hoebegone: the other side of the professor's desk

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caveat lector: mature content and language and at the risk of offering way TMI...

our dear mr. luse posts a lengthy article entitled philosophy on the rocks that has me thinking so hard my head hurts. two words in mr. luse's article immediately caught my attention: philosophy -- which was my minor in college -- and unchastity -- which was my major.

mr. luse writes:
college professors surely find themselves sorely tempted ... aha! at last -- a subject on which i am fully qualified to hold forth.

to which i respond, aha! me, too. of course, i was leaning over the other side of the professor’s desk. perhaps i should point out that my major was less physical than intellectual. of course, i suppose that could be even more scandalous, especially when one considers the fact that Christ Himself refuses to let us off the hook when we excuse ourselves with "well, i didn't actually do anything." that sticky point of lust in the heart being equated with actual adultery ... boy, that one smarts. especially for a recovering flirt-a-holic. but at the time, i considered my little hobby a harmless recreation that afforded me the attention i was desperately seeking.

if i had an “A” for every university professor i flirted with … oh, wait, i did, even in trig which was quite a feat, but there was one exception: my favorite philosophy professor. yes, the one who taught Aristotelian ethics, in fact. so don't lose heart, mr. luse.

of course, i still had a major brain crush on said professor. what's more, i had this terrific brain crush and still only managed “B“s. of course, the "B"s were quite a blow to the old ego because i had what i considered a legitimate crush on him. but he gave me the grades i deserved. oh, his virtue was very sexy. poor guy could hardly win for losing, you say. but, this professor was smart. a genius. what did he do? he introduced me to his wife and child. the line was very. clearly. drawn.

by the way, is there such a thing as a legitimate crush? what is the difference between a crush -- say, mere infatuation -- and lust? is lust purely sexual? is real lust only sexual? is that why i even use the phrase “brain crush?” in order to seperate the infatuation of mind vs. attraction to body? the fact that i don’t know the exact difference truly scares me. i mean it. that’s why my head hurts.

and while most women can appreciate a nice bod, we're much more inclined to be attracted to brains than brawn. here i'm speaking mostly for women in my socio-economic situation because in "my culture" the importance of financial security ranks above physical security. i'm not particularly worried about gang bangers. the only drive-bys in my neighborhood are committed by me when i drop off avon orders. so the brain crush winning out over the brawn crush is legitimate. i still insist that men learn to love the women they’re attracted to while women become attracted to the men they love. but, i digress.

what exactly constitutes lust? and while i make no excuses for my behavior "way back when" i think it's important to point out that it is very easy for these particular temptations -- the teacher-student variety -- to occur, especially today. think about it. more girls are growing up in homes completely without male role models, especially decent male role models. the innate and healthy desire to be loved and nurtured by a man is left woefully unfulfilled for at least half of the female population in modern america. where do these girls turn to?

and my question remains: is the intense desire really sexual, or is that the only way we know how to define it in our sexploitative [sic] culture? when does infatuation trip over that teeny tiny fine little line and into the abyss that is lust? how do we teach our girls the difference? should we?

hey, wanna think about something even scarier? with so many single parent homes, these latch-key girls, growing up and growing nubile at an alarming, and alarmingly early, rate are turning to anybody who will give them the attention and (what passes for) love they are thirsting for. why do you think “pop lesbianism” is so blooming popular?

as a culture we’ve sexualized shampooing our hair, for pete’s sake, what do we expect from our girls? how long has it been since you’ve been to a baby gap? we’re dressing our infants, yes, infants, God help us, like two-bit whores in tight leopard skin hot pants. one retailer made little girl underwear emblazoned with the phrase “eye candy” across them. oh, these wicked buyers, you say. no, i say, what’s the message these dumbass mothers are sending? and, sorry gals, it ain’t just the garden variety reprobates who are doing it. our precious church-going moms are dressing with less taste, not to mention less class, than some bourbon street drag queens. turn on TBN for five minutes, and then i dare you to contradict me. this isn’t anything new either. i have the pictures to prove i was running around in a gold lame bikini when i was seven. what the hell was my mother’s thought process there?

i suppose that it is because i carried this plank around in my eye for so long that i notice the speck immediately in other young women. before i “got religion” but after i “straightened up” i used to see young ladies, and i use that term loosely, strutting their stuff. “nice ass” or “great ta-tas” i’d comment. when the gal gasped in horror, i’d make some nasty comment about advertising merchandise that wasn’t actually for sale. i was only slapped once. of course, i probably did much more harm than good and i still don’t know what the answer is.

i agree we should learn to dress modestly, but puh-lease. that doesn’t really scratch the surface of the problem, does it? well, maybe just the surface, and at least it’s a start.


Thanks, Micki. Wish I'd known you back in those "unchastity" days, just so's I could observe your flirting skills, of course. You raise some interesting questions (the difference between infatuation and lust,eg), and I wish you'd answer them because I certainly don't know what's going on behind those female eyes.

Your title is so funny... I did not get it at first.

I was told that;
Love is to give
Lust is to want

I think it is true.

Never thought I'd see "great ta-ta's" on a Catholic blog! Great stuff Micki. The title came to me belatedly too.

You ask great questions which I can't answer either. But I was listening to a Scott Hahn tape yesterday in which he said "it's not sinful to entertain lustful thoughts, it's sinful to let lustful thoughts entertain you".

And Mr. Hahn would be wrong on at least one count, TSO, because those two formulations are in fact one and the same, aren't they?

Well I took it that he meant that the fleeting male "vegetative" response to female beauty is okay, but not to hold it to where it becomes a source of entertainment. Is the one-second thought that crosses your mind entertaining? I guess it depends on your definition of "entertain" as Clinton might say.

I cannot agree with Mr. Hahn. Venial sins ease the way mortal sins. Sinful thoughts lead to sinful actions. That's why venial sins must be confessed also.

I know how you took it, and what he meant by it. But his choice of words was infelicitous. You're thinking of that involuntary erotic impulse that takes us by surprise. But by the time something is being entertained, it is no longer fleeting.

Fantastic read . Wish I had read it before commenting at Apologia.

Isn't crushing more infatuation with an ideal personified? Girls have a crush on someone they don't know or can't know. A legitimate crush may be all those lovely impressions confirmed on closer inspection (he really is smart of wonderful) yet still on someone they can't have.

When we set our affections on something (or someone), we desire it. When the object is verbotten it is called coveting. When the person is forbidden it is called lust.

Is crushing lust? I guess it depends on whether the crusher wants to posses the unattainable crushee???

Umm..LeXuan you're incorrect.

Venial sins do not need to be confessed. Ever. They may be, and it is considered to some to be a healthy, pious practice -- so long as it doesn't become a manifestation of scrupulosity. But only mortal sins must be confessed.

There are an assortment of things that absolve venial sins: An Act of Contrition with firm purpose of amendment; the Sign of the Cross with Holy Water upon entering a Church; the absolution pronounced during the Penitential Rite of the Mass (or the repeated absolutions under the 1962 Missal) -- incidentally this is why you shouldn't Sign with Holy Water upon exiting a church; and, if I remember correctly, several pious practices are Idulgenced to absolve venial sins.

And Dr. Hahn's formulation, waggish though it is, is correct. It's not innovation, but a cheeky formulation of very traditional advice on the subject from Saints and moralists alike.

Stitchwitch expressed pretty clearly over at Musings on Muses yesterday my thoughts on the issue.

Hello Flambeaux. You're right, and that's an important point. But in LeXuan's defense (I know her pretty well), she didn't mean "must" in the legal or canonical sense, but "must" in the sense of doing one's best to avoid mortal sin.

Entertaining lustful thoughts, in the common understanding of the word "entertain", is certainly a venial sin, and possibly mortal under certain conditions. Either way it's a problem for the confessional.

boy howdy, we sure do have smart people visiting our little blog. i'm so impressed. so honored! thanks to everyone for their incredible insights. i'm especially fond of julie's thoughts.
thank y'all!

Of course you can't even venially sin without it being an act of the will. So the difficulty is determining when your will kicks in. Obviously it's not your will to be attracted to a nearly naked body in front of you. But if you don't turn away, then you do will it.

"Obviously it's not your will to be attracted to a nearly naked body in front of you"... As I've said before, TS, you're a better man than I.



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This page contains a single entry by smockmomma published on August 29, 2004 10:45 PM.

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