Very Late At Night

Friday, March 03, 2006

Twenty Five Is Too Young

I have spent many days since my last posting doing the math and I have decided that twenty-five is too young. Many of my friends informed me, "He is younger than...(fill in the blank)." I think I could have met up casually with him in Big Major City if we hadn't talked so much on the phone. I know this is messed up but indulge me here for a moment. He is smart, sweet, and earnest and I just don't think he could handle a casual encounter. He wants something serious. This is crazy I know. We have seen each other once. He is also in a very different place. He wants that intense twenty-something girlfriend. I have already done that and then some.

What do I want? A man that is not having a quarter life crisis. A man who has worked through his committment issues. A man ready to make a life and a future with me. A man who is smart, funny, in his thirties, and has a plan. If you know of such a man you know where to find me.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Too Young Part II.

Well, I have learned some interesting things about straight women, straight men, and gay men (this is my social network in Nowhereville) as I attempt to make a decision about Mr. 25.

The scenario so far. Mr. 25 and I have had some intense im-ing sessions. Flirting in the highest order. We had one sweet converation. He seemed very young but entertaining. I am under an enormous amount of stress at this moment. I am trying to finish a book manucript which I see as my ticket out of here. I am in the worst academic department in America. I am in the last stages of a long distance relationship. Mr. 25 is such a nice diversion from all this. He has proposed that we meet in person in Big Major City in three weeks. (I have been invited for a talk at Fancy University in Big Major City.) I am not sure how I feel about meeting up in person.

1. He is 25.
2. He lives on the coast, I live in Nowhereville.
3. I did not expect my "on-line" world become part of my real life.
4. I am technically in a committed relationshp.
5. What could I really have in common with a 25 year old?
6. He is 25.
7. He is 25.
8. Etc.

A lot of drinking and advice giving has occured here in Nowhereville by friends. It is interesting how folks weighed in on the decision.

Straight women across the board discouraged me for the following reasons:

1. I should not toy with the affections of a 25 year old that is pursuing me.
2. If I slept with him, I would regret it.
3. I should be spending my energy looking for a serious relationship.
4. Mr. 25 is the same age as many of my undergraduates.
5. It would never go any where.

Gay men encouraged me for the following reasons:

1. It would be good sex.
2. It would be a refreshing fling.
3. He could be my boy-toy.
4. Sex is not the same as love.

Straight men encouraged me as well. (One "friend" then propositioned me. We will no longer be friends.)

1. It would be "friends with benefits."
2. It could be a purely sexually relationship.
3. Sex is not the same as love.

Interesting.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Too Young?

This summer I was waiting for the train. The air was thick from the heat and humidity. I just wanted to get to my destination. The train finally arrived and I was relieved to settle into the air conditioned car. I was reading. A man in the next seat struck up a conversation. In general I am very standoffish. Too many encounters with the nasty type. This man was charming. We talked about real estate, music, etc. We exchanged business cards and I thought nothing of it because he was TWENTY-FIVE! He got off at his station. Afterwards, the woman in front of me turned around and stated flatly, "He was flirting with you."


Fast foward six months later. He emails out of the blue. We exchange a few emails. He finds out that I am several years older than he is. I am in my early thirties. He stops emailing. Whatever. He surfaces again. We email and then begin instant messaging. We have a lot in common. However, he is on the East Coast and I am in Nowhereville. Also, again, he is TWENTY-FIVE! He is the same age as some of my undergraduates. Any thoughts?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Event of the Season Part I

As many of you may know from your own experiences, single datable men (this may require another posting) are a scarcity in college towns. This is definately the case here at Nowhere University. I have several girlfriends here who are single and looking. Fortunately, the social life here in Nowhereville is not too bad. I socialize regularly with a group of junior faculty. In this group we have two married couples, two women in long distance relationships, one single gay man, and three single women. The single folks are actively looking for a partner of some sort.

This weekend, we introduced someone new into our circle. A friend of mine came to visit. We went to grad school together and have been friends for a long time. Our friendship is not typical for me. I am very much about regular contact usually over the phone and in person. But with grad school friend (GSF), we rarely talk and we see each other infrequently but we have a great friend chemistry. So when we do get together we have a great time. I was happy that he would be here during a social event. And I was happy to take him as my guest.

We were celebrating a friend's birthday and a lot of effort and planning had gone into the event. Food, cake, presents, dancing--it was the event of the season and fifty people turned up. GSF and I had spent a leisurely day hanging out and a party was the perfect thing for a day of leisure. It had been a while since I had a houseguest and it was fun to get ready for a party with someone else. GSF is also a man that appreciates women and not in a disrespectful way. He was full of compliments. I put on a party dress, he was in a jacket and tie and we left for the party.

By the time we arrived, the party was in full swing. It was interesting to arrive at a party in Nowhereville on the arm of man. And for the record, GSF is a nice looking man. We recieved looks that were both approving and knowing. GSF is a gentleman. He brought me a drink, he was solicitous. I admit it was really nice but not in a sexual way. We are affectionate but in a "we made it through grad school way." I had a number of people ask about GSF and the nature of our relationship. It was clear that it would have made people comfortable if he and I were partnered up. (I still don't understand this pressure in Nowhereville). Actually, while it was nothing calculated, I thought GSF would enjoy meeting some of my single girlfriends. He was soon the center of attention.

Of a More Personal Nature

When I first starting blogging (I have blogged under a few other pseudonyms), I had a "academic blog" and a "personal blog." Increasingly, I found this split personality approach to blogging confining. I realized that in many ways it was impossible to separate the two. I also realized that the blogs that I identify with (early career academics) and enjoy reading (Profgrrrl, New Kid, and Dr. Crazy are a few notable examples) are a blend of the two. So even though I am still very much concerned with maintaining my anonymity, I am going to blog a little more about my personal life.

Back in Nowhereville

Well, I am back from the last of my campus visits at a R1 University in very snowy city in the Northeast. It is interesting how different it is to be interviewing with a job. When I was first on the market, I was so desperate to please, to demonstrate how I would fit in. What I want from this job search is to find a better place that will professionally advance my career, while it is difficult at Nowhere University, I want to leave for the right reasons instead of just for a way out.

It was an interesting campus visit. In many ways the department looks like my present institution. A top-heavy tier of full professors who earned their Ph.Ds before I was born. Two associate professors and one assistant professor and the position I was interviewing for. They were on their best behavior. The starting salary is comparable to what I make now. It is a 2/2 teaching load. There is research money. It is the flagship state school so undergraduate and graduate admission is fairly selective. However, I wonder if it would really be a improvement of my current situation? Would the senior folks (all men) have the same narrow world view as my current colleagues. Would I be the token person of color? It is an all white department. How would settling down in a new place affect my writing and teaching? Keep in mind that Nowhereville is the third move in four years. Should I stay with the evil I know?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

In the Office

I feel depressed. Nearly all the people I know here in Nowheresville are in the office working tonight (including me). Is this normal or is this a particularity of this college town? How do other folks manage their work/private time? Is there some way to keep the two separate?

I Hate Graduate Students (Some of them)

I have a graduate student who is contesting her grade. I gave her a C which I thought was generous. She is probably fifteen years older than I am and is an instructer at a near by state college. Thoughout the semester she has constantly attempted to undermine my authority in the classroom and on email. On email she offers me teaching advice. (I need to be nicer) In class she complains that the readings and the course itself is lacking in content. She also offers me personal advice. She recently told me that if I didn't have a child soon, I would miss my window and wind up old and alone. She also comments on my wardrobe. "You don't dress like a professor." Translation: You do not wear shapeless clothing with birkenstocks. She also leaves religious tracts in my mailbox with a post-it note with her name and a smiley face on it. She also has told the chair of my department that I smoke on the fire escape outside our office suite.

She is contending that I as a person of color--am anti-white, therefore, the C I gave her represents discrimination against her as a white woman.

1. Guess what? All your classmates were white and several of them received "A"s.
2. You did not follow instructions for your research project. You wrote the paper THAT you wanted.
3. You missed 6 out of the 14 classes sessions
4. You did not facilitate a class discussion. You didn't inform my why you could not fulfill this obligation. You just didn't come to class.
5. I know that you feel that you are a professor. You have more teaching experience than I do. More children. More ugly outfits. But hey, I have a Ph.D and you don't.

Only problem is that she is the pet student of the chair of my department.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Feeling Smug

Ok, I know it is not wise to feel smug or to display smugness so I have been hiding my smugness all day and I finally have a chance to share it. In my terribly fraught department here at Nowhere University, my senior colleagues for different reasons behave badly. I had an awful first year on the TT and went on the market this year for a few jobs I thought I would be competitive for. As a courtesy, I let my chair know that I had campus visits and asked that this information be kept confidential. What is the chair's response? The chair sends out a mass emai to the department listserv detailing where I was interviewing. In a meeting today, Prof. Foul Breath of the previous post asked me in front of the entire department why I would be willing to leave Nowhere University for a third rate institution like University X. There was a long silence. GET THIS. Senior woman colleague received her Ph.D. from University X. I wisely said nothing. Senior woman colleague was furious. (I now know what it means to have the blood drain from someone's face.) She said icily, "The last time I checked, University X was a R1 institution." Then the meeting ended. I am staying out of this. Is it bad that I feel so smug about this?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Dear Senior Colleague,

Dear Senior Colleague,

While I am deeply impressed by the fact that you started this department back in the day, you do nothing for your reputation when you behave like a beast. Do not yell at the work study students when you cannot remember your copy code. When you yell at our very nice undergraduate female workers not only do you demonstrate that patriarchy is alive and well, you also make them cry, which is not cool. Moreover, as your junior female colleague it is also not appropriate for you to shout at me because you cannot operate the copier. Please know that the copier is oftentimes a mystery to me as well. If you were willing to learn how to email and to use BLACKBOARD, you would not have to make copies at all. Finally, if you are going to shout at your junior colleague, please do so from a distance. Not only is your breath foul, your shouting/spitting will require her to dry clean her favorite sweater which is quite expensive in Nowhere Collegetown.


Best Regards,

EJNW06