YEAH, YEAH, YEAH. THEY'RE HOT FOR TEACHER! INSERT SOLO HERE.
|By , Tracy Weiss, Claire Zulkey, Lynn Harris, Kathie Fries, Rebecca Giantonio, and Amy Blair||
He stood in front of my Russian history class and explained that he lectured in class because "I know more than you do." I was smitten in a Russian minute. Prof. Daniel Field came out of professorial central casting. If his jackets weren't wool tweed, they had patches on the elbows. He tied his own bow ties and wore suspenders. The Chesterfield Kings he smoked made his voice sonorous and his throat clearing a bronchial event. He wasn't particularly handsome, but my friend Kelly and I had a thing for him right from the start. He knew so much. He could read and write Russian. He made nerdy jokes and would shout if he thought we weren't paying enough attention. He played at being gruff but was a total softy. What stole my heart forever was a bouquet of flowers. When I was hospitalized during sophomore year, Prof. Field sent flowers. He signed the card, "The Russian Bear." After I returned and went to thank him, Prof. Field launched into an impromptu highlight reel of the lectures I had missed, without notes. He wrote me a charming letter of recommendation and I have the one-paragraph e-mail printed out and saved, somewhere. When I asked him to sign a registration card for me, he demanded that I sit down and tell him about the classes I wanted to take. And he wasn't even my advisor. He was just interested. (Though he did demand a cigarette in exchange for his signature.) Prof. Field showed me a world so interesting and new that I became enamored with him as well as it. I plan on visiting Russia in 2004. Wish he were going, too.
Aileen Gallagher, author of three children's books, (and another one, about muckraking, on the way!) writes Weekly Rundown every Friday.
Mr. Schoeppe had a brown, curly mullet. I saw him every other day for music class. He, and he alone is the reason I know the fifty states in alphabetical order. We learned "Fifty Nifty United States" for an entire semester. "A-l-abama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas ."
The hottest thing about Mr. Schoeppe to my eight-year-old self was the fact that he was an amazing knitter. He would bring in these elaborate sweaters with Shetland ponies on the front, and I would run my fingers over his yarn skeins and he would explain how difficult but rewarding knitting was.
When we had our choice of recorder solos, I would always pick old love song tunes to play in class to him. "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," "Your Love is Liftin' me Higher," and even a misguided attempt at "Total Eclipse of the Heart" would land me in first chair.
Mr. Schoeppe quit my fifth-grade year. He was going to go be a counselor. On his last day, he brought in another sweater, this one with two hunting dogs on it. I had planned to stop him with my freshly learned version of "Unchained Melody" on the recorder -- he would be walking out, and I would play it, and he would stop, and turn, and run to me and I would run to him and we would do that lift move from Dirty Dancing. But as he left, Christina Tillman vomited wildly all over the floor. When she vomited, she got some on Gina Porter, who promptly yakked.
And Mr. Schoeppe ran his fingers through his mullet, and, as always, did the perfect thing. He sat down at the piano, and we all sang a final round of "Fifty Nifty," stopping the sick Telephone-game-like spread of the puking.
And then we hit, "W-y-o-ming," and he left. I could've sang that state forever.
Before college most of my teachers were crotchety old women who called my house when I ditched. I did get a tingly feeling for the man who taught me how to use semi-colons, but past that? Instructors were not vessels of knowledge to revere or lust after; they were simply forces of authority easily crushed with complete disinterest and a consistent B average. Crushes? Nah.
An idiot advisor told me I placed out of "Integrated Arts and Humanities at pre-freshman orientation. Years later, I was told that I had to enroll to graduate. College was one big hangover thus a class that met four times a week with *required* attendance was unacceptable. But what can you do?
I signed up. Took my place in the waaaay back of the smelly classroom filled with 18 year olds whose need to rebel and fuck created a hum throughout. Not entirely unpleasant. The TA walked in her name was Monica. She was the girlfriend of a co-worker whose name was Cutler Featherston. (Note: This has no bearing on the story. But I fucking know someone whose name is Cutler Featherston). Monica saw me. And I saw her after the session and offered to pay her $300 dollars if she just marked me present for each class. She laughed.
I'm into guys, but I totally had a crush (albeit non-sexual) on my teacher. She had this dark Italian beauty that whitey-white girls like myself can never achieve, no matter how much bronzer we apply. Monica never mocked those who horrifyingly were never taught the basics about the civil war and immigration years. Her nail polish never chipped - she was a goody two shoes with a perfect set of choppers. She had a rocking body and the classiest clothes I've ever seen. She also had a boyfriend named Cutler Featherston.
We paired off the way girls can do. Monica turned her head the other way when I disappeared for a week to go to the Final Four. I helped her booze through a break-up with said boyfriend who after three years just wouldn't buy the ring.
The last day of class, we went to the bar, then hugged and promised to stay in touch. I was moving to Boston and she had a year of grad school left.
Then I got my report card. Monica gave me a B plus. I got an A on every paper. What the hell? I read on Grade lowered for lack of attendance?
Ugh, I got over her real quick.
Tracy Weiss has a little book where she keeps a list of names and photographs of kicked asses. You do not want to be in this book.
Falling for psychotic men is a bad habit of mine that started as soon I hit puberty. You start out thinking they are exciting, but the reality is that you are confusing physical feelings of flight, extreme panic, and sometimes hatred for one hell of a crush. One of the first lunatics to capture my heart was Terry Smith, my sophomore year history teacher, also a Vietnam veteran, very sensitive about his tour of duty. But he was the coolest teacher at school. He was extremely sarcastic and supplemented our history lessons with movies like Spartacus, The Ten Commandments, Gone With the Wind, and war documentaries, all while dressed like some slick jazzy hipster from the '50's. So, he was a lunatic, a snappy dresser AND a movie geek - a great recipe for teenage love.
During a lecture on Pompeii, a Vietnamese orphan friend of mine, Anna, really pissed him off by talking incessantly to my friend Kristy. Mr. Smith's aggravation at their dispute over Jon Bon Jovi's appearance in Young Guns II boiled over into some weird jungle flashback. His eyes glazed over, and he picked up the front end of Anna's desk a few inches, let it slam down and screamed "Shut up, you Gook!"
The rest of the class collectively wet their pants, and I think this skinny kid Jeff fainted, but not me not the lover of mental people. I wondered what was going on in his crazed, flashback-riddled head. I had to know. I wanted to make it better. I could have given him a massage, cooked him a nice strip steak, with gravy, and tell him the Viet-Cong couldn't get him anymore. You see, I could have saved him.
Kathie Fries is a very friendly and understanding person.
I didn't mind taking Latin. But I really wanted Latin to take me. Oh, how I loved Mr. Amram. I had sophisticated taste, considering he had the entire cast of Taps to compete with. Square-jawed with goofy ears, he looked like the love child of Harrison Ford and Prince Charles. (Harrison Ford as the alter-Indy professor who has no clue how hot he is, of course. Don't think I didn't consider writing "love you" on my eyelids.)But instead, we eighth-graders flirted the only way we knew how: by being totally obnoxious. All I remember is that pretty much whenever he came in to start the class, we were just climbing back in the window. By "we," I mean me and all the other girls who pretended they weren't hot for magister. Outside of class, we snickered at the perspiration stains on the armpits of his oxford; inside, I empathized, for just being in the same room with him made me, um, glow. But it lasted only a year. In ninth grade I added Spanish and had no more room for Latin, what with French and all. I did go on - now that I think about it - to develop crushes on several language teachers in college: a man named Hugo (gay), a woman named Sandra (not gay). If you asked, say, a psychology teacher, he or she might say that has something to do with the fact that, hola, my dad is a linguistics professor. Hey, he studies "romance languages," and when I was little, I thought "love you" on your eyelids was the kind of thing he meant.
Lynn Harris is the "Dating Dictionary" columnist for Glamour and co-creator of breakupgirl.net.
I first realized I loved Walter Caswell about two months into my sophomore year of high school. I stayed after school to make up an exam, and he asked me if I disliked him, because I was quiet in his English class. As he spoke, he leaned against his desk, staring at me intently with a slight smile on his face. I don't recall what he wore, but his typical attire consisted of cords or khakis, a button-down shirt and blazer or sweater. He shopped at Abercrombie and Fitch, which seemed pretty cool, given he was well into his 50s, and gave him a boyish charm. I remember thinking he was damn sexy at that moment, despite his Coke bottle glasses.
After that day, I felt more comfortable around him, spoke up in class (he would halt the class and call on me as soon as my hand shot up - he respected my opinion, he found my thoughts profound!) and hung back to talk to him when class ended. It was a Tracy Flick-Mr. Novotny situation - except we never had sex, I didn't break up his marriage and he didn't lose his job. Okay, it was only like Election in my head.
Junior year brutally tore me away from Wally, but, alas, senior year arrived, and he was once again my teacher. We were closer than ever. I would visit him during his free period, and we talked about everything from books to my future plans to my relationships with men. We engaged in banter during class, flirty enough to make me blush - my friends insisted he had a crush on me too. He often complained about his marriage, spiking my hopes that one day he'd leave his cruel wife and I'd sit beside him at night as he relaxed in his overstuffed chair, with a flannel robe on and a pipe in his mouth.
But graduation day came, and we had to part. As he hugged me goodbye, he held me a moment longer than appropriate. And that was it. The end of our nonexistent affair.
I didn't want to like him because everybody liked him. It seemed like such a cliché. A classroom full of 21 year old girls gazing, sighing, and giggling at one man while the boys tried to hate him, but found that he couldn't, because he was just so damn likeable.
He was Italian. Now, before you say, "Of course he was Italian," I'd like to point out that not all Italian men are desirable. Many, at least in my experience, have been some combination of short, stylishly challenged, hygienically impaired, and not terribly proficient in English.
However, the good professor who taught us his country's history as we studied abroad was none of those things. He was about 6 feet tall, with amber eyes, non-smelly, and spoke better English than most of us. "I'm sorry, my English is not so good," he'd say. "What is the word you use? Antidisestablishmentarianism?"
The reason teacher was so crush worthy was that he was entirely non-sexual, and thus non-threatening. He was the perfect father figure. One time I came to him with a personal problem and he said to me, "You know what I would think if I was your father? I would be proud of you."
To boot, he was married to a lovely woman and had a 4-year-old child. The only thing cuter than an older man is an older man with a young child. He'd talk devotedly about his kid and we'd all giggle. And swoon. And sigh.
The stereotype is common but still skeevy; the handsome, older teacher who takes advantage of his young, svelte, impressionable students (unless they're allegedly taking advantage of him.) But with the perfect man teacher with the perfect life and the perfect personality, there was nothing to ruin the perfect crush. Bellissimo.
Claire Zulkey zulks it daily at Zulkey.
Which of my teachers DIDN'T I want to fuck? If I had my way, I would have fucked them all.
Amy Blair might fuck you too. But only after she's done looking at Craig's List.
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