Calgary Through the Eyes of Writers
Ophira Eisenberg’s memoir begins in 1980s suburban Calgary: “a nice, safe place – it was like the walls were made of soft sponges. You had to work really hard to get in trouble.” At Western Canada High, Eisenberg is, like her role model Ferris Bueller, “the ultimate self-assured outsider.” Unlike some of her serious-minded classmates, she’s intent on losing “the new-car smell” of her adolescence, including her virginity. She and her friend Cheryl hatch a plan in Cheryl’s wood-panelled basement: they will try to lose their virginity on the same night. They zero in on two boys in a high school U2 cover band. At a house party, the girls put their plan in motion.
When the set ended, as a treat I passed around a bottle of Schnapps I’d found in my mom’s liquor cabinet. Judging by the layer of dust on the label, it had probably been sitting there since the first Star Wars movie came out in theaters. After sharing a swig with Cameron, I led him into the “makeout room” – my mother’s sewing room – where we necked and dry humped in between quilt squares and sprigs of crinoline from my ballet costumes. We were both such novices, our groping ended up being too licky and fast paced. Occasionally our teeth would collide. At the end of the night when I puked, it was from the combination of worry, wine coolers, and a dash of melon Schnapps. Cameron biked home on his beat-up ten-speed, and I scrubbed the house and my mouth for two days. It was a near-perfect teenage evening.