Sharon was acing most of her classes, as usual. Just as in high school, she was
terrific at academics. Which was why it bothered her so much that in her
sophomore year of college, she was suddenly getting B’s and even C’s in one
class: home ec. She didn’t see why a course on cooking, cleaning and managing a
household was even a requirement. It seemed so archaic, so ’50s.
It wasn’t that she didn’t expect to get married and have kids someday. In fact,
finding a smart, accomplished man who was looking for an equal relationship was
high on her list of things to do over the next few years. And she certainly had
her share of suitors. With her blond hair, usually pulled back in a simple
ponytail, the full lips she highlighted with the latest elegant dark red
lipstick, and blue eyes that looked even bigger behind her modern-style glasses,
she knew she had always been attractive. And though she usually wore casual
jeans and button-down shirts, she enjoyed dressing up occasionally in clothing
that really showed off her slim yet busty figure. Still, while she had had
several relationships, she still hadn’t met a guy she felt was her equal.
Meanwhile, the stupid home-ec class was pulling down her grade-point average,
which would make it more difficult for her to get into a good grad school. She
went to the dean of students, that ugly little creep named Sanders, and asked if
she could drop the class. The man looked her up and down for several seconds
with his ferretty little eyes before finally replying: Sorry. The class was
absolutely required. If she needed extra help, she should ask the instructor.
Sharon realized she had no choice. Sighing, she went and scheduled an
appointment with the teacher, Ms. Adams. Make that Miss, as the woman insisted
on being called.
Miss Adams was an attractive brunette in her mid-’30s. Sharon thought she wore
too much makeup, but figured it was par for the course for someone who taught
such an old-fashioned topic. She reminded Sharon of a pretty, perky housewife
from an old TV sitcom.
“I think I know what your problem is, Sharon,” Miss Adams said. “You don’t have
the right mindset for this kind of study.”
“I’ve never had trouble studying before,” Sharon said. “I just never thought
cooking and cleaning would have to be part of my resume.”
“That’s just it, you don’t take this class seriously,” Miss Adams replied. “But
I think if we spend some time in the study lab, I can help you see things more
Thinking about grad school, Sharon was ready to agree to anything. So she made
an appointment to meet Miss Adams there the following day.
The lab turned out to be located deep in a previously unused basement corner of
the science center. When Sharon got there, Miss Adams unlocked a door and took
Sharon into an even smaller room. It was crowded with all kinds of electronic
equipment, including stereo headphones and a TV monitor.
“There are two things getting in the way of your doing well in my class,” Miss
Adams said. “One is that you seem to find it difficult to relax around subjects
that make you uncomfortable, and that makes it much harder to learn things. The
other is that you don’t seem to have much appreciation for the need to know
about household matters, or at least to have an understanding of the women who
do find them to be important parts of their daily lives. But the equipment here
can help you with both those problems.”
Sharon was dubious, but figured that if Miss Adams saw she was trying, at least
she might go easier on her grade. She sat down in a deep, plush chair by the
electronic console. “We start out by listening to relaxing music, which will put
you in a better frame of mind for learning,” Miss Adams said. “Put on these
stereo headphones. You’ll still be able to hear me because I’ll be talking
through a microphone connected to the stereo.” Sharon did as she was told. She
could barely hear music playing in the headphones. It was faint, but seemed to
some sort of soft muzak, a far cry from the alternative rock she usually
listened to. At least there were some cool stereo effects. Sometimes the music
seemed to come into her left ear, sometimes her right, and sometimes it seemed
to meet in the middle and switch places.
“That’s it,” she heard Miss Adams’ voice say. Through the earphones, her voice
seemed particularly soft and resonant, not at all unpleasant. “Now, I want you
to sit back, take a deep breath, let it out and relax.” Sharon did as she was
told, and was surprised to find a month’s worth of tension seem to exit her body
as she exhaled. “Mmmm,” Sharon said. “That really works.” “Do it again,” Miss
Adams said. “Breathe in, and exhale all your stress and tension.” The next time
was even better. Sharon felt as if she was floating.
“Very good,” said Miss Adams. “You’re reaching a state of mind that has been
found perfect for learning. In fact, you’re very lucky… This equipment is
brand-new, and I’ve been given a chance to test it out. Very few people have
ever used it before.”
“There’s nothing dangerous about it, is there?” Sharon asked. “Don’t be silly,
what could be dangerous?” Miss Adams asked in her soft, soothing voice. Don’t be
silly, Sharon thought to herself.
“All right, now we’ve come to the most important part of your … education,”
Miss Adams said. “You need to understand exactly why this subject is important
to your life. To help you do that, I’m going to show you a computer simulation
of someone who has that understanding already. When you can see things from her
point of view, then you’ll get the idea yourself.”
I guess that makes sense, Sharon thought. Actually, the idea seemed a little
strange, but whatever. She certainly didn’t feel like moving from her comfy
chair with the nice music.
Miss Adams flipped a switch and an image formed on the computer screen. A
slender, busty young blond woman was standing in a kitchen. She looked strangely
familiar to Sharon, although she wasn’t sure why. Certainly none of her friends
would tease out their hair in that too-obviously sexy way, or wear an outfit
like that. The woman had a frilly pink apron around her waist, over a very short
skirt. Her long, slim legs were made extra curvy by what looked to be very
high-heeled pink pumps. The girl also had on a white silk blouse with several
buttons open, underneath which must have been a wonderbra, considering the way
her big, partly exposed breasts jutted up and out. Unlike the dark red lipstick
Sharon favored, the girl’s was soft pink, covered in so much lip gloss they
seemed incredibly wet. Sharon wasn’t sure if she was dressed for cooking or a
“Hi! I’m here to share the joys of home ec,” the woman said in a soft, breathy
voice. “I absolutely love it!” The voice was sexy and giggly, like some dumb
cheerleader. Sharon looked at Miss Adams. “Are you kidding?” she asked. “Oh,
just relax, darling,” Miss Adams said. Sharon started to say something else, but
was suddenly overtaken by that calm, relaxed feeling again. What was she about
to say? Whatever… She felt so good. Her eyes returned to the screen.
“Now, the way this works is like a language lab,” Miss Adams said. “She’ll say
something, and you’ll repeat it. Only in this lab you’ll repeat it in English,
exactly like she says it. And remember, the idea is to see things from her point
“I could never see things like her,” Sharon protested. “I mean, look at her.”
“Sharon, she’s a woman, just like you. Don’t you think you should have
compassion for other women?”
It was an odd argument, but Sharon couldn’t dispute it. She did want to support
other women. “Yes,” she said.
“Okay, then just try your best.”
“All right,” Sharon said.
“The girl on the screen certainly has nice blue eyes, doesn’t she, Sharon?
They’re pretty, just like yours.”
“Yes,” Sharon said. They really were pretty… just like hers.
“I love home ec,” the girl said in her sweet, sexy voice.
“Go ahead, Sharon,” Miss Adams said.
“Um… okay.” She might as well try it. “I love home ec.”
“Come on, Sharon, you can do better than that,” Miss Adams said. “See things
like she does… say it like she does. Feel it inside.”
“I love home ec,” the girl repeated.
“I love home ec,” Sharon said. That was better, she thought. She could feel a
little giggle in her voice this time. This certainly was a silly exercise.
“I need home ec,” the girl said.
“I need home ec,” Sharon repeated. Okay, this wasn’t so hard.
“I need home ec to take care of my man,” the girl said.
What? “Wait,” Sharon said. “I’m not saying that.”
“Sharon, honey, you don’t have to believe what she says. You just need to
understand where she’s coming from. Put yourself in her place. You can do that,
can’t you? Now relax and say it.”
“I need home ec to take care of my man,” the girl repeated.
Okay… “I need home ec to take care of my man,” Sharon replied. Yes, she could
see that. Take care of a man. Why not?
“I need home ec because I’m just a girl,” the girl said.
What? “All right, that’s it — this is nuts,” Sharon said. “What are you trying
to do here? I’m leaving.”
Suddenly Miss Adams turned a knob on the console and the music in Sharon’s ears
grew much louder. “Relax, Sharon,” Miss Adams cooed into the microphone.
“There’s nothing wrong with what we’re doing here. You’re just learning
something new. That’s okay, isn’t it? Now relax, relax, relax.”
Um… Sharon had to think. There was something wrong here. She needed to
concentrate, but relax, relax, relax, she couldn’t seem to… relax, relax,
“It’s so hard to think,” the girl on the screen was saying. “I’m just a girl,
and it’s hard for girls to think.”
“It’s so hard to think,” Sharon heard herself saying. Wait, she had to think.
But it’s so hard for girls to think…
“So hard to think when you’re just a silly girl,” the girl said.
“So hard to think when you’re just a silly girl,” Sharon repeated. She almost
giggled. This whole thing was so silly…
“All I want is to cook and clean and be sexy for my man,” the girl said. Sharon
repeated. “My man is so handsome and strong,” the girl said. “He makes me feel
so soft and feminine and weak in the knees. I can’t think when I’m around him.
All I can think of is being sexy, his sexy little girl.”
Sharon felt her mouth hanging slightly open. She couldn’t seem to move her lips
well enough to repeat the words out loud, but they were buzzing around in her
head. The girl had such pretty blue eyes… She was just like her. Sharon
understood what she was saying. Everything was so right, so true.
“I used to think I was smart, but now I know I’m just a girl,” the girl said. “I
can still do things, but only when it helps to serve my man. I can cook, and
clean, and mend, and sew. And I can dress up so sexy to make him happy. I wish
he would make love to me… I need him to make love to me all the time…”
Sharon wished her man would make love to her. She tried to think of something..
what was she thinking of before… so hard to think when you’re just a girl.
Wait, no… “I can think for myself,” Sharon said weakly.
Miss Adams typed something into the computer console, but Sharon was in no state
to notice. “I can think for myself,” the girl was saying.”I can think whatever
my man tells me to. I can believe whatever my man tells me to. I’m so lucky that
my man is always right. Men are so big and strong and right… it feels good to
be so weak and soft. I love being just a girl.”
“I’ve got to think,” Sharon mumbled. “Got to get out of here…” “It feels so
good not to think,” the girl was saying. “Feels so good to forget, forget,
I’ve got to… got to forget, forget, forget, Sharon thought. No, that wasn’t
it. Got to…
“Can’t think cause I’m just a silly girl. A silly sexy girl.”
Sharon was such a silly girl. Such a silly, sexy girl.
“My man makes me so hot,” the girl was saying. “He makes me feel so soft and
sexy. I have to do anything he says. I love to do anything he says. I want him
to make love to me. Need him to make love to me.”
Need him to make love to me, Sharon thought. My man, my man…
“Would you like to see your man, Sharon?” Miss Adams asked through the speakers.
Sharon was vaguely aware of the question. “Uh, okay,” she said.
Miss Adams typed into the computer. “Here he is,” the computer girl said. She
brought out a photograph and held it up to the camera. It filled the screen in
front of Sharon’s eyes. Sharon thought it looked kind of like Mr. Sanders, the
dean of students. “Isn’t he handsome?” the girl was saying. “He’s so big and
strong… Doesn’t he just make you melt?”
Sharon was suddenly overcome by feelings for the man in the picture. He was such
a big, strong man, and she was such a sexy little girl. If only he would come to
her, she’d do anything for him…
“I love him. Don’t you love him?”
Sharon was in love. The man was so strong, so powerful. He would take care of
her, and she would wash and clean and cook and sew and make love to him all
“Do you understand the need for home ec now, Sharon?” Miss Adams asked.
“Yes,” Sharon replied before passing out.
Three weeks later, Sharon was working on the special French meal she was
learning in home ec class. It was kind of complicated for a silly girl like her,
but since she’d quit all her other classes to take nothing but home ec, she was
gradually catching on. Sometimes it seemed strange that she was spending all her
time cooking and sewing. Occasionally she even seemed to remember a little bit
of her former life, before she wore the frilly pink apron and the wonderbra. But
it was so hard to think…
Just then, Miss Adams interrupted her. “There’s someone here to see you, Sharon.
Go into my office.” Sharon accompanied her into the small room. “You remember
Mr. Sanders, don’t you?” Miss Adams said before leaving the room and closing the
door behind her.
“Hello, Sharon,” said Mr. Sanders. He ran his eyes over the previously studious
young girl, who now looked just like a Playboy model. Sharon looked at the most
gorgeous man she had ever seen, and felt her insides melting, her knees
buckling, her mind swimming. “I’m glad to see you’re doing well in this class.
When we’re married, you can cook for me every day.”
It was the happiest day of her life.