Sex Ed in Higher Ed

College instructor teaching human sexuality rants about the dumbing down of America, the lost art of manners, grammar and (the perfect combination of both) the thank you note. Also includes random rants about life, pet peeves, and sometimes raves about favorite things.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Professional Opinion

Last week, I was out with a bunch of health doc students. We got into this conversation about what it means to be a "Professor of Health." In order to be taken seriously, do you have to be a "role model" or can you pretty much do whatever the hell you want as long as you're cranking out the research?

My argument was that you don't have to be perfect, but you have to set a fairly decent example. After all, would you go to an accountant who had filed for bankruptcy? Would you go to a personal trainer who was 300 pounds and smoked while s/he coached you through your workout?

But - the problem with the notion of "health" and setting a good example is that it's so broad. If you look at the current health professors in my department, of course, none of them smoke. That makes sense to me - and I also like that one because I don't smoke either. 90% of them do not drink alcohol. Ever. Strike one for me. I'm not exactly gunning for AA membership, but I do likes me a glass of wine with dinner. 90% of them exercise regularly. A few of them might be teetering on the brink of exercise addiction. Huh? What? Exercise? I don't remember what that is. Strike two for me. Almost all of them eat really, really healthy. In fact, one eats so healthy that most of us can't even look at the food she brings in because it's THAT disgusting. (Lots of steamed squashes as entrees and lots of unrecognizable whole grains.) I try to get in my daily servings of fruits and vegetables, but I also like some crappy food now and then. In my field, this is akin to worshipping Satan. In fact, for the past two years, I've gotten bitched at for bringing my left-over Halloween candy into the office. (There was lots - we didn't get any trick-or-treaters.) I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

So, one of my fellow doc students was bemoaning the fact that she might not be taken seriously when she is a professor because of her size. Personally, I think she looks fine. She's very curvy, but she's also very tall and broad-shouldered, so I don't look at her and think, "Morbidly obese. At risk for Diabetes and other obesity-related causes of mortality." As we tried to give her a pep talk, another colleague said, "No one is perfectly healthy. Remember, there are so many dimensions of health - not just physical, but emotional, mental, spiritual, etc., After all, look at Teacher Lady. She's skinny, but she's a wreck."

How sad and pathetic (and how much of a wreck) am I that in a split second I went from really insulted to all gushy-grateful, "You think I'm skinny!!! Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!" I think I just heard that "mental health" dimension disappearing. Oh, well.

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Blogger Just another student said...

Next time you have leftover candy or anything of the sort, leave it near where the undergrads hang out. It will disappear and no one is likely to give you any shit for it. Some might even think you for bringing "lunch".

November 26, 2006 6:26 PM  
Blogger Mrs. T said...

No one's EVER accused me of being skinny- I would have gone all gushy over that one, too. Emotional health be damned!

November 26, 2006 9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

go you on all those strikes.

I say that excercise is overrated. I mean we walk through out the day and do housework occasionally. i think that counts.

November 27, 2006 5:24 AM  
Blogger Art Nerd Lauren said...

Doesn't it figure that a backhanded compliment, when it mentions the word skinny, is kind of missed? I would think someone crazy if they described me as skinny, but I'd take it and they could say just about anything else about me and I wouldn't care!

November 27, 2006 7:02 PM  
Blogger The "Mind" said...

I would probably kiss anyone who said that I am skinny. Ok, maybe not really, but I'd be damn tempted. LOL!

November 27, 2006 8:20 PM  
Blogger Jess Riley said...

Ha! You have to admire such back-handed compliments.

November 28, 2006 2:01 PM  

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