The Dirty Professor
I’ve got this friend—we’ll call him Waldo—who is an instructor at a local college. Waldo’s single, fun to hang out with, smart, average looks, has decent game although he’s all natural. He’s basically an average joe. His game consists mainly of dating his former students and he’s dated 2-3 students per year since I’ve known him. He’s had sex with several of them, and even been in a relationship with one girl for a year.
Waldo says he likes them young and fun and he says the sex is fantastic. He admits to having sexual fantasies about the students prior to dating them. Besides the sex, he enjoys the aspect of mentoring the girls he’s dating. Waldo never dates them while they are still in his class.
Now, setting aside any opinions I have about Waldo and his scarcity of women, I want to address the brand of game he’s running. I’ll also address his ethics below.
Waldo’s game is Dirty Professor Game and I know you’ve heard his story before. The Dirty Professor is an offshoot of a larger brand of game I call Authority Game, which is basically where you’re creating attraction based on your position of authority. It breaks down like this:
Attraction: It’s a given women are attracted to authority figures and social value, so the attraction is built-in the second you walk into the classroom. Whenever you are in a position to teach and dispense knowledge, you can generate attraction and leverage it. The instructor/teacher/professor has social value because he’s part of a larger community of professionals. He’s also an older guy, and that generally means financially secure, mature, wise, and experienced. All attractive qualities.
Women are also attracted to power, and while a teacher has power (power to give grades), I think this is an insignificant attractor compared to the teacher’s authority. The power is a potential landmine though.
Value: As in any relationship, Waldo gives value in order to escalate his student relationships. The value in this example is knowledge. Teachers also frequently give advice. An example here would be when a student walks into the office and asks for advice about a personal problem. Once you’re giving value and she’s accepting, it’s a cinch to escalate this into an intimate relationship.
So you might be thinking, gee Lance, is there an ethical issue with dating a former student? How about the age gap? I usually don’t care about age gaps, provided everything is legal. For me, attraction is everything and age is just an abstraction. Waldo has a set of rules he follows when dating former students, and I think these keep him in the clear.
- Never date them if they are still in his class, even if they throw themselves at him. If Waldo dated a chick in his class and changed her grade for sex, then yeah you got to call shenanigans. That’s a abuse of power and you don’t want to go there.
- They have to be at least 21. It just makes life easier.
- Always establish what you’re after upfront, ie be honest about the type of relationship. This is a rule that EVERYONE should use in ANY type of relationship. Waldo is looking to have fun and get laid, and he lets the girls know in short order. He’s not looking to get married. Sometimes the girls are cool with it and sometimes not.
- Waldo always tries to leave them better than he found them. If you’re in a dating phase, I think this is one of the best rules out there. Give value. Give free advice. Help people on their path. Mentor and be kind.
I see authority game happening everywhere and not just on college campuses. Do you know any bosses that married admins? I know several. I know a restaurant manager who has dated dozens of waitresses. I know a basketball coach who married a player. I know a chiropractor that married a patient. I know a salesperson that married a customer. I know a department chair who married an instructor, that was after he left his wife. I know a strip club owner that married a stripper. These are all versions of Authority Game and it’s common as dirt. In fact, it may be one of the oldest forms of attracting a mate out there.
The big drawback to authority game is the chance for abuse, eg dating a student and giving preferential treatment. Don’t let this happen. There’s also the chance for workplace drama should the relationship blow up. In Waldo’s example, imagine if he dumped a student, she got pissed, and raised a ruckus to his bosses. He’d probably get fired. I have one friend that this exact thing happened to. Another issue is your professional reputation taking a hit should your colleagues find out. This is a high stakes game and that needs to be considered.
To use marketing terms, Authority Game skirts the line of being a “black hat” form of attraction. Tread carefully.
Here are just a couple of articles about the risks:
What about dating your professor?
Problems to Consider Before Dating your College Instructor.
Some reflections on older men, younger women and integrity. (Awesome article by Hugo Schwyzer.)
Lance’s Tactical Recommendations
I recommend using your authority ONLY in the attraction phase of relationship, ie in the beginning. Get her interested with your authority and knowledge, but use all of the other facets of your personality to create rapport and escalate the relationship. This means you have to be well rounded and able to talk about stuff other than work. I also recommend keeping the attraction phase chill and non-aggressive, so that you can reasonably claim that the relationship “just happened” and you didn’t go looking for it. When it does happen, be honest and upfront about what you’re after.
Personally, I DO NOT date women from my workplace because of the risks involved. I don’t need to because I have several other circles to choose from. Waldo doesn’t, so he sticks to what he knows. I’d like to see him improve his game and get off the campus, but I can’t judge him for playing with the hand he’s been dealt.
There are “white hat” ways to play the Authority Game and it’s a solid way to go. If you’re not an authority on something, become one and connect with people with similar interests. Are you good at Ultimate Frisbee? Join a co-ed Ultimate Frisbee group and become an officer. Do you like to write fiction? Organize a writing group and leverage your authority as a writer. These are just a couple of white hat examples.
Don’t Be A Lonely Chode
My feeling is the world of dating is dog-eat-dog, and if you don’t play the game right and use what you got, you’re going to live the life of a lonely chode. Is it fair that a millionaire attracts because he has money? Is it fair that a guy gets chicks because he looks like Brad Pitt? It’s all part of the big poker game that is life and we play it whether we like it or not. If you’re not rich or good looking, become an authority. Do it safely, always give value, be honest, and be cool. Good luck.