I’m super attracted to one of my students.

I know, I know, it sounds a tad creepy, but hear me out: I’m a substitute teacher at a community college and I really don’t know whether or not I’ll be teaching at the school for any length of time.

The student in question is about 10 years younger than me, which also seems a bit sketch, but the attraction is clearly mutual. Do I act like a fusty old teacher and keep my distance or do I let my hair down a little bit and have some fun? God knows I could use a little excitement in my otherwise quiet and lonely life.

-Uncertain in Boston

You’re teaching at the college level, so I’m going to go ahead and assume you already KNOW the right answer to this question: it is totally inappropriate for you to try to follow through on this.

Not because it’s sketchy (it’s SUPER SKETCHY), and not because of the age difference (which factors in, and raises the question of why you’re attracted to someone who, by definition, isn’t your equal…since s/he’s not even done figuring out what s/he wants out of school yet, let alone life), it’s because it’s harassment.

You’re in a position of power over this person (and throwing up your possibly-limited tenure at this gig doesn’t change that; it just makes you seem more desperate to justify what you KNOW to be wrong). Until s/he’s out of your class, permanently, you making any move to add “a little excitement” to your relationship would be predatory. Period.

Once the grades are in, and you know you won’t be heading his or her next semester’s classes, feel free to ask the student out; then you’re just a regular professor-into-the-young’uns cliche.

Until then, work on making your life better by finding friends, and activities, that are age-appropriate, instead of just feeling sorry for yourself (“my otherwise quiet and lonely life…” weep, sigh). The real problem here isn’t that you’re attracted to someone younger than you, it’s that you’re apparently not even looking for someone more appropriate to fill the slot of “excitement” in your life.

Unless your actual goal is to become the next Lifetime original, in which case, by all means, act like a complete skeeze. After all, that’s why you wrote me, right? To get permission to be a creeper?

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