I was eating dinner at Magnolia Cafe during South by Southwest this last March, when I was accosted by two youthful grown women seated in a booth, across the aisle from my table.
“Excuse me,” said the woman on my left. “Are you a professor?”
I immediately knew why she had asked (and was pleased by it), but I said, “What makes you ask that?”
“Because you looked: ” she began, and then launched into a mimed imitation of me, as I look when sitting in contemplation. It was instantly recognizable as me — all of my good friends would have laughed out loud to see it — which pleased me more. She went on to describe this look of focused, “very earnest concentration” that struck her as “scholarly.”
I smiled and said, “No, I’m not actually a professor, but I get why you would make that impression.”
For further study
Professor: One who professes.