I’m not going to suggest I was smitten by my very attractive Spanish instructor in college, but the truth is — and we journalists are always supposed to tell the truth — I was smitten by my very attractive Spanish instructor in college.
“Que?” “Como?” I mean, “Me gusta” or something like that. Actually, I’m not sure what I mean because I never did all that well in Spanish, probably because I was smitten.
A recent experiment by the University of Nevada explored the relationship between good-looking instructors and learning, and concluded that students retain more if teachers are “easy on the eyes,” to use a clinical term commonly found in professional journals.
It’s no secret. Attractive people get all the breaks. They get better jobs, more promotions, larger offices, higher salaries, more dates and better seats at the Academy Awards than the rest of us jamokes — that’s another clinical term. So if you’re not attractive, you better start saving for mucho (I still remember some Spanish) plastic surgery so that you, too, can succeed like the Kardashians and have your own TV show and pimple-preventing cosmetics line.
Researchers from the University of Nevada — not the Vegas branch — made 131 students listen to a 20-minute physics lecture and showed photos of people who were supposedly delivering the lectures. Some were really hot and others, well, we’re not supposed to use the word “ugly” anymore, so let’s just say they were lukewarm.
Then, there was a quiz, and the students who listened to the hotties scored better than the others. The researchers insist this had nothing to do with sexual attraction, which must mean it was the pure pursuit of knowledge in a Platonic sense.
What’s the big deal? Any barfly will tell you that good-looking bartenders sell more drinks and get bigger tips, which means the only hope for the rest of us is to go into physics or the monastery.
The Nevada study was probably subsidized with government money that could have been spent more wisely cutting our taxes or paying for plastic surgery for ugly college professors. Now, some progressive Congressperson will probably draft legislation that lets Obamacare pay for taxpayer-funded cosmetic surgery to solve the education crisis in America.
But just because someone is good looking doesn’t make him a better teacher, physicist, athlete or Victoria’s Secret model. Did you ever see that film American Psycho? Neither did I, but it was about a handsome homicidal maniac … so let that be a lesson to you and always steer clear of attractive homicidal maniacs.
The author of the Nevada study also pointed out that jurors are inclined to acquit good-looking criminals, which means you should avoid committing crimes if you’re ugly because the jury will send you up the river, and you’ll be even uglier when you get out.
I was a teacher once, a “so-so looking” teacher even when I had hair, but my students generally did well because what I lacked in looks, I made up for by yelling and handing out detention slips.
Furthermore, one of the best high school religion teachers I ever had was known as “Brother Dog Face.” Behind his back, of course. He wasn’t good-looking, but he gave us a thorough understanding of what the Ten Commandments meant, especially when it came to teen sex.
And one of the best English teachers I ever had was Miss Garrison in the seventh grade, who made us memorize sonnets by Shakespeare that I still don’t understand. She also taught us the parts of speech and forced us to diagram sentences until our hands were swollen.
As far as looks go, she resembled Gen. George Patton more than Angelina Jolie. However, I retained a lot in her class, not because of her looks but because she scared the hell out of us, which to my thinking is an under-utilized motivational tactic that could help solve the education crisis in America. In fact, I can still recite Shakespeare. “Shall I compare thee to a winter’s day?”
Lastly, I turn to history. The greatest teacher of all time, none other than the legendary Socrates, was a bald, bulbous-nosed, bow-legged, short, fat, decrepit old man who wore a loin cloth and waddled like a duck. He even had BO, which means to say you wouldn’t want him at your PTA fundraiser or Metropolitan Museum of Art gala.
Nevertheless, Plato learned a lot from him — a lot more than he would have learned from, say, Jennifer Aniston. At least when it comes to metaphysics. I don’t know how good her Spanish is, but I’m sure she could have taught him other things. Que? Como? Me gusta!
Contact Joe Pisani at email@example.com.