To Sir with lust on September 21, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
Congratulations on your site. I have a small academic problem for you. I am a graduate student who is perpetually falling for academics/professors — of both genders. I am quite comfortable with the gender part of it, but the academic part causes potential ethical problems, and in my experience, the need to constantly attempt to bridge unwieldy generational boundaries. I am 24, and the objects of my admiration tend to be at least around 35 or over with Captivating Intellects/Teaching Styles. Oh yes, and most already have partners…I am not attracted to people my own age at all, as we generally do not have the same mindset or priorities. Am I Mad? Just Unusual? Destined to spend the rest of my days a lonely young spinster prowling the corridors of the academy? This situation has already caused some emotional strains for me.
Thanking you in anticipation of a reply with footnotes,
— Girl Gradstudent
You are neither as Mad nor as Unusual as you might like to (1) think. For one thing, you seem to have good taste. Captivating intellect? Charisma? Good call! You’re off to a better start than the folks who write, “Dear Breakup Girl, The objects of my admiration are all dull as a box of rocks.” For another, you are, um, hardly the first young woman to fall for — or at least be attracted to — sharp, charismatic, Older men (women) who are ultimately unattainable (2). That’s why I think my response to you will apply to everyone out there who has considered — or entered into — an “Inappropriate Relationship.”(3)