Not being able to trust praise: why erotic capital, isn’t

And a follow-up to yesterday’s post on erotic capital at GMP today: “I Can’t Trust Your Praise”: Why Erotic Capital Isn’t Capital.


It’s been more than 13 years since I slept with a student who was in my classes. And of all the people I hurt with my selfish, narcissistic behavior during my acting-out years, Claire was one of those the memory of whom has haunted me the longest. The amends I made to her may have been sufficient; it was the best I could offer. But she is one of those who has spurred me not only to change my life, and change it radically, but to be such a public advocate for banning “consensual” sexual relationships between profs and students. And she is one of those of whom I first thought when I read about Catherine Hakim’s thesis.

When the person with whom you are getting naked is also the person evaluating your work and your intellectual ability, the potential for crippling self-doubt will always be there. There is no capital in that.

Read the whole thing.

2 thoughts on “Not being able to trust praise: why erotic capital, isn’t

  1. I think you’re robbing Claire of some of her agency here. She was older than you, a mom, knew what she wanted. Give yourself a break.

  2. I disagree, Anne. I’m a mom and an old cougar, and I don’t sleep with my profs for precisely the reason Hugo just discussed here. I want to be absolutely certain that the grade I get is the grade I earned. If I missed something and my prof kissed my ass because… well… he liked my ass, I could be seriously screwed (pun definitely intended) when I try to take the next more advanced course. Grades are for measuring competence and students’ compatibilities with whichever discipline, not a form of currency to be traded for sex.

    I don’t normally sleep with people who have any kind of authority over me. I made that mistake once, when I thought the circumstances might make it ok. I was working at a crappy waitressing job making crappy tips bc the manager was always giving the tables full of large groups of drinkers to my coworker.The situation got to a point where I actually started sliding in and serving her customers, making sure I got the tip. Finders keepers. If she’s juggling so many customers that some of them are tapping their feet, it’s my duty to promote better customer service, right?

    So I hated it there and I was planning on leaving anyway. I’d been checking out the boss for a few months, and decided that I had to do the deed with him. My decision to walk was already made, which meant that in my mind there was nothing whorish about fucking him. I didn’t tell him I was quitting. I didn’t want anything to spoil the sex.

    Well didn’t the asshole instruct the manager to start giving me the big dinner parties?!? I was livid!! How dare he let me rot on less than minimum wage for 4 frikkin months while some greedy twit chased all the customers away bc she couldn’t serve them all by herself!! And then he gives me back what was rightfully mine after I fuck him?!? Like I’m some fucking hurdygurdy butt monkey!?! For what? His dick? PFFT!! I quit hmming and hawing about it and gave my notice as soon as I realized what was going on.

    I’ve often wondered if I was the first fuckbag to reject that guy’s ‘gifts’ and leave him a week after boning him, with only one other waitress on the evening shift. I probably wasn’t the first to walk out on him, but I suspect I was the first to be so mean about it. I’m actually surprised he didn’t give me a hard time about that last paycheck.

    Hugo was right to question his own behaviour. Questioning enabled him to change.

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