My Own Hard Brexit

Last week on Thursday the 3rd of November, the Tory rang me to say we should ‘knock it on the head’ because he didn’t want me to be his girlfriend. 5 years’ ago on the exact SAME DATE the guy I was seeing at the time came over to tell me that he didn’t want us to date anymore. That’s WEIRD right?! I mean WHAT ARE THE ODDS?! I don’t know. Even google doesn’t have an answer. Also this blog has basically taken almost as long to write as the whole ‘relationship’, but I think that’s because I had a lot to say. 

I knew this was going to happen. This is why I didn’t want to date. I just wanted to stay in my single little bubble occasionally having sex while getting on with my life. And then I met the Tory twat and he ruined it just like the Tories ruin everything. I only wanted to have sex with him at first, because it was so wrong it turned me on, but then I ended up actually liking him as a person, and that’s when it all went downhill from there, and I learnt that you should never date someone who voted leave because they will just end up leaving you. 

So after our bowling ‘date’, he went a bit quiet on me and ‘forgot’ that we had made plans to see each other the next week, and the more I tried to see him, the more he backed away. To cut a long story short, we did arrange to meet again, initially on 4th November, which I then changed to 5th November so we wouldn’t have to get up early the next day, but he wasn’t really texting me that much, so I kind of sensed that he wasn’t into it anymore but I was basically too much of a pussy to end it myself.

He said on the phone that we shouldn’t keep seeing each other because he already knew he didn’t want me to be his girlfriend and it was unfair to carry it on, especially not to meet up on Fireworks night because it’s such a couply thing to do. When I asked him why basically kept saying that we were too different, and I was too into sex, and some other reasons I didn’t really understand  like apparently sometimes I don’t seem interested in stuff he’s saying, which I totally disagreed with. He hadn’t thought that we were dating until I said we were on our bowling date, despite the fact that we were clearly ON A DATE. He just thought that it was a casual arrangement.

Anyway I was out, and it was totally the wrong time to talk, and I couldn’t hear everything he was saying, but basically may have slightly pleaded with him to still see me on the Saturday because ‘I really liked him and wanted us to have fun together’. HEAD DESK.

He insisted that it was over, but he also said I could call him again if I wanted to talk about anything which really confused me. WHY DID HE WANT ME TO CALL HIM?! I left the conversation not really understanding what had happened and thinking that maybe he had got scared the way men do sometimes when you get a bit too close to them.

I’ve had lots of casual sex in the past and probably would have been okay with it being a casual thing if I had known from the start that’s all it could ever be, but the problem was from my perspective it had the feeling of the beginning of a relationship due to things that he did and said, and this it what confused me.

He gave so many mixed messages that made me think that he did like me in that way and see us maybe dating. For example, talking about things we could do together in the future, even if it was just jokey like how we were gonna tidy my flat together, or how he was gonna turn me soppy, or that we should go out for dinner before we had sex the first time so we’re ‘more invested’ (I ended up cooking dinner instead).  He was also very physically affectionate and we held hands on the street. 

Also he once walked 10 MILES to see me. I thought this was really romantic but then I remembered this was before we had sex and if Peep Show has taught me anything it’s that men will do and say ANYTHING to get laid.

But all this meant that I mistook certain things that he said for typical male commitment-phobia, because I’ve seen that happen so many times before. So when he said he thought we were fuck buddies, or when he said he didn’t like making firm plans I misinterpreted this as fear. Of course a leave supporter wouldn’t be into making a plan.*

Anyway, like an optimistic remain voter hoping for a second referendum, I thought that maybe if I just said the right things that he would stop freaking out. I even texted my long term ex for advice and he said, ‘Just tell him to think of your relationship like austerity and that it’s a relationship with cut backs’.

On Sunday 6th November I decided to call him. I didn’t tell any of my friends I was going to do this as I knew that they would say it was a bad idea. But I’m so glad that I did.

I guess the main idea of the call was to undo all the stuff I did on Thursday when I had been really needy and still trying to get him to see me. I thought if I called him out on the freak out then told him I would give him some space to come back to me when he was ready then maybe there was still a chance that he would date me.

This is the opposite of what happened, but now at least I understand that it was doomed from the beginning. Which is both frustrating and oddly freeing at the same time.

I got him to explain more about why he feels we are too different and I realised the more we talked that I think he has a bit of Madonna/Whore Complex going on in that basically I’m too sexual to be girlfriend material.

I think that when we first met he was intrigued by me and liked the idea of exploring some kinky stuff and acted a bit more sexually confident/adventurous than he actually is, maybe to impress me or whatever. 

I also think that sometimes when he reacted with nonchalance to certain things that I told him it was more that he didn’t want to tell me he wasn’t into that or cool with it. But really he’s the sort of guy who pays the stripper not to take her clothes off (I think he has actually done this), and I’m the first woman to ever send him a picture of my tits. 

He said that when he does have a girlfriend that he wants to be able to bring them into his whole life with his friends and family etc and he couldn’t do that with me. I pushed him to explain why…’Am I too loud? Or is it because I’m not posh?’

‘No, it’s not really that, it’s more that you’re a bit… coarse.’

Ah.

Well I’ve never been called that before.

It also turns out he thought me sucking that straw was a bit vulgar. Not too vulgar to fuck me of course, but too vulgar to date me. I guess the Tory twat wasn’t worth it after all. 

At least he didn’t give me that bullshit cliched ‘I just don’t want a girlfriend right now’ excuse that I hate when some men do. No, he was very clear about the fact he didn’t want ME as his girlfriend. No sugar-coating here. 

I wish that he didn’t think or feel like this, but ultimately I don’t want to be with someone who still has these old-fashioned views of women. The thing is I find a lot of men are not totally comfortable with women’s sexuality, and I can’t help but feel there is some ingrained sexism going on here.

For example, my long term ex really didn’t like the fact that I had slept with other comedians he knew on the circuit before we met, yet I was totally fine with the fact he had had sex with a comedian that I know and get along really well with.

I feel like so many men feel like this though and I wonder whether I will ever meet a man who totally gets me and is not threatened by this side of me. Maybe after 16 long years of dating men it’s time to finally start dating women? Either that or just be alone forever.

I told him about how I had got mixed messages from him and I felt that he had messed me around (you know like not texting me for a week), and he said he was sorry about leading me on. I told him he shouldn’t be allowed to date again. But seriously, I hope that he does learn from this and is a bit more aware in future about other people’s feelings, and not acting in such a relationshippy way if a relationship is totally off the table.

I said that at least I didn’t have to change his name in my phone because from the first night I met him it was already saved as (First name) Tory Dickhead (Last Name). He thought this was funny and we laughed about it for a bit. Oh how we laughed. DICKHEAD.

I don’t even know why I liked him that much. He’s not even that cool. He likes Robbie Williams. SERIOUSLY. And he can’t eat gluten. So now every time I eat gluten now I think about how he doesn’t deserve gluten and it makes me smile. And I made a list of 10 things I hate about him to make myself feel better. Well it was supposed to be 10 like the film, but it ended up being 19. Wait, 20. I mean it just keeps getting longer and longer. My favourite is number 18 – he really knows how to drag out a joke…(I’m well aware this blog post is half the length of my University dissertation). Another plus point is this will give me more material for my Edinburgh show. I was wavering about whether to still do a solo show or not. But pain is a great inspiration for creativity. And of course the comedy’s more important…

It was interesting (and at times frustrating) to spend time with someone whose political views were so different from mine, because whenever I tried to question him on a Conservative policy he wouldn’t give me a good enough answer. For example, after he went to see ‘I, Daniel Blake’ I asked him if he felt bad now for voting Tory but he said no because claiming JSA under a Labour government was just as nightmarish, and that it has always been a ‘ghastly system’, but I don’t think he realises how much worse it is now.

I think a lot of people, including him are not informed enough or just don’t see or refuse to see how different it is now, and how many more unfair changes have happened since we have had a Tory government, such as the bedroom tax, DLA cuts, and now the housing benefit rent cap.

I’m not a politician so I don’t necessarily know how I would save the money that we need because it’s not my job to (although here’s an idea -getting companies to actually pay corporation tax would be a start), but I certainly don’t think that it should come from the poorest in society. That doesn’t make any sense. But I think that a lot of people ignore all these facts and/or just don’t care, because they are so convinced that the Tories will make the country better overall. And yes, it’s true I didn’t know the name of the leader of the EU until he told me, so maybe we all need to learn a bit more about who and what we are voting for. 

Towards the end of our phone call I also told him  that in no universe ever should it be him who doesn’t want to date me – it should be the other way round – because I’m better than him at EVERYTHING. He laughed and said this was arrogant. But it’s probably true. Except cunnilingus. He was surprisingly good at that…Damn, just stroked his ego one last time. Well at least now I don’t have to pretend I’m interested in everything he is saying…

It’s really hard when someone rejects you, especially when you thought it was going somewhere. But I should just get used to disappointment. 48% of me is still a bit annoyed and upset, but 52% of me knows that it’s for the best. I guess we’ll always have The Lion and The Unicorn, Kentish Town…and whenever I hear this song I will think of him, not fondly. But I’ll think of him.

*credit to Tara Molineux for this joke

 

 

Lift it off the page

The other week I did a gig at Downstairs at the King’s Head on the Thursday night. This is one the best open mic nights in London that you can do, as it usually gets a good audience, and there is an opportunity to eventually progress to weekend gigs there. I had a fairly good gig and afterwards I asked for feedback from Peter who runs the night. He said that my joke writing is strong and has improved over the last few years, but that I need to sound less rehearsed. I asked whether I sound like that all the time (wondering whether even the newer material sounds like that) and he said yes – I have a certain rhythm to my voice when I’m on stage.

I’ve had this feedback several times and I know it’s something that I need to work on. When I gigged with Russell Kane a while ago he said the same thing – good material but I need to sound more natural. I then watched him do about half an hour (maybe longer) that he had done 100s of times, yet he made it look like so fresh and off the cuff. He suggested I MC more to improve on this, which I have been doing, but as I don’t tend to do much material when I am MCing, this doesn’t really affect how I sound when I do my actual jokes.You can hear the difference when I go into a pre-written joke. I also tend to inflect at the end of my sentences to the point where I have been asked if I am Australian.

I think my problem is that I have to learn my material so well otherwise I will forget it that I end up learning it too well. So what can I do about it? An acting teacher suggested that I try to tell my jokes to a friend like we are having a conversation, or to try and practice my set in different voices so I’m definitely going to try this out and see if it has any effect. My  friend Alana (who is actually Australian) is staying with me at the moment so she is going to have to listen to this.

Does sounding too rehearsed matter? Anthony Jesilnik (one of my favourite comedians) has a very specific rhythm and tone when he does material, and he’s very successful. (Yes I just compared myself to Jesilnik, and what?) I guess it just depends what suits your act. But if sounding less rehearsed means that I have more of a connection to the audience and therefore have a better gig, and get booked for more gigs, then that can only be a good thing.

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date with a Tory part 2 (we went bowling in the arcade)

Last week was spent mostly working at Frieze art fair (outside) being a hostess, so by Saturday evening I was ready to have some fun! The Tory I’ve been seeing recently wanted us to go bowling, which I thought was a great idea, as I love nothing more than competitive activities. We were going to go to Finchley Lido, but as he had to meet me in Regents Park, it was easier to stay on the Bakerloo line and go to Namco.

If you don’t know, Namco is an arcade near Waterloo. I first went there four years ago with someone my friend and I call Kieran2012 (specifically twenty twelve, not two thousand and twelve), as a first date. It was his idea and a surprise, and I had so much fun I thought I really liked him and proceeded to date him for two months. That’s the power of Namco.

My ex and I also went on Valentine’s Day 2015 and 2016 as a non-stereotypically romantic thing to do, so it sort of became our place to go…but now I’ve been with three different guys – I think it’s just my place.

I figured that the Tory must be pretty good at bowling because he seemed so excited about it. At the beginning he even tried to give me a lesson on how to bowl better. It turns out he’s just wildly inconsistent. He got two strikes, but guttered the ball most of the rest of the time. It was very amusing to watch, and it made me feel good to beat him at something. Especially a game that he had suggested.

It has only been a month since we met, so we are just taking it really slowly and getting to know each other, but I am definitely having fun with him, and I hope that this is the beginning of lots of activities together…that I can win at.

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Don’t text him first

I have a joke that goes ‘I think one of the main problems I have with men, is that I like to do a lot of the chasing, and guys don’t like to be chased – unless they’re playing Grand Theft Auto’. I know – it’s not my best, but it introduces another longer joke about women being thought of as psychos when they pursue men, but men being thought of as romantic when they chase women. It ultimately relies on hyperbole, but I’m also making a point.

Why do men think women are crazy if we are forward, or honest about how we feel about them? I have lost count of the number of times I have heard a woman say she’s not going to text back straight away, or seem too into him in case he runs a mile., Myself included. I have in the past deliberately ‘backed off’ or tried to downplay how much I like someone because of this. This is a real struggle, as I find it very hard to play it cool. But why should I?

When I first met the guy I am seeing right now, I had already been told about him by our mutual friend and shown pictures of him, so I knew who he was. My opening line was basically ‘Hi, you’re the Tory twat aren’t you?!’ (which is my weird idea of flirting), and we went from there. I made it very clear that I was sexually interested in him, and at one point he caught me sucking on a straw while looking at him in a very provocative way…eventually we ended up all over each other and outside the pub kissing. In conversations since then, he has said that he liked my confidence and that made me glad that I had pursued him so confidently.

After the first time we met, and our first date, I did wait a bit for him to text me first (although on both occasions, I was going to message if he didn’t). The next time we saw each other we had sex for the first time. Normally I would wait for the guy to message first after that, but I didn’t want it to be this big thing…so I messaged him first. And guess what? He didn’t think I was mental! (At least not because of that).

I feel like so often we are forced into this fine balancing act – let him know that you like him, but not too much. It’s such hard work! So I’ve decided screw that. I’m breaking all the rules! Sometimes I text him back straight away, sometimes I even double message! Sometimes I invite him to stuff and tell him it would be awesome if he came along! If letting a guy know that you are interested in him makes him less interested in you, then maybe he wasn’t worth it in the first place. Hopefully this one is worth it. Even if he is a Tory twat…

 

How to win a comedy competition

Last week on Thursday, after writing a blog entry about creative rejection, I went to put myself up for the ultimate creative rejection – a comedy competition. I’m not sure why I keep entering them, but for some reason I do. I’ve done okay in a few in the past, sometimes progressing to the next round, and I even came third runner up in What The Frock! Newcomer Award 2014. I put that down to the fact it was on the day I had found out my dad died. I’d already dealt with a massive life event that day, so getting on stage for a competition somewhat paled in comparison.

But generally I get more nervous than usual, put pressure on myself and then don’t put in my best performance. Alternatively if I have put in a good performance and I don’t place in the competition, or progress to the next round, I find it takes the edge off the fact I’ve had a good gig, which is annoying. I’ve been advised by other comedians to just treat them like just another gig, so I decided that’s what I would do.

I arrived at the gig, a small dimly lit back room (but with no door so you could still hear noise from the bar). A blue hue surrounded the space, which also matched the temperature of the room.

The comperes were a surreal pair – two men dressed in matching suits, one of them played the drums while the other told old fashioned jokes about killing his wife or having a sex doll. Cymbals were hit to indicate punchlines. The drums player also sometimes did political songs on a banjo. The opening act (not part of the competition) warmed up the crowd a bit more, but I was not optimistic about how the night would go. This was a self-contained competition, with no future rounds, so only one person could win. I remember thinking 1 in 10 is not great odds.

I was also thinking about the fact that I was the only woman on the whole evening, and the fact that it can make it look to the audience like female comedians are some sort of rare anomaly. Sometimes it’s better to have more women on with you, so it doesn’t feel so much like tokenism. In retrospect, this probably made me stand out, so it could have been a good thing.

I was on second, and thought I did pretty well. I decided to go for it and do a couple of my darker jokes, which I probably wouldn’t normally do in a competition, but the crowd seemed to like it. I didn’t know whether I had done enough to win, but I was pleased with my performance.

At the end of the night the comperes called out two names they had thought had done the best to come back onto the stage and my name was one of them! The other was an older man called Jimbo who was a bit of a character, and did a set involving bodily functions when you get older. I was surprised that Ben Clover had not been called, as I thought he had done really well.

One of the comperes said my name to get the audience to cheer and they cheered a reasonable amount, I thought the other guy is definitely going to get a louder cheer, but then they said his name and the crowd cheered even less!I had won! I had finally won a comedy competition! Plus 50 quid prize! And a little trophy! They gave me the microphone  to say something, but I was a giggling happy wreck and just thanked the audience. Twice. While grinning insanely.

Does this mean I will be entering more competitions in future? Maybe. And if I do, I’m sure I will be more confident, and remember to treat it just like any other gig. I am also going to prepare a mini speech for next time. After all, this is closest I will ever get to winning an Oscar.

carmen-ali-with-her-quipster-awards-trophy

 

They just weren’t ready for you yet

Last night I sent an article, I had written a while ago and just edited, to an online women’s magazine and got an email back just a few hours later to say it hadn’t been accepted. This is the same website that I applied to work for about a year ago and was not successful, but they encouraged me to submit articles on a freelance basis. It upset me that they were not taking it, and reminded me of all past creative rejections in the past (including their previous rejection) so I felt it even more strongly than if it was just a single incident. I may have cried a little, while listening to ‘You just haven’t earned it yet baby’ (the Kirsty MacColl version).

The article I wrote is not really in my usual tone of writing – it’s a bit more adapted for the tone I have seen their articles written in – way more cheesy  women’s magazine style than I generally write. That’s why I sent it to them. It’s frustrating when you see articles that you think are of a similar standard (or even not as good), and you think ‘if they take that, why won’t they take mine?!’

I recently went for an interview for a marketing job in a theatre and I didn’t get it – they said I was great but there were people with more specific experience. I wasn’t as bothered by this, as I knew only one person could get the job, and I know there wasn’t much I could do about it. But the writing rejection annoyed me because they publish lots of articles, rather than just a situation where there is one job available.

It’s the same doing stand-up – sometimes you see people doing gigs that you can’t get on that you don’t think are funnier than you. That’s the problem with writing and doing comedy. Applying for the same job over and over, and then comparing yourself to other people. Ah, high expectations followed by self-loathing.

I read something recently that said you should aim for 100 rejections a year because you will surely get accepted by some of them. I like this logic and plan to follow it more, for both writing and applying for gigs. I know I shouldn’t be so sensitive as well – J K Rowling received loads of rejections before Harry Potter was published!

Maybe I will also not try to change my writing to fit a specific style that I think someone wants, and just be myself more. Then if people hate my writing or my comedy at least I know they will be hating me for who I am.

I went to a life coaching class once and they taught us this mantra to console yourself when you are rejected from a job, or an opportunity, or a romantic partner – ‘They just weren’t ready for you yet’, and I have to try and remember this when I feel like I’m not good enough. Because if i keep going, there will be people who are ready for me. And I will be ready too.

Date with a Tory

On Friday, I did my first half an hour show as part of Laugh or Cry Presents Cruel Brittania, and I invited a date. I had met this person the week before at a friend’s birthday and we had some pretty good chemistry. Mainly because, well, he’s a Tory Brexiteer and I’m a Labour Remainer.

I’ve never had political class based banter before with someone, but it turns out it’s my thing. I told him I want him to fuck me like he wants to fuck the NHS, and he teased me for being an ‘adorable lefty’. It goes against pretty much everything I stand for, but it’s like my head says leave, but my pussy says remain.

Having a date at the gig made me way more nervous, because obviously I wanted to impress him, but I wasn’t planning to talk about him while on stage until I did my joke about steak and blowjob day, where I ask the audience if they have ever done it, and he cheered, so I took the bait and told everyone he was there. I also ended up telling everyone his political views – which were surprisingly not very popular in a North London theatre.

Everyone likes a bit of real life drama, and some of the moments were funnier because he was there, however I think it also had the effect of distracting from the show itself, and meaning I was self conscious when some of my usual jokes didn’t get as many laughs as my commentary on the situation did. It was frustrating because I wanted to get a real sense of how my show could be, but couldn’t focus fully on that.

I still think it was good to do my first half an hour, develop a bit of a narrative, and get comfortable with being on stage for that long. I also did have a lot of fun. Watching back the video, I actually wish I had abandoned the specific jokes for the show a bit more, gone further with getting him involved, and been more mean to him. I mean Tories do deserve it.

It’s also difficult writing a blog entry knowing he’s going to be reading it. My last date story I knew wouldn’t be read by the guy it was about – it was a Tinder date, I never told him my full name, and I didn’t want to see him again. But I know this one is definitely going to be reading this, so I still feel like I am trying to impress him.

If you would like to see some of the best bits of the gig, below is a video of the highlights. Sadly my phone stopped recording before the end where I said ‘right I’m off now to get some Tory dick’, which may or may not have happened later on. Gotta keep some things private…(just not the railways or the NHS).