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Dear Panel,

I'm a bit confused. At my college, I have become good friends with my teacher(he's 32). We talk often, and he walks me to class.I work on campus, and he has started to turn up where I work, asking "Oh, you work here?" At one point he has told me that I remind him of Josephine Baker, and that he found me interesting.

I want to ask him out(he is single), but I'm very new to all of this dating stuff(a late bloomer at 25). I'm not even sure if he's attracted to me, but I think he might be.

I suppose my query is: How should I go about this? Should I let him know how I feel, or wait for him to say something? The semester is almost over and time is running out!

A very Confused Damsel

Charlie Answers:

Dear confused,

I think there are two issues here: dating a teacher, and dating in general.

First the teacher part. If he's your teacher, responsible for your grades and future, then it's best that you two not go out until after the semester is over. He may believe this as well, which is why you are confused.

Should I keep my eyes closed when I'm teaching?

In general, I think that it is a conflict of interest for teachers and students to see each other. The teacher wonders if the student is just trying to get a good grade, and the student wonders, "if I don't do what he wants, will I still get a good grade?" It's a relationship of unequal power, and it sets up a potentially bad situation.

But he might just see her as a cute college kid.

Now, the dating part. If you're attracted, wait until after the semester is over, grades are in, and then ask him out. Or if that's too forward, give him a call (this will definitely let him know you are interested and available).

In other words, go for it! But beware the power differential, you should always try to meet your partner on as equal footing as possible.

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