Since the course -- offered at Townsville State* -- was funded by the Helen Reddy Hear Me Roar Foundation, there was no tuition fee.
Her male lover had suggested the class after a long series of conversations on the topic, the first of which is recorded here. It pained him to the core to hear his beloved Tally disparaging her own womanness, blindly accepting the second-rate status assigned to her throughout civilization's long phallocentric history.
I mean, really! Her being a woman was one of the main reasons he fell in love with her in the first place! And Howard Desseray was not the kind of guy to fall for an inferior human.
Actually, the first place was where he abducted her, and truthfully that act wasn't based on her sex, but on her father's Croesusian wealth exhaled from his chain of e-cig cafes (motto: "Help Your Selfie-Steam." Probably a pun in there somewhere.).
|How to shrink male toxicity|
Surprisingly, her professor was male -- Dr. Belligerine Pugili CapraPan -- author of the award-winning sex-and-gender study Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice: Nursery Rhymes' Misleading and Incomplete Descriptions of What Women Are Made of.
Tally, a diligent student regardless of the topic, recorded Dr. CapraPan's lectures, excerpts from which she has fortunately passed on to us:
"Good morning, let's get started, no dilly-dallying. Call me Dr. Bell or D-Bell, whichever better fits your cultural vernacular.
"Our subject for this semester is sensitive, and we will need to be sensitive and respectful in our discourse. For example, I will not use the metaphor 'walking on egg shells' to describe the delicate nature of our topic due to its obvious sexual bias. Neither roosters nor men lay eggs, and let's just leave at that.
"You should also know that this is not a lecture class. I will depend on each and every one of you to contribute, and to do so in a civil and orderly fashion. You might even say this class will be comprised almost entirely of your insights, your experience, your feelings, and how those insights, experience and feelings are processed, complemented, complimented, accepted, rejected, refuted, supported or challenged by your fellow persons.
"I'm here merely to moderate or maybe facilitate. As my grandmother used to say, 'I'm not the sage on the stage, but a guide just here for the ride.'
"Best case scenario: You won't even know I'm here. Your own input, your thoughts rendered by sound waves into the realm of time and space and into this intellectual community for all to hear -- that is what this class is about. That is this class.
"To prove my point, let me share a brief narrative, then we'll move on to today's discussion, and a critical discussion it is, critical for many reasons, not the least of which is for us to get to know each other on the first day, to feel each other out, to become familiar with the modes of thought required by a class such as this.
"First, though, I'd like to retract my reference to feeling each other out. That trope, if you will, brings up an image most of us in this lecture hall find repugnant, off-putting, threatening, vulgar, invasive, perhaps even lewd and lascivious. I apologize. For those who did not find the phrase offensive, well sister, you're in the right place!
"But about the narrative I mentioned before my insensitive and archaic slip of the tongue. I had a colleague at my previous job site, Stanford, who loved to teach 8 a.m. classes.
"He also loved, however, rich Tex-Mex food, so, as you might have guessed, one morning he entered the Halls of Academe after an evening of wolfing down four jumbo burritos saturated with Yucatecoe Habanero sauce and topped with extra dollops of guacamole. To stay in the spirit of our neighbors to the south, he also threw back several shots of tequila.
"Consequently, only seconds after he had introduced the topic of the day to his early-rising students, he was forced by Parent Nature to relive his days as a track star by sprinting out the door and down the never ending hall to the nearest restroom, which happened to be the Ladies', an irrelevant distinction of course, but for some reason it seemed worth mentioning, nor does it matter that a female colleague was comfortably perched upon one of the facility's two toilets.
"To be honest -- and honesty is critical in this course, honesty and openness -- the female in question was one my friend had rather a strong interest in, mostly because our shallow and coarse society considered her countenance and physique breathtakingly ravishing -- and please note the primal nature of the latter adjective.
"This was not entirely the intimate way he had hoped to get to know her. Even though this untimely convergence of the twain took their relationship to another level, it was not the level he had in mind. Or convergence, really.
"No further detail of that encounter is required, since the theme of my narrative, somewhat longer than I expected, partly due to my unseemly reference to 'feeling out,' is pedagogical in nature.
"To wit: When my friend returned from his evacuation, the students were cheerfully and enthusiastically discussing the day's topic, and many would point out on the anonymous end-of-semester evaluation forms that 'the post-Mexican food day was our most productive of the semester.'
"This, then, is my wish for this class, for you, lady and gentlemen. But, damn, where does the time go? For Thursday, I want you to read the Sparknotes interpretation of Margaret Atwood's 'Siren Song' and that'll precipitate our examination of women's depiction in myth, fairy tales, films, novels, poems, plays and Western Culture in general.
"Till then, be whole."
*Just a few miles outside of Medford