Monday, January 09, 2006

Revenge of the TeacherCrush

Still pondering the Big Ideas. But in the meantime, I think I may be the object of a baby dyke teacher crush.
Having spent my senior year of college harboring a HUGE crush on my Anglo-Saxon Lit teacher, I'm pretty familiar with the symptoms (hell, I still have the hots for that woman, and could probably spend the rest of this post detailing all the things I admire about her, from her Canadian nationality to the Celtic knot tattoo on her left wrist....excuse me, I need to reminisce a moment...sigh...)

Anyway. She's one of my older students, probably about 13, and she hasn't stopped staring at me with shy adoration since day 1, when I just sat in the back and observed the class. She lights up like the Christmas tree in Rockerfeller Center if I so much as sneeze in her direction. Always participates enthusiastically, waving her hand around even when she doesn't know the answer. And I don't think she's usually the Hermione Granger of the class (I know my fellow geeks when I see one). Says hello to me in the hallway, which isn't unusual, most of my students do that, ("'ell-oh Meees!"), but I always catch her looking back at me as she walks away. I only have her class once or twice a month; she asked me once if I was teaching her class that day and when I said no she looked like I just ran over her dog.

It's terribly cute, and kind of wierd too. I mean, my male students are kind of flirtatious in the idiotic way that 13 year old boys have, when faced with an older woman who's smarter than them. It's a way of keeping me on their level, saving their pride or whatever ("Madame, que veut dire slut?" You know very well what slut means, and no I'm not telling you. Now open your notebooks.) But she acts the same way I did around TeacherCrush, knocking myself out to impress her (I got an A in that course, needless to say. I probably would have gotten an A in any case, but let me tell you, I earned that one), trying hard not to gaze at her with great big googly eyes.
But if she does have a crush on me, and if it's anything like my crush on my professor, I kind of feel bad for her too. My teachercrush was kind of excruciating, really, because it forced me to confront all my internalized homophobia; I had to sit there and figure out why it was no big deal when one of my straight friends had a teachercrush, but for me it was a disaster. The one constant in my life at that point, my role as a rational brain-on-a-stick student, had becomed undermined by my sexuality. I didn't want to be crazy attracted to her; it made me feel paranoid and guilty and incredibly ashamed. I just wanted to go on being Andygrrl, Straight-A Student. Not the fucked up lesbo with a jones for her prof.
Because the pedagogical academic space is supposed to be entirely disembodied, asexual, impersonal; think of the taboos on straight relationships between students and teachers. Nevermind queer ones (hm, this is turning into a Big Idea post after all). And nobody wants queers teaching their kids. So I feel a little wierd about the whole situation. There's all those stereotypes about predatory homos corrupting innocent youth, for one thing. None of my professors (co-workers, really), know I'm gay, but still. My native Catholic guilt keeps returning to that trope. I keep reminding myself that you're only teaching her how to conjugate the past tense correctly, for Christ's sake; if she really is gay, or bi, or queer, it has nothing to do with you, and you can't help it in any case.
Maybe that's what's really bothering me; I can't help her, I can just teach English the best I can. Because I was her age "when I knew", and I wouldn't want her to go through the same shit I did. But there's nothing for her here in Verdun; no community, nada. Shit, even in my college town, I could get a copy of Girlfriends or the Advocate. You can't get the French equivalent here. I have to go to Metz. Then again, she can always run away to Paris when she gets older; it's only three and half hours away by train, and next year I think they'll have the TGV here, so it'll be even closer.
I don't know. Life is wierd.


At 11:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, honey. Let's just say that I understand all of this far too well. Once again, though, I'm floored at your ability to perfectly encapsulate everything I was thinking without, as far as I know, having picked through my thoughts beforehand. Great entry.


At 11:53 PM, Anonymous Kristel said...

Ah yes, I too have had my share of teachercrushes and they'll probably keep coming for another year or two. However, I don't think my kind of teachercrush is harmful. I just feel cozy and sigh in admiration. Hell, I like it.

Poor little French girl, she probably enjoys it you know. Anyway, it's not like you can help it.

At 12:57 AM, Blogger Andygrrl said...

Oh lordy. "Straight-A Student". Talk about your Freudian slips. I didn't even notice it at first.

And it's not as if I didn't enjoy my teachercrush (especially when she decided to wear this short black skirt of hers. Have mercy.) But it was a really exquisite torture, because I really felt so horribly ashamed about it, and I was paranoid that if she found out she'd be just as disgusted with me as I was (I think she did know, actually). Even though she's this totally cool feminist liberal Canadian, I was still afraid.

Stupid patriarchy.

At 5:30 AM, Blogger Winter said...

I don't know, perhaps an excruciating teacher crush is all part of the process, and being gay is probably what will get her out of Verdun and onto better things.

Great post.

At 3:15 AM, Anonymous NBarnes said...

I think it's very likely that she knew about your crush just about as much as you know about the nice French girl's crush on you, probably noticing a lot of the same things you are. ;)


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