What I go to Uni for

What could be more thrilling, and more awkward, than having a crush on your tutor? It's a difficult barrier to cross, being, on the one hand, a perfectly legal endeavour, and on the other, a possibly inappropriate and career-compromising move. Whether you'd be horrified at the idea of asking them out, or whether you don't see any issue, Label explores the difficulties of being trapped in an academic environment with someone you'd much rather was with you somewhere else...

He looks up over his book and we make direct eye contact that holds for a little too long for it to be a coincidence. There’s tension, I know it. In any other scenario, I may have acted on it. A few more glances, an accidental touch, fleeting introductions, a whirlwind romance incurs… but he is my tutor. This is yet another class where I sit and fantasise about his muscular arms shaped by a plaid cardigan that on any other man would look hideous.

I found him attractive from day one, brushing it off as a crush and allowing fantasies of hot, forbidden sex to play out in my mind - a lot more fun than fully concentrating on analysing poetry from the Romantic period (something I’m sure Byron would have fully approved of). But now, it feels different. It doesn’t become outweighed by the mundane topic of our class; it doesn’t fizzle out as the cardigans become even more plaid, and even more terrible. In fact, all this makes me even more attracted to him, I wasn’t being put off and I was certainly still turned on. And now I find myself thinking, should I act on it? Can I act on it?

Apparently, I can. According to my flatmate, tutors are not in a position of care and so there are no legal complications involved. But even the thought of ‘legal complications’ being an issue puts me off. Not just that: imagine being on a date in this tiny town, with the guarantee that someone who knows someone who knows someone will know either of you, and so the rumour mill starts to turn. That same situation becomes a whole lot juicier when the ‘someone’ in question is a tutor, and the rumour mill turns a whole lot faster. There’s also the remaining fact that they would still be your tutor. It’s one thing to be conscious of how you look, or what you say at the start of any relationship, but it becomes a whole different ball game when they are your teacher. The remaining classes of the semester would be strained by actually having to care about how intellectual you sound, or turning up to those 9ams looking as though you hadn’t just rolled the whole way to class. Something which I’m unsure whether I’m emotionally or physically prepared for.

Although the potential to date an older, more mature man with more life experience than ‘chinning pints in the union’ is definitely appealing. Having dated my fair share of St Andrews’ boys, I would welcome a change of scene with (really, really, wide) open arms. The idea of someone being from the same walk of life as you, but at the same time on a completely separate path, could work well in a relationship. Sharing our different lives in St Andrews, and different perspectives of the university, would definitely make for interesting conversation. Also, perhaps the public part wouldn’t be so bad after all. Perhaps it would be empowering to be emotionally mature enough to date someone in a job rather than someone who puts a tie on on a Wednesday night and think it makes them manly. Alternatively, making it a private affair wouldn’t be so bad either. I don’t know whether I’ve just read too many Cosmo articles, but the idea of a secretive relationship with my tutor is just downright hot. The teacher/student fantasy has crossed everyone’s mind at some point, let’s face it…

So, here I am: confused by the Romantics (because I haven’t managed to pay attention in any of my classes) and confused by my feelings. Maybe it does just take a bit of seductive confidence to break down the barrier, and make the tutor/student one-on-one normal outside office hours. For me, the awkwardness of the scenario if I was rejected is just too daunting…but hey, it’s only week three! In the meantime, I’ll just continue to get my thrills from Cosmo and those god awful cardigans.