Ask a Dude: Can I Ever Date My T.A.?

Hey Dude,

I am a 21-year-old female and I have strong feelings for an instructor (24 or 25 years old) at college.  He teaches a small studio setting course of 8 students including myself so we have a lot of one on one interaction. Also, he has made himself readily available to all of his students outside of the classroom setting (like some of the other instructors at my college). As a result, I have his cell phone number and he has mine. He has been professional and there’s not even any indication that he shares any of the same feelings, however all the time I’ve spent with him has got me more and more interested.

Though I know it would be completely inappropriate to make a move at this point and I know I shouldn’t even be thinking it, do you think in the future – when I’m no longer his student –  it would it still be considered inappropriate to try and initiate something? And regardless of all that, do you have any ideas as to how I can focus more on school and less on him?

Oh god. This is bad.


Dear Student,

Hot for teacher?

Happens a lot. Why not fantasize about the authority figure in charge of expanding your horizons? Certainly gives you extra cause to suck up. Lots of college kids develop the puppies for professors or TA’s. I know of a few that actually started “extra credit work” while the class was still in session! And it never ended with an A plus…

Legal terminology warning: Conflict of interest. It is unethical for teachers or assistant teachers to get involved with any member of the student body. It doesn’t even matter if you’re in his class or lecture. If he’s on the payroll of the school you’re enrolled in then it’s a strict “no touchy” policy. But doesn’t that make the prospect of procreation with the unattainable that much hotter?

However, the ethical implications only extend to the graduation stage (or academic probation office that boots your ass back home!). Once you’re free and clear of the handbook’s regulations, then throw away the apples for some rubbers. There’s no reason not to reconnect over drinks.

When you can, take your shot (and doing so over shots wouldn’t be a bad method). Think about it, you’ve got a built in conversation block for at least a half hour. Plus, there’s still the lingering memory of the taboo attraction. Where’s the con? Right, there isn’t one. Especially when you need a recommendation letter…

Now as for keeping a lid on the flame until the semester’s over, I can’t give you too much you haven’t already thought of. There are classic and contemporary distractions…

Classic: cold showers.
Contemporary: Frat boys.

Classic: Exercise.
Contemporary: “Neck massagers

Classic: Finding a new hobby (DC Universe Online, “the next legend is you!”)
Contemporary: Ryan Reynolds marathon

Just don’t pigeon-hole yourself as being a teacher’s pet and cut yourself off from the student body. Yes, older men have the lust edge over most college guys. Still, your peers offer you more variety, greater selection, and they aren’t exactly the objects of desire for women 25-28, which your TA’s and professors are.  So until you’ve received your diploma and are being properly screwed by your student loan lenders, enjoy your college boys years.

Saving you by the bell,
Professor Dude

[Check out The Dude’s other insights into the male mind right here.]



  1. Lauren H - The New S says:

    I'm with the dude on this one, even a hot TA isn't worth messing up your academia for. Leave the naughty professor ideas for the 'alone time'

  2. Sara says:

    My parents celebrated their 20th anniversary this year- my dad was my mom’s TA. She started her program later on so she was only two years younger. They didn’t get together until she was starting grad school elsewhere. So it can work out.

  3. […] To my Poli-Sci TA: When I showed up forty minutes late to the midterm with a hangover and a severe case of sex hair, thank you for pretending not to notice.  Also, thank you for providing me with a No. 2 pencil, an extra ScanTron in case I threw up on the first, and seat right next to you.  You smell delicious and I really dig your beard. […]

  4. Nicholas says:

    It's worth pointing out, TA's often have much less to lose in these situations than undergraduates. At least such is so at my university. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but when you think about it, the TA is a significant financial investment of the university's, most undergraduates are not, especially when the university is public. (Not to say that universities do not fund undergrads, they do, but it's usually much less money and resources than those spent on grads.)

    At my university, an honest/caught TA will have their hands slapped, and your assignments will be graded by someone else for the remainder of the quarter/semester. Some universities are fine with this arrangement (i.e., temporarily or permanently barring your TA flame from ever having any control of your assignments and grade). But it seems that a number of the universities have strict disciplinary measures. Though I'm sure some are also very strict on the TA's as well.

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