I hate that it makes me cry. I am a cab home. Shaking with anger, the cabbie asks if I am ok. I hope that he assumes I am drunk. I am not. I have just finished my 4th gig of the day. It's been a good day at the Edinburgh Festival. That is, until now.
The audiences have been fun, playful, they've liked me. I am a Stand Up Comic, I still love saying that - after 5 years of being professional it still makes me beam. I love my job, of course it means that I sometimes put myself in the firing line of drunk aggressive idiots - that's what's just happened, that's why I am shaking with anger in a cab.
'Fuck off, you fucking dyke.' Weird really, the set had been going really well. It was a late night gig, my stage time wasn't until 1:45am. It's late for comedy, the audience can be tricky or rowdy but theres a macho part of me that is proud of being able to play any room, especially the ones that are 'tough for girls'. 4 large bald men, big enough to have 8 pints and still stand, old enough to know better. I saw them bristle as I walked on. 'Oh no, not a woman,' I assume they whispered to each other. The rest of the audience are with me immediately, they are laughing. Sorry lads, I am one of those funny girls that you assume don't exist but are actually all over this festival. The room is full of laughter, they can't say I'm not funny. So they went for the jugular. 'Fuck off, you fucking dyke'.
We all have triggers, don't we, that thing that makes you feel embarrassed, ashamed, takes you straight back to being an awkward teenager. For years I couldn't walk past a Superdrug without blushing. I once got caught trying to nick an eyeliner, I tried to tell the security guard that I was just keeping it in my pocket until I got to the till. He of course saw straight through me and told me off in front of a shop full of people- I'm red just thinking about it. So this heckle was a trigger.
I am 15, I am out on my bike with a group of kids from my neighbourhood. We go down to the beach, there's a gang of us. One of the boys spots a couple, 2 women. He smiles at the rest of the group and starts riding as fast as he can, we follow. He gets closer to the women and throws what's left of his ice cream at them. 'Err gross Lezzers', he shouts. Everyone laughs, except me. One of the women catches my eye. I wonder if she knows, that she has seen that I am a lezzer too. Like she has some sort of 6th sense. I knew then that I was gay, I didn't come out for another 5 years. I remember that night feeling so guilty I was sick after my tea, so ashamed that I was implicit in hatred. I guess I was also scared, that I knew I was like them, that I knew that one day people might shout and throw ice creams at me.
Once I got out of the cab the anger and tears had subsided, I was me again. I got in, made a cup of tea, decided I deserved two Hobnobs. I went online to find out what was happening in the Olympics. The first story I come across is about The USA Women's Football Team getting homophobic abuse during a match. Bloody hell, what is this 1980? Have people not got the memo that homophobia is out.
I want you to know that the whole of the audience hated the homophobes at my gig, it always amuses me that the only dudes that ever have a problem with sexuality are always really unattractive, I always question what is it that makes people shout out and on this occasion I can only assume that they looked at me and thought 'Bloody hell, now I have even more competition to get laid'. So yes, Lads, you made me cry but then I got into bed with my hot fiancee it hurt a lot less.