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MAKING SCENES

by

Adrienne Eisen




David takes me to a party in the South End. The room is divided into a menís side and a womenís side. I ask him if itís because they are orthodox Jews. ďNo,Ē he says, ďtheyíre gay.Ē Ten minutes later, David has disappeared, but a woman has taken his place. She asks me if Iím a lesbian, or did I just come here with David.

I take some pizza puffs off the hors díoeuvre table and look around at the other people at the party. I canít decide what to say. I assess my chances of being able to maintain the lie if I say Iím a lesbian. I examine her, trying to decide if she is someone I would like to sleep with. I try to figure out what she wants to hear, what she expects to hear, what I want to be, and I try to find something in between.

ďI donít know,Ē I say.

But I donít like saying I donít know. I know she is a lesbian and Iíve read enough woman-seeking-woman ads to know real lesbians donít fuck experimenters. So I say, ďI donít really like how I am with men.Ē

But then I think maybe she will think Iím just a poser. I say, ďWhen Iíve been with a woman, thereís been an equality I have never had with a man.Ē This implies that Iím with women all the time.

Five seconds have passed.

The woman is munching on party food. She offers me some celery. I take some, hoping this will bond us. I tell her I want to hang out with lesbians. I say everything short of ďPlease be my friend.Ē Wait, no, I pretty much say that, too. This is what I want: To become friends with a group of lesbians, and they will be so attracted to me that even though Iím not a purebred, a (very tall and very breasted) lesbian will seduce me, and the moment will be so equal, so clean of power, that it wonít even count as cheating on Andy.



I want to go to graduate school, but I failed fifty percent of my classes senior year of college, so I donít have anyone to write me recommendations. I sign up for a writing class at a community college. The teacher there likes me so much that we do lunch every Wednesday. We talk about books weíve read. I read D.H. Lawrence and Elizabeth McNeil because I notice my teacher is most impressed with my sexual insight. He reads Cervantes and Sir Walter Scott, so I think he thinks Iím impressed with size.

I tell my therapist I canít concentrate on making myself a better person because Iím short two recommendations. My therapist says this is his day job, and heís really a screenwriter, and he can recommend me. I am skeptical. He says heís written TV movies and directed lower-than-TV movies, and thatís good enough for me.

I tell Andy I canít have sex because Iím short a recommendation, and that makes me feel insecure about what Iím doing with my life, and I canít be intimate when I feel insecure. Andy says I should use one of my past employers, which is a stupid idea because graduate schools donít care how well you operate a cash register. I tell him I have a better idea.

I tell Andy to say I was vice president of his company, but he says I should let him write what he wants. I say, Okay, but he must include the following titbits about me: Creative genius, intellectual powerhouse, easy-to-get-along-with. He also has to fill out the form that says this person is in the top 1%, 5%, or 10%, etc., of likely candidates. I tell Andy to check off top 1%. He says theyíll know heís my lover. I say he wonít be my lover if he doesnít do it.

In the final draft of the letter, he writes that I am the most well-read person he knows, and Iím really touched, even though the rest of the people he knows are L.A. types.

I give Andy the confidential envelope for his recommendation. I take the original and put it in a box with love letters from old boyfriends.



I thought my life was so ordinary that I wrote my sixth-grade autobiography about my cousin Jenny. In class we all hand-bound our autobiographies, and I gave mine to my parents for their anniversary. My dad took it as a sure sign I would get into Yale. This Yale thing was a big deal to him because we were the only Jewish family in the world who could become fourth generation Yale in this century. Dad figured that out. It was all up to me and my little brother Marc.

Marc and I felt no pressure, though, because in our eyes everyone went to Yale. So at night, while our parents worked until 9:30, Marc and I would completely ignore our homework. Weíd order-out pizza or Chinese food for dinner, and read the Britannica until someone came home to tell us to go to bed.

After a while, I noticed that the kids in school, who had a lot to talk about, all talked about TV. I told my parents I needed a TV. Mom told me to call up an electronics store and have them deliver one. This was the type of thing the spare Visa card in the kitchen drawer was good for. The TV came right away, but I never remembered to take it out of the box.

Once I called up my Mom at work and told her I didnít have any friends because everyone elseís clothes were more exciting than mine. Mom told me to use the Visa card. She called ahead to a local store to let them know I had permission. ďNext time, call Dad at work,Ē she said, ďnot me.Ē

When I walked into the juniors section, I didnít see anything that I had seen other kids wearing, and even though I knew I could have whatever I wanted in the store, what I really wanted didnít seem to be there. So I bought a pair of rainbow socks that seemed nice in the store, but when I brought them home, they didnít look special anymore, and I knew they would never win me friends.

Once a teacher asked me to stay after school. She was my favorite teacher ever, and I was hoping she would ask if I wanted to be her daughter. I had gotten stars on every test that year. Instead, she asked why I came to school bruised all the time. She said she thought maybe someone was doing something that ordinary parents donít do. I thought about the question for a few seconds, and then I looked down at my socks.





ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adrienne Eisen is the only hypertext winner of the prestigious New Media Invision Award. She is a former Editor of artcommotion.com and a frequent speaker/panelist at events such as PEN West and the Dartmouth Institute for Advanced Graduate Studies. Her first major work of online hypertext, "Six Sex Scenes," was a featured exhibition at the Alt-X Online Network and has received international attention from both the academic and underground literary art worlds. According to Mark Amerika, "Adrienne Eisen's avant-pop hypertexts are subversive narrative journeys into the mind of a contemporary twentysomething woman whose erotic encounters are charged with a post-feminist satirical edge that cuts deep into the American psyche. The hypertext world's Kathy Acker." Three hypertexts by Adrienne Eisen can be read online at the following address where you can also order a copy of Making Scenes, her debut print novel: http://www.apc.net/adrienne/.

Send correspondence to
adrienne@apc.net







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