Saturday, November 04, 2006

I've Been Slimed

Friday, wonderful Friday. One of the benefits of working in academe, I think, is the possibility of a workless Friday. This is often offset by the necessity of working Saturday afternoon and Sunday, but when a Friday dawns bright and cold, and you don't have to get all gussied up to go and teach a class, academic life is good.

So what does an enterprising untenured faculty member do on a Friday morning? Well, go to Target, of course! There were lots of things we needed here at Chez Fluff--hand soap, laundry detergent, contact lens solution, light bulbs. [The beauty, and also the dirty secret of Target I will reveal here: go in for hand soap, stay for the new fashion collections. The new Behnaz Sarafpour collection is up now at your local store. Run, don't walk. The stuff is all teeny-tiny, but if that's who you are, go get some love.]

So there I am, holding my basket and looking at this lovely jacket, trying to decide if I can actually rock it in class (jury's still out, feel free to weigh in...).
Minding my own business, reveling in the delicious freedom of a Friday morning. And then I see them. You may remember back in August when I wrote about my colleague, christened "the dickhead." I'm busy feeling up the fake Persian lamb sleeve of the above jacket, and D and his--girlfriend? are we calling her his girlfriend?--are there, doing the same thing. I was almost literally struck dumb: gee, how are you two doing? D, where's your WIFE?!! As I was temporarily turned into a pillar of salt, D and girlfriend regaled me with the great progress she'd been able to make at her new business, the events she still had in the works. Then, of course, came the hints about the ways that I could still help her in the way that D. had originally suggested (and that I'd actually explored with another colleague, before I found out what the relationship between these two really was.)

Oy. I made it very clear that I had explored the possibility but just wouldn't be able to do it. Which you'd think would send a clear message, right? Something along the lines of "I'm being as civil as I can, but it's utterly inappropriate for me to professionally support this enterprise." That's the vibe I was trying to send. But then the two of them went on to invite me to an ongoing series of events that her business puts on. ARGH!! Where are my cajones when I need them?!! How about something like: "Gee, I'd like to come, but I'll be too busy tending to women who feel like crap when they find out that their husbands are slimy lying dickheads." Unfortunately, all I could muster were mumblings: I wouldn't be able to attend, as I had planned to spend time with Senor Fluff: "It's as if I never get to see my husband anymore." At the time, this felt like the lamest of all possible excuses (despite the fact that it was true). Now, of course, I'm secretly hoping that it serves to chastise D. That would make me feel a bit better.

As I drove home (no jacket, just the necessities), I couldn't help wondering if I'm secretly a social conservative. Who cares what these two do? And why was I so offended that I'd seen them domestically browsing the aisles at Target? But the longer I mull, the less concerned about my reaction I get. I think it's not so much that I judge people for having affairs. Or perhaps I do. If he wants to be with this young woman, and she clearly wants to be with him, then fine--even if she was his former student, STILL fine. [Well, and to be truthful, not so fine. We've got to be beyond the age when professors are still wooing their students. Don't we know enough about the lure and responsibility of power to avoid this cliche?) But please, break it off with your wife, for crying out loud. Have the faith of your convictions, if nothing else. And don't implicate your poor defenseless colleagues on their day off.


Blogger ~profgrrrrl~ said...

Ugh. Shudder. Ick. Yes, he should break it off with his wife if this is what he wants, and should not get others involved until he does.

And you? You should get the jacket :)

Saturday, November 04, 2006 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger Flavia said...

Yes to the jacket, big NOOOOOOOO to the colleague.

(I'm embarrassed by how much I'm loving this story, though.)

Saturday, November 04, 2006 11:53:00 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Go back and get that jacket. You can so rock that look in the classroom.

As for being a social conservative? Um, no. Respecting the vows of a relationship -- whether legally in a marriage or personally in a longterm relationship -- is simply part of being an adult. He's slime, especially if he's casually shopping at his friendly neighborhood Target.

Sunday, November 05, 2006 7:40:00 PM  
Blogger kfluff said...

According to my count, that's jacket 3/colleague 0. Do I have that right?

Thanks to all of you for affirming my fashion sense and cultural values. I'm fascinated to see what happens when I run into him on campus. But perhaps this is a sign to stop hanging at the Target?

A special note of thanks to Flavia--as long as my social mortification can entertain even one person, what I do will be worth it.

Sunday, November 05, 2006 10:38:00 PM  

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