The holiday season is upon us, which, if you’re anything like the lead character in any rom-com produced in the mid-to-late nineties, likely means that you’ll be given the chance to reunite with friends, loved ones, and former bullies when you head home for the holidays, as you all return to your local watering holes to do essentially the same shit you did in high school, just with legally obtained liquor this time around. Which is why I would like to go ahead and give you the one rule that is imperative to follow: do not bang your former teachers.
To be certain, the rule doesn’t apply just to teachers (though under appreciated civil servants on the prowl to feel something, anything are more likely to have dive bar mistletoe be their “Hot for Teacher” kryptonite) so much as it does past idols of all stripes: old babysitters, college TAs, B-list celebrities, former Real World contestants…you get the idea. While the allure of bedding someone you’ve harbored a latent crush on at some point in your life is undeniably sexy, I can assure you with absolute certainty that under no circumstances whatsoever will your actual hookup hold up to the pedestal you’ve placed them on. Much like finding out that Santa Claus was actually just your parents, and not a fat man with a penchant for breaking and entering, nothing good can come of peeling the curtain back on crushes that once felt unattainable.
While running into teachers, much less getting into their long johns, might seem like a stretch, it’s the holidays. Everyone is hopped up on rum drinks and Love, Actually, and—unless you grew up in a major city—likely congregated at the same strip of local bars. The chances of running into a gaggle of your former educators aren’t just high, they’re easy odds. And after hours and months spent yelling at a classroom of teens, you know what teachers love? Adult conversation with someone who isn’t an angry parent. Enter: you.
"I dated our gym teacher for a few months after college...What wasn’t sexy was listening to him have raging custody battles over the phone with his ex-wife."
“I slept with my former water polo coach last Christmas,” my friend Erica shared. “In my defense, he had just graduated from college when I was a junior, so the age difference wasn’t very wide. But the dirty talk was creepier than I ever could have imagined. You know how when you sleep with someone you’ve known for a while, the polite thing to do is lie about how long you’ve wanted this to happen? Brock did that too. Except he only knew me as a teenager, so his ‘I’ve thought you were sexy since the day I met you’ only served as a reminder that once my little sister becomes a high school freshman, I’m making her play soccer instead.”
Statutory lust aside, think of the power dynamics, which always play out in one of two ways. The ostensibly ideal way is of course that your former educational crush is so overcome by lust for your mid-level job at a large tech company and trenchant commentary on Facebook about the GOP debates, she becomes putty in your hands, charmed by all of your witticisms in ways that never seemed to click in Algebra II. This never happens, except in pornos.
“I dated our gym teacher for a few months after college; I was 22, he was 50, and he had always been incredibly sexy,” confided one friend. “What wasn’t sexy was listening to him have raging custody battles over the phone with his ex-wife, or the fact that his dick never worked and the only food in his fridge was two-day old hot school lunches he had stolen from the cafeteria.”
The other way power dynamics play out — the far more likely play — is that after years of having had the majority of the power in interpersonal relationships, your new night buddy won’t even know how to snap out of it. They’ll carry that potentially-undeserved sense of importance with them for the remainder of your acquaintance. Take my former college TA, John. An East Coast Ivy Leaguer with an impressive collection of North Face jackets and enough cocky bravado to power an entire city for a year, he was the object of my late teen lust for months. I began paying far more attention in Poli Sci 1 than any political science major has paid to an introductory American politics class in the history of higher education, while finding creative ways to talk about his favorite book, The Godfather, for hours on end. (There are really only so many times you can discuss severed horse heads, but that limit did not exist when I was an undergrad, that’s for sure.)
Flash forward to my senior year of college, John’s final year of graduate school, and we’ve become friendly at this point, always stopping to chat when we ran into each other on campus. Multiple run-ins always yielded brief but spirited banter that felt far less one-sided than my transparent attempts as a freshman, and one finally yielded a dinner date back at his apartment. The red flag should have been when he began quizzing me on how many books on his shelves I had read before, but as someone who had just spent nine hours marathoning all three Godfather films, I was in no position to not play it through, either. Which is precisely how I ended up on John’s couch moments later as he worked his way up my shirt, under my bra, and down my pants, seemingly all at once. But as each article of clothing was lost, replaced almost instantly by his mouth, one incredibly odd thing stood out: John never stopped talking. It was like a guest lecture that just wouldn't end.
Is an orgasm really an orgasm if someone is panting out their top five Federalist Papers in its final throes?
We had been discussing his upcoming law school statements just moments prior to him going in for the kiss, and even as he began to move his way down my neck, he was still clearly articulating his plan for his personal statement. By the time he reached my bra, he had birdwalked over to his grandparents’ unwavering belief that he’d become the youngest federal judge in history. When my panties hit the floor, I had learned more than I needed to know about the difficulty of campaigning for public office if you’re under the age of 30. By the time we had sex, I’d given up on trying to silence him with some tongue play of my own, and instead let him blather on while trying not to fall asleep. To John’s credit, our orgasms both came at the same time, but is an orgasm really an orgasm if someone is panting out their top five Federalist Papers in its final throes?
The veneer was instantly gone. Seeing someone three hours a week for six to eight months leaves another 165 hours a week to speculate on what’s hiding under those boxer briefs. Spend three hours inside those same boxer briefs and I assure you, expectation will never live up to reality; sexually or otherwise.
Holiday hookup effort is better expended instead on a foolproof demographic: recently single exes. No punches are pulled, the millennial itch for nostalgia is satisfied, and most of all, you don’t ruin any of your pre-teen fantasies with something as unpalatable as reality.
Nothing good can come from hooking up with a former teacher, or a hero of any other kind, without risking losing an adolescent fantasy in its entirety. The only exception here is if said crush is irrationally hot: it’s still a bad idea, but then again, that’s just called dating up.