The Slutty Professor

Dear Dategirl,

My amazing, beautiful, talented, wonderfully smart, funny, incredible 19-year-old daughter is sleeping with one of her professors. Not only is he at least 30 years her senior, he's physically repulsive and married. Her father doesn't know yet because I'm afraid he'll murder the man. I found out quite accidentally, but when I confronted her with my suspicions, she quickly admitted all. She thinks he'll leave his "ugly old wife" for her and they'll live happily ever after. Every single cliché you've ever heard about married men has been fed to me over the past couple days. She really wants my approval on this.

I did a little research on this guy and his "ugly old wife" is a knockout in her mid-30s and, naturally, a former student. After raising four girls, I know that the more vocal I am about my disapproval, the more enraptured she'll become. The thought of them together makes me ill. I don't know what I did to make her think that a fat, married 50-year-old would be a suitable companion. How can I talk to her about it without driving her further into his arms?

—Mortified Mom

What is it about these horndog professors? I've worked in many different jobs, but never anywhere half as depraved as academia. One professor in the sociology department I named "Roast Beef Head" because of his thick-mottled, cylindrical noggin. This charmer had about four chins that he attempted to disguise with a crumb-covered beard, and wore his long gray hair in a frizzy ponytail. Like your daughter's portly paramour, he was also in his 50s and married. Incredibly, he always had at least one hot young grad-student girlfriend on the side.

The rest of the staff were also unapologetic philanderers, but none were as repulsive as Roast Beef Head. He once confessed to me—apropos of absolutely nothing—that cocaine caused his penis to tingle. I fled the room with such a look of terror that he tracked me down to apologize. Twelve years later, even just thinking about that guy's junk activates my gag reflex.

But back to your issue. You're a smart mom, realizing how the teenage pea-brain works. You don't want to push them together, but you don't have to be all fake-ass about your feelings, either. I mean, nobody could possibly endorse this relationship. What do her friends think? Where are the Mean Girls when you actually need them?

The best thing you could do is remove any trace of emotion and judgment from your tone when you talk to her. This will not be easy. Maybe you should put it in terms she can understand: Ask her how she'd feel if your husband started having sex with one of her friends? Or, better yet, you started schtupping one of her classmates.

As depressing as it may be, there's really nothing you can do about it. Sure, you could tell his wife, but that might just move your daughter into the #1 spot, which would be even worse. Hopefully, being someone's dirty little secret will eventually get on her nerves. If not, you could always trick her into a Lifetime movie marathon, where she'll see how unappealing her life choices look when portrayed by Tori Spelling.

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