I had lots of instructor crushes in university, but one stood out from all the rest. It wasn’t a crush for the sake of conversation with other female students, or a crush to make the lectures less boring. It was a smoldering, obsessive, weirdo crush.
This was only two years ago, but I wish it were five years ago, or ten years ago, or never, because I behaved a little bit looney tunes. I’d go to his office and sit there asking irrelevant questions for hours at a time, just so he’d talk to me. I watched this one Youtube clip of him over and over and then got worried that maybe somehow he could get into Youtube and see how many times I’d viewed it. In class I would strain to make eye contact, and I would go to his public lectures and do the same thing. I dunno, that’s something maybe a stalker would do. At the end of the year I asked if I could help him out with research. He said no.
What really made the whole thing creepy was the devotion. My motivation wasn’t sexual as much as it was supplicating: I thought he was the most brilliant person in the universe and I basically wanted him to climb into my head and think for me. He must have picked up on that, and, inasmuch as he had to deal with me, I imagine it made him pretty uncomfortable.
In my adult life, I have only ever felt that way about him. Normally I’m pretty guarded about looking up to people I know. I do, of course–and I acknowledge that there are tons of people worth looking up to–but I do so with the hope that one day we will become equals. Not so with this professor. Early on I abandoned all hope that I could ever muster a sentence worth his regard.
The lesson I learned is that deep down, everyone, no matter how headstrong, wants a guru, at least once in a while. You may not think you want a guru, but if a guru wandered into your life, you would definitely want him (or her). Whether or not he is aware of it, the guru sends you vibes that say, “Relax. Everything makes sense.”
We would all like to think of ourselves as critical thinkers, who don’t need God or whatever to sort out the world for us, but once in a while you gotta take a load off. If you’re secular, you might imbue a person with those sorting powers. I am lucky that my person was a normal person and thus probably not into being someone’s God.
It could have been a lot worse.