How to ask out my TA? … when we’ve already made out?
May 10, 2016 7:28 PM   Subscribe

How to ask out my TA? … when we’ve already made out? My judgment may be slightly clouded by, um, hormones.

I’m a graduate student, single, female. As an undergrad, I went to a party with some girlfriends one night, just for kicks. I happened to dance with/grind on/get kind of freaky with a guy who was extreeeeemely sexy (cute, nerdy-sexy) to me and we kissed a little but I turned him down when he asked me to go back to his room, because there was some typical undergrad-frat-drama going down with my friends and I wanted to make sure they were OK.

Flash forward five years, and I’m in grad school. Halfway through the year, the new TA for my class introduces himself, and— shock— it’s incredibly sexy undergrad party guy, exactly as sexy as before, and very shy, smart, and funny. (I’m 100% sure it’s him, just to be clear.) I’ve been in some kind of preteen agony every week as I sit through each study session he teaches, because he. is. driving me crazy.

I know there’s no guarantee the sex would have been good, and no guarantee that he’d still be into it now. I look different now and we’re not both tipsy so circumstances have changed. But I’m in full blown crush mode, and it’s driving me bananas that I can’t even tell whether he recognizes me! (He got my name at the party and messaged me on Facebook a few times afterward, so I think there was mutual attraction. But he’s the TA and I’m a student, so he might just be looking out at a sea of faces every week without really paying attention.)

I would never say anything while he’s still my TA, but I'm graduating soon and won't be taking anymore classes in his department, so once this class is done, our professional relationship is basically over. Imagine he’s a hardcore academic and I’m a business student— we’re unlikely to cross paths again. Is there anything not completely weird I can say to see if this could maybe… go somewhere? I would love to be smooth about it but I’ve given up being smooth long ago. I can be sexy once I know someone’s into me but the initial contact is freaking me out and I don’t know if I should drop it or see if he’s up for some no strings attached messing around before we go our separate ways. (After the class is over, of course!)

(For the record, we're about the same age, I think I'm 1-2 years older than him. So the power dynamics are a little different than usual. Also, he has no grading responsibilities in this class, so this is not as weird as it could possibly be.)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't see any reason why you shouldn't ask him out, especially after you graduate.
posted by pando11 at 7:33 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


You can ask but time marches on, he may have a partner. You could ask him to coffee after exams and see if he's interested.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:35 PM on May 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


INT anonymous' apartment, graduation day

anonymous picks up the phone and dials a number, visibly excited

"Hello? Is this sexy-ass TA sexy nerdy sexy dude? It's anonymous, I was in your Economics of Basket Weaving 201 class this semester. And actually we made out at a party like five years ago! I was wondering if you'd like to go out on a date?"
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:37 PM on May 10, 2016 [21 favorites]


Well, what do you want from him? What are you looking for? Sometimes it's the actual crush, you didn't really get to know him, you're just greatly attracted to him. I say go for it, but beware of what you're getting yourself into re: rejection. Obviously be an adult about it concerning the current TA aspect, which sounds like you are. Have fun, but stay on the lookout for other fish in the sea. Btw, feeling sexy again is a great reason to potentially flirt in the future when he's not your TA.
posted by lunastellasol at 7:37 PM on May 10, 2016


Are you still both on Facebook? Because that's a pretty low pressure way to re-establish contact after the class ends.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:39 PM on May 10, 2016 [10 favorites]


Yep. Was going to suggest Facebook!
posted by jbenben at 7:39 PM on May 10, 2016


Definitely ask him out as soon as the class is over. (Rules on the appropriateness of asking him out during the semester vary considerably by school, but I'd stick with the low key approach as a safe bet.) I like fffm's script as the basis for a call or email, assuming there is not a chance to ask him in person.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:44 PM on May 10, 2016


Facebook, for sure. He may be in a relationship, but if not... You may be the one that got away! "Hey - it seemed weird to bring this up earlier, but I'm so glad our paths crossed again this semester! What are you up to after the semester ends? Wanna grab a drink?"

Please report back.
posted by samthemander at 7:55 PM on May 10, 2016 [13 favorites]


Approach for anything non-platonic after you get the grade for the course, as he could deflect because of conflict of interest. Start with Facebook. See where it goes.
posted by childofTethys at 8:01 PM on May 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Definitely after class is done and final grades are posted. I was hit on a couple of times as a TA and it always skeeved me out. Did they really like me or was it just for the grades? Didn't encourage me to pursue anything with them, then or afterwards.

After class is done though, anything may be possible.
posted by bonehead at 8:41 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


I would never say anything while he’s still my TA, but I'm graduating soon and won't be taking anymore classes in his department, so once this class is done, our professional relationship is basically over. Imagine he’s a hardcore academic and I’m a business student— we’re unlikely to cross paths again.

So you have no issue here, and should ask him out as soon as final grades are filed.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:44 AM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was all ready to come here and say no no no never, student/TA relationships are creepy, etc. BUT, I think this is one of the rare circumstances where it actually wouldn't be an issue, as long as you wait until the course is over (even if he doesn't have grading responsibilities, different schools have different policies on this and you don't want to put him in an awkward position).

As for how to approach it, I agree that Facebook may be a low stakes way to feel things out. I have had many former students friend me on Facebook (after they graduated), and while it has never been dating-related (as I am happily married!), I think that's a pretty normal thing to do. This would at least let you know whether he is still single, since a ton can happen in 5 years. If you do decide to ask him out, I would just acknowledge the awkwardness and give him an easy out -- like, invite him to something low key like coffee (not a fancy resaturant), and make it perfectly clear you know this is a long shot and kind of awkward, but you'd be kicking yourself if you never asked.
posted by rainbowbrite at 8:15 AM on May 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I would not bank on him remembering you (nothing personal, it's just that college is a meaningless drunken hookup parade for many people and 5 years ago may not even register, and as you say he sees many many many students in the course of his work.)

But I don't see why you couldn't ask him out-- AFTER class is done. Which is what, a few weeks from now? Even if you hadn't hooked up, I'd think it was fine.

(I suppose it's possible he does remember you and is holding back precisely because he thinks it's inappropriate to bring up the hookup while you're a student, in which case you should follow his lead and be cool until the class is done, which you should do anyway.)
posted by kapers at 10:05 AM on May 11, 2016


once this class is done, our professional relationship is basically over

If it's not incredibly obvious from the structure of the program that this would be the case, you should be very clear about that when you ask him out.
posted by yohko at 12:38 PM on May 13, 2016


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