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Author's Note: This is a work of fiction. The characters of the story are all fictitious, and any resemblance to any real person, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The events portrayed are likewise fabrications. This work also includes mature subject matter and may not be appropriate for those under the age of eighteen. No part of this work may be published, reproduced, posted or distributed in any form, including electronic storage and retrieval, without the prior express, written consent of the author. All rights reserved. Personal archiving for private use is approved. Once again I am indebted to Terry Sarkel for her friendship, her time, and her wonderful editing skills.

Special Note: This story is dedicated to my sister and fellow author Genni Smith, who was recently taken from us. Genni was a dear friend who had a marvelous sense of humor and a deep understanding of human nature. We were collaborating on a story that remains unfinished. Perhaps one day that story will be told.

 

Primacy

by

Julia Manchester

2003

  

CHAPTER ONE

  

Beth Vincent tugged impotently at the old ornate chest, but she couldn't budge it an inch. "It sure is nice to have a man around the house," she muttered as she turned to call her husband, Lloyd, for help. But then she remembered he had told her was going into work today, and he was undoubtedly gone by now. Beth wished her husband was around to help, but they needed the extra money he picked up by working Saturdays. Lloyd was a good husband and father who took his responsibility to support his family very seriously, and Beth loved him dearly. Unfortunately, the sea chest had to make way in the living room for the new entertainment center. The store was delivering her purchase in an hour and Beth wanted to get the chest out of the way to vacuum the area first.

She had just about given up hope when her son and his new girlfriend walked in.

"Whatcha up to, Mom?" Lane Vincent asked his mother, and she explained her problem.

"No problem Mrs. V -- Where do you want the chest?" the young woman accompanying her son asked, and Beth told her.

At that, the girl lifted the chest as if it were nothing at all and carried it out of the room with ease.

Beth was awed by the display of strength. True, the girl was tall, and she looked fairly strong, but the chest weighed over 100 pounds! Yet she had hefted it with ease, a feat Beth was certain Lloyd could not match, much less her son.

The young woman returned and winked at Beth with a cocky grin. Beth regarded the girl's bulging biceps with apprehension and then glanced at her son, who was almost 8 inches shorter, over 40 pounds lighter, and far weaker than his girlfriend. It just didn't seem natural to Beth, though she knew it was quite common now for girls to be much bigger and stronger than boys. Given the current conditions it couldn't be helped, and Beth wondered what the world was coming to. She did feel sorry for the males of the younger generation, though -- especially her son.

******************

 

At 16, Lane Vincent was an average sophomore boy at Webster High School, and he loved every minute of it. Though he was somewhat on the short side at five feet nine inches tall, and not exactly a football hero, he had his pick of girls. It wasn't because of his charm or personality, or because of his handsome features (though he was somewhat handsome) but because the student body was 56% female.

Webster High was not an aberration either. Ever since the mid - twentieth century, the ratio of male to female births had been declining. Some observers blamed the decline on the widespread use of chemicals and hormones in livestock feed, and pointed to the reduced sperm count in males as proof of this, but whatever the reason there were a lot more girls than boys when Lane was growing up.

In some ways it was quite pleasant to be a boy. Even the geeks had girls chasing after them, and the reasonably good-looking ones, like Lane, had their pick. There simply weren't enough boys to go around, and as the imbalance grew more pronounced girls became more and more aggressive in their competition for boys, while boys became more and more complacent. Girls couldn't afford to sit back and try to attract boys with their looks anymore. The old way was too passive. The days of sitting back, wearing a short skirt and a tight top, hoping to have some boy notice them, was over. Something more was needed, but what?

Back when Lane was still a toddler, a female geneticist who needed help with her own love life, had asked herself the same question. What did guys really like -- what impressed them? The answer was really quite simple -- guys loved sports. Even then, guys were starting to watch women's figure skating, basketball, softball, golf, and a few other sports.

The researcher reasoned that if she could somehow enhance her physical abilities, she might get a few men to notice her. But that posed another problem. She was quite short, and though she enjoyed basketball, volleyball and softball, her small (5'1") stature held her back.

Lane was five years old when the researcher managed to create a synthetic growth hormone. After several months of testing on various animals she injected herself with her new serum, and changed the world. The serum worked beyond her wildest dreams, and she eventually grew to 5'8" -- an increase in height of over 11%. Not only that, but she grew stronger, attaining approximately 85% of the strength of an average male with the same body mass. Her shoulders broadened a bit and her muscles became more defined. She was far stronger than most women, and even a few men.

There were a few negative aspects too, unfortunately. Her features became a bit sharper, and she lost a bit of her figure. Her breasts shrunk about 1/2 cup size, and her waist filled in a bit, while her hips narrowed a little. She was still recognizably female, but not nearly as shapely.

Another problem was that the serum only worked once, and it did not work on males. In fact it caused them to actually lose a bit of muscle mass and bone density, and half of her male subjects actually lost an inch or more in height. She theorized that something in the Y chromosome caused the serum to mutate, and actually produce some mildly negative effects, but at least it helped her. Her athletic performance increased markedly, and that did get her noticed.

Of course it was impossible to keep the existence of the serum a secret. Before long, word got out and parents were demanding it for their daughters. They wanted their girls to have every advantage in the game of life, and even parents with taller daughters wanted the serum. At the time, nobody considered the sociological implications of the serum, though they should have. The serum produced an increase in size in female children that was greater than the average difference in height between men and women.

By the time Lane was 13 the use of Female Growth Hormone (FGH) was nearly universal. Even many older women had taken FGH. As Lane entered puberty and began his growth spurt, he noticed that the girls his age were shooting up as fast or faster than the boys in his class. At 5'9" Lane was pretty average, but the girls his age were all a few inches taller than most of the boys. Girls seemed to average about 6'1", with the shortest of them about his height. Of course there were tall boys too, but the tallest student in his high school was a 6'8" girl, while the tallest boy was 6'3". The girl was absolutely huge, as were several others, and she was the starting center on the girls' basketball team.

During Lane's freshman year, the senior class arranged a charity exhibition game between the boys and girls varsity basketball teams. Though the girls were taller -- in some cases spectacularly so -- the boys had confidently predicted victory. After all, the girls might be taller, but the boys felt they were stronger and faster.

Things didn't go quite as planned for the boys, however.

Perhaps the boys were a bit too over-confident, but the girls threw up a zone defense that took advantage of their superior height, and the boys were forced to take too many outside shots. The girls used their height advantage to snare most of the rebounds, showing surprising strength in the process. They made up for their slightly slower speed with an aggressiveness the boys couldn't seem to match. By the end of the third quarter, the boys appeared disorganized and desperate, and the final score was girls: 72 - boys: 48.

After that game, the boys lost their swagger, and it seemed that fewer and fewer boys tried out for sports in the succeeding years. The boys still had the contact sports -- football, wrestling and hockey, but even there the girls were making inroads. Sharon Thomas, the 6'8" center stunned everyone the following year by trying out for football. She proved to be a great wide receiver and cornerback, and soon even the football team was co-ed.

Many of the boys who declined to try out for sports told themselves they didn't have to be a "star" to get a girl, which was true, but they also didn't want to be embarrassed by being beat out by a girl either.

About this time clothing styles began to change. The new look for teenage boys included low-riding, baggy pants in soft, colorful fabrics, along with collar-less, knit pullovers. Girls tended to be a bit self-conscious about their legs -- FGH had made them more muscular and less shapely -- and they virtually abandoned skirts in favor of slacks. They also were less likely to wear shorts, and when they did the shorts were longer, about knee length. Wide leather belts with large "designer" buckles became popular with girls, while boy-styled belts tended to be thinner and more colorful. Girl's tops were looser then the boys, and they tended to have pointed collars. Many women wore brightly colored strips of cloth tied around their neck with the ends hanging down in front to emphasize their now smaller bust lines.

High heels virtually disappeared overnight for women replaced by loafers with inch heels, deck shoes, and leather oxfords. Boys wore leather oxfords too, but they now found they sometimes needed a little extra "help" in the height department, so designers introduced men's styles with 1 or 1 inch soles and 2 to 2 inch built up heels. The wide heels weren't really that noticeable due to some clever designing, but they did give boys and extra 1 to 2 inches. It wasn't much considering the average girl was about 3 inches taller than the average boy, but it helped.

*****************

 

Following the law of supply and demand, girls had become the aggressors in the mating game, and an entirely new dating "protocol" was developing. Anxious girls found themselves willing to pay for dates, which increased the competition for jobs too. On the other hand many boys saw no need to juggle school and a part time job. Of course this meant that the boys had less work experience than the girls, and shorter resumes. It also meant that boys were less likely to own cars, while an auto was considered essential for any girl. Due to the surplus of women, men came to expect that their dates would show them a good time, and the girls were very aware of that. As a result, they, rather than the boys, tended to plan the dates and decide where they were going.

Of course this all led to a situation where in many marriages the woman was the primary or even sole breadwinner. More and more men were skipping college to get married, then working part time or not at all. In Lane's sophomore year more married men remained at home than found full-time employment.

With women comprising 2/3 of the college students, the number of women in top management positions began to multiply rapidly. At the same time, the relative lack of formal education and part-time employment status of most men relegated them to the lower positions in the corporate world. Soon men comprised the bulk of new secretaries, receptionists and hotel staff, and the trend was accelerating.

Most men thought they had it made, though many older men disapproved of the changes in society. Yet, despite their advantages, men were forced to adjust to a new reality. Women now ran things, and most of the men that did work outside the home answered to female bosses. Men who were secretaries and receptionists were forced to fetch coffee, run errands, and dress according to a corporate dress code implemented by women. They were increasingly left out of the decision-making process by a growing "old girl network" that perceived males as not aggressive enough to compete in the new business environment.

********************

 

During Lane's sophomore year his father lost his salesman's job to a young woman right out of college, and the best job he could find was as an "administrative assistant" at a branch bank. The manager and assistant manager were women, as was the head teller and even the security guard. The other tellers (mostly part-time) were male.

Lloyd Vincent, Lane's father, hated the job, but he couldn't afford to pass it up. The pay was about one half of what he had made as a salesman, and the bank's dress code had forced him to spend a ton of money on what Lloyd considered to be ridiculous clothes. Since it was either the clothes or the unemployment line, and since he had a family to feed, Lloyd wore the clothes. But Lloyd and Beth Vincent were both "old fashioned," with a traditional marriage in which Lloyd went to work every day while Beth stayed home and kept house.

On the day Lloyd was to start his new job, Lane came down to breakfast and was visibly surprised to see his father's "new look." The elder Vincent was sitting at the breakfast table wearing a light tan suit, but it was unlike any suit his father had ever worn. The jacket was very short, a waistcoat actually, with no padding in the shoulders and very thin lapels and sleeves that revealed the sleeves of the maroon knit pullover shirt underneath. His slacks were very tight in the waist and thighs, but the legs flared considerably to very wide bellbottoms, perhaps 12 inches across. The legs seemed awfully short too, ending several inches above his ankles, revealing knee high maroon socks and matching loafers. The slacks were secured with a thin gold belt, and his new loafers had inch soles, 2-inch heels, and small gold tassels.

Lane could see that his father was embarrassed by his appearance, so he tried to act as if nothing was unusual and spoke to his mother as she made breakfast. Later, as his father was about to leave for work, Lane was surprised to see that his father appeared a bit taller. It took a moment for him to realize that the shoes his dad was wearing made him seem that way. He pondered that on the way to school. At 5'9" Lane was about average size for a boy his age, but still . . . many of the guys and virtually ALL of the girls were taller. He wondered what it would be like to be a little taller, and whether a pair of shoes, like his dad's, might not be the answer.

Later that day, as he was heading to phys-ed class, a girl who came running around the corner suddenly slammed Lane against the wall. She tried to stop when she saw Lane but she was moving too fast, and they both wound up sprawled on the floor.

"Hey, I'm really sorry, sweetie. I hope I didn't hurt you," The tall girl apologized, helping Lane to his feet.

Lane looked up at her, feeling a little disoriented. "I'm okay," he replied, examining his assailant. She was very tall, perhaps 6'5", and she was wearing sweat pants, a tank top and cross-trainers. Her blonde hair was cut in a short bob, and she was slim with very modest breasts and somewhat narrow hips. She was also quite fit, with shoulders that were well developed, at least for a girl, Lane thought.

"I'm Erin Matthews," the girl said, extending her hand.

"I know," Lane told her. "You're on the girls basketball team."

"Baseball team too," she replied with a smile. "What's your name?"

"I'm -- ah -- Lane Vincent," Lane replied, feeling suddenly quite shy.

"Pleased to meet you," Erin responded, extending her hand again.

Lane took her hand again. Her grip was firm but not overpowering, and Lane had the distinct impression that Erin was exercising restraint, almost as if she was afraid to hurt him.

"Say, how about coming with me to see a movie tomorrow?" Erin asked suddenly.

Lane was stunned. Despite the excess of girls, Erin was an upperclasswoman, and a sports star no less! She could take out just about any boy in the school.

"Er . . .Sure!" Lane stammered, flattered by her interest.

"Great. I'll pick you up at seven. Gotta go now."

Lane stood and stared as Erin ran off towards the gym.

***********************

 

Hairstyles had varied down through the years for boy and girls, and currently both sexes favored it long, and many boys and girls wore their hair in a ponytail. Nevertheless, the styles were somewhat different than in the past. The girls tended to tie their hair down low, just above the collar, making it easier to run and play sports. The boys, however, tied their hair near the crown of the head, making it appear they were a little taller. Even male athletes, who tied their hair low for practices and games, usually tied it higher when they left the gym or the field.

Lane's mother brushed his hair and gathered it into a long ponytail near the crown of his head, securing it with a half-inch wide, royal blue elastic tie that matched his short sleeve knit pullover and his brand new loafers with inch soles and 2 inch heels. His short royal blue socks also matched perfectly, and contrasted nicely with his soft white, brushed cotton shorts and thin gold belt.

Erin was picking him up in a half hour, and Lane was nervous. He had been out with lots of girls, but Erin was a senior and an outstanding athlete, and one of the most important girls in the school.

"Mom, would it be okay if I got my ears pierced?" Lane asked as he studied his reflection.

Lane's mother seemed surprised by the request. "Both of them?" She asked.

"Sure. It's the latest style for boys -- all the boys at school are doing it," Lane explained.

Beth Vincent just stared at her son for a moment. She was having a very difficult time accepting the new styles and customs that were replacing the old ways. It seemed to her that everything was backwards -- upside down -- almost as if the traditional sex roles had been reversed. Beth was an old-fashioned, traditional woman, and it was bad enough watching her son being caught up in the new ways -- he didn't know any better -- but it was killing her husband. She and Lloyd had grown up before the sexual imbalance had gotten out of hand -- before the new serum, which she had not taken -- and she and Lloyd just couldn't seem to adapt to the new ways.

"When I was your age, the girls wore the earrings, at least most of the time," she told her son.

"Aw mom, that was ages ago! Girls don't wear earrings now. Even little studs would get snagged in a game or a practice."

"I'll talk with your father about it later," Beth told her son.

********************

 

When Erin arrived, she found both of Lane's parents waiting to meet her. Mrs. Vincent was quite short for a woman, perhaps 5'6", and quite thin. From her size and style of dress -- she was wearing a white blouse with a skirt, of all things; it was obvious that she was one of the rapidly disappearing traditionalists. That surprised Erin because Mrs. Vincent only looked to be about 35 or so.

Lane's father, on the other hand, was decked out in the latest business attire for males. His cute little Kelly green waistcoat was unbuttoned, and a gold brooch with his initials, adorned his white, button down shirt between the small rounded collar points. The slacks of his suit were tight in the waist and hips, flaring out to stylishly wide bottoms that were short enough to reveal ten inches of stockinged calf and matching heeled loafers. When he rose to greet her, Erin saw he was four or five inches shorter than she, even in heels, and she realized why Lane was so short.

But that was okay. Erin preferred short boys. She thought Lane was a doll, and when he entered the room she smiled at him warmly. Lane was wearing a tight, royal blue knit pullover with scalloped sleeves that accentuated his small, male bust, a pair of very short, white flared shorts, royal blue heeled loafers and matching knee socks. His legs looked smooth and sleek, and he really looked cute.

The two small mounds on Lane's chest -- something all boys had due to the chemicals they once put in livestock feed -- were smaller than most boys had, and his hips were a bit slimmer, but they still had that nice little outward flare, and he had a trim little waist.

After the formalities were over, Erin put her arm around Lane's waist and escorted him out to her car.

********************

 

Lane had a wonderful time that night. Erin made him feel so special, and being with one of the school's top athletes was a real ego boost. Erin introduced him to all of her friends, other girls that excelled in sports, and they treated him like a king. He even caught one or two of them looking at his butt when he left to go to the boys room.

After that night his standing really rose among his peers, and when Erin asked him to go "steady," (a practice that had recently come into vogue) he eagerly accepted. Going steady with Erin was about as good as a boy could do, and conferred an exalted status on the sophomore boy. Suddenly he was catapulted into the elite society at school, and Lane loved the experience.

Being Erin's boy also had the advantage of keeping other girls away. Girls who were desperate for dates constantly hit on other boys in his class, but Lane was left alone. None of the other girls wanted to cross Erin, and just to make sure the girls knew he was her boy Erin gave Lane her class ring, which he wore on a gold chain around his neck (it was far too big to wear on his finger).

********************

 

The school year seemed to pass all too quickly for Lane, and as Erin's graduation approached he grew more and more melancholy. Next year Erin would be a college woman and he would still be stuck in high school. Would Erin find another boy in college? Even though fewer boys went to college nowadays, there still were a few and Erin could have her pick.

Lane knew he could date just about any girl in the school, but not all girls were as nice and considerate as Erin. Some of his friends had terrible experiences. Besides, for better or worse Lane's self image, his very identity, was tied to Erin -- being Erin's boy -- and he couldn't bear to lose her.

Two weeks before her graduation Erin asked Lane to marry her, and Lane was ecstatic! He nearly floated off the ground. Despite his father's stunned silence and his mother's admonition that he would have to wait until he finished high school, he fell into Erin's arms and agreed without hesitation. The betrothal ring Erin gave him was beautiful, in the latest style, with three small diamonds in a triangular pattern, flanked by Erin's initials.

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

The shortage of males affected far more than the mating rituals. Beginning with Lane's generation, women comprised the majority of Congress, the Supreme Court, and most of the state legislatures. There had been four women Presidents, and even the armed forces were fully integrated.

Though men still had a slight strength advantage the gap was narrowing, and not just due to FGH. Various chemicals, including synthetic hormones, had been added to the feed of livestock for several generations, and the ingestion of these chemicals had altered the standard male physique. Beginning in Lloyd's father's generation, many boys exhibited gynecomastia, along with somewhat enlarged nipples. Additionally, their hips appeared a bit wider than usual and their facial features somewhat finer, less coarse. While these boys did not experience the breast growth and body sculpting that females underwent during puberty, their growth spurt was somewhat stunted, and they failed to develop large muscles, deep voices or much body hair.

By the time Lloyd was born, almost all boys were exhibiting these symptoms, and some were quite pronounced. They were generally treated with testosterone injections, which seemed to help a bit, but it could not completely overcome the effects of generations of hormones in the food chain. Lloyd considered himself lucky that his own physique wasn't too "soft." His chest was slightly domed, but his hips weren't as wide as most of his friends', and his voice had actually dropped a bit at puberty. He was also fairly strong, and he was one of the few boys in his high school whose performance on the track team came close to the "old" records -- those set 30 or 40 years before. The "modern" boys records didn't come close.

By the time Lane was born, the medical community had given up on the testosterone injections as a failure and as a result, the changes in the standard male physique were even more pronounced. Though the use of chemicals and hormones in livestock feed had been banned, they were still present in the environment, and most scientists felt that the levels would continue to increase for another 20 years before leveling off and gradually declining.

A far more insidious effect of the chemicals began to appear with Lloyd's generation. The sperm count in males had been gradually declining for decades, but it dropped very sharply with Lloyd's contemporaries. The incidence of sterile and semi-sterile males increased markedly, and a vast study was undertaken to determine the cause and find a treatment. After 18 months the researchers reached a frightening conclusion: Not only had the sperm count in males fallen dramatically, but the sperm that remained seemed to be losing the power of locomotion -- the ability to wiggle over to the female's ova and fertilize it. The sperm they observed moved much more slowly than normal, often dying before they could fertilize and egg. This effect became more pronounced as the males aged. At that point grave questions were being raised for the prospects of survival of the species.

About the time Lane was born it was discovered that only about one in five males could successfully father children without invitro fertilization, and a massive invitro program was begun. Lloyd considered himself very fortunate that he hadn't needed any help to impregnate Beth, and she, in turn, was very proud of her husband. They both hoped that their son would be as lucky.

The problem seemed to grow worse until Lane was about twelve. At that time, a number of women began reporting unexpected pregnancies (Most women had long since given up contraceptives as unnecessary) and a quick investigation found that nearly all of these pregnancies occurred in the days preceding or following menstruation.

The scientists were baffled by this phenomenon, and upon further study they were astounded to discover that the pregnancies were occurring because some of the females' eggs discharged during their periods had actually managed to seek out the males' practically immobile sperm, absorb one of the little critters, and re-attach itself to the uterus. Somehow the female ova were gaining the power lost by the male sperm.

This was incredible news, and various theories were advanced, but the simple statement of one researcher that "nature abhors a vacuum," seemed to sum it up quite nicely. To insure the survival of the species, if the sperm couldn't go to the egg, the egg would go to the sperm.

********************

 

While this new development promised to alleviate the declining birth rate, it did nothing to address the imbalance in the sexes, an imbalance that was made worse by the inevitable deaths and debilitating injuries suffered by males in certain "dangerous" occupations, such as law enforcement, fire fighting, and the military. It occurred to some female legislators that it was a terrible waste of males to allow them to die in such risky occupations. Accordingly, the Protection Of Males Act (POMA) was passed. POMA expressly excluded males from a long list of dangerous occupations, and set up a bureaucracy to enforce its provisions. There was, naturally, a loud chorus of protests raised, but the act was defended as a "temporary' emergency measure. Despite vigorous opposition, President Janice M. Pierce signed the bill into law. The expected constitutional challenge was turned away by the Supreme Court in a 6 to 3 decision in which only one of the seven female members of the court joined the remaining two males in dissent. Chief Justice Roberta Black wrote the majority opinion.

Thereafter, males disappeared rapidly from the proscribed occupations, and the Bureau of Male Protection (BMP) through OSHA, empowered to further extend and refine the list of occupations, administered the act. In a few short months, employers had laid-off hundreds of thousands of males, and the list was growing. Of course, women rushed in to fill the void, and females enjoyed a period of unprecedented advancement, while the males they replaced were forced to scurry around to find whatever jobs were still available to them.

The available jobs were few and far in between, especially for those with limited education. Many of these jobs were in areas traditionally thought of as "women's work," such as secretarial, clerking, food service, and tanning salons. Most were low paying, and that forced the last of the female homemakers out of the house and into the labor pool, either to augment their husband's reduced earnings or, in many instances, to become the sole breadwinner in the family.

********************

 

In the Vincent household, things had gone from bad to worse. Lloyd just wasn't earning enough to support the family, and Beth's part time job didn't cover the difference. Beth had gone back to school to finish her accounting degree, but she was finding it difficult to get a job. Her resume was fine, and she landed plenty of interviews, but every time she appeared for an interview she was rejected. She was very aware that the prospective employers saw her as an "old fashioned" woman who hadn't taken FGH, and they looked down on her.

Meanwhile, Lloyd was increasingly unhappy with his job. At first he refused to discuss it with Beth, but she pressed him. Finally, he told her that his manager was coming on to him and dropping hints that Lloyd's performance evaluation, and even his tenure at the bank, depended on him "keeping her happy."

Beth was outraged. How dare that bitch try to steal her man! She and Lloyd sat at the kitchen table that night and tried to come up with a plan to deal with his boss, but in the end they both knew there was little he could do to stop the sexual harassment. Sure, there were laws against that sort of thing, but they were nearly a century old, and they had been written to protect women, not men. Even worse, the whole thing came down to a "he said, she said" situation, and Beth had no doubt whose word the women in management would accept.

The only thing they could think of was for Lloyd to resign and look for another job, but jobs for men were becoming terribly scarce, and the jobs that were available paid very little -- certainly not enough to support the family.

That night, as she lay in bed, Beth decided it was time for drastic steps. Lloyd had done his best to provide for them, but there was a limit to what a man could do nowadays. Through no fault of his own, he was unable to support them in a decent manner, and continuing in his present job was both demeaning and risky to their marriage.

There was only one thing to do, and though she had promised Lloyd she would never take FGH, Beth didn't see where she had a choice anymore. She wouldn't tell Lloyd -- he'd have a fit -- but once it was done she was sure he would get used to it. It wouldn't be that big a deal, she reasoned, and no matter what, nothing would ever change their relationship.

********************

 

Though there was still snow on the ground, the stores were showing the new spring fashions, and this year had produced some radical changes. Men's slacks were still tight in the waist, crotch and hips, but they flared out radically and ended just beneath the knees, leaving the lower leg covered only by stockings. They were made of soft, colorful fabrics, and they also featured a new "modesty panel," which was a tube of cloth about ten inches wide that encircled the waist, layered over the slacks, and fell to about mid-thigh. The "modesty panel" was a reaction to complaints by males who thought their tight pants unduly emphasized their "assets" for the amusement of women, and they were found on shorts as well as slacks. Of course, depending on the manufacturer, the legs of some shorts weren't even as long as the modesty panel, and some older men complained that they looked like skirts. Of course the women who ran Madison Avenue did their best to dispel such a silly notion with an extensive advertising campaign featuring popular male actors and singers wearing the new style. The new look did not do well with older males but the teenage set accepted them quite readily.

The high school and college set also liked the rest of the radical new look. Stores featured sleeveless, form-fitting polo shirts for boys with the new slacks. These "Sun Polos" also featured a new built-in "chest supporter" for the males' "expanded chests." Beneath the "knee pants" thin, nylon knee stockings or "over-the-knee socks" in coordinated colors provided coverage for their lower legs, and cork soled sandals with a one inch sole and three or three and a quarter inch heel were designed to give males a bit more height.

The "modesty panels" were also featured on male swimwear, which consisted of tight, high-cut "briefs" and matching "tops" that also featured the "chest support." The "tops" were sleeveless, and covered only the chest area.

Most males did not need a lot of support, of course. Almost all males had a chest, which if measured, would have probably been in the AA to A range, but the designers knew males could use a bit of support, and since they abhorred bras, their tops would provide the help. Of course, the built-in support actually lifted and enhanced the males' smaller chests, and gave them something to be self-conscious about.

******************

 

Lloyd finished brushing his hair and gathered it into a ponytail, securing it with a strawberry red cloth covered elastic tie. The red matched his red "sun polo" shirt, his nylon "over-the-knee" stockings, and his backless, stacked heel loafers. His light tan waistcoat had a floppy, strawberry red handkerchief in its pocket, and his matching tan shorts had a modesty panel that completely concealed the short legs. Shorts with "modesty panels" were now required as part of the bank's corporate dress code for males.

Lloyd despised the dress code, and if he hadn't been desperate for a job he would have told his manager what she could do with the code. But Lloyd took his family responsibilities seriously, and he was willing to suffer the humiliation if it put food on the table.

The problem was that, despite his humiliation, despite suffering the sexual harassment, he wasn't earning enough to make ends meet. That inescapable fact only deepened his depression and added to his anxiety. Unless something happened soon they would be flat broke, and there was a real danger of losing their home.

He hadn't expressed his fears to Beth yet, but she was no fool. His wife saw the grim, almost desperate look in his eyes as he headed out the door, and she decided that today was the day. After Lloyd left she got dressed and went down to the medical center.

It was a surprisingly easy procedure that required only one injection. FGH was free for all citizens now, though its effect on males was quite different from its effect on females, and very few males wanted it. Before she rolled up her sleeve, the doctor explained that FGH would cause an increase in height just over 11%, a weight gain of at least 25%, and corresponding growth of her legs, arms, hands and feet. She would lose a bit of breast tissue; perhaps 1/2 of a cup size, and her hips and buttocks would slim noticeably. The full effect occurred over a thirty-day period, though she would begin to notice changes in a few days.

Of course, there was a corresponding increase in strength, and though FGH did not give women huge muscles, she could definitely "bulk up" and see much more muscular definition in her arms, shoulders, and legs. The average woman attained 85% of the strength of a male with the same body mass - slightly more if she worked out.

Beth did the numbers in her head and was shocked to realize she would grow to about 6'3" and her weight would balloon to about 180 lbs. Not only that, but she would be at least 15% stronger than Lloyd, not to mention nearly six inches taller and almost 30 pounds heavier. She worried that Lloyd would be intimidated by her superior size and strength, and she vowed to reassure her husband that she still loved him, and that she had only done this to support the family and so he would not be forced to demean himself at the bank.

Beth did not tell Lloyd she had taken FGH right away, but after ten days she had to confess. She couldn't hide the changes anymore. When she finally admitted what she had done, Lloyd just stared at her. There was a hurt look in his eyes that was part accusation, part resignation.

"I did it for you, honey. For all of us," she explained, unable to shake the guilty feelings. "I know we agreed not to take FGH or anything else that might change us, but that was a long time ago, and things have changed so much."

"I just couldn't stand the thought of you being humiliated by that bitch of a manager anymore, and this way I can finally get a real job and you can quit the bank."

Lloyd sat on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands as Beth paced back and forth, continuing her explanation. For the first time in his life, he felt like a complete failure. Not only had he failed to support his family, but his wife had just taken FGH to rescue him and assume his responsibilities. He had no doubt that her intentions had been good, but to his way of thinking, she had just deposed him as the head of the household in a bloodless coup. If that weren't bad enough, unless he found another job -- not an easy trick for a male these days -- he would join the growing ranks of kept men and become another "house-spouse."

He stared up at Beth as she paced nervously. She had already changed a lot in the ten days since she'd taken the FGH. Aside from her height, which was now equal to his, she had gained about 15 or 20 pounds, and it looked like it was all muscle. Her waist had thickened and her shoulders already appeared broader. Her hands and feet were already larger, and her arms and legs were beginning to show hardness and some muscular definition they had never had. Her breasts still appeared normal, but her thighs were a bit thinner and her bottom less rounded.

And this was just the beginning.

*******************

 

Three weeks later the changes were complete, and Beth was ready to look for work. Lane came down for breakfast and found both of his parents seated at the breakfast table, eating cold cereal. Both were dressed for a day in the business world, but the contrast could not have been more marked. His father was wearing a light blue outfit that consisted of a soft jacket with narrow lapels and 3/4 sleeves, matching shorts that were completely hidden by a wide modesty panel, a white knit pullover top with a built-in chest supporter, pale blue hose that rose to mid thigh, and matching backless loafers with a 2 inch heel.

His mother was wearing the latest style for women: A three-piece charcoal gray suit with padded shoulders and full length sleeves, a white oxford shirt under her vest, with a red tie, and slacks with crisp creases. Her shoes were black oxford. Lane was surprised by how little her breasts pushed into her vest. He knew that businesswomen often wore minimizer bras, and some had even had mastectomies, but between his mom's minimizer bra and the chest supporter in his dad's top, it almost looked like his bust line was the larger of the two.

Lane had been amazed at the changes in his mom over the past month. A few weeks ago, she had been a couple of inches shorter than he and his dad, but she had suddenly grown nearly eight inches, and now she was a good six inches taller than both of them. She had gained quite a lot of weight too, and her shoulders, back, arms and legs now appeared quite muscular -- far more than he or his dad.

The young man had been more than a little intimidated by his mother's new size and strength, or perhaps it was just that she had changed so much. He was accustomed to being shorter than females -- Erin towered over him and she was much stronger -- and he didn't think anything of it because that was normal to him. He knew males had once been larger, but that was long ago and well before his time. Being shorter and weaker than females was normal to Lane, but he was still relieved when his mother took him aside one day and told him that nothing would change between them. She was still his "mom" and she still loved him very much. She did sound a bit strange because her voice was a bit lower now, like his dad's, but Lane understood when his mom explained why she had taken the FGH. He knew his dad was having problems at work, and jobs were hard to come by, at least for boys. After all, it was a woman's world out there.

********************

 

Lloyd sat down at his desk just outside of Ms. Turner's office, tossing his carryall bag in a lower drawer. He hated having to use the carryall, which he thought of as a purse, but there was no way around it. His tight shorts had no pockets, and if they had the similarly tight modesty panel that circled his waist like a flexible tube -- or skirt -- they would have been impossible to get at anyway. His small, fitted waistcoat also lacked pockets, except for the decorative breast pocket that held his colorful handkerchief, which meant that he was forced to use the carryall.

As usual, Lloyd's desk was piled high with items that needed to be typed or filed so he got to work immediately. Typing was not easy for the former salesman, and it was even more difficult wearing "modern" clothes. The modesty panel of his shorts forced his legs together, and the raised heels of his backless loafers caused his calves to tense up, making it necessary for him to get up every so often and walk around a bit.

Walking in the elevated heels was a strange experience too, though he was getting used to it. The modesty panel forced him to take shorter steps, and the heels forced him to keep his weight forward and place his foot down toes first, which caused his hips to sway a bit. Lloyd tried not to think about it as he grabbed his carryall and headed for the boys room, but several of the women at the bank admired his mincing little walk.

Lloyd was truly humiliated by their stares as he walked by. Despite Beth's assurances that all males walked that way now, Lloyd hated being the object of attention at the bank. The younger boys, like his son, didn't see anything wrong with the new fashions -- they didn't know any better -- but Lloyd remembered a time in his youth when women wore the high heels and skirts and carried the purses. Now, everything seemed backwards -- upside down. Even the word "man" seemed to be out of style. Now men were "males" or "boys," though women were still referred to as such. Lloyd hated being called a boy, even though he caught himself using the term on occasion. The pressure to conform was truly an insidious thing, he realized. It was just easier to go along than try to fight it. Thankfully, Beth didn't refer to him as her "boy" as many women referred to their husbands.

But Beth had changed since taking the FGH, and not just physically. Even though Lloyd had only been a couple of inches taller than his wife before she took FGH, he had been far stronger. Occasionally Beth would come to him with a jar that needed opening or something she needed moved that was too heavy for her, and Lloyd had been more than happy to oblige. Since taking the FGH though, Beth was not only taller but also much stronger. She no longer needed him to open jars or lift heavy items.

Beth did not flaunt her superior strength, or even kid him about it -- in fact she tried to conceal it -- but there was an air of newfound confidence in her actions, her very demeanor that had never been there before. Subconsciously Beth knew she could handle anything that needed doing around the house, and that had caused a subtle change in the dynamics of their household. Now, when physical strength was needed for small tasks, Beth simply did it herself without "bothering" Lloyd, and despite her determination not to throw her newfound strength in his face, she couldn't help taking a measure of satisfaction from being able to handle those chores without assistance. Slowly, a new sense of independence was taking hold in the former housewife.

At the same time, Beth had unknowingly undermined Lloyd's self-confidence. One weekend, while Lloyd washed the family car, Beth decided to clean out the garage. She scrounged some cardboard boxes from the local supermarket and filled them with various tools and items she found lying around the garage. When she filled the boxes, she carried them over to a large, heavy-duty shelf where she intended to store them. Before she could put everything on the shelf, the phone rang and she went to answer it.

Lloyd had finished with the car and had just put the hose away when the phone rang, so he decided to help Beth out by putting the boxes on the shelf. When he tried to lift them, he discovered they were too heavy for him. They seemed to weigh a ton and he quit trying to lift them when he strained his back. Later, when Beth returned to the garage, she picked up the boxes as if it were nothing at all, and stored them neatly on the shelf.

Lloyd was crushed. He now knew that Beth was far stronger than him, and her nonchalant attitude towards her vastly superior strength made it even worse. For her it was nothing - she just took it for granted.

*******************

 

Two weeks after the FGH had taken full effect, Beth landed an excellent job with a national advertising agency. Her salary was nearly double what Lloyd had made as a salesman, and several times his current pay. She also had a full list of benefits, her own office, a secretary, and free membership in a prestigious country club.

Naturally, Beth was overjoyed to land the position and she couldn't wait to tell Lloyd. When Lloyd heard what his wife would be making, he smiled and congratulated her, but deep down he was more than a little jealous. Even though Beth had never worked outside the home, she was able to grab a position that was far superior to anything that he could hope to get, despite his years of superior job performance. The reason, of course, was that she was a woman, and he was only a "boy" -- and it wasn't fair.

Lloyd tried to hide his resentment. It wasn't Beth's fault that society had been turned upside down, but he found himself growing more and more depressed. A few weeks later, when Beth reminded him that they now had the financial means for him to quit his job at the bank, he told her he wanted to stay there while he looked for another job, instead of staying home until he found something else. Beth was surprised by his decision and was tempted to tell him he was being silly. There just weren't that many jobs for boys, and the ones that were available were mostly menial, part-time positions. She stopped herself from stating the obvious, however, she was confident that Lloyd would see the truth soon enough.

 

CHAPTER THREE

 

All these developments combined to produce some profound effects in the Vincent's' relationship. Lloyd was more than a little intimidated by a spouse who was six inches taller, 30 pounds heavier, and far stronger. To say that he felt inadequate was putting it mildly. He thought he would get used to the situation in time, but his insecurity only increased as time passed.

Beth didn't press the matter -- at first. She knew Lloyd had been through a lot and she didn't want to appear pushy. Lloyd's male ego had taken a hell of a bruising and she didn't want to shatter it completely. There was also the little matter of the changes Lloyd hadn't seen yet, which wouldn't help matters any. Beth was terribly afraid Lloyd would not be able to deal with the whole package.

Still, two months after the FGH had finished its work, Lloyd still showed no signs of wanting to be intimate. If anything, the reverse seemed to be true. He never hugged or kissed her spontaneously as he had all through their married life, and Beth was starting to really worry. She really needed to make love to her spouse.

They didn't make women's lingerie quite the way they once had. Besides, Beth thought she would now look a bit ridiculous in a merry widow or a skimpy bra and panty set, so she did the next best thing. One day, while Lloyd was at a doctor appointment, Beth made arrangements for Lane to stay overnight at a friend's home, then went to the store and stocked up on Lloyd's favorite booze. Next she called a caterer and ordered a nice dinner delivered, then took a shower and wrapped herself in a short, thin robe.

When Lloyd returned, he found Beth waiting for him with a drink, soft music and a candle light dinner. Lloyd was no fool and he knew exactly what Beth had in mind. He had been dreading something like this, but he couldn't think of any way out without hurting Beth's feelings and possibly jeopardizing his marriage, so he took the drink she offered. It was surprisingly strong, but smooth, and Lloyd couldn't help but reflect that it had been a long time since they had been able to afford booze. After two drinks he was feeling pretty good. He told Beth about his doctor appointment as they ate.

Everything was fine, he assured her, except that, at age 37, Lloyd's sperm had become inert, too weak to impregnate his wife.

Beth put her hand over his and smiled sympathetically. "That's okay, honey. We weren't planning on more kids anyway. Besides, you've always been man enough for me. Not many males can do what you did -- father a child without help."

Lloyd grinned at her. "That's true," he agreed proudly.

After dinner and two more drinks, Lloyd was flying, and Beth decided she had better get him into the bedroom before he was too drunk to do anything. Getting him drunk was part of her plan -- it would make the discovery of her concealed changes a little easier to take if he wasn't cold sober -- but the timing was tricky. She took his hand gently, and Lloyd allowed himself to be led to their room.

Beth had planned the evening carefully, and the first thing she did was sit on the edge of the bed and relinquish her height advantage. She opened her robe and smiled up at Lloyd seductively as he grinned down at her. She knew Lloyd was examining her closely, and she arched her back to accentuate her breasts and to keep his attention from straying lower.

Lloyd smiled as he looked down at his wife. Her breasts were smaller than before FGH, no more than an A cup now, and they appeared even smaller on her augmented frame, but they were still pert. The robe hid most of her new musculature, which was just as well, and Lloyd removed his shorts and briefs, and then pulled off his shirt.

His own "chest" was about a AA-cup, maybe half the size of Beth's, but the chest supporter in his top lifted them and made them appear more prominent. Now, freed of the tight elastic band and mini cup of the supporter, his chests resumed their natural form. Lloyd felt a little "bounce" as the supporter popped over his chest, and he absently scratched the base of his left chest, relieved to be free of the restraint. As he did he happened to glance down between Beth's legs -- and froze.

One of the little "secrets" of FGH was that it did more than cause women to grow larger and stronger. Though it was never mentioned in the news reports or the promotional literature or vids, FGH altered a woman's genitals. The mons veneris became distended, protruding an additional inch or so, while simultaneously shifting forward a bit, so that the women's labia faced forward instead of directly downward. The labia also became a bit thicker, and the vaginal muscles far stronger.

Beth saw Lloyd staring at her remodeled vagina, which now faced directly forward as she sat on the bed, and decided she had to act fast.

"It still works the same way it always has, lover," she cooed softly as she reached up and pulled him down on top of herself.

Lloyd was caught off guard by Beth's move, and before he knew what happened he was lying atop her, with Beth's arms holding him tightly.

"Let's make love," Beth whispered, and Lloyd nodded, thinking he had little choice anyway.

But for some reason -- whether it was the booze, the sight of his wife's new equipment, or Beth's unusually aggressive behavior -- Lloyd couldn't perform.

After a few minutes of trying to get him "in the mood" Beth decided to try another approach to move things along -- something she'd heard the other women talking about at work. "Maybe I can help, honey," she said softly.

Lloyd looked down at her and nodded silently, ashamed at his flabby manhood.

"Let's switch places," Beth suggested, and then rolled them over so she was on top.

Once their positions were reversed, Beth eased her husband's legs apart and knelt between them. She ignored his flaccid member for the moment and softly stroked his inner thighs with one hand while she massaged his chests gently with the other.

Lloyd inhaled sharply when he felt her fingers dance across his miniature breasts and tease the soft skin of his upper thighs, When Beth began massaging his soft penis, it began to show signs of life and a soft moan escaped his lips.

Beth was patient, despite her nearly overwhelming desire, and she brought her husband along slowly. Lloyd felt himself becoming more and more aroused as she continued her gentle seduction. Not content to concentrate in one area, Beth leaned down and kissed him tenderly and removed the elastic band that held his hair. Her kisses gradually moved down to his neck, which was surprisingly sensitive, and his nipples, which actually flowered beneath her lips. Lloyd was fully aroused now, though he felt a sense of dislocation and confusion.

A moment later he felt Beth's weight descend on him as she guided his hardened member into her modified vagina. Despite the pressure of her weight Lloyd's fires were lit, and he strained upwards to meet his wife's thrusts. It was harder being on the bottom Lloyd realized, but he was now consumed with passion and he set that thought aside. Somewhere in the back of his mind he realized that, not only was Beth on top, but HE was the one whose legs were spread, opened wide to allow his lover access. FGH had made it possible for his wife to mount him in a distinctly masculine way, and as she continued her thrusts, Lloyd sensed that this wasn't so much a case of him penetrating her, but Beth surrounding HIM.

Suddenly Beth stopped her rhythm and Lloyd felt his shaft being gripped by powerful muscles his wife had never possessed before. Her whole body trembled, and Lloyd's penis was squeezed even tighter. Her arms nearly crushed him to her, and at that moment Lloyd felt his own climax arrive. He wrapped his legs around his wife and clutched at her as he cried out, overcome by the incredible sensation. He felt his seminal fluid gush from his penis, and then another amazing thing occurred. As Lloyd sensed the peak was past he felt Beth's internal muscles begin contracting in sequence, literally milking him dry.

After a time the "milking" stopped, but Beth still held him captive within her, despite the fact that he was no longer hard. Lloyd felt Beth's breasts pressed against his little chests, and he could feel her heart beating rapidly from the exertion. As his emotions began to subside and his own breathing returned to normal, he unwrapped his legs from Beth as she released his penis. When she freed him, Lloyd felt their combined fluids dampen his midsection.

Beth raised herself up on her elbows and stroked his hair as she gazed down at him lovingly. She bent down and kissed him again while she toyed with one of his nipples, causing it to expand just a bit. Lloyd savored the sensation of her touch, but he was also troubled by what had just occurred, and as he replayed their lovemaking, the irony of the situation dawned on him. Upon his inability to perform Beth had taken charge and literally turned the tables on him. She had rolled him onto his back, spread his legs, and had her way with him. She had been in complete control, and she had awakened his desires as he had once inspired her. Though he still had the penis, and she the vagina, Lloyd had no doubt of who had done what to whom, and he was ashamed to admit he had loved the experience.

A few minutes later Beth rolled off of her husband, leaving him on the bed with his legs still apart. When she went into the bathroom Lloyd remained where he was for a few moments, until he felt the mixture of his semen and his wife's juices trickling own between his legs, dampening the sheets. He slowly rose and noticed that his thighs felt a bit sore from being spread wide for so long. With a groan he turned to the bed, stripped the sheets, and took them to the laundry.

 

CHAPTER FOUR

 

That one experience at lovemaking did as much as anything to induce changes in the Vincent's relationship. Once the ice was broken Beth seemed to develop a healthy sexual appetite, and she grew more and more aggressive in her overtures to her husband. For his part, Lloyd didn't feel the same urgency Beth did, but when coaxed he was not too reluctant to retire to the marital chambers for a romp in the sheets.

Lloyd still had problems attaining an erection without Beth's help, so their encore performances were basically a repeat of the first night, with Beth on top and Lloyd beneath her, but Beth made sure he never had reason to regret being the passive partner. She was always patient with her husband, and made sure he came every time. They even tried it with Lloyd on top a few times, but ironically Lloyd found that less satisfying than when he let Beth take the lead.

Beth was ecstatic about the new arrangement, and it showed in her demeanor, in her body language and the way she viewed the world. She had an easy confidence and a new assertive bearing that left no doubt who was in charge. Now, when they were out together, Beth would often put her arm around Lloyd's shoulders protectively, or around his waist as they walked into a restaurant. She lost the self-consciousness she had felt after taking FGH, and she began to take pride in how she looked. She began making regular trips to the gym at the country club, and in a few weeks Lloyd noticed Beth was starting to look quite buff.

Though he didn't know what had happened, Lane sensed the shift in power in his parent's relationship. Suddenly his mom was more assertive, aggressive, and confidant, and her new bearing told the boy she was in charge now. She still treated his father with kindness and love, but now she seemed to be making the decisions. Sometimes she still consulted his father, but in the end his mom had the final say.

Lloyd resented being deposed as paterfamilias, but there was little he could do. There was no fight, no argument or ultimatum; it just happened. He could hardly stamp his feet and insist on masculine prerogative when his wife was six inches taller, thirty pounds heavier, and far stronger. Being on the bottom with his legs spread wide during sex didn't help his case either. There was something about being the submissive sexual partner that carried over into the other areas of domestic life, especially when his wife was the one who wore a suit to work, while he wore what was essentially a short skirt.

Several other factors combined to confirm their role reversal. As an executive, Beth made countless decisions at work every day, and the more she made the easier it became. Lloyd, on the other hand, spent his day doing as he was told, typing, filing and running errands for his manager. His standing at the bank depended on following orders quickly and efficiently. He was being conditioned to obey, and if possible anticipate the needs of his superior. Such an environment hardly lends itself to initiative, and after a few months Lloyd found it increasingly hard to make decisions. Even when he was confronted with routine decisions Lloyd hesitated, trying to consider all of the consequences, afraid to make a mistake.

Both Beth and Lane noticed how hesitant he'd become, and when Lloyd was unable to reach a decision Beth began making "suggestions." That's how it started, but soon both Lloyd and Lane began looking to Beth for all of the real decisions in the family.

********************

 

Beth's employment meant new responsibilities, and this presented additional problems. She often worked late, and she had no time for the domestic chores she had once performed for her family. With Lane at school Lloyd had to assume the burden of most of the housework. Lane helped out, of course, but he had his studies at night, and Lloyd found himself doing all of the cooking, washing, and most of the cleaning. He tried his best, but with his own job there never seemed to be enough time to get everything done, and he was constantly exhausted.

One morning Beth put her foot down. She was seated at the breakfast table reading a report while she sipped her coffee, waiting for Lloyd to finish cooking breakfast, when Lloyd dropped a pan of sausages on the stove. Beth heard a loud clang and turned to see her husband splattered with grease. The grease ruined one of his few "modern" outfits.

"Oh no!" Lloyd groaned, looking down at himself. My blue outfit is in the wash and my green one is dirty! I didn't have time to do the laundry yet. Now I'll have to call my boss and tell her I'll be late!"

"Wait a minute, honey," Beth said as she rose from the table.

Lloyd had just picked up the phone, and turned to look over his shoulder at his wife. "Why?" He asked.

"Because I want to talk to you," his wife replied, taking the phone from him and replacing it in the cradle.

"Beth, I'll be late for work if --"

"That's what I want to talk to you about," she replied, cutting him off.

"This whole situation has become impossible," Beth told Lloyd. "You've been trying to juggle your job with the housework, and it's just not possible. There aren't enough hours in the day."

"I can do it," he insisted.

"No you can't," she said flatly. "You've been exhausted for weeks now, and things are just piling up around here. You haven't been able to do the laundry, and you can't even find enough time to buy a few more outfits for work. Sooner or later this is going to affect your health.

"Look Hon, money isn't a problem anymore. I'm making plenty, and we don't need the little extra that you bring in, but I do need you here. I need you to take care of things around here, and to be here for Lane. Besides, I don't like the idea of you working for that lecherous bitch at the bank. I want you to quit your job."

Lloyd had known that something like this was coming, and he had been dreading it. He wanted to protest, to explain that he didn't want to become a house-spouse. He could get a different job, really.

A few months before he might have been able to pull it off, but too much had happened in the intervening time. Beth had settled into her new executive position, and was doing very well. In the meantime she had usurped his role as head of the family, and Lloyd had to admit she was fair and impartial when she made her decisions. Finally, Lloyd's job, his new role in bed, and society itself, had conditioned him to the passive, submissive role, and he was too far gone to defy his wife.

Lloyd did call work that morning, but it was to tell his boss he was quitting. He wasn't happy about it, but he couldn't bring himself to oppose Beth and, deep down, he trusted his wife's judgment and knew she had his best interests at heart. He told himself that if things didn't work out, he could always get another job later.

In a few days Lloyd had caught up on all his housework, and he was actually relieved not to have to go to work. He still rose early since he was afraid of turning into a lazy bum, and he began making breakfast for Beth and Lane every day. After they left the house Lloyd did the breakfast dishes, then the laundry. In the afternoon he usually did a bit of cleaning or the grocery shopping, then made dinner. Lloyd discovered he was a pretty fair cook, and after a few weeks he began cooking more elaborate dinners.

He realized that Beth had been right all along, and he had been silly not to realize it sooner. The terrible stress he had been under lately seemed to melt away after he quit his job, and he felt much better. In fact, Lloyd felt so good that he decided to tackle several special projects, and the first one was to convert their spare bedroom into an office for his wife.

********************

 

A few weeks after Lloyd quit his job, Beth came home and announced that her firm was throwing a special dinner for some of their high-rolling clients the following weekend. Everyone from the firm was expected to attend, including spouses, and that meant Lloyd "needed a new outfit." He protested that he had no interest or knowledge about advertising, and tried his best to beg off, but Beth was having none of that.

"Honey, this is a very important dinner. I've been dealing with several of our largest accounts, and if I handle this right there could be a promotion in it for me," she confided.

"Okay, but why do you need me to be there?" Lloyd asked her.

"For moral support, and to help entertain the guests. Besides, it's expected," Beth explained.

Lloyd eventually relented, and the next day Beth took him shopping so he could pick up a few outfits. Right from the start, Lloyd could tell that the trip would be an ordeal. While she drove them to the mall, Beth told him she wanted him to get some of the latest fashions. Her clients were advertising executives, after all, and accustomed to the latest trends. It wouldn't do to have her spouse show up wearing last year's styles.

The "latest fashions" for males turned out to be worse than Lloyd had imagined. He had seen some commercials with men wearing skirts lately, but he hadn't known that long pants were no longer deemed "suitable" for males -- modesty panel or no modesty panel. There were some shorts for casual wear, but they were so short as to be obscene, in Lloyd's opinion. Now males were expected to wear "skorts," which were nothing more than mid-thigh length skirts with sewn-in briefs. The A line construction and soft, pastel colors made Lloyd cringe, and Beth would have never gotten him into one if he hadn't seen quite a few males wearing skorts, along with displays in the windows of virtually every clothing store. Still, Lloyd felt ridiculous wearing a skort, and it took all the courage he could muster to emerge from the changing room.

And that was just the beginning. "Tops" for males were tighter and skimpier than ever. They featured necklines that were so low cut Lloyd thought of them as bodices, and they also featured lace and semi-sheer fabrics. Most were sleeveless (it was summer after all) and there were even some strapless designs. Many still had the built-in "chest supporters," though a few now featured the "supporter" as a separate garment, usually hung underneath the top on a hanger. Depending on the manufacturer, these strappy little lace confections were known as a "Chest Enhancer," a "Pec Harness," or a "Top-Mate," though one company did market one called a "Boy-Bra," which Lloyd felt was at least an honest name.

The tiny garments were the latest things for boys, and Beth insisted Lloyd try a few on under some tops. Lloyd complied with her wishes, though very reluctantly, and when he put one on in the dressing room -- a "Play-Male Pec Booster," he was dismayed to find the low-cut cups were heavily padded near the bottom. The cups lifted his small chests enough to give the impression of cleavage. He also found several that had quite large cups, much larger than most males would require, and when he asked a clerk about them he was told those were for males who had taken "Mammeform." Lloyd nodded, unwilling to appear ignorant, though he hadn't the faintest idea what "Mammeform" was.

Beth insisted on buying several outfits for her husband, along with some casual clothes. One outfit consisted of a black satin skort, a sheer black, sleeveless top, and a black satin "Boy-Bra" by NewMale Fashions. Of course she insisted on sheer black thigh high stockings to match the top, and black sandals with the new 3-inch tapered heels -- which seemed awfully hard to walk in.

Lloyd felt terribly self-conscious and insecure modeling the outfit for Beth, but she didn't laugh at him, or even crack a smile. Instead she seemed pleased that he was willing to put up with the new styles to keep up her image in front of her clients.

"Hon, I really appreciate what you're doing for me, and I wouldn't ask you if it wasn't extremely important," she told him. "Besides," she added, "you really do look pretty good in that outfit, and you won't feel out of place -- all the other spouses will be dressed up too."

********************

 

A few days later, while Lane was upstairs doing his homework, Beth told Lloyd that she had decided to undergo a complete breast reduction. Lloyd was stunned by her announcement, and demanded to know why she wanted to remove her breasts.

"Well, most of the execs at the firm have done it -- it's the style, as you know, and I'm getting some signals that I don't really fit in like this," she gestured to her smallish breasts. "Dom, the VP of my division, says they make me look too old fashioned and soft to be an exec, and I have to 'get with the program.' She says that clients expect cutting-edge ideas from our firm, and it's important to project the right image.

"I've been getting some strange looks in the locker room too, when I shower after working out."

"But, what about when we're together?" Lloyd asked.

"Oh that," Beth smiled. "Well, to tell you the truth, Hon, they aren't that sensitive anymore. You've probably noticed that they're smaller now, and a lot harder than before, and I guess they just don't give me much satisfaction now. I think my life would be easier without them."

"Well, of course it's your decision to make," Lloyd told her, not completely happy with her choice, but unable to articulate the reason for his disapproval. There was just something wrong about it, though he couldn't say what exactly.

"I know, but I wanted to talk it over with you first," Beth said with a reassuring smile. "I think I'll have it done in a couple of days. The procedure is pretty simple now, from what I hear. The other execs have been telling me they were in and out in a couple of hours, and there was very little pain. It's nothing like the old days. In fact, the new form of FGH that they're giving to baby girls right after they're born has a special agent in it that actually prevents breast growth."

Lloyd considered Beth's announcement and decided that he could think of no good reason why she shouldn't have her breasts removed. After all, they weren't planning on having any more kids, and even if they were it would have been impossible with his inert sperm, at least without in vitro. But Beth would never go for that, now that she had her career. She had no time to nurse a baby or handle the responsibilities of motherhood again. But her remark about the new FGH bothered him.

"What's going to happen when those girls are old enough to have babies?" He asked.

"Well, that's why they're giving Mammeform to boys now," she replied casually.

That was the second reference to Mammeform that Lloyd had heard, and now his curiosity was piqued. "What is Mammeform?" He asked his wife.

Beth turned toward her husband with a surprised look on her face. "Haven't you heard?" She asked.

"No. Please tell me what it is," Lloyd asked again.

"Well, Mammeform is a new chemical treatment that allows a male to produce, ah, breast milk," she replied.

"What?" Lloyd asked, shocked by what he had heard.

"Yeah. They're giving it to newborn boys, and older males too. It causes a bit more breast development. Of course the youngsters don't develop until puberty, but the older males develop over a period of six to eight months. Then, when their woman becomes pregnant, the males are given another chemical to stimulate milk production."

"But why?" Lloyd asked. "Why would they go to all that trouble when a woman can produce milk naturally?"

His wife looked at him as if addressing a backward child. "Because most women have careers now, and families to support, and while carrying the baby isn't really that bad now -- FGH makes it a lot easier -- breast feeding an infant, sometimes in the wee hours of the morning, for nearly a year, can have a really negative impact on their work production," she explained. "The negative effect on the economy, let alone their individual careers, would be catastrophic. Face it Hon, things have changed."

Lloyd nodded. He was slowly becoming aware of just how true that was, and he was suddenly very glad his sperm were "inert." He could not imagine having his own chests swell and nursing a baby.

********************

 

Beth had her dual mastectomy on Thursday, and she was quite sore that night, but she made it through the night with the help of a prescription painkiller, and by the next morning she was well enough to go to work, though she still had the bandages on. The extra bulk of the bandages made it appear that nothing had changed, but the following day, when the doctor removed the wrapping, Lloyd was amazed at the change in his wife's profile. Her chest was not completely flat -- there was enough to suggest a healthy set of pectoral muscles under her shirt -- but her chest did not appear the least bit feminine, and Beth told Lloyd that there was no actual breast tissue left. What she had were solid pecs, the results of her trips to the gym, not "jugs," she announced proudly.

Lloyd couldn't help staring at wife's new profile, and in some ways the change was as dramatic as when she'd taken FGH. Without her shirt he could see the thin red lines from the surgery that the doctor had assured her would disappear completely in a few weeks, but aside from that she looked exactly like the guys in the old movies looked -- before the chemicals and hormones started changing the way men looked.

In truth, Beth looked quite formidable, with her solid pecs, washboard abs, and muscular shoulders and arms. With her trim waist and muscular legs she looked like an athlete, and Lloyd had to admit he was a bit overwhelmed by his wife's sculptured physique. There was not an ounce of fat on her, and she looked like she could take care of herself in any situation.

Beth caught him staring at her and she grinned and struck a bodybuilder's pose. "The first thing I'm going to do is get rid of all my bras," she said with a wink, and Lloyd had to smile.

"Why not?" He agreed. "You certainly won't be needing them anymore."

"I'm glad I got it done before the dinner," Beth told him. "I think I'll look a lot better in my tux now."

"I'm sure you will," Lloyd replied, forcing a smile. He couldn't help remembering that when they were married HE had been the one in a tuxedo, and Beth had worn the dress. Everything just seemed so crazy now.

Bowing from more pressure from Beth to conform to "modern" styles, Lloyd agreed to shave his legs and underarms on Saturday, then allowed his wife to give his face "a little color." She didn't overdo it, but she did apply a very light base, just a touch of light eye shadow, and a dusting of blush. Most of the tellers at the bank had worn a bit of makeup, but Lloyd had always resisted it. Now, though, Beth practically pleaded with him to "complete the look," and he had eventually given in.

Lane seemed delighted with his father's new look. He himself had been shaving his legs and underarms and wearing makeup since his sophomore year, and he eagerly helped out, passing on some useful tips as his mother did his father's face. When Beth finished, Lane went to his room and returned with a tube of tinted lip balm that he insisted Lloyd try.

"It has just a hint of red, and it's a high gloss so it will make your lips look fantastic," he told his father. "Mom will love it."

When Lloyd finished dressing he looked at himself in his wife's full-length mirror and was astonished by his own reflection. His black satin Boy-Bra was not only visible, but prominently displayed through his clingy, sheer black, sleeveless top, and the padding in the cups gave him nearly as much "up front" as his wife had once had. His short black satin skort shimmered in the light when it moved, and it set off his trim waist and slightly broader hips. His sheer black stockings climbed his thin legs to a few inches below the skort, leaving a bit of his smooth thighs exposed. His black patent, Y strap sandals clung to his feet by a thin vamp and even thinner ankle straps, and the thin soles and three-inch heels molded his calves and shaped his legs quite nicely -- too nicely he told himself. Between the makeup and the clothes Lloyd couldn't believe what he saw. The image he presented was what used to be called "feminine," and that thought was more than a little disturbing.

********************

 

Lloyd had to admit that Beth looked pretty good in her tuxedo, with her broad shoulders, muscular chest, and trim waist. She looked younger than her 37 years, and she exuded an air of confidence that matched her commanding bearing.

Despite wearing heels Lloyd was still about four inches shorter than Beth, which he was acutely aware of when he took her offered arm. Though he would have preferred not to enter the party on his wife's arm (despite their role reversal and all that happened it still felt weird) the new slender, tapered heels of his sandals were a bit tricky, and Lloyd didn't want to twist an ankle. Aside from that there was Beth's "image" to consider, so he suppressed his misgivings and smiled as they entered the party.

At first glance it seemed a pretty routine affair - until Lloyd realized that all the guests wearing tuxedos were women, and the ones in skirts and dresses were male. There were about thirty guests, most with their spouse in attendance, and maybe a dozen members of Beth's firm, with another eight or ten spouses. Altogether there were about 75 people in the 12th floor ballroom of the Haymatt Hotel. A small rock group was playing near the modest-sized dance floor, and tables were set up on the far end of the room.

Lloyd continued to cling to Beth's arm as she made her way across the room, pausing every few feet to greet one of the clients or a co-worker. She introduced her spouse to a number of people, but there were so many Lloyd quickly lost track of the names.

As they navigated their way to their assigned table, Lloyd paid particular attention to the other spouses and their outfits and demeanor. He was surprised to see so many males, given the sexual imbalance, but then he realized that the women attending this dinner were a high powered, successful group, and far more likely to have a male than the average woman. His first impression of the spouses was that they were uniformly thin and good-looking, and very well dressed. Most of the males had cheerful expressions fixed on their faces, and remained near their women, usually just listening to the conversation, but occasionally making brief comments or laughing. Here and there Lloyd spotted a spouse who was obviously uncomfortable, and Lloyd could guess the reason, but most seemed to be enjoying themselves. A few of them appeared a bit dull-witted, and Lloyd suppressed a smirk as the expression "eye candy" came to mind.

He quickly came to the conclusion that the males in the room were nothing more than trophy spouses, something to stroke the ego of a powerful woman, and that allowed him to feel a bit smug and superior until he asked himself how he was any different from the others. Lloyd scanned the room again, scrutinizing the other males more closely while he consciously compared himself to what he saw. The other males weren't dressed much differently than he - In fact the outfit he was wearing was as flashy as any he saw, and more revealing than most. Some of the clothes the other males wore seemed strategically designed to draw the eye from one part of the body to another, as if to conceal a "flaw," like the male with the chubby legs who was wearing a very long skort, or the one with a thick waist who wore a long, loose top that fell to his hips. Aside from that, most of the males in the room appeared to wearing Boy-Bras or Pec-Boosters that were even more heavily padded than his own, and many wore a lot more makeup.

Lloyd decided that what truly set him apart from the others was his relationship with Beth. They had been married a long time, and their relationship was based on love and mutual respect. Most of the couples in the room were recently married, judging from the profusion of "modern" engagement and wedding rings the males wore, and some of the executives were treating their spouses with a condescending attitude or barely concealed contempt. Lloyd imagined that most of those unions were "power marriages," or marriages of convenience -- nothing like his own.

Beth continued to introduce Lloyd to her clients, and he made a special effort to be polite to each one. The conversation invariably turned to business, though, and Lloyd was completely out of his element. At first he tried to follow along, but when it became clear that no meaningful input was expected from him, his attention began to wander. As the night wore on he developed an ability to monitor what was being said while his attention was really elsewhere, and that came in handy several times.

After the dinner Lloyd struck up a conversation with another spouse who was seated next to him. His companion introduced himself to Lloyd as "Mizmate Glenda Morris," but quickly added, "Just call me Bobby." Lloyd introduced himself as Lloyd Vincent, wondering what "Mizmate" was supposed to denote, but deciding not to ask lest he commit some breach of etiquette.

Bobby was about 28 or so, and he was about Lloyd's height, give or take an inch. He was wearing a sky blue skort with a sleeveless white top and blue sandals, and Lloyd noticed that he was also wearing a Boy-Bra. He couldn't tell if Bobby's was as heavily padded as his own, but he assumed so since Bobby's chests seemed quite large for a male.

Lloyd's companion turned out to be quite a chatterbox, and he insisted on telling Lloyd all about his children. Lloyd listened out of courtesy, feigning interest, but he thought Bobby was an airhead and a terrible bore. As Bobby droned on about the difficulties of keeping up with the housework, Lloyd saw Beth and few feet away, and when he had her attention he rolled his eyes a bit. His wife nearly choked to suppress a laugh, and grinned at him. For a moment Lloyd thought he was doomed to spend the evening listening to his demented companion. But then Beth disengaged herself from her conversation and wandered over.

"Would you care to dance?" she asked with a knowing grin.

Lloyd didn't relish the idea of dancing in a skort and heels, but the alternative appealed to him even less.

"I -- sure," he replied.

Beth took his hand as he rose and led her spouse towards the dance floor.

"Just one thing -- you have to let me lead," she informed him in a voice just loud enough for him to hear.

His wife's directive caught him by surprise.

"I can't," he protested. "I only know how to dance one way."

"Following is easy -- there's nothing to it," Beth replied. "Just put your free hand on my shoulder and let me steer -- And remember to dance on your toes, not your heels. I'll take care of the rest."

"Honey, I'd really rather lead," Lloyd whined, but Beth shot one of those "looks" at him.

"It wouldn't look right," she said flatly. "Besides, I've gotten a bit taller since the last time we danced. You wouldn't find it easy to lead now."

Lloyd sighed and nodded his acceptance. He knew Beth was right about that. Even in heels he was still four inches shorter than his wife, and though he was still probably tall enough to see over her shoulder, barely, Beth was also a lot heavier now, and that would pose more problems.

Beth put her right hand around his waist and took his right hand in her left, and Lloyd placed his left hand on his wife's shoulder. It was a slow song, and Beth took it easy at first. As they began to dance, Lloyd found himself looking up into his wife's smiling face. He felt very insecure moving backwards, especially in his high-heeled sandals, and he realized he was completely dependent on Beth to steer them away from trouble. It was an uncomfortable feeling, but then he realized that, before she took FGH, Beth must have felt the same way. He decided that since she had trusted him, he could do no less. After that he relaxed a bit and actually enjoyed the dance.

After the party Beth was ecstatic.

"Honey, you were wonderful!" She told him with a broad smile. "Everyone was really impressed -- I'm so proud of you!"

"I didn't do anything," Lloyd pointed out, thinking his wife was laying it on a bit thick.

"Well, you must have done SOMETHING," Beth retorted. "Everybody thought you were really nice, and I heard one of the clients tell Dom that you are 'very special.'

"Another one agreed to a huge new advertising campaign I've been hoping for, and she mentioned you too -- And Dom wants to see me in her office Monday morning. I think I'm going to get that promotion we talked about!"

"That's fantastic!" Lloyd told her, putting his hand on her arm as she drove them home.

Lloyd still could not point to a single thing he had done to help Beth, aside from showing up and being courteous, but who was he to argue with success? Perhaps in this crazy new world that was all that was expected of him.

  (continued)

  

  

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