Over the weekend, teacher contacted me by email and phone. The gist of his communication was basically this:
Sorry to have missed you in class last week. Can you present on X topic this week? If it’s too much pressure, let me know.
What the almighty fuck is this? Absolutely no mention of what happened a few weeks ago. None. Like it didn’t happen.
Now, this is where things break down into the totally bizarre for me. Teacher latched himself onto me, after luring me close with a hug, kissing and fondling me while telling me what a wonderful lover he still was, and how he was in love with me, had been attracted to me the moment that he met me, and how he and his wife have an “understanding”, so given that I’m polyamorous, it’s totally fine for us to have a relationship.
I freeze when this happens, don’t tell him to stop (which I continue to beat myself up for, even as I try to be kind to myself), and sit there numb and passive during the entire exchange, body frozen while my mind sluggishly tries to work it’s way through what the fuck is happening.
I eventually leave, and don’t hear from him until nearly a week and a half later, in a completely sterile “can you do this for class this week?” set of message.
So let’s look at this situation from his eyes for a moment. As I was present, and this definitely fucking happened, and I’m not going to entertain the idea that it didn’t happen more or less in the manner in which I remember it (namely that this was completely unsolicited, and a bizarre departure from our previous relationship dynamic), what the fuck is he thinking?
Here are some ideas:
- He was black-out drunk and doesn’t remember it at all.
- He does remember, and is totally mortified by his behavior.
- He does remember, and knows what he did was wrong on some level.
Now, I don’t think #1 up there is likely. Thinking about other nights, I really don’t believe he was black out drunk. I truly don’t remember how much he had to drink, but it just doesn’t track. I generally don’t keep track of his alcohol intake, but having been out with the class any number of nights, I don’t remember him ever having problems with how much he drank any other night, so taking that into consideration (and taking into consideration that we were out not much later than the time the whole class usually stays out), black out drunk doesn’t make sense.
Number #2 is interesting, and assuming that this has never happened before, I could see how possibly being afraid to bring it up, out of embarrassment, could be a choice that some people could make, in how to handle such a lapse. However, I’m going to discard #2 mainly because of his history, which Andrea has helpful filled in for me – at least, the parts that she’s aware of.
So Andrea, my friend Robert’s friend who also dealt with an inappropriate episode from teacher. Turns out, it was two episodes. The first episode started similarly to mine. After a night of drinking, he made a really heavy handed pass at her. She smacked him away, told him to knock it off, and assumed that he was drunk and dumb.
The second time it happened was when he made a pass at her in a cab. That was the original incident I heard about. That time, there had been very little drinking going on, and since it was the second time he’d tried to jump on her, she ripped him a new one after that, saying that if they were going to continue to have any kind of relationship, that had to never ever happen again. That was the point at which he responded blandly to her that he “understood their only relationship was to be a working relationship”.
Andrea also mentioned that she’d once overheard Teacher chortling to a guy in our class about how he was having an affair with one of his daughter’s friends. Andrea overheard this when walking behind their seats, returning to her seat after a trip to the bathroom. When they sensed movement behind them, and teacher noticed that she was back there, he completely seamlessly changed the subject to something totally different.
It was such a bizarre little scene that Andrea wondered for awhile if she’d misheard. This was before he made either pass at her. Now, she feels a lot more certain that she didn’t mishear.
So, in light of those things, I think #2 is pretty firmly off the table. Maybe I’m a cynic, but men who brag to other men about screwing their daughter’s friend probably aren’t going to feel mortified by having a transgression with a fully adult student.
(Also, fucking hell do I feel badly for his daughter. I wonder what she’s like, having grown up with a dad like that.)
That leaves #3. Knows what he did was wrong. If Andrea can be believed (and I see no reason not to believe her), then he has a history of questionable to completely unacceptable sexual behavior. Chances are good that such an individual has been through this particular rodeo before. And if he really is a predator, then he’d have gotten very good at gaslighting and doing all sorts of things to make sure that he didn’t get caught.
Like for instance, playing completely dumb.
Which seems to be what he decided to do.
After getting his text and email and feeling like I was living in a bizarre parallel universe where nothing had happened, I decided to risk a direct question. This is a compilation of our emails and texts over the weekend:
Teacher (Friday afternoon, email): Hello, so sorry to have missed you in class last week. Can you prepare a piece on subject X for next week?
Teacher (Friday evening, text): Hello, did you get my email? I wanted to know if you could talk about your latest knowledge about subject X in class next week. Please let me know.
Me (Saturday morning, email): What are your feelings about what happened after class the other week?
Teacher (Saturday afternoon, text): I understood what you said about energy levels and believe it. But you didn’t answer my question. Is there a connection?
Teacher (Saturday evening, text): You could please call me to talk?
Me (Saturday evening, text): I do not wish to talk. I will not have a piece ready for this week. I do not understand your comment about energy levels. What do energy levels have to do with what happened at the bar after class the other week?
Teacher (Sunday morning, text): I’m so sorry to hear that. My non-communication was entirely due to your comment about your low energy levels, which was directly related. Why would you not wish to speak? This is very difficult to understand.
Oh, poor teacher. You assaulted someone and she doesn’t want to talk to you afterwards. Your life is full of hardship.
At this point, if he were a genuinely good person, who’d done something stupid, I think he’d have come clean and said *something*. Honestly, one of the things that really freaked me out after the incident with him happened was that he was going to email/text/call me and express excitement about us having a relationship. Because I was taking his behavior at face value (or at least, that there was some possibility that it was true) when he said he’d always had feelings for me and wanted to have a relationship. I do understand that because I didn’t have an outwardly negative reaction as I was shocked and freaked out, he may have actually thought his attentions were wanted and that we’d date or something. It would have been hard but extremely necessary to tell him that his behavior was deeply disturbing and shocking, so shocking that I froze and was really scared and didn’t know what to do or say, and that I not only didn’t want to have a romantic/sexual relationship with him, but I no longer wanted to have a friend relationship with him, because of his behavior.
So after what happened, I did fully expect some kind of response that acknowledged his behavior, whether his thought I actually reciprocated his feelings or realized that he’d acted inappropriately and tendered some form of apology.
For him to act as though nothing happened at all…the scales tip ever more firmly in favor of him being a predator, pure and simple.
Perhaps over the phone, perhaps verbally, he’d have said something more sincere or truthful. If that is true, then what does it say about the situation that he wouldn’t put the truth in writing, in any form?
And why didn’t I call him back? Because the mere idea of the sound of his voice makes me feel nauseous.
So, gaslighting is what it seems to be. What the hell do I do with that?
I was lucky enough to have a moment of inspiration there, and so I decided what to do. I’ll write about that in my next post.