Saturday, October 01, 2005

NOT

Because end-of-course evaluations aren’t terrifying enough (“Did you feel your desk in the classroom was awesome, or was not awesome? Provide additional comments on the back of this sheet”) now there are websites out there which rate college professors on… hotness.

That is so asinine. You can’t pick your classes on whether or not the prof is good-looking. Everybody knows you need to plan your semester according to maximum probability of catching the mid-afternoon Cheers hour on TVLand.

I am very glad the internet has come to this, for this is precisely what it was designed for: A wireless, blinking slam book. It is great fun knowing that somewhere in cyberspace there exists a collection of bits and bytes dedicated solely as an open forum on whether or not I suck at my job, and most importantly, whether or not the effects of the Eight-Minute Buns Blast are readily apparent while I'm doing it.

Somewhere Dan Rather is laughing very hard.

Courage.

My name has shown up here, and I... am not hot. Or NOT hot, as one of my more subtle students has felt it necessary to announce. So not only am I NOT hot, the lecture on the reliance on vivid word choice rather than caps-screaming went over well, too.

You get a chili pepper next to your name if someone has deemed you “hot,” and I do have a chili pepper, posted by someone else, but this was apparently awarded in error. “She is NOT hot,” the student explained. But! He immediately amends this with, “She is not ugly.”

Well! This I can work with. This, I can put on a resume: MFA, national publication, first academic paper pending, and… not ugly.

But there is so much more to me: She has not spontaneously combusted, she does not truck with trial lawyers, she does not have sex with animals. Why the shortshift?

It is clear that whoever wrote this shares a DNA strand with the kid who last week yelled to me that “This is the only class I don’t actively dread.” Aw. They don’t actively dread me! Passively, yes. It is only deep-seated, not bursting to the surface as is the case with so many of his classmates. I had to turn quickly away, lest they see the shining tears in my eyes, the tears of a weary but deeply fulfilled educator. Who is NOT hot.

See, the thing is, I am already well aware of my limitations. In just the past twenty-four hours I 1) abandoned a set of drugstore eyeshadow that, instead of creating a "dramatic, glamorous World of the Eyes" made me look as if I had just escaped from the second circle of hell on forty-five minutes of sleep and 2) informed an entire roomfull of students that if they did not start bringing their textbooks to class, they would fail my course and out of the university and never get a job and wander the Earth licking Tootsie Pop wrappers for sustenance, forever. I know I'm a crap teacher. I know I'm NOT hot. I just don't want anybody else saying it. It's like I can kick the Cincinnati Reds up Vine Street and down River Road, but if anybody else tries it, they get a nice swift kick in the reproductive organs.

Women who actually are hot don’t need to be told so, which I suppose is why my self-esteem went ow when I read this. I’m twenty-eight years old. If I am to be hot, it would have bloody well have happened by now, as I noted that any colleague over the age of forty is branded sans chili pepper.

People with teetering self-esteem--as many writers have--tend to measure worth empirically. No other person in the universe is allowed to collect more chili peppers... no other writer may sell more copies... no one can have a smaller percentage of body fat. A rival member of the human race can be a better person; she just cannot be better-looking. Evidence disputing any of this is cause for devastation.

This means nothing. Eight years of womens’ education tells me that this means nothing, for truly beautiful people are so much more than exteriors; the truly beautiful are those who don’t barge into an elevator before the people inside have gotten off first. But “She is so hot I made an effort to get to class on time every day”—this was typed about someone other than me, and my 26% bodyfat and my pale, pale German nose went ow.

Eh. They’ll be twenty-eight someday too.

sinking into cookies at: mb@blondechampagne.com

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