up at my car after work or alone at my favorite bar. The police, my family and close friends are all aware of the situation.
Had I known my naivety and curiosity would propel me into a state far beyond what my 22-year-old-self could handle, I would have asked my dad to review my resume last spring.
*Names have been changed
Are you allowed to sleep with your professor?
By Morgan Gibson > Junior > Journalism > University of Maryland
• Yale University, Duke University, Middlebury College, Rice University, Iowa State University and Syracuse University are just a few of the schools that either highly discourage professor-student affairs, or completely prohibit the relationships. It doesn’t matter if it’s consensual or not.
• If the relationship ends poorly, professors are the ones to get in trouble, not students. Sometimes these problems can result in the professor being fired.
• William & Mary adopted its strict policies after a former writing instructor divulged his relationship with a married student in GQ magazine.
• Not all of these love affairs end in disaster, however. In 1989 Chicago lawyer Michelle Robinson mentored summer associate Barack Obama from Harvard University. She refused to go out with Obama for a month, but we all know that didn’t last.