Ah. How do I answer this without getting myself into massive trouble.
The Annika Schauer is wise. But let me elaborate on the scenario a bit, and let me answer about whether it is appropriate, and whether it is desirable for Anon to date any.
What are the rules for a heterosexual date-seeking male of any age to interact with any women in any context?
- Be respectful
- Do not harass people
- Do not assume people are there for your entertainment
- Do not assume people will be interested back
- Do not make the space uncomfortable for your peers
- Remember that they actually are your peer first, and your potential sex partner or mate second
To which one can add, in this particular context,
- Be aware of power differentials
- Be aware of your own feelings of entitlement
- Be aware that what these 18+ females in your courses are after, even if they are interested in a relationship, and even if they are interested in a relationship with you, might be very different from what you’re after
Let us hypothetically, OP, assume you’re in a class with three women. Under the expert tutelage of the magisterial lecturer Nick Nicholas, expounding forth on the mysteries of Historical Linguistics. (Hey, why does OP get to be the only guy daydreaming?) Let us further, if dangerously, assume they are:
- Sierra Spaulding,
- Mary C. Gignilliat, and
- Sam Murray (referring to Sam Murray’s answer to I tend to love men older than me and they always love me too. most times, they are usually married and I do not want to break their marriages?, with her permission)
Let us yet further assume that all three of them will remain on speaking terms with me after the conclusion of this hypothetical. Which is not a given.
Now, OP, me old china, Dr Nick has no traffic with what his students get up to on their own time, so long as everyone’s keeping their hands above the desk, and is listening raptly to his dorky jokes and amazing accounts of random language changes.
Dr Nick is concerned that his students feel comfortable and safe in his class; and he really, really hopes that he doesn’t get called in to deal with any disruptions to that.
OP looks langurously around at Sierra and Sarah.
Mary is in fact maybe possibly looking for someone to have a good time with, when she’s not slaving away at the landscaping biz, or trying to make head or tail of the history of Tocharian. Mary is astonishingly awesome; she happens to be more age-appropriate for OP, as our culture sets it out; and Mary has a very good asshole detector, so Dr Nick (who, eh, knows Mary socially through Quora) would have no concerns that Mary would look after herself, and would not allow herself to feel unsafe.
OP, we’ll assume, is not even noticing Mary, because he’s fucking blind or something. A possibility Sierra rightly puts forward in her response. If OP is not even noticing Mary, what’s OP really after?
Sierra? Sierra wants to be regarded as a peer by her peers, and treated with respect. And deserves nothing less. Sierra would be nothing but creeped out by OP putting the moves on her, and knows that no meaningful relationship would develop out of it, because it would not be a relation of peers, or equals, or anything but sexual, and she’s not coming to Dr Nick’s amazing lectures to be leered at like a piece of meat, thank you very much. And seriously, what does OP think they’d have in common to talk about.
Dr Nick (who, eh, knows Sierra socially through Quora) would advise that OP not even try to go there.
Sarah? In this hypothetical, Sarah is not yet giddily engaged, and their fiancé is not about to come out and beat OP up. Sarah, no less than Sierra, wants to be regarded as a peer by their peers, and treated with respect. And deserves nothing less. Sarah in this hypothetical and stage in their life, as it happens, is in fact quite OK for OP to objectify them, and interact with them as a potential sex partner.
So long as they get to objectify him right back. Get prepared for some confronting conversations with them, OP. Sarah is not interested in someone who’s got ridiculous expectations about what’s actually likely to happen. Sarah is not interested in liars, cheaters, or assholes; and if you’re only interested in one thing with Sarah, well then, they get to be interested in only one thing with you, right back. And you’re not any more likely to be the guy that Sarah ends up with as her mate, than you are with Sierra—for what I think are ultimately the same reasons. You don’t have that much in common.
(Dr Nick is respecting Sarah’s pronoun preferences btw, because he, eh, knows Sarah socially through Quora; and if OP doesn’t respect Sarah’s pronoun preferences, he’s not getting far with them.)
So, OP. You can view anyone you like as a potential sex partner or mate. Not during Dr Nick’s class, of course, he’ll likely take a dim view of that. But still.
But. Are you prepared for the consequences?