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Things That Aren't Sexy: A Short Story

Updated on February 17, 2017
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Dale Proctor arrived in his classroom. It was 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 9, 2011. His first students, those who wanted to please him more than almost anything else, wouldn’t arrive for fifteen minutes. Jeffrey Sanders, with his greasy hair and baggy jeans, usually arrived last. He paid about as much attention to class as he did to his mother’s suggestions about him studying for the SATs.

One high school student behaving questionably

With his sandy brown hair, pale blue eyes, and muscular body, Dale was the kind of teacher girls often developed a crush on. His wife, Cathy, found this hilarious. She didn’t have a jealous bone or blood cell in her body.


By 9:10 everyone was present and accounted for. Prepared to lecture again on photosynthesis, he noticed several listless students. Feeling uncharacteristically whimsically, he changed gears.


“Good morning class. I thought we’d begin today by discussing things we don’t consider sexy.” He smiled broadly and awaited their response.

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Sally Jenkins, who always sat in the front row and who never received anything below a ninety percent, looked anxious. “But that isn’t on our lesson plan.” He could almost sense her blood pressure inching to the heavens.


“That’s true, Sally. Don’t worry. We’ll return to the lesson in a minute.”


Jeffrey, who no longer appeared half-asleep, smiled slyly. “Paper clips are not sexy.”

Colored paper clips
Colored paper clips | Source

The class chuckled nervously. Thirty seconds of approximate silence passed before Leann, a redhead with braces, spoke up. “I think wet towels are unsexy—especially if they’ve been tossed on the floor.”


More laughter. Classmates exchanged, “Can you believe this is happening?” looks. If Dale could hazard a guess, this discussion would be mentioned on someone’s Facebook page before the day was out.


Pale, petite, and usually shy, Damian Peters spoke up. “Math tests are decidedly unsexy.”

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A classic high school scene

Sitting across from him, Cole Anderson offered him a high-five. Since Cole usually ignored him, Damian gratefully accepted it.


More silence. Dale was determined to wait them out. Today’s lesson wasn’t that important. He was more interested in building camaraderie.


Sally, nervously adjusting her glasses, spoke up. “I don’t find French fries sexy.” She smiled.


“I don’t either,” Dale commented. He offered a reassuring smile.

Another brief interlude of quiet. The students regarded each other with conjoined incredulity and delight. This was the most interesting Earth Science class they’d had since Dale had taught them about the mating habits of bees.


Finally, Jessica Jackson, the second smarted girl in the class, spoke up. “It has to be turtles. There is nothing sexy about them.”


Once the giggling had died down, Dale decided it was time for the real lesson. After satisfactorily surveying his revitalized class, he found a piece of chalk and began lecturing.

A classic scene from "Clueless"

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