Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Anonymity Necessity

When I started this blog, I knew there was a reason for me to be anonymous. I'm sure that different examples will come up, but here's the first one out of the gate, and it's a doozy.

I have a colleague, whom I've always thought was a decent guy. So decent, in fact, that when I needed some expertise in a field outside my own, I asked him for some help, which he graciously extended. Ah, intellectual generosity and collegiality, right?

On Saturday, Mr. Fluff and I ran into said colleague at a cafe in downtown Urbania. He oh-so-graciously reminded me that I owed him a favor, and said he'd like to cash it in: he knows a young woman who has opened a business, and wondered if I might be able to talk with her about one of my hobbies. I was a bit taken aback (always weird to be informed that you owe someone, despite the number of times that you may in fact say "I owe you!"), but agreed. We walked around the corner, he introduced her to me, and then he went away.

The young woman is charming. She explains to me that she graduated from Ascesis U. a year or two ago, moved to the big city, but has now moved back because she likes the pace of Urbania better. She's really invested in this business working--she's renting the space and living in a tiny room in the back. She's supporting herself at a summer job, but that will soon be over and she doesn't know what's best. She's really grateful that my colleague has helped her out so much, even letting her sleep on his couch for a few days. Ascesis just doesn't know how great he is--he's really taken advantage of by his department.

After our conversation, I agreed to do some research and see whether I could discuss a partnership between her business and my own department. On a whim, I broached this idea with a member of my department, and the conversation went something like this:
Department Member: There's a sticky personnel issue there.
Idiot Kfluff: Perhaps that's why our colleague was giving me the full-court press.
DM: Did he mention that she's his girlfriend?
IK: !!! I thought he was married!

Right. So there it is in a nutshell, folks. Colloquially, a few of us have taken to calling the colleague "Dickhead." Seems fitting, right? Who does this kind of thing?! And by "this kind of thing" I mean:

A: Gets romantically involved with students and ex-students.
B: Does the above while married and a father.
C: Ropes his colleagues into assisting said ex-student with her new business, so that she can stay in the town with the colleague?!

I do have to give him credit: if it were just A and B, it would simply be a gigantic cliche. But the crucial addition of C--well, that just makes it all new again. While Mr. Fluff and my friend Dr. Marxy are all up in arms on my behalf (which I totally appreciate), I really can't help but fixate on this poor young woman. If you've ever been in a position like hers, you recognize the ways in which she is culpable, but also a victim herself. I keep searching for some way to clue her in to that: an anonymous email? A letter bomb? Alas, I think I have to simply extricate myself, back away slowly, and wait for the trainwreck.

If anyone out there is up for it, how about an website like "Rate Your Professors" titled "Rate Your Colleagues?" That'd be damn handy right about now...


Blogger jo(e) said...

Well, that's definitely a situation I would run away from ... and quickly.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006 3:27:00 PM  
Blogger Flavia said...

Ick! Gross, gross gross.

But you know, somehow it fits. The kind of person who has an affair with a student/ex-student while married with kids (and in defiance of the spirit if not the letter of whatever university codes there might be about fraternization) is likely to be the kind of person who doesn't see anything wrong with roping his colleagues into equally inappropriate positions.

But I'm still sorry to hear about this.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006 5:23:00 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

How uncomfortable. And sleazy. I'd definitely get out of it, because you don't know how nasty it will get and if one of the parties will pull you in.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006 6:48:00 PM  
Blogger kfluff said...

Thanks, chicas, for the sympathy, advice, and for the new vocabulary to add to this: gross, sleazy, and RUN!

I'll keep you updated, but I'm writing the young woman today to wriggle out of it.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Mel said...

good thing you found out before you got in too deep --

Thursday, August 10, 2006 2:23:00 PM  
Blogger Dr. Marxy said...

I'm assuming I'm Dr. Marxy--if not I have to back that shit up and pick another name. At any rate, K-fluff is a total gem.

Thursday, August 24, 2006 3:39:00 PM  

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