Romance According to Patrick

Patrick Ehlers

(Brent Schwert)

Dear Patrick,I have a huge crush on one of my professors. What do I do?

Just one? Wow, that shows restraint. One of things that Lawrence really has working to its advantage is the general charisma of the faculty and staff. And it’s an amazing variety as far as charisma types are concerned. You want grumpy-old-man charm? We got that. You want optimistic young professional charm? We got that too.
But let’s address your problem directly. You’re experiencing what we in the field call “professorlove” — add it to your spell check’s dictionary; I just did. Professorlove can be tricky to navigate because you can’t really expect a relationship. One of the drawbacks of having such a charming faculty is that most of them are already taken.
Another thing to consider is that the “Lawrence University Staff and Faculty Handbook” explicitly states that a student may not be advised by, nor take classes from any faculty with whom they happen to be romantically involved.
That’s not to decry professorlove — it certainly has its merits. Professorlove can actually lead to academic success. To better explore its merits, I called on noted professorlover and academic success Sue Spang for her expertise.
“Professorloving can really be an asset to your academic success,” says Spang. “If you can get past the fact that it is inevitably unrequited, then your crush on Tim Spurgin can motivate you to previously unreachable heights. Huh? Did I say Tim Spurgin?”
In my own experience, professorlove drove me to be a better musician. Take for example, my inappropriate yet totally understandable crush on ridiculously attractive bass professor Mark Urness. He’s married and has an adorable daughter — to say nothing of the fact that he’s a man — yet my professorlust kept me locked in a practice room for hours slaving tirelessly to gain his ever-elusive approval.
“Shit, Mark’s hot too,” adds Spang.
You may want to add “professorlover,” “professorloving,” and “professorlust” to your spell check’s dictionary while you’re at it.

Dear Patrick,

I can’t find time to masturbate now that I have a roommate. What can I do?

Whatever you do, for the love of God, do not stop masturbating! Quitting is a damn near impossible feat; it’s best not to even try. So now we’re charged with the task of finding time to do so.
No, this isn’t high school anymore, you can’t just run up to your room whenever appropriately motivated and rub one out. But before you try to find a quiet corner of the library, or worse yet, a practice room, let me assure you that the only place you should be punching the clown is in the privacy of your own room.
Next step is learning your roommate’s schedule and applying some common sense. If he’s leaving the room to go to chem lab, you’re probably cleared for a little mnage … moi. If he’s just popping out to brush his teeth, you might want to exercise some self-control.
Don’t ever try sugaring off while your roommate is sleeping — this is rude and gross. So long as we’re on the subject of what not to do, please do not fire one off in the public showers. No one wants to stand in your reproductive fluids. That too is gross.

Dear Patrick,

Where are the best public places to make out on campus?

There are tons of great public places to make out on this campus. Concurrently there’s an equal number of ways to make your friends uncomfortable, so exercise caution when applying this information.
There’s a wooden walkway between Briggs and Hiett that overlooks the river, but the best part about this make out location, or MOL, is that no one uses the thing — it’s virtually deserted year round. If you can get up to the Kohler roof, you can get a good windswept sort of kiss you see in the movies. To really embarrass your friends, the front porch of the Sinfonia house makes a great MOL.
It’s a little cold in the winter and heavily trafficked during the day, but if you can time it right, the sky lounge hovering above the Science Hall Atrium provides a fantastic view. I think you could make a case for TV lounges in the residence halls, but I’m inclined to disagree. A television hooked up to cable is a rare commodity on this campus, so let’s not monopolize that, thanks.
One thing to watch out for is that you have got to keep it in your pants. Don’t get naked or do overtly sexual things in public. Doing so can actually get you slapped with an indecency charge, which, in the state of Wisconsin, permanently labels you as a sex offender.
And that’s not a label you can shake — you have to register as a sexual offender when moving to a new neighborhood and you should probably give up all hopes of ever working with children. For some reason, known sexual predators are seldom given teaching positions — go figure.
My point is, make out to your heart’s and other parts’ content, but save the nasty stuff for private time.

Got a question you want Patrick to answer? E-mail him at
Somewhere along the line, the name of the column “Romance According to Patrick” was grandfathered to me from Kate Ostler. The name’s fine, if not a tisch boring. Do you have any ideas for a new name? I’m sure you do, so e-mail me suggestions. We’ll make it a contest; winner gets a kiss on the cheek.