2/18/14

Kate Bishop


HOW I LEARNED TO EAT PUSSY (excerpt)



This short play tells the story of a young woman's sexual awakening through a conversation between different aspects of her psyche. The piece is meant to be read by four different actors, all about the same age, spoken directly to the audience as a monologue in four voices.

CHARACTERS:
MOLLY -- The host
CLAIRE -- A Doctor
BETTY -- An American Girl
MICHELLE -- A student



MOLLY:  
(to audience) Yes, People?  Do you want to hear the story of how I learned to eat pussy?

(wait for response) Ok! (to Betty) See? I contracted with the “people.” They are consensually participating in listening to my story. Satisfied?


MICHELLE:
Do they have a safeword?

(to MOLLY) Wait, wait, wait!  How is it just your story?  I get some say in this!


CLAIRE:  
Absolutely.  Each of us must be allowed to tell her own version of events.   


MOLLY:
Yes, I know, it's your story too, we could hardly have done it without each of you.  But you're going to tell it from a completely biased point of view!


MICHELLE:  
So are you!  The myth of objectivity is the ego's greatest conceit!


BETTY:  
You gals are going to make it dirty and only tell the sex parts!


MICHELLE:
And you’ve got a problem with that?  I seem to remember that you thought it was pretty sexy at the time.  You got off like the rest of us.


BETTY:  
It’s not that I didn’t…I don’t…I mean, that’s private! I thought it was very...romantic, yes. But a lady doesn't kiss and tell unless she’s a tramp. And I know how you are, especially you (points to MICHELLE) you'll just have to tell it with all the obscene details. It's gross!


MICHELLE:
GROSS! Seriously, you really said “gross”? GROSS!! Do you even listen to yourself? How do I share a gender with this woman, let alone a brain? You're calling our BODY, our DESIRE, the whole worldwide COMMUNITY of dykedom, descendants of the Amazons...GROSS?  

(crosses to BETTY and gets in her face) Why are you even in here with us?   Step off with that bullshit!  You are such a...a...tool of the heteropatriarchy!

(BETTY bursts dramatically into tears, then tries to start a slap fight. They squabble indistinctly and call each other names.  MICHELLE pulls back a fist like she's going to punch her)


CLAIRE:  
(getting in between to break it up) OOOO KAY!  Taking it down a notch! Ladies, try to be rational!

(MOLLY takes wailing BETTY by the shoulders and walks her to the side)


CLAIRE:
(to MICHELLE) You need to take a breath. (puts one hand on MICHELLE's neck and the other on her forehead)  As I thought: your hypothalamus is throbbing. Allow your muscles to become relaxed. Let the adrenaline receptors release your epinephrine. (checks eyeballs) You'd better constrict your pupils.  And slow your heart rate.

(MICHELLE jerks away.  BETTY is crying in MOLLY's arms across the stage)


CLAIRE:
You know exactly why she's here, and she has a right to her point of view no matter (MICHELLE starts to interrupt) NO MATTER how much it may seem "colonized" to you.  She is an inevitable product of our influences, just like you are.  Her habitual stimuli, all those checkout line magazines, encourages faulty thinking. Don't blame her that the social construct has been polluted.


MICHELLE:  
Poisoned by the patriarchy!  We need to be vigilant against her kind of…infection!


CLAIRE:  
She's genuine.  She's another lens in here with all of us, whether you like it or don't. And remember, she makes it much easier for the rest of us to get through a family wedding.  She's charming, in her way.


MICHELLE:  
I know, I get it.  It's the nature of perception, every mind is a collection of conflicting interpretations.  Can I just be disappointed that part of us is so deluded?


CLAIRE:  
We all have our piece to tell.  

(MICHELLE sits down in a mediation pose, closes her eyes and breaths loudly.  She keeps opening one eye to see what's going on.)


MOLLY:
(To BETTY) You don't need to speak if you don't have anything to add, no one will pressure you.  But, hey, honey. I know this is a happy memory for you.  You remember when we, um, made love with our very first...galpal, right?  Remember?  The car?  The rainstorm?  You loved how romantic it was, right?  She swept you off our feet?


BETTY:
Yeah...


MOLLY:  
Well, everybody is friendly here. They all want to hear what you have to say.  You want to start us out?  Tell the people how you saw it first?  (BETTY nods) Good!  Great. Ok, we'll all listen to your story.

(CLAIRE brings a couple chairs forward)  

ALL of us will listen.

(MICHELLE also gets a chair and sits backwards on it)  


MOLLY:
Ok, everyone is listening.  We'll all chime in.  How does it start?


BETTY:
It was during college, natch! I went to a tiny liberal arts college in a rural area.  It was out in the middle of a cow field, really. It certainly was liberal, though!  All the girls who went there seemed to want to... experiment... Oh my! I know it's a scandal but in my generation, just everyone went to college to learn to be bisexual.


CLAIRE:
Wait a second, not everyone, that is patently ridiculous.  I'm sorry to interrupt, but you do have to be a little bit sensible about it. They told us 10% of people were gay or lesbian, though the Kinsey studies rely mainly on self-report -- a method notoriously prone to error. New findings, published in our junior year, reported that homosexuals make up a much smaller ratio of the population, perhaps a mere 2%. Anecdotally, I do think it was more.  10% definitely, perhaps even 15%.


MICHELLE:
And of course they were looking for people engaging in homosexual behavior as opposed to counting everyone who claims a self-defined queer identity.  Plus they only studied Gays and Lesbians. More like 85 percent of our students were queers of some flavor.


CLAIRE:
85 percent.  Really. Are you, in fact, actively high right now?  


MICHELLE:
Shut up!  It was a LOT of people!


MOLLY:
Bisexual was a real popular self-defined identity among my friends, that's what I know. Mostly not the men, though, they were usually just gay.


BETTY:
Well, some were bisexual for a blink and a giggle, weren't they? They were in between stations on a speeding train that started in Omaha but ended up at Fire Island.


CLAIRE:
There has recently been some intriguing research about that. Men seem, as a very general rule, to have a more...definitive sense of their sexual orientation.  At a very young age, many men who grow up to be gay-identified adults report always knowing some internal quality was “different” from their peer group.  In contrast, not many women report that sense of clarity. We tend to view our attractions as more fluid.


MOLLY:
ANYway, in college, in the early 90s...


BETTY:
Did you have to date us like that?

MOLLY:
It seemed like all the women I knew at college were studying real hard to be bisexual. In both behavior and identity.


CLAIRE:
It was curious, how bisexual references rapidly emerged from all quarters – books, music, magazines, television, art, science, theater. It was truly an American meme of the early 90s. Bisexuals went from mythological to ubiquitous in a single semester. Maybe it was some rogue microbial agent in the water?


MICHELLE:
But remember, the very act of observation changes the object observed. Your position relative to the topic made it visible to you. We were coming out of the closet, so every mention of sexual orientation was echoing in our ears.


MOLLY:
Sure, of course, but there was also something about that moment in history. I think there really was an uptick in people coming out and being visible. Like, Queer Nation groups started then, you know? Maybe it was just the inevitability of peer pressure.


BETTY:
Peer pressure?!? Peer pressure must be resisted!  It's a test of your character. You cannot give in to what the gang would have you do! Giving in to peer pressure is a girl's one-way ticket to a bad reputation! You don't have to pet to be popular.


MICHELLE:
Yeah, um, Reefer Madness called, it wants its histrionics back?


MOLLY:
Anyway, I did engage in rigorous study on the subject of cunnilingus.  I was an excellent student; curious, motivated. Not like it was a proper class...


CLAIRE:
If our culture didn't have such archaic views about sexual initiation and instruction, pedagogical guidance on establishing a sexual orientation and related stimulation techniques would have been developmentally appropriate for the population.


MICHELLE:  
I’d take that class!


CLAIRE:
Oral-vulvular stimulation seminars...


MICHELLE:
With lab work?  


BETTY:

Be my study buddy?


Kate Bishop is a playwright, social worker, sex educator and vaginal enthusiast who delights in the tender awkwardness of being a person. How I Learned to Eat Pussy has been the most popular of her four plays, including productions in Cleveland, Baltimore, and Seattle. Her 10-minute play Rare Affair was the winner of Fells Point Corner Theater's 10X10 festival of new works in 2013. She devotes time to making the world a safer place for women, queers, fatties and people of color and she's an awesome cook.

No comments:

Post a Comment