The Lisa Diaries

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The Lisa Diaries by Lisa Carver  


Three Stories

March 15, 2001

I didn’t know thirty of the sixty people at my party, and since there are three floors to my house and I could only be on one at a time, I won’t really know what happened until all the photos come back. I’d invited anyone who’d ever sent me an intriguing email: the sadistic composer (performs in symphony halls in the evening and in chains at night!), the 6’7″ tap dancer, the Christians, somebody named Justin . . . They came from New York, California, Texas, Maine, Massachusetts, Canada. Any non-smoker walking through the door received a nicotine patch — one of those strong, first-week-quitting ones. I wanted people to be nervous like they were thirteen and at their first kegger. My patch made my eyes wiggle, then my whole body turned red, then it felt like a cigarette had been broken open on my tongue. I couldn’t stop talking.


Each guest was, in their own town, “the one” — the instigator, the bad seed. Without a submissive audience, we didn’t know how to behave, and innocent substitutes for sex occurred. Like when nine ladies got together and threw the men from warmer climates into the snow, to give them the Dover experience. Two of our victims lost their glasses and one class ring disappeared into a four-foot snowdrift. But they got a good rub-down after, with towels and woman-hands. When Ari saw Eric’s stitched finger, he flushed and, in a daze, brought the wound to his mouth and licked it. No one else saw the lick — they thought it was a kiss (which would have been weird enough on a fresh wound). I alone was close enough to notice his tongue slither out. “Germs!” I cried. “Stop!” But I was actually terribly excited. It was like a Japanese comic where people lick eyeballs and get run over by trains.


My friend Liz came all the way from Chicago for the party. Liz has cruel cheekbones and makes orange eyeshadow seem like a good idea. She’s like a fifties high fashion model. When Dave and I were alone for a second, he dropped his eyes and said, “I like Liz,” as if he were saying, “I spilled paint in your underwear drawer.” I told him he had permission. Dave hung his head and said, “Nooooo.”


“Your husband won’t stop talking about bitmaps,” Liz complained to me later, her eyeballs glittery. “Everyone’s telling him to stop, but he won’t!” I took that to be code for, “Is it okay with you if I flirt with him?”


“You have to tell him to stop,” I said, “and he will. Look him in the eyes and say, ‘David, stop.'” That was code for, “Yes, you may do whatever you like with my husband.” So she went back and said, “David, stop.” Party picsFrom then on, my husband and Liz were inseparable, and each time the space between them shrunk a half-inch, my female Dover friends would report back to me with narrowed eyes.


“It’s okay,” I’d say. “He has permission.” But Laura didn’t care about that. “Well he doesn’t have my permission!” she said. “I don’t care what kind of swinger thing you guys are doing, but if you’re not with somebody, then neither is he!” With that, she stomped down into the basement where Dave and Liz huddled under the stairs.


“David,” she said, “I’m here to save your marriage. And you,” she commanded Liz, “you go upstairs right now.”


“I will not,” Liz shot back, and the hairs on the back of her neck rose up. (I heard this story the next morning from all parties involved — three versions of the same event, like Roshomon.) The ladies stared at each other, and Dave stared at all ten of his fingers, one at a time, with great care. I was upstairs, obliviously hula-hooping and white-washing men and feeling joy.


I think Liz and Dave should have been grateful for the interference. Obstacles to intrigue make things exciting. If everyone’s just jolly polyamorists, then the atmosphere is rather flabby. When there’s an opposing force to your free sex actions, you have to out-smart the force, and sneak around — then sex gets sexy. Imagine Liz and Dave hiding behind a car out in the dark and the cold, shoving their hands down each other’s pants with haste and fear, peering around all the while for the avenging Laura.


Pity, however, is not the catalyst for sexual intrigue that disapproval is. When I realized how sorry my friends were for me, it was time to reel my husband in. He came to the stove for a bowl of the pasta I’d made (he wanted to bring it to Liz) and I informed him that his privilege was revoked. “People think you’re disrespecting me,” I said. “And I’m tired of someone else getting all my night’s compliments. I’m lonesome for you now.” It was two o’clock and the party guests had disappeared under blankets, except for a small group of foot-massagers, speaking low. All the makeup that started high on people’s faces was in smudges, so the women had five o’clock shadows.


My nicotine was a Pacman set loose in my body as I laid in the dark wondering where it would bite next, while Dave lay beside me making comments about Liz. He was almost as annoying as the nicotine. His comments were mainly “Why don’t you go have sex with Liz now?” Dave is always trying to get me to have sex with people he wants and I don’t, and then he says no to my picks. Maybe that’s his method of ensuring no one gets hurt: no one fucks who they want. People always warn you that “someone’s gonna get hurt” in open relationships. What, no one in a closed relationship ever gets hurt? The problem with these goings-on is not the pain, but rather when someone won’t be quiet and let you sleep.


At least, that’s what I thought then. As it turned out, the party wasn’t over yet.

Lisa Carver is the author of the books Dancing Queen, Rollerderby, The Lisa Diaries and Drugs Are Nice. She’s written for Hustler, Index, Icon, Feed, Newsday and Playboy, among others. She lives in New Hampshire.


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