Sunday, April 22, 2012

naughty, naughty!

Look at that lovely face:

Why couldn't I have been "assaulted" by a teacher who looked like that when I was seventeen?

I wonder what goes through the minds of these women-- most in their late twenties to mid-thirties-- who lust after their young male students. Is this simply the mirror image of male predatory behavior? The ways in which men can abuse authority are well documented, and it's hard for me to associate most women with the same abusive proclivity. But case after case appears on the American news; Ms. Glide (what an aptronym!) is far from alone.

Lusting after the very young isn't new, of course. I'm rereading Tom Robbins's Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates, in which the protagonist, the mid-thirties Switters, has a thing for sixteen-year-olds-- particularly his steaming-hot stepsister Suzy. Robbins's approach to the matter is in consonance with evolutionary psychology: men are wired to be the way they are, and it's society that's gone bonkers in shunning and condemning such lust. But implicit in this view of the problem is the idea that it's men who are this way, not women. (Like a lot of lusty men whose only real objective, with women, is to spear their Georgia O'Keeffe paintings, Robbins is paradoxically gallant toward the fair sex. The group Tenacious D expresses this contradictory protectiveness/predatoriness well in its song "Fuck Her Gently.") How might Tom Robbins explain a thirty-something woman's lust for a fifteen-year-old boy?*

Ms. Glide reminds me very strongly of a teacher I worked with back in 1992, when I first began teaching full-time. That lady also had perfect teeth, a cute jawline, dirty-blonde hair, and big, alluring brown eyes. She was, perhaps, a year or two older than I was, and the senior guys lusted after her. Perhaps she found validation while basking in all that male attention. If that's the dynamic operating in these other women (to be clear, I'm not accusing my colleague of having done anything with her students), then the answer to my question might be as anticlimactic as ego. Ego-validation can have a sexual resonance, and that resonance can be felt by both men and women. If that's the case, though, then evolutionary psychology, at least in its pop form, might need to place more emphasis on the psychological and less on the evolutionary aspects of the problem, because it's not just men who are wired to have egos.

A 2009 article on Ms. Glide, from before her sentencing, is here.

*Robbins aside, there's the obvious biological explanation: women in their thirties are supposedly in their sexual prime. But are they really that uncontrollably itchy? Ladies: this is your chance to set the record straight!


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