Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Blackmailed School Teacher by Lee de Pepys (1983) Book Review

Blackmailed School Teacher, by acclaimed and respected sociologist Lee de Pepys, is a serious look at some of the humiliating activities people are willing to undergo in their pursuit of tenure at our institutions for higher learning. As is made clear by the introduction, which quotes Gloria Steinem, this tale is told from a feminist perspective. The teacher of the title, Lucretia Slade (or Lucy), is the story’s hero, a bisexual college professor trying to attain tenure. Opposing her is Horatio Wedge, professor and amateur rose thief.

Lucy also has relationship issues to deal with. Her lover, Samantha, a serious player in the feminist movement, reacts strongly to Lucy’s desire to have sex with a man. Even after Lucy explains that she’ll choose a young man, Samantha is not convinced that it’s a good idea. Horatio overhears their conversation, and tries to get a male student named Llewlyn (or Lew) interested in Lucy, telling him, “Well, you really ought to see her with her hair down” (p. 17). When Lew seems disinterested in Lucy, Horatio instead talks him into a threesome with his wife, Ellen. Obviously, Horatio is interested in his student and is eager to see him in bed with someone. And as Ellen gets hold of both men’s penises, she turns poetic, saying, “It’s like holding two very delicate birds newly hatched” (p. 25). Later, when Ellen asks, “What if you got me accustomed to this? What if I had to have two cocks to get turned on? What would you do then?” (p. 34), Horatio answers, “I guess Lew would have to move in with us” (p. 34). Whether he is willing to admit it or not, Horatio is clearly interested in his student, and his goal seems to be some sort of extremely close relationship with him. But he is also still interested in Lew getting it on with Lucy, and he tells Lew he owes him a favor after letting him have sexual relations with his wife. Horatio is a teacher with a lot of time on his hands.

At a party soon thereafter, Lew is doing all right with Lucy, until he tries to stick his fingers inside her. “Stop it! Get out of there!” she yells at him (p. 60). And she adds, “you should know better than to attack a woman, especially a feminist” (p. 61). But apparently all a feminist needs is a few compliments, for soon Lew is having his way with Lucy. Afterward, she is eager to see him again, and they make plans for the following night, neither of them aware that Horatio was photographing their lovemaking session.

The next night it is Horatio, not Lew, that shows up at Lucy’s door, eager to have a go at her himself. He shows her the photographs, reminding her that faculty members are not supposed to have sex with students, particularly faculty seeking tenure. Of course, the student in question is twenty-three (though pretending to be nineteen), so it’s completely harmless. But rather than throw him out or call the police, Lucy uses sarcasm to dissuade Horatio from having his way with her. Shockingly, this doesn’t work. After buggering her, he demands that she perform oral sex on him three mornings a week until the tenure meeting, and also to give herself willingly to anyone who makes a secret sign to her. Horatio is obviously a brute, but he seems to honestly believe he’s helping her understand her true nature, and pulling her away from lesbianism and feminism. To help do this, he sends three sailors to her house. At first, this only functions to strengthen her feminist resolve. “She had the answer; she knew what she’d unswervingly espouse in the future: castrate all men! Women, begin by gelding your own sons!” (p. 115). But then she begins to enjoy her torment, in spite of herself. “She blotted from mind her basic hatred of these men and all like them: she wanted their gism!” (p. 117). Is this some defense mechanism, or is Lee de Pepys saying that the physical drives of our bodies have more force in our lives than our ideals and philosophies?

Blackmailed School Teacher was published in 1983 by American Art Enterprises, as part of the Jaded Journals series. It seems this book has also been published under the title Make Her Beg.

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