There were several reactions that came from my letter.
The first was that another female student (Inez) contacted Andrea (who had resigned over email the day before I sent my letter), to ask what was going on with Andrea and me. Inez and Andrea had been pretty friendly in class, so Inez was really surprised at Andrea abruptly dropping out without saying something first.
Andrea explained the two instances of what happened with her, and what happened with me. Inez (who is married; Andrea is divorced, and as we all know, I’m poly) responded basically by saying “Yeah, I knew he was a dirtball, but I didn’t know how much of one he was. Once when I walk talking about my husband I having an argument, Teacher let me know that he and his wife ‘barely had a marriage anymore’ and that he was ‘available’. I cut him off before he went any further, told him that was TMI, and I never wanted to hear about the subject of his marriage again. And I never brought mine up again when he was around.”
Inez plans to keep going to the class, which is totally her choice, and it seems she’s already on her guard with him.
So now we have three women who have dealt with some kind of overture from him, in varying degrees of slimy.
Oh, Inez also told Andrea a little detail we didn’t know about. A few weeks ago, a woman stopped by at after class drinks (I wasn’t there that night, so I don’t know anything about this woman). Turns out, she is Teacher’s current lover. I wonder if she knows he’s…pretending to be poly? Is she poly? The thing is, he’s never said anything about being poly before, and from the “understanding” he claims to have with his wife, I’m more leaning towards “Asshole who sees every woman as a potential person to fuck, and will say whatever necessary to get laid”.
After getting my email, Teacher called my friend Robert, wanting to tell “his side” of what happened. Because, it seems, my message did rattle him. Robert said he really didn’t want to hear it, but honestly wasn’t sure what to say in the moment.
So Teacher plunged on. He told Robert that he (Teacher) has acknowledged to me in the past that he admires me. He said that I have talked about being polyamorous. He also said that at some point during the situation, I said I don’t have energy to have other partners (This is probably true. After he started kissing and groping me, when I was trying to figure out a polite way out of it, because I was still actually concerned about his feelings and going to class, I tried saying anything I could to derail this whole kissing and groping thing).
Anyways, Robert said that Teacher’s demeanor was confused and worried and that he said he was an innocent victim of circumstances, who was concerned about the whole situation, and wanting good resolution for all.
If only he’d thought about wanting a good resolution for all before laying a fucking hand on me.
Teacher also sent me a text sometime around the time he called Robert. I didn’t look at it until last night, because I really didn’t want to see it at work. When Robert and I were talking, I opened the text. This is what it said:
Dearest Liz, I’m deeply troubled. I pray your email to our class does not arise from the tender exchanges of several weeks prior, which were freely volunteered by both of us and with which you said you were entirely comfortable. I am sorry indeed if you feel differently.
How is that for an attempt at controlling the narrative?
Also, that apology deserves its own special mention for being tacked on at the end after informing me of how I felt and what I “freely volunteered”.
I read the text to Robert. His response was utter shock. Given the way that teacher first appeared to generally deny that anything happened (or at the least, refused to text about his feelings about it, when asked point blank twice), then called up Robert to complain about how this was all some terrible misunderstanding…it sounds like Teacher thinks he understands exactly what happened. To both of us. And is mainly interested in that reality only.
Now, there is one thing I’ll say at this point. I’m honestly not sure that Teacher is 100% a predator who is preying on women because he specifically wants to coerce them into things and gets off on that. I think it’s more likely that his (extremely smart man with a decades-long career in a very competitive business) is a giant fucking horndog who objectifies all women and sees them as potential places to plant his dick. He uses heavy-handed tactics to get his dick planted wherever he can find (or create) some fertile ground, because at the end of the day, it’s about getting pleasure from as many women as possible. And as long as he doesn’t use violence, then he’s not being coercive or doing anything improper in his mind.
The main difference I’m illustrating is that I think his behavior comes from objectification and gross narcissism, not from an actual desire to cause harm.
That he isn’t expressly out to cause harm does not, in any way, mitigate his behavior, or excuse it. The only thing it really means (in theory, to me) is that if someone were to educate him about how you don’t fucking come on to a student EVER, without talking to the student in a neutral setting where you first make it clear that the students standing in class will not at all be effected by their response, and then, WITH FREAKING WORDS, express attraction and then wait to see what happens, well, maybe, just maybe he’d actually think with head atop his shoulders and realize that his behavior was wrong and improve.
If part of how he gets his rocks off is through coercion and control, then there would be no reasoning with him to modulate his “technique” for getting women into relationships with him.
I could also, even at this late hour, still be making excuses and finding a way to not just call this guy an utter scumbag, because of my own feelings that this person was in my life for over ten years and I was completely ignorant of his horrid predations on women, and I’m having a hard time with that. That is also completely possible.
It’s really hard to believe that someone I knew for over ten years, who was a mentor to me, and who I thought was a really good person is such a disgusting human being. When I think about all the various topics we talked about over time, and how friendly we were…and was that all just going like that because we’d never been alone together until the other week? Is that his MO? Any time he’s alone with a woman, he makes the moves on them? I’m not one hundred percent sure, but given my dislike of being out late on work nights, I probably never was alone with him until the other week, except for a few moments sometimes at the beginning of class, before other students showed up. I do know that I’m nearly always the first person to leave at our after-class drinks. If I’m not the very first, when the first person gets up, that’s usually my social cue to remind me that I should go too.
So is that who he is? Someone who waits to see who he ends up alone with, and then he goes at them? And based off of what he said to Robert, it seems like in Teacher’s sick mind “expressing admiration” for me in the past + me being poly + me not forcefully jerking out of a (supposedly platonic) hug that he offered = “freely volunteered by both of us and with which you said you were entirely comfortable” actions.
Why am I cutting this guy any slack or looking for any reasonable explanation for his behavior? Fuck that. Nevermind. You know what, no matter what the reason, this man is disgusting and violates boundaries. He doesn’t deserve my concern or sympathy or an attempt at understanding him. I’m not sure if what he actually deserves is prison, but at the least, all the women around him deserve to know that he views them as sex objects and assumes that any woman who isn’t either in a stable relationship or is in an open relationship is fair game to his attentions. Disgusting.
I hope that text is the last of it. I don’t plan on responding, or ever having anything to do with him again. I already expressed myself obliquely in writing and I really feel like that’s the best I can do, without getting the authorities involved. Andrea has resigned from class. Robert leaves today on a vacation and won’t be in class for the next week. He said he’s tired of dealing with Teacher now (though still wants to talk to me, if I want to talk, and wants to know if Teacher reaches out to me again), and will pick up with him when he gets back, mainly to tell Teacher that he’s not coming back to class again either.
So hopefully that’s in, in terms of things actually happening with Teacher. I still have a lot more work to do on myself. But I will say, I do feel good about the email I sent. If nothing else, I made my feelings towards him crystal clear. And from what Inez said, the other women in class picked up on it too (while writing this, Andrea emailed me to let me know about this development). At least one of them did briefly speak to Inez and her attitude was a sort of eye roll and “Well, that’s Teacher being Teacher. As long as you’re on your guard with him, it’s fine”, which I think is a horrible way to think about it, but hey, that’s her choice, not mine.
Now the only thing left to do is see if the dust is actually settling and work on healing. We’ll see how those things go.