Academic Advisor

tagGroup SexAcademic Advisor

"Mike," came a voice at my office door one day, along with an authoritarian knock. It was the Director of the university school program in which I was teaching. "Gotta sec?"
He came in before waiting for a reply, as we both knew he would. He sat down in the uncomfortable chair next to the door and crossed his legs in a phony attempt at appear collegial.
"How's it going?" he asked, trying to be sly and nonchalant. I matched his phony expression with one of my own. I knew he was going to order me to do something, he knew he was going to do it, so all I wanted was for him to get to the point and get the hell out of my office.
Author's note: I was never happy with this story. It seemed to be well-reviewed, but I finally decided to go back and rewrite it so that it flowed more smoothly. This version adds in some major rewrites, and hopefully is more coherent and enjoyable.
Still, he was my boss. Don't antagonize the man who signs your contract, I reminded myself. So, I bit my tongue. "Hello, Dr. Morton. Not too bad," I said, trying to keep my tone neutral.
Here it comes, I thought. Even though I knew what he was about to say, I tried to brace myself for it.
"Good, good! Look, Mike," he said, clasping his hands in front of him, trying to appear as if this was going to be gentle advice. "I know it's difficult for you, being so young and all -"
I cringed. I couldn't help myself, and yet there it was. It was the way he always opened up a conversation. I mentally chastised myself for letting my face flinch as he said the words. There was never a meeting that went by when my age didn't come up. I was the youngest professor in the entire department of 50 faculty by fifteen years, and no one was going to let me forget it. Especially this prick.
He continued, " – and you need to keep a distance from your students, but I'm concerned that you're not fulfilling your teaching and service obligations and that – " he paused, breaking out into a plastic smile " – is something I don't think we want to come up in your review."
Fuck, I hated this asshole. In less than a minute, he had efficiently dismissed me as a colleague and threatened me with a bad tenure and promotion review. And I still had no idea what he was talking about.
"What kind of obligations am I not fulfilling?" I asked, choosing my words carefully but with genuine curiosity.
"Well," he drawled, eager to begin the laundry list of my shortcomings. "The students have said that you're not, well, approachable, and that perhaps you may be favoring the men over the women."
I felt a sharp, sudden drop in my stomach. The Director's smile became wolfish. He didn't need to use the "S" word – Sexist – but it hung in the air like a thousand swords of Damocles.
I swallowed, my initial distaste for the Director's intrusion completely subsumed by a tidal wave of true, abject fear. To be a young, white male professor in an American university meant that you were always walking on very, very thin ice. There were some departments who believed you were the literal root of all evil, just by your existence. It didn't take much for your career to be thrown into an incinerator with a single, unjustified allegation.
It was no secret that the Director didn't like me. He thought I was too young, but I had over a dozen published articles before I graduated from my doctoral program from a top-tier program, and getting me had been a coup for his program. He hadn't published anything in 30 years.
He enjoyed the prestige of hiring me, and was looking forward to the prestige of firing me. Sadly, I only came to understand this after I accepted the position, as faculty politics was an ugly business.
"Also, you haven't done much service with respect to student organizations. As you know, part of the responsibility of being a tenure-earning professor is to offer support and guidance to our students in related activities."
I relaxed little, and my heart rate started to come down to a more normal pace. He had nothing. I realized that there had been no student complaints, no disenfranchised students, no actual hints of wrongdoing.
This was all, of course, complete bullshit. It was a trap, and now we both knew it. He was on a fishing expedition. He was trying to screw me.
If the Director had even a sliver of evidence, he wouldn't be sitting in my office right now, acting calm and pretending to be a mentor. He would have been dancing a jig in his office as he called the Dean and the Provost and started making preparations for legitimately breaking my contract to get rid of me.
I didn't have tenure, and as a result I was completely at the mercy of doing whatever I had to do to please the committee. Sorry, that should be capitalized and more formal – the Tenure & Promotion Committee. The "T&P."
I didn't know whether to be disgusted by what he was doing, impressed, or both. The man was pure slime, and on more than one occasion some of the older professors (with tenure, of course), had warned me about not trusting him. He may try to come across as friendly and "concerned" for my career, but in reality his motives were never what they seemed. No matter what, more than one person had told me, he is not your friend.
The only way that he could legitimately get rid of me – outside of any truly egregious behavior – was to convince the T&P committee that I wasn't doing my job. He was going to have a major problem doing that, as I had an excellent track record on the research, and my teaching evaluations were stellar.
See, professors are evaluated for tenure based on three specific criteria: Research, Teaching, and Service. Different positions (and schools) have different weighting as to which is the most important, but generally it's understood that research was the most important, followed by teaching, and service was a distant, distant third. Knowing this, I had placed my emphasis on the first two, as was generally expected.
Apparently, I was a bit too successful. Some of the long-time tenured professors had been sitting around on their, ahem, laurels, and had pretty much made their career out of phoning it in. I, on the other hand, was a new upstart who actually wanted to do well. The Director was one of those people who didn't need someone coming in and rocking the boat with (gasp, oh my stars!) actual merit.
His plan, then, was crystal clear. He would verbally order me to spend time on being a faculty advisor to some student group and then turn around and slam me on the review for spending time on an activity that wasn't truly valuable. Moreover, he'd criticize me for not having the maturity to understand how to prioritize my responsibilities.
However, if I ignored his "suggestion," he would go to the committee and remark that he had specifically warned me to take a larger role in the service portion of my responsibilities, and I had deliberately and willfully ignored an order from the Director of the program.
The only thing for me to do, then, was somehow fit this extra work into my schedule while still keeping high quality for all the other work. He was turning the screws, and we both knew it.
"Obviously we all want you to succeed," he said, his voice staying just a hair's breadth away from being patronizing. "So I thought I'd just come and have this friendly, unofficial little chat with you."
That meant there wasn't going to be anything in writing. Nothing to prove he ever told me to focus on unimportant matters. No paper trail. Suck it up, buttercup. Welcome to the world of being on the Director's shit-list as an untenured professor.
"I'll make sure I balance out my responsibilities," I said. Somehow I managed to say it even without gritting my teeth.
"Good!" he said, slapping his palms on his thighs in emphasis, and stood up. As he exited through the doorway he took a quick glance back at me over his shoulder. "Oh, and Mike, try and be a little more approachable and give the girls some equal time, okay?"
Prick. And I'm the sexist.
I sighed to myself. It's one thing to see the trap, however. It's another to avoid it once you've seen it.
It wasn't easy being a young professor. When I say young, I mean young. I was always an overachiever; I got my Ph.D at 22 and began teaching immediately. This meant that I was barely older than my students at best, and quite often was younger than they were.
This had the potential for becoming an outright, unmitigated disaster, and everyone knew it. The Director of my program never came out and said anything to me directly, but it was clear he was keeping a close eye on me. The sheer fact that I was unusually young as a faculty member meant that I was extremely high-profile. The last thing I needed was to tempt the gossip mongers.
Care and diligence became the rule. I became obsessed with my reputation. The half-joking comments by the secretaries in the office didn't help, however.
"Oh, Doctor Mike," they would say in a sing-song manner. "Such-and-Such a student was here to see you and make an 'Office Appointment.'"
This was, of course, completely unnecessary and untrue. Every one of my students had copies of my office hours on their syllabi. There was no need to bother the main office about such trivialities. The secretaries were obviously aware of my discomfort and were having a blast teasing me.
Try as I might, I couldn't shake the paranoia that someone would believe them and that it might come back to haunt me when it came time for a performance review. I became colder, less personable than I normally am, and brutally professional. Office hours were held with the door open, always.
At the time I thought I was merely dissuading any unwanted attention, but in reality it only presented something of a challenge to some students. It became a contest of wills; I would master the art of non-reaction and they would frequently try to push the envelope of propriety.
That, as it turned out, wasn't hard to do at all. In Florida, springtime starts in late January. As the temperature rises, the necklines plummet. Within weeks of a semester start the battle of the hormones was well underway.
To make matters worse, I had a remarkably high libido. Despite my cool exterior, I mentally recorded every breast, every bare thigh, every full pout that entered my classroom. Office hours provided rich fodder for my fantasies as I played over the typical, clichéd scenario of the poor young coed trying to 'improve her grade' by offering a sweet temptation.
In real life, however, I was forced to suppress these perverted thoughts in the stark reality of possibly losing my job and never finding work in any university ever again.
Moreover, the truth was that in fact, ignoring some of the most over-the-top suggestions was easy. As soon as some of these big-titted, cute girls thrust their money-makers in my direction they lost any hope by merely opening their mouths.
Yes, stupid turned me off. And there's a lot of stupid in the world.
"Dr. Mike," one coed said to me once, rocking back and forth pushing her breasts together. "Do I have to do this assignment? Can't I just get credit for it instead?"
Um, no. And you don't get credit for your tits, either. Put them away.
It was a difficult tightrope act, and maybe I didn't always get it right. I thought about what the Director had said. Maybe I had taken this whole "asexual" demeanor a bit too far.
As I sat there and thought about my predicament, I had one comforting thought: at least the gossip was that I was something of a eunuch, rather than a lascivious sex fiend who preyed on my students. But the possibility that I had gone too far, that I disliked women, wasn't good at all. In fact, I wasn't sure which was worse.
My thoughts were interrupted as I heard a cry from the doorway. "Oh, excuse me Dr. Morton!" The Director had apparently not watched where he was going and bumped into two of my students.
"Oh, not a problem, uh…" The Director stammered, searching for her name.
"Jeri," she said, looking up at the much taller man with big brown innocent eyes. "I'm in your Advanced Seminar, Dr. Morton." Her voice was polite, but pointed and didn't hide her disdain for the man. She must hate him almost as much as I did.
"Jeri, yes, don't worry about it," he said, and looked at her companion.
"Monica," the other girl prompted.
"Yes, of course," he said, flatly. "Monica." With that, he simply turned and left.
As the Director disappeared down the corridor, Jeri and Monica came into my office, and sat down. They couldn't hide a rolling of the eyes about their encounter with the Director, but I had trained myself not to react in front of students. I pretended not to see it.
"Dr. Mike," Jeri began, "We were wondering if we could ask a favor."
"Sure," I said, the Director's words echoing in my mind. The women think you are favoring the men. I wasn't sure just how much truth there was in what he was saying, or if it was simply a scare tactic. I decided to err on the side of caution. "What can I do to help?"
Jeri and Monica exchanged glances. The two of them were a picture of contrasts. Monica was a shy, quiet, introverted, skinny girl who dressed plainly and never ever volunteered to talk in class. In fact, Monica was the classic definition of "mousey," from her long thin hair to her meek temperament.
Jeri, on the other hand, was Monica's complement in every way. She had curves in all the right places, was tiny (I would have bet a month of my meager academic salary that she barely reached above 5 feet tall), short dark brown hair, and gregarious as hell. There was no telling what was going to come out of her mouth at any given point in time.
One time in class the conversation turned to some of the more extreme feminist views, the ones that go so far as to say that "all sex is rape." Jeri apparently didn't agree with the sentiment, and had slammed her hands on the desk and cried out, "What do they think the clitoris is for!?" Yeah, that little comment gave me visuals for weeks.
On top of it all, Jeri was cute. Somehow she managed to avoid dressing provocatively, but it was always feminine and with the coy knowledge that her hourglass figure could attract attention, both wanted and unwanted.
Her proudest assets by far were that she had a set of the most magnificent breasts I'd ever seen. She always placed them on display with V-cut blouses that were tight across her torso. It took every fiber of my being to continue looking her in the eye whenever she was addressing me.
Of all the students that I had up to that point, Jeri was the source of the richest fantasies. It's also probably the reason why I was the most professional with her above all others. There's no way I could afford to let it even remotely show how much I found her attractive, and how often I fantasized about slipping my cock between her incredible breasts.
Together, Jeri and Monica made a truly incongruous pair, but somehow their friendship worked for them. They often did projects together, so it wasn't unusual for them to come to run ideas by me.
"Well," Jeri said, always the spokeswoman, "We've got this club started and in order to get recognized we have to have a faculty advisor. We were wondering if you would mind being our advisor."
The words of the Director still hung fresh in the air and I wondered if this was more than a coincidence. Then I realized that both Jeri and Monica hated Dr. Morton almost as much as I did, and there was no way this was coordinated.
I also realized that if I was going to need to work on promoting my service responsibilities, I could definitely do much worse than working with these two. Both were both straight-A students, hard workers, and had never given me any reason to believe that there was a reason I shouldn't help them out.
"Sure," I said, smiling. "I'd be happy to help you out."
Jeri looked shocked. "Really?" she said, then caught herself. "I mean, great! We weren't sure if you'd be willing to do it."
Monica tapped her on the arm, and they both stood up. "We're meeting tomorrow night at 7," Jeri said. "I'll email you the location."
"Okay," I said, "I'll be there."
As they left I started thinking about the position I was in with respect to the Director. Morton was obviously gunning for me, and I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I was never a good person for politics, and I was rapidly finding myself at a no-win situation.
It was a full ten minutes before I began to realize that I had no idea what student group Jeri and Monica wanted me to be an advisor for.
———
The following day I was slammed. Four courses, office hours, and two committee meetings. My day started in the office at 7 a.m. and went non-stop. I barely had enough time to eat, and during the faculty meetings I watched the Director sit and smirk.
By the time my last class rolled around, I had forgotten about being an advisor. When I saw Jeri and Monica sitting in class, I had a vague recollection that there was something that I needed to do, but it took them to remind me after class to become clued in again.
"Don't forget!" Jeri said. "It's really important!"
Checking my email, I saw the address was at an off-campus fraternity house. "Oh great," I thought. "I really don't want to get involved with the Greek system. That's the last thing I need with Morton on my case."
I arrived at the frat house, completely unprepared. Believe it or not, I had never been in a frat house. I had graduated high school at 15, college at 19, and finished my doctorate barely old enough to legally drink. I had never had time for the college fraternity parties, and as a result I was woefully unprepared for what awaited me.
The house was a-rockin', the kegs were flowing, and the music pounding. There were so many people it was difficult to move. I felt extremely uncomfortable, and seriously contemplated turning around and leaving.
Some huge guy came up and demanded to know who I was and why I was there.
I had to lean in and shout to be heard. "I'm looking for Jeri and Monica. Do you know who they are?"
He roared with laughter, drunk. Apparently I had said the magic words, whatever they were. "A threesome? Awesome dude!"
"No! I-" I stammered. But he cut me off, and clapped me on the shoulder with the hand that held a red plastic cup of beer, sloshing it over my back. "Keg's in the other room, dude!"
If I wasn't comfortable before, I really didn't want to be there now. The last thing I needed was some of these students to recognize me and give Morton any excuse to make my life a living hell. My only saving grace was that I was just about the same age as everyone, and didn't look out of place as a "normal" professor might.
I found myself wandering through the house, which was enormous. It was almost wall-to-wall people in various stages of intoxication. At this point all I wanted to do was find these two girls and find out what the hell was going on, or at least let them know that I was getting the hell out of there. It was obvious there wasn't any kind of student group meeting here, and I was becoming more convinced that I was getting set up.
I turned the corner and found myself in a large living room. The throngs of people jumping up and down to the pounding music, holding cups of beer over their heads while dancing looked like a tribal ritual from some surrealistic National Geographic special.
Suddenly I saw Jeri and Monica through an open door on the other side of the room, each holding a red cup but looking away from me. I started to make my way across the room by excusing myself around drunk dancing bodies, trying to avoid getting more beer spilled on me.

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