Goodbye Monogamy Hello Polyamory

When I was younger, I just assumed that all romantic relationships were monogamous, and that as soon as you had the boyfriend / girlfriend conversation you would only be with that person. Because that’s the reality that society, TV, and the film industry sells to you.

I did have a couple of relationships in my early 20s where my boyfriends would ‘let me’ do stuff with women – presumably as they weren’t threatened by them (I don’t tend to date women – a blog on that coming soon), and also one of them liked us having threesomes with other women. But I wasn’t really allowed to do anything with other men. This was a massive double standard on that guy’s part since I would literally let him fuck other women in front of me. But anyway…

I think I’ve actually always been polyamorous. Around that time of late teens / early 20s, I was unfaithful in a few relationships, and although I knew logically it would hurt the other person, I also didn’t see why I couldn’t be with two people at the same time.

When a boyfriend cheated on me at the age of 19, I was a bit annoyed, but not massively. I went to visit him to try and ‘sort things out’, we all went for a went for a walk, and me and the other woman swam in fucking sea together in the middle of the night. Didn’t even try to drown her once.

She did tell me I could slap her in the face at one point when I was talking to her in her room (they lived in the same block), and I did, and I enjoyed it. But that might just be the kinky side of me. In terms of jealousy, I don’t think I felt what society told me I was supposed to feel. If anything I found the jealousy kind of hot. (The story of me and him in general is far more complicated than I have space for here – but I thought that anecdote was relevant to mention).

The boyfriend I dated for a year and a half, 2014 – 2016,  was very much into monogamy to the point where he said that if I even kissed anyone else, male or female, he would break up with me. This took me to new extremes of monogamy – on a female friend’s birthday night out, she went to snog me, as we often did while drunk, and I had to literally stop her and apologise that I couldn’t do it anymore. (Yes I could have just kissed her anyway and not told him, but I didn’t).  

I did start to wonder whether monogamy was for me, and whether I wanted to live with all these restrictions in my relationships. After that relationship ended I decided I wanted to be monogamish. Where you are mostly with one person, but you’re allowed to have the occasional kiss or shag etc (using condoms obviously), and it doesn’t have to ruin the relationship.

This came a lot from seeing so many people in relationships cheat on their partners. I’m sure there are some people who are truly monogamous, and would never cheat no matter what the circumstances, like that particular ex, and if that works for you, then great, but I do think total monogamy is unrealistic for a lot of people.

Why can’t we just admit that we find other people attractive and sometimes want to act on that? Instead of pretending you don’t and then making things worse when you deceive someone. I feel like relationships would be a lot better if we were just more honest with each other.

I tried to put this ‘monogamish’ into practice with the ice skating guy, but admittedly I did find it difficult. In theory we were not exclusive, and when he went to Madagascar to stay with a friend he used to fuck, I told him it would be okay if he wanted to have sex with her. And I did mean it, and would have been fine with him doing it, however in practice, when I was faced with the opportunity to sleep with other people while he away, I myself turned it down – three times! From two past fucks and one potential new one. Because I actually did feel a bit guilty about it – like it wasn’t the right thing to do while I was dating him.

The potential new one was a guy who I had amazing chemistry with, who was about to move to a different country, and I just know we would have had such great kinky sex, but I didn’t do it. I fucking wish I had now.

After it ended with me and ice skating guy, I vowed never to put all my eggs in one dickhead again. And not just aim for monogamish, but more like full blown non monogamy or polyamory. Potentially dating  / seeing several people at once. Not only because you miss out on experiences when you restrict yourself like that, only for them to fucking break up with you anyway. But also to try and quell my habit of getting too attached to one person, scaring them off and getting hurt. I wanted options. Which I think is probably quite an unusual reason for Polyamory, but actually one that seems to be working out quite well. Which I will go on to explain.

Around this time, something that helped me through the feelings after the break up was that I reread The Power of Now. And actually started putting it into practice. It’s basically all about intensely living in the present moment. You can think about the past and learn from it, and you can plan for the future, but you have to remember that all we really have is the now, and that everything else is an illusion. I have a tendency to get carried away with future plans when I like someone, and I think that polyamory is the height of mindfulness, because it doesn’t see relationships in terms of one attachment to one person – it’s more about that particular time you have with that person at that moment in time.

Something that has stuck out in my mind for about 14 years is when I read ‘ A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters’ by Julian Barnes. There’s a chapter called Parenthesis all about love where he quotes a writer called Mavis Gallant who said ‘The mystery of what a couple is exactly, is almost the only true mystery left to us.’ At the time I didn’t really understand, but as I’ve got older, I’ve come to realise what he meant. Being in a couple is quite a weird thing really. And it’s different for everyone.

But back to being in the moment. Why should you limit yourself?

If you have different friends to go out for drinks with or go to the cinema with, then why can’t you have different people to have romantic and / or sexual experiences with? The thing is that when it comes to sex, some people like to have this possession or ownership over someone else, and that can be where problems arise from.

I also like the idea of a spectrum. So maybe you have lovers that you also have totally non sexual moments with, but also have friends you might share a sexual or flirtatious moment with. Polyamory is more of a way of life with self contained interactions and not trying to get everything from one person. It means that if you’re dating someone who is not into a particular kink that you are, then you can always do that with someone else instead. Polyamory also suits my lifestyle because as a stripper, and a massive flirt, it means I can do all this and not worry about someone getting jealous or possessive.

So a few weeks after I decided I was going to try it out, a guy messaged me on OkCupid and we started chatting. He was in an open relationship and we agreed to meet for a drink. As soon as I saw him I fancied him, plus he was really easy to talk to. We kissed in the pub and were getting along really well. He wasn’t really taking the piss out of me as much as I like, but as soon as I told him that’s my thing, he definitely got into it.

After a few drinks, I got hungry and we went to the shop, got sandwiches and then we broke into a park and ate food, and hung out and chatted more. I told him about one of my kinks (wet and messy fetishism) that I sometimes allude to, or even take part in, but often without having the full deep conversation about it.

I don’t always feel totally comfortable talking about it, but with him I felt like I could. He said he would like to try it with me, and his positive reaction has made me so much more confident in discussing it, in fact I’m writing a whole blog post on the subject. And some jokes.

Anyway, hanging out was really fun, and at one point in the park I’d said part of me wanted to just fuck him there and then, and then he told me about him and his girlfriend’s no penetration rule. (Which is a double shame as he also said he would like to be pegged). In fact not only, do they have a no penetration rule – they actually have a no pants completely off rule, and a no oral rule. Which basically means fingering / hand jobs only.

Ah.

Apparently they are building up to it. They started the open relationship earlier this year as they both fancied people that they work with, so she has a guy from work that she sees regularly, but for him the woman from his work didn’t want to see him in the context of an open relationship. (Hence being on OkCupid looking for someone he could spend time with too).

His girlfriend also sees the wife of the man she is seeing from work, sometimes with him and sometimes without. So it’s an interesting set-up. They also can’t stay over people’s houses either. (They live together).  It’s an odd concept in a way because the whole point of polyamory for me is not to have rules – but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect their rules. Also the fact that we can’t go too far makes it kind of hot. Like an affair without the guilt. Obviously I am hoping in the future that we can do more, but for now I don’t mind the tease.  

The second time I saw him he came over to my flat. And this is where kink really comes in. Because when you can’t fuck, you’ve got to do other stuff. When I told some people he had come round, but that him and his gf have the no penetration and no oral rule – they were like ‘what’s the point?!’ but I can tell you now that I had one of the most fun nights of my life.

We drank wine and played chess. And he suggested that every time one of us loses a piece the other person can ask you to do something. He asked me to show him my tits, then asked me to do role play where I had to dress up like I would as a stripper, but try to talk him into a game of chess instead of a dance – which was both sexy and hilarious at the same time.

I asked him to slap me in the face, and then poured a bottle of water over him #standard. He ended up whipping me and dripping candle wax on me, and then we were asking each other intimate sexual questions, and it went on for so long that we had to just give up on asking for tasks and finish the game.

He forked my king and my queen with his knight, and I lost, which of course only made me more turned on. I ended up playing with my vibrator, and then his dick, and he came all over my tits. Shame it wasn’t on my face, but I think we decided to save that. The next day he texted me saying ‘I hope you’re still annoyed that I beat you at chess’. So. Fucking. Hot.

It’s definitely an unusual experience when someone else is in your ‘relationship’, because it’s literally already their relationship. Like he mentioned that he’d told his girlfriend about my wet and messy fetish, and I was slightly annoyed. But then immediately really turned on that he’d told her something so personal about me.

He said he would like me to meet her at some point, and that might be just hanging out, or it could turn into a threesome – it totally depends. I’m quite curious to meet her actually, and part of me likes the idea of sleeping with her too. Unfortunately he said she’s not that kinky – as the thought of us hurting each other really appeals to me. Perhaps he could just tie me up and fuck her in front of me. I like that idea too.

It’s been a real lesson for me in getting used to seeing someone, but maintaining a distance. Here’s the thing – I really like him – but I don’t spend all my time thinking about him. I don’t get angsty if he doesn’t text back straight way. And of course it means I don’t feel guilty about talking to other guys and setting up dates with them. (I have two this week). I can tell him about my other sexual experiences like when I fucked the 20 year old, and we can talk openly about it.

It also helps that he’s not a frequent texter generally. So he’ll text to arrange meeting or to say he had a good time, and a bit in between for a quick catch up. But the fact that I’m not expecting to hear from him every day, or even every week, has taken the pressure off so much.

I know that he’s thoughtful, and interested in me – he’s listened to podcasts I’ve been on and he reads my blog, but there’s no need to have some perfunctory conversation about how our day went all the time. One of the things that fucked me up with ice skating guy is that he texted so much at the beginning, so it was so noticeable when he didn’t text as much.

Ironically on one of the podcasts I was a guest on in February this year I talked about being monogamish, but not polyamorous as such. I even said that I hate it when guys online in open relationships message you because they want something extra, because I’m thinking I want to be the main person, not the extra. And perhaps that was how I felt about it at the time, but I’ve definitely got a different point of view now. A girl can change her mind, after all.

Being polyamorous has also changed my perspective on other people’s relationships. In the same way I’m training myself not to presume gender, race, sexuality, and so on, as well as not having heteronormative views on sex and ‘virginity’, I’m also not presuming monogamy. Admittedly the two men I was recently interested in who are in relationships, did say they were indeed monogamous when I asked them, (one said he would have been interested in me otherwise, the other one I’m not sure), but you never know. My mother always taught me if you don’t ask, you don’t get. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t talking about polyamorous sex, but the point still stands. 

My ideal situation is probably to have a few people that I see regularly for dates and / or sex / kink. Although I don’t have massive amounts of free time – so not sure how frequent each one could be. Perhaps there’ll be one that will turn into more of a boyfriend / girlfriend type thing, but for me that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop seeing this current guy occasionally as well, (which means obviously they would have to be polyamorous or at least monogamish too). I enjoy his company, and I shouldn’t have to give that up. He’s coming to one of my gigs soon, and I’m looking forward to him telling me which jokes of mine he didn’t find funny afterwards, possibly over a game of chess, and some wine…

Holding out for a hero (decent guy)

So after my recent revelations about casual sex, I decided to approach my dating life with a view to it turning into something more meaningful. Okay if you’re really going to make me say it.

I’m looking for a boyfriend.

This means when I’m seeing someone, I will be waiting for a while before I sleep with them. 

Let me explain.

I don’t think that it should matter whether you fuck a guy within 5 minutes of meeting him or waiting 3 months to do it, it shouldn’t make a difference to whether they want to go out with you or not. But it does. Not always, but it does.

When Tory 1 said that we should go out for dinner first before we had sex so we were more invested, he did have a point.

I still don’t understand why you would say that to someone and then turn around and say you thought it was casual. 

But anyway, I think that it came from a place of truth.

Which is that when men are not invested in you, they will fuck you maybe once, or twice or even several times, then often decide they don’t want to see you anymore.

I’ve always been one of those people that says you should get it out of the way within the first few dates, because what if you’re not sexually compatible? What if he has a small dick?* What if he has a really weird dick? What if there’s no dick?

But how many times have you had sex with someone you really like and/or you’re really attracted to, and it’s been really bad, or there’s been something really wrong with them?

In my experience, you can usually tell by making out with someone and/or talking about sex if the sex is going to be good or not. And if the sex is so bad that you can’t sustain a relationship with them, then you will just have to break up. Que sera sera.

Why not find out first if you would want to be in a relationship with each other based on spending time together? When you’ve established that, then you can have sex.

One of my friends recommended I read one of those cheesy dating books called ‘Become your own Matchmaker’ by Patti Stanger, which has steps for attracting a mate. It was a bit conventional for me, and as is usually the case with these books, the end goal is marriage, which is not something I want, but I did learn some really good tips such as the ‘non-negotiables’. This means you make a list of 5 qualities you absolutely need to have in a future partner, so you don’t waste time on people you are really incompatible with. I think this is fantastic idea, and I wish I had done this years’ ago.

Anyway, she also advocates waiting to sleep with a guy, but she goes even further to say you should tell them:

‘I’m really attracted to you, but I’m not the type of girl who sleeps around. I need to be in an exclusive, committed, monogamous relationship before I can have sex.’

Of course I could never say this with a straight face. Especially since most guys I meet want to Google me when they find out I do stand-up, and that means they come across this blog. However, I do think I could say to someone that I’m not ready to have sex with them until I’ve got to know them a bit better.

This is also a little different for me, as ideally I’m looking for more monogamish than monogamous. For me that would translate as most of the time you are committed to that person, but it’s not the end of the world if something happens with someone else on the odd occasion – use a condom and let’s move on. I would like to talk about my reasons for this in more detail, but I think that will have to be a whole other blog entry. So in the meantime…

I can imagine some of you may still be skeptical.

But think about when you were at school/college/maybe even uni…a lot of time you would start ‘dating’ someone, or call them boyfriend or girlfriend without even having had sex with them. Often because neither of you had had sex yet. But that person might be the first person you end up sleeping with months or years down the line. It was all done on attraction and personality. There was no worrying what if he/she’s not good in bed? So why don’t we do that now?

Honestly, I’m just a bit fed up of giving my pussy away and then being hurt afterwards. And yes it shouldn’t feel like ‘giving it away’, but from now on my puss is certainly going to be more picky.

This might be difficult for me, as I can be quite a sexual person, especially when I meet someone I am really into. But on the flip side, I can also often be way more into getting to know someone, and doing activities together, than the actual sex. Anyone who has heard my chess joke knows this. So I think I’ll be fine. Having said that, if you beat me at chess, that is like foreplay to me, so it might be better to stay away from that at the beginning. 

But yeah, this is an experiment, and it might not work – I may still end up getting hurt, and writing all about it on my blog, but there’s no harm in trying it out.

To be continued…

*Notes on a small dick

Guys, I know it’s not your fault if you happen to have a small one, but sadly there’s not much I can do about that.

I know that by not fucking until it’s more like we’re in a relationship, I do run the risk of a Samantha/Richard situation from Sex and the City, but let’s be honest in all my years of dick handling, there’s only been one that I really couldn’t be in a relationship with. (I started sucking it when it was flaccid and around 3 inches long. I kept expecting it to grow, and it got harder, but not bigger. I didn’t have sex with it).

Plus, you can feel a guy’s dick when you’re kissing them, which I often do, to check size and shape in advance.

I forgot to add to my previous blog post one of the funniest points of the evening, which was when I was giving him a blow job, and he asked me if he had a big dick. I told him now was probably not the best time to ask me such a question. (It was below average). To be honest, given what a fucking idiot he was, I should have just said that, but oh well, maybe he’ll read this blog post and find out…

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How to Date a Feminist

On Friday night I went to see ‘How to Date a Feminist’ at the Arcola Theatre. I’ve just started a programme called ‘The Artist’s Way’, all about releasing your creativity, which involves taking your inner artist on a date once a week. I often go to things alone anyway, as I enjoy (often prefer) my own company, so it didn’t feel weird being by myself.

It opens with the two main characters – Steve proposing to Kate, but Steve has been raised a staunch feminist by his activist mum Morag. So before he can propose he must apologise for the patriarchy, and everything they have done over the years (ancient Greece, FGM, domestic violence, footbinding). Kate seems to find all this a bit excessive and in the end just shouts ‘For fuck’s sake! Propose!’

htdaf

It then goes backwards in time to the night they first met at a fancy dress party. Kate is dressed as Wonder Woman and Steve is dressed as Robin Hood. Because ‘he’s a brilliant ethical hero…he basically invented the welfare state’. Kate thinks the whole point of Wonder Woman is that you can see her pants and Steve explains (mansplains?!) why she’s actually a fantastic role model.  

Kate’s ex, Ross is also at the party, dressed as Superman. When they were still together, he had wanted her to come as Lois Lane, but they broke up because she caught him shagging the intern. Kate tells Steve all this and reveals that she can’t help liking ‘bad men’ – men like Heathcliff from ‘Wuthering Heights’. Steve questions this and doesn’t see the appeal of it. He thinks that Kate should stop ‘liking bad men’, of course implying that she should go for someone like him. 

So in the words of No Doubt ‘Why do we choose the boys that are nasty?’

Because nice guys are known for being boring. Even Jess in ‘New Girl’ is reluctant to date someone because he’s ‘too nice’. Nice doesn’t get women off. But bad guys don’t make for good boyfriends. So where does that leave us?

I think a lot of women have this conflict of wanting a ‘bad man’, because they are more ‘exciting’, but then also wanting a man who will treat you properly. This is definitely something I have experienced. And it seems difficult to find someone who is the perfect mix of half way between the two. But it looks like Steve has gone too far the other way. The first time he and Kate are making out he keeps asking for her permission (May I kiss you? May I kiss you again with my tongue? May I kiss your collarbone?) to the point where it just becomes ridiculous.

Later at their wedding, Kate’s (more traditional) dad and Morag end up kissing and start taking each other’s clothes off. Steve and Kate find them together and Steve just can’t understand why his mum would consensually have her hair pulled, and assumes that Kate’s dad must have forced her into it in some way, because her dad is the sort of man who just ‘takes what he wants’.

Kate and Steve begin to argue and Kate tells Steve that she wants him to take what he wants sometimes – ‘make decisions, choose wine, open doors, drive a car, operate a drill, eat steak! Be a bit rapey when we go to bed’. Steve is especially offended by the last one.

I can see how it must be very confusing for some men, especially very ‘feminist’ men who have been taught all these years not to hurt a woman, yet are met with inner conflict when they find that a lot of women would like to be sexually dominated, to varying extremes. I’ve definitely experienced this, and remember I had sex with one guy a couple of times who was willing to be quite rough, but absolutely refused to slap me in the face, because he just couldn’t do that to a woman. On the flip side, I feel some guys need to remember that just because you are into that kind of sex, doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve to be treated with respect. 

Despite Steve’s ‘feminism’, it seems in a way he’s just like the men he strives against, because he too cannot comprehend or accept complexities in women. He wants Kate to change, and as a result almost becomes just as controlling as the men who are not self-proclaimed feminists. I wonder what Steve’s character would think about women who choose to use their sexuality, such as porn stars (or pop stars). Steve probably doesn’t watch porn, or if he does, he seeks out ethical feminist porn made by real life couples, and most dsc_0460-1024x652-1000x637definitely can’t reach orgasm if the woman doesn’t look like she’s enjoying it.  

The play also opened up the idea of whether men can be true feminists.  Even Steve ends up shouting at his mum in a slightly threatening way. She tells him ‘You’ll never know how it feels. You’ll never really understand.’ And I think she has a point here, and maybe that’s why Steve has been over-compensating this whole time, because he can’t really imagine what it’s like to be a woman. 

Another thing that annoyed me about Steve is that he still got down on one knee to propose in the traditional way AND gave Kate an engagement ring that he chose. One thing that is a majorly problematic for me about marriage in heterosexual relationships, is that it is almost always men who propose, and women who wear engagement rings (I was delighted recently when met a man who was wearing one that his fiancée had bought him). Steve also says at one point that he wants to rescue Kate, like she’s some sort of archetypal princess in a Disney film.

It was a very funny show, that raised some interesting points about feminism, and the relationships between men and women. Both actors were outstanding, especially the way that they seamlessly moved between different characters. I particularly liked when they skipped down the aisle to ‘Robin Hood, Robin Hood Riding Through the Glen’. Plus the fact that Kate’s suggestion was Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’, and she wanted to act out being let at in a window. Some of you may know how obsessed I am with this song – I think I may have laughed particularly loudly at this point. (If I ever do end up getting married, I will be using this idea…)

I guess ultimately it’s important to have a balance, not to be like Ross, Kate’s ex, who only sees Kate in very reductionist terms, (basically just wants her for sex, and keeps trying to get her to write lifestyle pages instead of more serious journalism),  but not going so far the other way that you view women as needing to be mollycoddled or ‘saved’. And I think this balance can come from more men starting to treat women as people, with complex thoughts and behaviours, rather than just as women.

‘How to date a Feminist’ was at The Arcola Theatre 22nd Nov – 17th Dec 2016, written by Samantha Ellis and starring Tom Berish and Sarah Daykin

 

Living the Single Life

Just over three months’ ago, my boyfriend of one and a half years came over and said he wanted to break up with me. My response was ‘yeah I think that’s probably a good idea’. It hadn’t been working well for a while but we had been carrying on anyway, because it’s hard when you are attached to someone to finally let go. I had been thinking about breaking up too, (I mean it was on my to do list, I just hadn’t got round to it) so even though I was sad and part of me still wanted to hold on to what we had, I knew that it was for the best.

It’s strange when you have distance from a relationship. In the initial throes of romance I thought he was ‘the one’ (Peep Show style). I don’t necessarily believe in that, or that there is that one person for you, I just mean that I thought we were really good for each other and were going to be together a while. I was sort of right – I think a year and a half is a while to be fair.

I feel like when I first meet someone I get carried away with the lust and excitement that I don’t really think about if we are actually compatible or not, and how much of our Venn diagram overlaps. I ignore the bits that don’t fit, and I think a lot of people do this – going through their lives trying to put square shapes in triangular shaped holes. Sometimes people stay together because they want to settle down and have children. Since these are not things that I ever want, I think in future I need to be more picky about who I get into a relationship with. This will mean spending a lot of time alone. Fortunately, I like my own company.

In fact being single these last few months has been really good for me. I’m pretty sure I’m a better person when I am not in a relationship and I don’t have so many expectations from another person. Plus I’ve got loads of stuff done. Remember when I said I wanted to be more organised and tidy? It’s still a work in progress, but at least now I can see my bedroom floor.

My ex has already started dating someone new. At first I was a bit taken aback by it, especially when he said he wanted me to meet her. He said he was going to bring her to this gig we were both performing at.

I was worried it would be bitchy or awkward, but she was so cool and lovely, and it went so much better than I expected. As soon as I got off stage she said she had liked one of my jokes, which of course instantly made me like her. Luckily it was a good gig – you really don’t want to die on stage in front of your ex’s new girlfriend.

It was a bit weird seeing him hold hands with someone else, and be with her the way he used to be with me, but I didn’t feel jealous or annoyed, I just felt deeply happy for them. They seem to be better match than we were and I hope they are together for a while…

I Don’t!

This weekend I went to my cousin’s wedding in Buxton. It was a lovely day, and nice to see some of my family I hadn’t seen for a while. The inevitable questions came about whether I would be next and I explained that I’m not getting married, to looks of surprise and confusion. But it got me thinking, is this definitely something I don’t want, and if so, why don’t I want it?

When I was a younger; indoctrinated by Disney movies and Rom Coms, I assumed that eventually I would get married and even planned out my wedding in my head (I wanted it to be in a castle), but as I got older I realised that perhaps all this wedding malarkey wasn’t for me. My boyfriend is even more against marriage, so unless a miracle happens (to both of us), this woman is never walking down that aisle (except to walk to my seat at other people’s weddings).

Reasons why I won’t be getting hitched
N.B this post gives examples from heterosexual weddings, as these are the only ones I have attended so far, and I am in a heterosexual relationship, but I know a lot of the traditions will not apply in same sex relationships and ceremonies.

1. The engagement ring
So a man is supposed to spend (at least) a month’s salary on this thing and then get down on one knee in some clichéd romantic fashion possibly in front of lots of people, then you look overjoyed and scream ‘yes!’ and then go on your Facebook page and tell everyone how he proposed. Umm…

The thing I hate most about this bit is the idea of waiting for a man to propose to you; which I hear talked about often, along with ‘I thought he was never going to do it’. At least I know with certainty that my man is genuinely never going to it.

How I would do it if I was going to get married: Either I would propose to reverse stereotypes, or we would just have a chat one day and decide as a couple that we would get engaged. No extravagant gestures and no expensive engagement ring. If there was going to be a ring, it would be fairly cheap and he would have to wear one too and since he hates wearing rings (so I don’t know what we would even do about the wedding ring in this hypothetical scenario), that’s unlikely.

2. It’s not like I’m a virgin
Historically, and still nowadays in certain religions, marriage is a religious ceremony linking your love to your God, and enabling you to now be able to have sexual intercourse without ‘sin’.

I happen to like sin, and find it incredibly unrealistic that you would marry someone without knowing how sexually compatible you are, so this certainly doesn’t apply to our relationship. Also neither of us follows a specific religion, there’s no need to cement our union in front of the leader or whatever. Also it always seems to be the woman’s virginity that is emphasised. I’ve never seen the man wear white to show his purity.

How I would do it: I’ve already ‘done it’ ha ha ha. But seriously, there’s no way it could be in a church or other religious building, even though some churches are very pretty. A castle would be cool, as I said before or maybe some gardens or a historical building.

3. Money
Apparently weddings cost around 20 grand! I say skip the wedding and just do the honeymoon without the ceremony. Or put down a deposit on a house, or go on a shopping spree, or give it to charity. Hell if you have a spare 20 grand, you are well lucky, so don’t waste it! Either that or you now have a massive bank loan/credit card bill.

How I would do it: Make sure we actually had enough money saved to pay for it, which would probably mean getting married in our 40s, or never.

4. Contractual Obligation
I get that the whole point is that because you are married you are more likely to work through problems, rather than just leave at the first sign of trouble. But I like the independence of being able to leave when I want and not having to pay loads of money to break up with someone. Divorces can be almost as messy and expensive as actual weddings, plus you then have to admit that 20 grand you spent a while back was just a waste of money. You could have numerous honeymoons if you just didn’t bother with the wedding bit.

How I would do it: Probably make an unromantic pre-nup and try to find the cheapest lawyer around if it all went wrong.

5 The Vows
Admittedly they have been updated and you’d be hard pressed to hear anyone saying ‘love, honour and obey’ anymore. However I did notice at the weekend, the groom saying that he will ‘protect’ the bride, which I thought was a bit outdated, and as it was a traditional Christian wedding, there was a lot of God chat and hymns.

How I would do it: Write our own vows, have as short a service as possible (guests get bored and hungry), in and out in less than half an hour. Also when the registrar asks if any person knows of any lawful reason why we shouldn’t get married, I would totally get someone to heckle something as a joke (and then probably due to the red tape of having to investigate the claim, the wedding would be delayed and we could all go to the pub for a bit).

6. The Dress
Why is it always so long? I’m surprised more women don’t trip over that thing; incredibly impractical.

How I would do it: Wear a short dress like the slutty non-virgin I am, who says you can’t get out legs and cleavage on your wedding day? Not me. Of course it wouldn’t be white either, (obvs) but mainly because white gets dirty easily and if there’s going to be wine, food and the classic chocolate fondue fountain, it’s probably not the best colour for me. Any other colour will do. Maybe even black.

6. Being given away
Another outdated tradition of transferring ownership of you from your dad to your husband, perpetuating the idea that women are property/objects etc.

How I would do it: Well as my father is deceased, he couldn’t give me away anyway. I would probably want to walk down the aisle with my partner and thus destroy that soppy ‘watching the groom’s face as he first sees her walk towards him’ moment.

7. The speeches
Ah the speeches, where important members of the wedding ensemble get to stand up and talk. Wait, except it’s almost always the father of the bride, the groom, and the best man – all men. It makes me so frustrated when you don’t hear any of the women speak. It’s all praising the bride for looking beautiful (though in this recent wedding, a lot of comments were made about her amazing non-looks based qualities too) and ridiculing the groom. What if I want to be ridiculed too? Why can’t people talk about my ill-judged life decisions and insinuate how naughty I was on the hen do?! I sat there at this wedding thinking ‘I’m a better public speaker than these guys who can’t project or articulate even with a microphone’ (genuinely missed a lot of what they said due to this problem).

How I would do it: I would give a speech, as would the groom, best man and my best woman, so that way it would be equal and I would also get to tell my husband how beautiful he looked. (Aww).

8. The bouquet (and all the other hundreds of flowers)
I’m not really a flowers kind of gal; I had a mini freak out when my boyfriend bought me flowers on our third date (though it was really sweet), so I find the flowers at weddings overwhelming. The bouquet thing is weird too – all the unmarried women scrambling for the symbol that proves they will be next! OMG! It must be true. Luckily I didn’t accidentally catch the bouquet at the weekend otherwise my family’s comments about me getting married would have been even worse. One of them said afterwards, while showing me a photo of the bouquet bit ‘you didn’t even try to catch it’. Shocker.

How I would do it: Minimal flowers. My bouquet would consist of black roses, to go with my possible black dress, and to symbolise the death of my anti-wedding crusade. Oh and if I’m going to throw it, then the unmarried men can try and catch it too. Plus I’d hide a water balloon inside just for jokes. Weddings are supposed to be fun, right?!

9. The first dance and wedding music
At the weekend wedding, the couple took a relaxed wander in each other’s arms around the dance area to a recent slow famous love song I can’t remember the name of. Less dancing, more talking to each other and trying not to feel too self-conscious that all eyes were on them. Some couples take dance lessons and come up with full blown routines, such as the routine from Dirty Dancing. Then everyone else joins them on the dance floor to dance to lame pop songs.

How I would do it: The Dirty Dancing idea sounds amazing, we would have to do the lift at the end though, like this couple, not like this couple who didn’t bother. I would have a DJ that didn’t play cheesy music all night and maybe even make our own playlist of our favourite songs.

10. The name change
I’ve noticed sometimes the bride’s friends and family will start calling her the future Mrs so and so on social media before she has even got married and most of the women I know who have got married have changed their names, so that the name from the man’s side of the family can get passed down when the couple has children. Some women even keep their own name but give their children the husband’s name.

Even worse than that is when people address you using only your husband’s names. So my partner and I would be called Mr and Mrs Jake Pickford. No identity for the woman at all. Weird. Even when you don’t change your name some people still assume that you have, as this has happened to a friend I know who didn’t take her husband’s name. There’s also this outdated practice of being asked for your mother’s maiden name as a security password, which has happened to me. What if your mother’s maiden name is the same as your last name? That’s not very secure is it?

How I would do it: Make an announcement to everyone I know not to presume that I will be taking my husband’s last name, because I would keep my own name, or at the most I would double barrel (but probably not). As I won’t be having children either, I wouldn’t need to worry about what name they would get. Yes I know, not having kids as well as not getting married! Before you say it, if I had a pound for every time someone said I will change my mind, I could probably afford to bring up a child.

So there you have it; 10 reasons why I’m not getting married. If you’re still not convinced, that’s fine, because Jake and I did decide on one loophole, which is we would do it if we got to go on ‘Don’t tell the Bride’, however given that none of us will be inclined to apply for this show in the first place, the loophole is pretty insignificant. Although he now has an easy-to-refer-to list for if we do.

If you want to get married, I understand, because not getting married is not for everyone. So keep inviting me to your ‘special days’ and I will happily write nice encouraging shit in your wedding book, eat your wedding cake and dance to the Macarena. Just don’t ask me when my wedding is.

Relationship Status

Me: (for the hundredth time that day) Free comedy show tonight!

Man: (looks at flyer) Is that you?

Me: Yeah that’s me!

Man: Oh that’s so cool. Wait… is that your boyfriend?

Me: Yeah, we do the show together.

*Man cries out ‘NOOOOOOO’, drops flyer, stamps on it, sets fire to it and storms off into the distance to go and see ‘Single Comedians Trying to Impress You’ instead*

Yes, I’m exaggerating, but this sort of thing did happen, albeit to a lesser extent. While I was performing ‘Love Hate Relationship’ at Edinburgh Festival for 10 days with my boyfriend, Jake Pickford, I noticed that sometimes men would lose interest in the show as soon as they found out my comedy show partner was also my real life partner, which got me wondering – is your relationship status important as a performer? More importantly, should it be?

I was speaking to a comedian after a gig, before I went to Edinburgh, and she was telling me about building up an audience, talking to your fans after gigs and making sure you give them business cards to add you on social media so that they follow you and want to come to see you again. This is great advice and something I definitely need to more of (business cards coming soon), but then she said something which surprised me – she told me to stop talking about my boyfriend in my set and pretend I’m single.

She explained that even while she was in a relationship she used to give off the illusion of being single in order to gain more male fans. The idea is to make them think they have a chance with you, even if they have no chance in hell.  I said that I couldn’t really do that since my boyfriend is also a comedian, plus we are doing a show together. We’d have to take our relationship status off Facebook for a start. Cue a large amount of concerned “are you ok” messages, if we changed it to single.

Of course she’s not the only one; I know other performers who keep their relationships on the down low, even some who still do jokes or whole shows about being single. Musicians and actors have been doing it for years to attract more fans. Britney Spears even went as far as to pretend she was a virgin to keep her male fan base in the hope of being the one to ‘hit’ her for the first time. According to some internet sites, her mother has now said some guy at college got there even before Justin Timberlake.

I do understand why some performers do it, but I just can’t. If it was the other way round and Jake was going round telling women he was single to get more fans, I’d be upset and annoyed. It took me 15 years of dating to finally find someone who is so proud to be with me, and it would feel insulting to be hidden away.

There are tons of comedy couples who are successful, because they are funny, not because they are available. So now we just need to work on the funny part.

If you don’t want to come and watch me because there’s no way I will sleep with you; that’s okay. There are plenty of other people who don’t make all life decisions with their genitals. Like the audiences who came to see our show and enjoyed it.  Whether they were single, coupled, or even the Facebook classic ‘it’s complicated’.

‘Love Hate Relationship’ will be at The Plough and Harrow on the 6th September 2015 as part of the Comedian’s Club, 8pm