(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

“The Love Decoy” begins in a packed classroom at the Tunafish College for Women. Dolores Hornbostel has just heard from Ivy Nudnick that Professor Gompers, the regular instructor, is ill and that Russell Gipf will be substituting for him. This news sends Dolores into a nostalgic reverie. She recalls going, on a previous autumn afternoon, to Professor Gipf’s office to discuss an essay that she had written. Mr. Gipf, it seems, although confiding in her, provocatively, that he was studying dirty limericks for his doctoral thesis, failed to make the “usual indecent proposal.” The meeting was not a success, and Dolores left with her vanity considerably piqued.

Dolores’s daydream is interrupted when the real Professor Gipf, as handsome as her remembrance, asks her to answer a question that he has just posed to the class. She has not been listening and cannot answer the question, so Professor Gipf, with considerable sarcasm, proceeds to humiliate her in front of her peers. She seethes ineffectually, until a plan for revenge begins to form in her mind. Approaching Professor Gipf after class, she asks him to come to her dorm room, after lights out, to help her get the cap off her toothpaste tube. It is a thinly veiled proposition, which Mr. Gipf is unable to resist.

Late that evening, Dolores awaits her visitor/victim in a seductive negligee. With low lights and incense, she has turned her dormitory room into a love nest. Professor Gipf...

(The entire section is 489 words.)