A boyfriend for your thoughts

“If you ever want a boyfriend, you have to stop being so opinionated on Facebook. No one wants a woman who’s all angry and annoyed,” someone told me as the answer to a question I never asked. Another person said to me,

“Jeez, just be happy, will ya? I’m so sick of talk of sexism and feminism and blah, blah, blah.”

“When it comes to feminism, people need to chill out – on both sides of the fence.” another one said at another time. And another and another and more and more. And tonight, for the first time ever, I understood.

I met the audience after a show I did. First guy stood uncomfortably close to me. I took a step back. He took two steps forward. He was a bit drunk, I excused it in my head. One more step back. His breath hit my lips. I got away.

A man told me about the other female comedian who had been on the bill, “She was right in front of me. I never saw her face, I just stared directly at her crotch – and that was fine by me, if ya know what I mean?”
And another audience member followed up with, “Ah, her tits were great too though. Didn’t hear a word of what she said, mate.”

Older, bald guy came up to me and said, “What are you doing now?”
I said, “I’m going to my hotelroom. I need to be alone.”
He said, “If I wasn’t married though…!”
I said, “I’d still be alone.”

Someone pointed at another audience member and said, “Look at how she’s dressed. You just know that she’s one of those golddigging whores who just stay at home all day because her husband is rich.”
And I said, “I spoke to her. She runs her own company. She’s single by choice. She’s a millionaire and a trailblazer.”
And he said, “…”

And of course, the classics. “Finally a funny woman”, “Girls usually aren’t funny, but you…” and “You were awesome!” (that one wasn’t offensive, I just wanted you to know that someone said that to me).

(A few weeks ago I was a guest on someone’s podcast. The opening question was, “So we’re here to discuss why women aren’t as funny as men.”)

And I’m back in my hotel room now. I sat down and wanted to write a status, expressing my frustration with these experiences. With these comments and these men (‪#‎notallmen‬) and this and that.

And I felt it. The fatigue.

I am too tired. It’s too exhausting. Really? Am I going to do another bitchy status, where I whine about being a GIRL and how it’s so HARD and SOCIAL JUSTICE and BURN YOUR BRAS and DON’T SHAVE and blah blah blah. It’s getting old. It’s getting boring. And most importantly, those boyfriends who were just getting in line for my hand in marriage (I’ll be wearing white as if 2008 never happened), will only vanish at the click of the Post-button.

Because it happens so often, every day. Anything you have to repeat will get dull. Doing the dishes, brushing your teeth, masturba… Anyways. These things happen on a daily basis.

And it’s annoying and tiring to listen to and read about. But the reason I did it anyways, is because it’s even more excruciating to have to deal with. I swear, as soon as none of this happens anymore, I’ll stop talking about it. And then maybe, in that golden year of 2150, I can get a boyfriend. Or you know, meet someone in 2015 who doesn’t prefer his women indifferent and quiet. Or maybe, wait a minute, not focus at all on how my opinions and social media activity will affect the members of the opposite sex? Is that possible?

You’re probably thinking, “Did you just write this status so that you could implicitly tell us that you’ve done a gig that went well, in Dubai where you’re currently on vacation, and that your legs are really smooth?”
But how do you know all those things? I haven’t said any of that, even though it’s all true.

I’m saying it because the alternative is not saying it. And maybe by saying it, it’ll make a tiny change. If nothing else, I expressed my feelings. Which is just such a classic woman-thing to do, man. What’s next? I’m gonna period all over this status or something probably. Shoes. Cosmopolitans. Brad Pitt. C’mon girls, let’s do the chant:

WHAT DO WE WANT?
Boyfriends!
WHEN DO WE WANT IT?
Now!

DO WE WANT EQUALITY?

WHAT WAS THAT I DIDN’T HEAR YOU?
That’s because if we admit to wanting equality, that means we have to speak up and actually, like, demand it, you know. And then the boys will think we’re hysterical, so uhm… I’ll just stay here below my pay grade.

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That’s A Lovely Big Black Tent You’re Wearing / Being Fat, Wearing Clothes

She was a lovely woman, the costume designer. She walked into the office, carrying three bags. I had wanted to warn her or offer my assistance when she got the job of finding me a dress to wear on TV and it quickly became obvious why.

“I didn’t know it would be so hard to find a black dress.” she said, slightly apologetically, and pulled out three black dresses. Actually, that’s an exaggeration. She pulled out two black dresses and a black, oversized t-shirt from H&M. One of them fit. Almost. She pinned needles everywhere and assured me that she would make it look better.

“I cannot believe how hard it was finding a dress.” she repeated. I know. I knew. I’ve known since I started buying my own clothes at the age of 13. When my friends would empty a shop for clothes and I would take some size 14s and try them on, even though I knew they wouldn’t fit. Afterwards I’d claim the colour was wrong. Eventually, I would go on American websites and pay hundreds of pounds, just for the experience of actually wearing something I didn’t have to squeeze into. I knew because when I discovered the website ASOS, which had decent clothes in my size – and even bigger than that, I actually cried. I immediately bought shirts eight sizes bigger than mine, just to try and feel how being too small felt. I know how hard it is. I had known when she had said she was just going to go into central Copenhagen and find a dress. I had asked if she was planning on looking online and she had looked at me with a facial expression saying, that she knew most about this topic. That was now the look I was giving her.

“I bet you’ve never had to find anything for someone my size?” I asked. She widened her eyes and started telling me what I’ve heard so many times before. That oh, I’m not that big and either way, it suits me and it’s not the first thing people notice. I stopped her to let her know that I’m okay with it. We discussed shoes and tights and hugged goodbye.

I didn’t give it much thought, but it finally hit me. It’s a deep, deep feeling of relief and sadness. Like the first time I told my thinner friend that I always had music in my ears when walking alone, because I would get yelled after. Fat pig and stuff like that. And my friend listened and expressed surprise and disgust. After that, I was relieved too. A lot of these struggles are secret. Not intentionally, necessarily, but I’ve been taught to be ashamed of my body – thus making everything that happens to me because I’m fat my fault. I felt like I deserved to be yelled at and I have never felt like I deserved to easily be able to find clothes in my size.

When the professional clothes-finder struggled to find me an outfit and when it surprised her, it was an overwhelming feeling of being heard and having my everyday issues understood. Fatphobia isn’t per say acknowledged by the public. Not even most fat people are aware of this. It felt like another person is now aware that it’s hard sometimes. It was the opposite feeling of what I felt last week, when a comedian laughed in my face and exclaimed, “What?! No one hates fat people!” which coincidentally, was two hours after he had said, “There’s no such thing as sexism in comedy.”

It never fails to surprise me how easy it is to silence a large (haha, large) group of people into not complaining. That is why it meant a lot, that I didn’t have to be the one to tell yet another person what it’s like being a fat person. She didn’t even get the full experience – of having clerks look at you with narrowed eyes, followed by them looking up and down your body and finally looking into the ground saying, “Sorry, we don’t carry your size.”

She just had to experience that because I am a size 20-22, her job became harder – and almost impossible to do. But only almost, because of her magic fingers, she did manage to turn a black tent into an actual dress:

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The amazing Debz has got a major kick-ass list of online plus-size clothing shops here

 

The Life I Have Decided To Try And Live And The Cunts Trying To Ruin It

A friend of mine surprised me a few weeks back, by complementing my weight loss. I had not tried to lose weight, I had merely walked up more hills than usual, as this was during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. His exact words were,

“You’ve lost weight! It looks good!”

“Oh,” I replied, startled, and added, “I’ll have to eat more then.”

Not the most clever response. But his eyes widened and he looked horrified as he said,

“Oh no! Never again!”

I was speechless for a while. All fat people, including myself, know that fatphobic assholes exist and most of us have to deal with it on a daily basis. Be it from elderly family members who refuse to die or from front covers of magazines or commercials on TV. I had just not expected to hear it from someone I call my friend.

It happened again last week, when another friend of mine said words I found myself wishing he’d never said. He said that he genuinely believed that all men were born predators and rapists, and that it was in their nature.

I tried to dissect his assumption and question his “logic” and I hope it’s enough. Yet, I couldn’t believe ai was hearing it. Again, I know these people exist – hell, I even know that some of my friends feel this way – but what is constantly a huge surprise is that they say these things to my face.

I think I had the naïve notion that people who know me also know what kind of life I have chosen to live.

I do not watch reality TV. I do not read women’s magazines. I am a feminist, a body-positivity-activist and I used to work in charity fundraising. So keep your opinions about reality TV stars to yourself. Do not associate the word ‘fat’ with ‘unattractive’, do not refer to women as ‘girls’ and if you think someone asking you to donate to charity in the street is so annoying that it’s worth you saying that out loud, get out of my face.

It has taken years to realise the brainwashing caused by society and media. But it is now the most liberating way of living – realising that there is no reality, there is only perceptions of reality.

If I hate my body, my reality states that I am unattractive. If I decide that my cellulite is sexy, it fucking is and then I live in a reality, where I’m sexy-sexy-hot-stuff. If I do not acknowledge that money matters more than art, then it does not. If I refuse to accept that “all men want a certain type of woman”, then I live in a reality where my values are worth more than the hair on my legs. I believe, with all my heart, that we are attracted to personalities, energies and souls. I believe everyone is beautiful. I believe you can’t appreciate real love till you’ve been burned. I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side. I believe you don’t know what you got until you say goodbye. I believe Savage Garden was an underrated band.

Fat people can’t wear horizontal stripes. Men hate women who has slept around. If a woman is single after 30, she’s desperate. If a woman is fat, she’s good in bed.

Bullshit. (Apart from the last one obviously, although I can only talk for myself, am I right fellas, woot woot, *high5*)

So many bullshit rules are just accepted as facts. Fine. Accept what you want. But if we are friends, do not assume that I agree with you. Do not flaunt your insecurities in my face. Or I’ll go out of my way to be a single-and-loving-it 31 year old horizontal-striped-shirt-wearing woman who sleeps with hundreds of men, and I will be terrible at it – just to piss you off.

What’s the difference between a female comedian and period blood? They’re both disgusting.

The problem with female comedians is that they ALL talk about their periods all the time. It is literally their whole sets. Periods, blood, tampons, ladydiapers, period, period. Period. Eurgh. It is disgusting, am I right, guys?

I have heard more people say that out loud, than I have ever heard a female comedian talk about her period. I have heard one. It was good. Most female comedians would not dare to talk about it, because most of us are too stubborn – we do not want to become the stereotype people have created about us. Unfunny, period-babbling, ovary-owning, kitchen-abandoning… Anyways.

Why can’t I talk about my period?

It is five days every month, it is £4 every time I run out of tampons, it is the reason I had to say no to sleeping with my ex-boyfriend one last time before he went away for three months. It is why my muslim friend had the energy to meet up with me during Ramadan. Otherwise, we would not have seen each other for another six months. It is not even just five days a month. It is the three days leading up to it, where I crave penises and ice cream and it is the two days right before, where I collapse onto my bed, crying, weeping, because I watched a sad commercial on TV and I can barely control how much my mind connects that commercial with every heartbreak in my entire life. It is powerful.

It was used as a weapon when my friend took revenge on a guy who had wronged her. He woke up to a redstained, formerly all-white and expensive couch and hopefully that was a clearer ‘No!’ than the one she had said the night before. It is the six days you say a prayer before you look down, hoping it has finally come, because it is late and you had not worn a condom that night in that guy’s bed in Herne Hill. You fear the phone call you have to make, then you remember you do not have the guy’s phonenumber, you only know his name was ‘BigMike’ which is not what you imagined the father of your firstborn child was going to be called. You were thinking Ewan or Gabriel or something like that. And the relief when it finally comes and you are not pregnant with LittleBigMike and you feel like dancing, despite the pain, the mindnumbing pain.

The cramps, the headache, the backache. You cancel your plans without giving a reason, because you have been told that no one wants to hear about your period. People cringe when it comes up. On TV, it is always light blue and women smile. I am not sure which of those is the most unrealistic.

I have heard people describe in details the story of the time they took a dump so big, it clogged the toilet and they could not walk for a week. Men, mostly, but I myself have paraded around showing everyone a picture of poo so big, if it had been a baby, it would have to be c-sectioned. It did not make people as proud of me, as I would have expected from my close friends. It was however, much more acceptable than mentioning my period. Despite how natural, normal and human it is. Dare I also say feminine?

And yet, we are shamed into not talking about it. Which frankly, is more disgusting than actual periods. Which we know is very disgusting indeed.

At Least Society Makes Fat People Cover Up So They Don’t Have To Get Sunburned, Seriously, Guys, You’re So Lucky

“This girl was unattractive. I’m not going to say in what way, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So if you think brunettes are unattractive, imagine she was brunette. If you are a racist, imagine she was the ethnicity you dislike. And if you’re me, imagine she’s fat and disgusting. You’ve been a wonderful crowd, thank you so much!”

He left the stage. Came down backstage. I love him, I love him so much, one of my favourite friends and a genuinely good comedian, despite… Well, that. Yet I couldn’t congratulate him on a good set. I couldn’t make myself do it. 

“You’ve been in the sun all day?” another comic asked him, as his face was bright red.

“It’s because I’m ginger and I forgot to put on sunscreen today,” he explained with a sadness in his voice, “I don’t think you guys understand how hard it is. How many comments I have to listen to every summer. From friends AND strangers. You guys don’t understand.” he said.

And looked me in the eyes.

Everything Stand-Up Comedy

A comprehensive list of everything about stand-up comedy. Please comment if you know of anything that should be on the list, but isn’t.

Movies

Funny People

Man on the Moon

King of Comedy

Rubberface

Punchline

Sleepwalk With Me

Funny Bones

Mr. Saturday Night

Lenny

(Nathaniel Metcalfe did a detailed list of comedy films here)

Sitcoms

Louie

Seinfeld

Maron

Lead Balloon

It’s Always Funny in Philadelphia, S9.E1: “The Gang Broke Dee” (where Dee does stand-up)

Documentaries

I am Comic

Comedians of Comedy

Comedian

The Improv: 50 Years Behind The Brick Wall

Heckler

More Boys Who Do Comedy

Girls Who Do Comedy

Inside Comedy

The Aristocrats

Why We Laugh: Black Comedians on Black Comedy

Why We Laugh: Funny Women

What’s So Funny?

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop

95 Miles to Go with Ray Romano

When Stand-Up Stood Out

Talkshows

Talking Funny

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee by Jerry Seinfeld

The Green Room with Paul Provenza

The Comedy Roundtable with Ben Stiller

In Bed With Joan Rivers (some are comedians)

Podcasts

WTF with Marc Maron

Comedians’ Comedian with Stuart Goldsmith

You Made It Weird

Never Not Funny

Marsha Meets…

Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast

Comedians Telling Stuff

Seven2Ten with Christian Talbot

Ron Bennington: Unmasked Interviews

Books

born-standing-up-by-steve-martin

Born Standing Up – Steve Martin

Stewart Lee: How I Escaped My Certain Fate

Last Words by George Carlin

Bossypants – Tina Fey

And Here’s The Kicker… by Mike Sacks

Comic Insights: The Art Of Stand-Up Comedy by Franklyn Ajaye

I Killed: True Stories of the Road by America’s Top Comics

I’m Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-up Comedy’s Golden Era

Marc Maron: Attempting Normal

The Comedy Bible by Judy Carter

Beyond A Joke: Inside the Dark Minds of Stand-up Comedians by Bruce Dessau

Truth in Comedy: A Manual on Improvisation by Charna Halpern

Zen and the Art of Stand-up Comedy by Jay Sankey

The Comic Toolbox: How to be funny even if you’re not by John Vorhaus

Pryor Convictions: And Other Life Sentences by Richard Pryor

The Naked Jape: Uncovering the Hidden World of Jokes by Jimmy Carr & Lucy Greeves

Satiristas: Comedians, Contrarians, Raconteurs & Vulgarians by Paul Provenza

Rationale of the Dirty Joke by G. Legman

Ladies & Gentlemen: Lenny Bruce

Successful Stand-up Comedy: Advice from a Comedy Writer

Be a Great Stand-up: Teach Yourself by Logan Murray

The Comedy Store by William Cook

Live From New York by Tom Shales

Getting the joke – The Inner Workings of Stand-Up Comedy by Oliver Double

Stand Up! On being a Comedian by Oliver Double

Stand-up Comedy in Theory, or, Abjection in America by John Limon

We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy

Frank Skinner on the Road: Love, Stand-up Comedy and The Queen Of The Night

Thanks For Nothing by Jack Dee

Comedy at the Edge: How Stand-Up in the 1970s Changed America

I Laughed, I Cried: How One Woman Took on Stand-Up and (Almost) Ruined Her Life

(Thanks for contributions to: Sebastian Dorset, Karl Schultz, Christian Talbot, Nathaniel Metcalfe, Tim Wells, Martin Croser, Jakob Svendsen, Jake Pickford, Henriette Thuesen Dissing, Cameron Loxdale, Robert Coupée, Rasmus Hetoft Hansen, Pelle Jørgensen, Andy Malt, Matt Smith, Gerard Carroll)