I've been doing standup comedy for 5 years, during which time I've experienced my first slew of "lovers."
I don't want to call this a "slut phase," because that would degrade something I think is important to professional and character development. (Also, the word "lovers" makes me feel like I'm at a key party.) So let's say I'm in my "first period of having sex regularly and not having a boyfriend," or "consistent not-monogamous sex." There we go!
Before I was totally immersed in comedy, I went to bars to "meet people." I learned that the secret to getting attention and/or getting laid there was "look hot, talk very little." Sad, but so incredibly true.
But, as I've become consumed by the comedy world, the energy I used to put into the "gettin' laid" portion of my life has drained. Not that I'm not getting banged like, all the time. I am. Like all the time, by beautiful, toned men of an array of colors. I mean to say I work for it significantly less, because being a comic gets me dudes.
Let me repeat: being a comic gets me dudes.
I guess I've been wondering if this is normal for all women in comedy. Much has been written on the topic of whether being a standup gets people of either genders laid (in the way it might if you were playing guitar solos instead of telling jokes), but also whether or not being funny and a girl is prohibitive. The consensus has seemed to be that it can get male comics laid (see: chucklefuckers) but doesn't do much for women. But that certainly hasn't been true for me.
True, many of the "lovers" have been other comics. It's easy to see why we sleep with each other -- we're around, and we get it. Tons of comics opt to be in actual monogamous relationships with each other, the way co-workers do, but a lot of women I know swear by dating strictly outside of the comedy world, and maybe these are the ones who aren't getting laid.
Curious, I decided to get some real feedback from my people. I asked about 30 comedians (mostly straights with a small portion of sweet, sweet gays) for their opinion on comedy's effect on their dating & sex lives -- mostly women, with a few men for control.
First, I asked a guy whether the standup's lifestyle (lots of late nights, little free time) helps or hinders a sex life. "Hinders," he said. "It takes up too much free time. Tough to have a relationship or date a lot when you're busy between 7-11 PM, five nights a week. It can help you meet women after a show. But I find that's more a rare thing than typical."
This is an answer I expected -- I experience it, too, and it's logical from a time-management perspective.
But then I asked a woman, who had a more positive spin: "Being a comic probably helps, if only because we're ALWAYS out. Constantly meeting people and having endless casual conversations has got to raise our odds somehow." She added, "I used to think having a guy find out I did comedy would be a hindrance, because I'd be too smart/aggressive/ballsy/out there for them, but now I realize it's just a great first cut -- like if you want a subservient little damsel to laugh at your impressions, I'm probably not your girl anyway."
OK, bitch knows what she wants. But, is there a difference here, as a female comic vs male comic? Even in terms of the availability of sex?
"I've found that non-comic men flirt with me before I go onstage, then for some reason don't feel as brave talking to me once I'm off," said one woman. "I don't think they're scared away by what I've revealed about myself, I think they just lose their nerve. I used to think the former until I started asking them why. 'I just didn't know what to say to you,' say these idiots. I'm a little frustrated with that cowardice. I wish stereotypes were true just so a man could overcome his fear of rejection and ask me out."
This is frustrating to hear, for me, because I feel like this woman is being punished for skills or talents she's trying to hone and capitalize on. Most comics are balancing two extreme ends of their personality: insecurity, and overcompensatory confidence. (Myself 110% included.) Being in a similar situation, I want her to win. Unless, again, this is a way to cut out the bullshit and cull the herd sooner.
Another guy comic told me that he's slept with women who approach him at shows, but that he finds having a sex life as a comic difficult in general. "95 percent of the time I don't call the girl because I talk myself out of it. I don't have enough money, I don't have enough time, the time I spent with her I could have been at a show or an open mic... I usually don't ask for numbers anymore."
But contrary to popular belief, we're not all sad clowns. Take this upper, please:
"I've been with the same girl now for over a year and a half. I'm very in love and am lucky to have met her," said another gent. "Having said that, I met her at the right time career-wise. We were about a month into dating when I quit my job to fully focus on comedy. I don't know if I could've started a meaningful relationship with both a day job and comedy. I'm just a really lucky guy."
OK, so in addition to outlook and free time, we need some providence, too. But in a way, that's pretty dope -- it's a Z-factor you have no control over it, so you can't even worry about it.
Time + Perspective + Luck + A Partner With Balls is a forumla that probably applies to all busy women, in comedy or not. A couple months ago, even Rihanna was talking about this same shit on "Ellen." It's an extreme example, but she's smart and funny and talented and SEXY and she has trouble getting a date. She works a lot, and, OK, is kind of intimidating for a guy to hit on. But she admitted, herself, she's not happy being single, but she's also not going out of her way to meet people or carving out the time.
Ultimately, I don't think it's a question of being a funny person or a performer or a woman. I think it depends on the comic as an individual -- a girl who performs can be optimistic and see that as an asset, or she could be doubtful right off the bat and see the standup life as a blockade. Maybe your job (or your night-time pursuit) doesn't matter, and maybe our partners and our personality, instead, inform our love lives.
Being a doctor might get you laid, but only if you're a doctor who's looking to get laid and has the time to go out and do it. You have only so much time, and you have to choose where you dedicate that time. Sure, the standup may deal more with insecurity than most people, and some of them may have to vet potential partners who can't separate a performer from a person. But they also have the initial advantage of being people who have made the decision to pursue something.
In order to make shit happen for herself in the comedy world, the comic has to not doubt her choices, but instead follow them, and above all, to trust her instincts. The same applies to dating and casual sex.
So to this, I say to lady comics: If you want to meet guys to date or sleep with, do the same thing you do with your work: Enjoy it, and go hard.