The Lisa Diaries

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The Lisa Diaries by Lisa Carver  


September 10, 2001

What Are You Looking At?

[This is the last installment of The Lisa Diaries. Click here to read Lisa’s new bi-weekly column on Nerve, The Lisa Files.]

The lawyer fingered the rim of his glass at the Indian restaurant where we’d agreed to meet, and I remembered what’s it’s like to sit across from someone you’ve never had sex with. You watch how he moves, where he puts his eyes, how he reties his shoe — all of it clues as to how he would treat you horizontally. I was dressed in things Dave had given me over the last three years — the top half of a ballroom gown, silk pants and silver Italian shoes. Everything was tight and I had trouble breathing. The lawyer wore a suit with no tie and had a big and somewhat handsome head. I guess it was confidence he exuded . . . something came out of him and moved over the table and into my lap. He regaled me with tales of the corporation fighting back against the individual and I was having fun being someone who meets people through the personals, this woman who doesn’t talk much and doesn’t exude at all. My real romance was with my personals-trawling alterego, figuring out what she would like, what she would say next.


The lawyer bit into a satay and said he and his other personals dates didn’t “click.” I pictured him describing me in turn to a future date, implying I lacked the power to click. He would be right. It feels like dying, to not care about strangers anymore. It feels like I lost my entire bag of sweaters at the drycleaners and now I have only shirts and winter’s coming. I was thinking about Dave down the street at the club doing soundcheck for his first show in three years and how nervous he must be, and I wished I was there.


Meanwhile, the lawyer insisted I tell him the titles of my books. When I did, his face fell, he gulped his drink and ordered another. He hadn’t believed I was really Lisa Carver — he thought I’d been using that name online because I was a fan of hers. In the Diaries photo, I have long blond hair and I’m naked, whereas in the restaurant I had cropped dark hair and clothes on. The lawyer, suddenly confronted with being judged by a sex columnist, mumbled about “pursuing exploration” some other day, paid the bill and walked away.


Dave was all wet when I found him, from pouring water on himself in the bathroom — I guess in an attempt to calm his nerves, though he lied and said he was sweating that much. His body was so tight and crampy he decided he was going to perform lying down. Of course once he was on stage he was great. My friend Albert said, “When you look at Dave, you can see what a star is — it’s how he holds himself.” Which I thought is similar to dating — it’s how they hold the glass.


We got home at three, took a shower and fell asleep naked and damp. How can I know what love is? It’s easy to recognize in the pain of separation, but that’s just feeling what it’s not. How do I know I love Dave, when he’s always right there, when I can’t even go on a date without thinking about him? I woke up, still dreaming in the dark, and Dave’s hands (one of which had fallen between my legs) were pirate flags. I twisted around so that the other one would be on my breast, the nipple up against its rough canvas. Sea breeze pushed my hair. (It was the overhead fan, but I was still bleary enough to overlook facts.) I had to have it or I’d die.


Dave and I are never alone in bed — we’re players in some crowded scenario, or we turn ourselves into objects. (Last night he was a pirate ship, and the night before his penis was a scythe blade and his body the handle . . . I was a clothesline once.) Of course I bring the most people in, which is all of you. I don’t know if I know how to be alone with someone: I wouldn’t even know what a private life looks like. But I’m going to try it. I’m quitting the diaries!


I started my first “personal zine” at sixteen (Dirt, then Rollerderby), started performing naked weird psychodramas on stages across the country at eighteen, and I’ve just told everything to everybody my entire life. I’ll still publish a bi-weekly column here. I still want to know, Do blind people see in their sexual fantasies? What’s the most money anyone ever spent on sex? I need answers to these questions, and I need to tell you once I get them. I’m going to stop telling stories from my own marriage, though. To be suddenly secretive at this late date is kind of a moot gift, but I’d like to give it to Dave anyway. I’ve always thought too-little-too-late was pretty romantic, if you squint and put your head sideways when you look at it. The diaries have been a lot like an affair, someone to whom I tell things I don’t even let my husband know. I’ve never put a man before the world or the future or whatever it is confessional writers are in love with till now. I’m already starting to miss the thrill of a relationship with someone I can’t see, and in fact Dave never asked me to do it and I don’t know why I suddenly felt compelled to. But I believe we should especially do things we suddenly decide to do when there’s no good reason.


As literature, the diaries have been unusual in that the characters get up off the screen and go do things, even picking up other characters. Emily, the shy girl at my Naked Party, became infatuated with Liz, the terribly unshy girl at my Nicotine Patch Party, and planned to move to Chicago to be with her. I’m not sure why it never happened . . . I think Chicago seemed too far to get to, and neither lady is gay. Simone, our third with the glossy hair, went out with Jerry, the alcoholic who called late at night and very dramatically. They read about each other in the diaries and next thing you know she’s lying around in her underwear two states over, at Jerry’s. Currently, Simone is on her way to Australia. During high school, fooling around with me tended to turn boys gay. Nowadays, time with me makes women flee the country. Rachel moved to Hawaii. Bernadette just returned from her South Pacific island.


Grant, the sex contest winner, ended up finding a job — and a girlfriend — at Nerve. His band and Dave’s are supposed to play a show together soon in New York. Laura is going to hairdressing school. Hairdressers have mystique and power. They grab your head and do things to it, and all you can see is their flashing silver belt and gloved hands descending. Andrew read my diary entry about him in the library, because he doesn’t have a home. He has lived “like a fox” ever since he realized we really don’t need possessions. He sent some intriguing emails about demonology and angels and I remembered what used to make me want to be around him until he sent me a number-coded email that I finally figured out said “How limited are you?” because I disagreed that God would fit inside me, and then I remembered how annoying those who live like foxes can be. The other Dave — my date from The 119 — is in love with a very much older housewife. It suits him well, I think.


I’m starting to really like my biographer — but seriously! He said last week, “You’re so interesting to me sometimes.” I said, “What, so I’m boring to you other times?” And he said yes! Of course I immediately went from warm to hot over that, and have kept a steady hotness for eleven days and counting. When people put you down, it gives you room to strive. He’s still seeing the Romanian, and a Mexican and an Italian — besides his true love, who is a Californian. That guy should really calm down. Or at least start a weekly diary.

[This is the last installment of The Lisa Diaries. Click here to read Lisa’s new bi-weekly column on Nerve, The Lisa Files.]

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.

Lisa Carver and, Inc.