Saturday, July 1
I've had three faculty advisors (so far) in my never-ending-journey towards a PhD, and I have developed romantic/obsessive/crushlike feelings toward each of them. I haven't acted on those feelings or anything, and in all cases I'm sure they were unrequited.
The weird thing is that only in the case of advisor #2 was the person what you would call "my type". But #2 was way too old for me, and married.
Advisor #1 was someone I would not be physically attracted to under normal circumstances, being at least 5 inches shorter than me and weighing at least 50 lbs less than me. Also married.
Advisor #3 - the current officeholder - is even shorter than #2, and the wrong gender and yet I've still developed crushy feelings and even some sexual attraction.

When the admiration and intellectual respect I have for my advisors is combined with the power and approval dynamics of advisor/advisee relationships, I get the same butterflies in the stomach, blushing, wanting-to-please and fixations that come with romantic crushes. It's like some wires get crossed in my brain, and little things like gender preferences and heterosexuality are no longer relevant in the face of intelligence, a long CV, and the powers to provide me with funding and approve my dissertation proposal.

I haven't told any of my friends about this because they know the advisors in question, and would still be laughing at me to this day.

Thank god for academicsecrets.

5 comments:

Cerise said...

I've actually had very, very few crushes on people in positions of direct power over me, but I think that makes me weird rather than the reverse. Also, it probably helps to be not infrequently attracted to straight women, because I'm kind of used to thinking, No, that's ridiculous, don't even bother, and converting it into a kind of asexual hero worship.

Not to mention I come from a long line of academics, and tend to associate my advisors with my parents' friends, circa 1989. Not sexy.

Orange Ina said...

Back in college I had the occasional crush on a female prof despite never having been in a homosexual relationship. Since then, no such feelings toward advisors of any type. That's probably a good thing, it could make for some pretty awkward situations. How do you deal with them?

thistle said...

re orange ina's comment: repression and suffering in silence. Actually, I think it helps me motivate a little bit to get my work done (or at least show up).

re cerise's comment: I, too, descend from academics which makes this whole crush on the advisor thing even more creepy, because there is definitely an Electra element.

Anonymous said...

I also have very strong feelings for my advisor. I joke about my having an Oedipus complex 'cause he's my "academic father", but the feelings are very real (butterflies, thinking a zillion times over the incidents of eye contact and conversations). I'm married, he's married, and nothing will ever happen. I don't think this feeling is destructive at all- in fact it's a lot of fun and the desire to meet his approval or even admiration is a very powerful motivator and I prefer it to other motivators (intimidation or fear).

Rhiannon Adame said...

I think what happening to you is that you are attracted to their intellectual status. Well, they really know how to write a phd dissertation and still make a good impression to other people. I just hope that you get things straight again and make all of it just go away.

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