I was sitting in my English class the other day trying to figure out what made my professor so damn attractive. It wasn’t his disheveled hair—I’d seen that on every teacher I’ve had since high school; it wasn’t his glasses—optical deficiencies can only get my gears grinding so far; it wasn’t his lanky body—though that definitely didn’t hurt.
Then it hit me.
It was his passion.
This professor is so enthusiastic about English literature that one might guess he came up with the concept himself. It’s infectious, too. Once someone says something in class that causes his face to light up with excitement, I can’t help but light up with him. He gets into such a frenzy when trying to describe why the sex scenes in If Beale Street Could Talk make us so uncomfortable. Discussing the theme of desire in Their Eyes Were Watching God transforms him into a child before trick-or-treating. Mention the word ‘minimalism’ in his presence and you’re guaranteed a 20-minute spiel about the differences between Gordon Lish and Raymond Carver.
Seeing someone get passionate about something is an amazing thing to witness. You’re seeing that person in their purest, most vulnerable form. They love something so much that they don’t care who sees it. The energy that pours from someone when they’re talking about something that is of the utmost importance is almost enough to make you fall in love with them.
I’m not sure if passion is attractive because it shows that someone cares about something, or if it’s because it shows that someone could potentially care about you like they care about that something. Now that I’ve seen my professor confess his love for James Baldwin’s character Ernestine Rivers, all I want to do is be as Ernestine Rivers as possible; and in that respect, I can say that his passion has given me a seedling of hope that perhaps one day, somebody will illuminate like the sunrise when my name is mentioned.