Midnight Confession #22: No Stage Banter, Please, We're British


Another installment of my audio confessions!

OK, it wasn’t actually last night, but I did The Secret Society of the Sisterhood this past week, and it went great! The audience there is always so lovely. I was a bit nervous about telling the story I told, but they made me feel so comfortable and accepted.

Do people really do the “picture the audience in their underwear/naked” thing when they have stage fright? I’ve never tried it, even when I’ve been really nervous. I can’t imagine it making me feel any less uncomfortable. And I did have stage fright as a kid! Not when I was very young, but it kicked in around nine or ten, once I was finally old enough to care about what other people thought of me. Then I took improv classes and did plays and sang in choirs and eventually I felt more comfortable on a stage than anywhere else.

As for flirting, well, just like being onstage, sometimes you feel it and sometimes you don’t. Not only am I bad at flirting, but I feel like people around me aren’t good at conveying whether or not they’re flirting with me. This was especially true in my early twenties: I once asked a friend I had a slight crush on, whom I’d been hanging out with one-on-one in very date-y ways, if he was interested in me. He moved his head back and forth for a few seconds, as if he were mulling it over, then responded, “I’d say no.”

It’s still one of my favorite ways I was rejected. (Another friend said it sounded like a “30 Rock cold open,” and it kind of did!) A few years later I called him on it, and he apologized, saying he was trying to turn me down in the most polite way he could. “Well, you failed there,” I said, and we both laughed.

Flirting, I think, is heavily dependent on local culture. I’ve learned a lot about this from traveling. Australians greet you with a hug and a drink and make you feel like they’re your best friend, so it can feel like it’d hard to discern whether or not they’re actually into you — but I’ve learned that when they are, you’ll know. Most Canadians and Scandinavians, in my experience, tend to try to be polite and not draw too much attention to themselves, so you can usually tell when they’re trying a little harder to get your eye. In Italy, it felt like I was never not being flirted with, my Spanish was too bad to tell whether or not anybody was flirting with me in Mexico, and I’ve never been there, but I already know that absolutely nobody would be interested in me in France. Without a doubt, though, there is no worse place to try to flirt than England.

I grew up in a time when a lot of American girls had crushes on British actors and singers, and would talk about how they’d love to have a cute English boyfriend. That was incredibly dumb of us. Not only are English men the same as men everywhere (many are great, a lot aren’t great, most are somewhere in the middle), but there is absolutely no way to tell if an English person, of any gender, is interested in you. They don’t talk about their feelings, they don’t know how to accept compliments, they’re not physical even when given consent. Asking an English person to just tell you whether or not they “fancy” you would be akin to suddenly punching them in the stomach. It’s extremely hard to try to flirt there when you don’t drink, and of course, even harder when you’re a woman trying to flirt with other women. Maybe it’s different in Ireland or Scotland, but you’re never getting past that stiff upper lip in England. Do yourself a favor and see if there are any cute Australians around, instead.

Anyway, the show I did went really well, and in the near future, I hope to both do more storytelling shows, and visit New Zealand. (I have no ideas how Kiwis flirt, but I intend to learn.)

Stuff I Did This Week: Oh man! I have not one, but TWO big announcements! First of all, the Faceless Old Woman is getting her own book! Pre-order it now, I’ve just started reading an advance copy, and it’s wonderful. I am so grateful to Joseph and Jeffrey for this; she is one of my favorite characters I’ve ever played, and yes, I will be reading the audiobook!

Also, the podcast radio drama I worked on, Passenger List, is out! You can listen to the first two episodes now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts, and more will be coming out soon. The episode I wrote is further down the line, but in the meantime, follow along with the mystery of what happened to Flight 702! You’ll also get to hear some really amazing voice actors, many of whom I cannot believe I got to write for — Kelly Marie Tran! Rob Benedict! Colin Morgan! Queen Patti Lupone! It’s amazing.

Fake BBC Show of the Week: Great Britain’s Worst Flirts (Might just be an extended overhead shot of all of England)