But Lena was not content. She was lonely and she wanted to find a special other but felt that such was unlikely because of her notorious reputation. Now Lena reports in her most recent post that she has found the one in the form of her former sociology TF Teaching Fellow. Patrick was eight years older, German, and a Ph. D candidate in my department. Nonetheless, I silently rejoiced every time I was assigned to his section, especially after I realized my piece of eye candy was a rather efficient and helpful teaching instructor and not merely a hot guy with a funny accent.
To Patrick, however, I was then just a sleepy student. I recall Jason pinching me a lot in that class … and really not much else. The prelude to the actual date was fairly undramatic. Following a thinly veiled public declaration of my affection, initial contact was made over email and the date was suggested over text message. Well, actually, I suggested hooking up over text message.
Can we just fuck? It would certainly be revealed soon enough. Basically, Jason had the mindset of someone who wanted to get into law school. I had the mindset of someone who wanted an interesting story to tell at post-grad cocktail parties.
I was already getting started by telling every friend in close proximity about the TF fantasy-turned-reality and spent the day feeling rather smug about myself, despite a looming deadline for some mediocre paper I had not yet written. Yet somehow, about an hour before the actual date, my excitement over going out with and potentially fucking my former TF turned into total trepidation over going out with and potentially fucking my former TF. What the hell was I getting myself into? I knew next-to-nothing about Patrick, even less about what to expect out of the evening, and I was pretty sure that Jason was right when it came to me totally misinterpreting the situation.
By the time I got off the train to meet Patrick, I was ready to get right back on. In fact, I felt a mild wave of nausea, then panic, followed by paralyzing fear. Um, I had a date in five minutes and I was on the verge of an anxiety attack.
Discouragement was exactly what I needed to snap out of it. He looked hot, and not even in a scholarly kind of way. No, it was more likely that his intentions were genuine, which was almost endearing. Here was a semi-awkward foreign grad student too culturally unaware to realize that asking out a former student is a mildly scandalous affair. It occurs to me in retrospect that I was being extremely condescending, but in all likelihood, I probably employed every defense mechanism available to stay calm and feel in control.
Surprisingly, as soon as we got into a cab and started talking, my anxiety dissipated along with my theory that Patrick was awkward with women and clueless about American prudishness. Patrick actually seemed normal, and my stomach seemed calm. It appeared as if I was not going to puke after all. Dinner was at a South End establishment with live music and dim lighting, the key facilitators to close-up conversation, which is like the foreplay to foreplay.
It was a relatively grown-up venue given my recent romps in fraternity houses and dorm rooms, and I realized early in the evening that I felt uncharacteristically nervous.
Typically on dates, I acted self-assured and liked to challenge guys by teasing them or being playfully argumentative. I was so used to viewing him as an instructor that it seemed inappropriate to treat him like a peer. For the first time in a long while, I actually felt flustered. Patrick, on the other hand, was completely at ease which only disarmed me further. Seven years of bad sex.
I rarely drank but on this night, I happily chugged glass after glass of wine. I was regaining my confidence and ten-fold at that. Two hours and several courses into the date, I put my hand on his knee and leaned in closer. I wanted to kiss him and was too drunk to even be subtle about it.
All in all, the turnaround from initial email to his cock in my mouth took about 24 hours. We had sex that first night. And again the next night. I cancelled it and have been in Beacon Hill ever since. And now, here we are today: And to think, all I wanted on our first date was to get laid.
My blog was a legitimate barrier to meeting guys, and as the nude photo leak and subsequent breakdown suggested, it was perhaps a barrier to, um, life. Now here is the Harvard policy regarding relationships such as the one between Lena and Patrick- Officers and other members of the teaching staff should be aware that any romantic involvement with their students makes them liable for formal action against them.
Even when both parties have consented at the outset to the development of such a relationship, it is the officer or instructor who, by virtue of his or her special responsibility and educational mission, will be held accountable for unprofessional behavior. Graduate student teaching fellows, tutors, and undergraduate course assistants may be less accustomed than faculty members to thinking of themselves as holding professional responsibilities.
They may need to exercise special care in their relationships with students whom they instruct, evaluate, or otherwise supervise, recognizing that their students might view them as more powerful than they may perceive themselves to be. Amorous relationships between members of the Faculty and students that occur outside the instructional context can also lead to difficulties.
This could involve being called upon to write a letter of recommendation or to serve on an admissions or selection committee involving the student. In addition, one should be aware that others may speculate that a specific power relationship exists even when there is none, giving rise to assumptions of inequitable academic or professional advantage for the student involved.
Relationships between officers and students are always fundamentally asymmetric in nature. The policy for them was probably an irrelevancy. Those who wish to have the TF punished for what they consider to be a flagrant violation are simply out of order, whether they be in favor or in opposition to such rules. And it also should be piointed out that the Harvard rules, like most rules in this area, are ambiguous.
But when it comes to sexual norms or rules, ambiguity almost always rules the day.