Disability

Full transcript: The date saboteur and the make-up store terror

This is a full transcript of The date saboteur and the make-up store terror as first broadcast on 7 September 2018. It's a recording from the BBC Ouch: Storytelling Live show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, hosted by Lost Voice Guy.

LEE - Thank you for downloading this podcast, which is the second of two we're releasing from our live event, BBC Ouch Storytelling Live. You'll be hearing stories from disabled people, and people with mental health difficulties on the subject of going out, recorded live in front of an audience at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, hosted by me, Lost Voice Guy.

Let's start with me.

AUDIENCE - [applause]

LEE - I got the train to the gig today. I always like to sit in those seats for disabled people. It's just easier to get off. Anyway, I was in that seat and was about halfway here when another disabled person got on and asked me to move. I'll be honest, I didn't realise I'd be playing disabled top trumps when I got on or I would have dressed more special. Needless to say I didn't move. Who cares if he was both blind and deaf, I was there first. It was very awkward. He couldn't see that I was still there and I couldn't tell him I wasn't moving, because I can't speak. [laughter]

He wouldn't have heard me anyway. In the end I had to throw his guide dog a stick. [laughter] I didn't mean for them to end up under the train. Now please welcome your next storyteller for the evening. Lucy Jollow.

LUCY - Hello. So it's summer and I guess quite a few of you have probably been to weddings. And my story is about my experience of going to a wedding as bridesmaid, 470 miles away when I was an agoraphobic. And I had a very specific type of agoraphobia which meant I was terrified of staying the night anywhere away from home.

So, as you can imagine, beyond the usual stuff about what to wear and, you know, who you're meant to avoid and who you might get off with I had a couple of concerns that were sort of preying on my mind. The thing with agoraphobia is I think a lot of people think it's just that you can't leave the house at all, and I guess that's the kind of extreme end and what I started out with, but what happens to a lot of people with agoraphobia is you end up with a very specific situation or type of place that you can't go to. And for me that was anywhere other than my flat, my mum's and my nan's.

Now, this wedding was in Scotland. All the places I could stay that were safe were sort of London, you know, down south, a long way. And so this ended up becoming my nemesis rather than the sort of event that it should be which is, you know, a celebration of love. The thing with agoraphobia is it sort of takes over your brain with a different kind of logic, so it is irrational, and I can say that now because I have managed to stay places overnight and I do see that it doesn't lead to the end of the world.

But it's kind of like this fear creeps in that if you stay somewhere that doesn't seem safe you're going to be trapped and then you're going to have a panic attack and then probably another one. And then it's just going to get worse and then even the slightest thought of staying somewhere where you think well, there's a slight chance I might get trapped. Like if I go there and the night bus has a problem what am I going to do? I'm going to get stuck. So maybe I just shouldn't go at all. And after a while, because you're not going anywhere, you just can't do it.

So for this wedding I was a bit stuck, and my friend Emma, whose wedding it was, is a lovely person and she tried really hard to suggest things to me. She said, "Oh, it's going to be really easy going, it's going to be at the Forest Café," which is just down the road from here and a kind of hippy place. And I thought, meh, maybe if I take like a full kit with, you know, like my prescription drugs and hippy stuff and podcasts and like a book on Buddhism and then I like figure out the transport links perhaps I could do that. And then she went, "Oh well actually it's going to be a white wedding and it's going to be in rural Perthshire in the middle of nowhere at a castle." And I thought, right. So what do I do now?

And she tried to kind of talk me round and say, "Well, you know, it's beautiful sort of landscaped grounds, you can probably camp or maybe there's a cottage or a B&B or a hotel." Now normally I'm quite an easy going person but somehow a phobia kicks in and brings out this kind of cast iron stubbornness, and all I could do was go, "No, no." I would not consider any of it, like she could have said, "Look, we're going to bring you up in a limo and put you up in like the most fabulous hotel in the whole of Scotland," I'd still have just gone, "No, I can't do it."

And then I discovered that there was a 14 hour coach from Dundee to London that runs overnight, and I thought yeah, maybe I can do it, maybe I can do this. As long as I don't sleep for 28 hours than I probably can be bridesmaid and not stay anywhere.

Now you'd think that this would have just calmed me down a bit, but the way it works is your brain just kicks in with a new set of worries, and so on the day I found myself thinking, yeah but what if it doesn't actually turn up? Like this coach might go wrong, this might be the day that it doesn't run or perhaps there's going to be a catch.

So by the time I arrived I was in a right state and Emma said, "Just do some flower arranging, that'll help, that would be great." And I kept trying to sort of sneakily get little bits of water and just cool myself down. I thought, oh I'll hide in a loo, that's a good strategy because if you're feeling panicky hiding in a toilet is always a great plan, but not when all the other bridesmaids are in it doing their hair and makeup. [laughter]

So by the time it came to the ceremony I was just sort of peaking at that point where you think, right, how am I going to cope with this? But luckily the ceremony was outside. Now the thing is, if you've got a fear of being trapped when you're standing in front of hundreds of people, I mean a bit like now, there is nowhere else you can go and I thought I can't, I cannot sort of freak out in the middle of this ceremony, not least because I'm supposed to be calming the bride down. But then I spotted a field of sheep and I though that's it, just concentrate on the sheep, they look really peaceful and lovely.

So in all the photographs from the ceremony I look, you know, quite relaxed and romantically wistful. But I'm really sorry, I think Emma's here tonight and basically Em, it might have been the most romantic moment of your life but for me it was quite a different experience.

After that I thought, well I've survived that so that's fine, I can do a countdown to when I can leave. So I experienced the rest of the wedding as a series of kind of time points when I could think right, two hours and counting, hour and a half. And that got me through the canapés and the champagne and all of that stuff. I started putting together my kit, I though yes, you're going to be out of here soon.

Now, it kind of got to the point where we're going for the meal, and this is normally where weddings really hot up and you get all those lovely speeches and stuff. For me this is the bit where I relaxed, because I only had half an hour left and I thought excellent. And then I noticed that people were quite nice and it was like oh, this wedding business isn't all bad is it, because the food was tasty and the tables looked beautiful and the bride looked nice, and I thought it's actually quite sad that I can't stay.

And I had this moment where I just thought I would love to be able to join in and do all of this stuff, I can see they're going to have a great time. But that wasn't enough to override the bit of my brain that was going, but imagine if you stay, what's going to happen, you're going to have a massive freak out and panic attack and be really sick everywhere. So I still left.

Now, nobody said anything, which tells me that wedding etiquette is probably a load of crap because people clearly don't care if you march out in your jeans and trainers before the speeches, which might be quite a canny move. And I got my coach and I thought oh, excellent, this is the way to do it, this is brilliant. So I sat on the coach feeling triumphant and thinking, you know, I managed it, I did it.

And then at about four in the morning I was stuck in a crap service station, the sort of place where you're like it's like the last of the stinky pasties and you've got to kind of pick something to eat. And I thought I've been on a bus for eight hours, I'm in this horrible place and I still feel lucky. There might be something slightly wrong with my reasoning. [laughter] And that was the first point where I thought yeah, maybe this phobia thing, maybe it isn't just like a way of dealing with this panic, perhaps there's something a bit off.

And I wish that was the moment where I'd cracked it and then gone travelling the world and my life had suddenly been changed. It wasn't, it took me three more years before I managed one night away with my mum and I still booked a secret flight the next day because I didn't think I could do the second night, and I thought the first was a fluke because I wasn't ill.

But the main thing is, although doing it that way I wouldn't recommend it as a way to do weddings, I was probably the worst bridesmaid in the history of weddings ever, but it did mean I got to do what I think no agoraphobic will ever take for granted and that is just to go out. So, thanks very much. [applause]

LEE - Ladies and gentlemen, let's hear it once more for the wonderful Lucy Jollow. [applause] We're on to your penultimate storyteller now. Please welcome to the stage Philip Henry. [applause]

PHILIP - Hello, hello.

AUDIENCE - Hello!

PHILIP - Okay, let's face it, there's nothing sexy about diarrhoea is there? And since that's the main outwardly noticeable symptom of Crohn's Disease, this little inflammation of the intestinal tract, it stopped me dating for years. If you can imagine somebody slipping you a how powered laxative at some point every day and you had no idea when it was going to go off, that's what it's like living with Crohn's Disease. And that's why dating is so hard. Have you ever tried being romantic shouting through a toilet door? [laughter] It's not easy. But eventually my libido won out and I decided to give dating another try. And I want to tell you how that went.

So I knew her before the dark times, before the Crohn Wars began. [laughter] She had her set of friends and I had mine and there were some friend overlaps so occasionally we'd hang out together, but we never got together in those days, even though I thought she was cute and she was undoubtedly impressed by the control I had over my bowels. But it never happened. But over the years we saw each other less and less and even though I thought about her every once in a while and ran the woulda, coulda, shouldas in my head she disappeared from my life, like so many other potential partners.

And I was working as a hospital porter when I actually ran into her again and it was in seconds of seeing her again I clocked the nakedness of her ring finger, she was single, so I asked her out on a date and she said yes. Numbers were exchanged, a place was agreed, time and date was set. And the fact that Crohn's Disease had reared its ugly mug since we last knew each other wasn't mentioned, it just didn't come up.

I was in the relatively early stages of trying to treat my Crohn's Disease at this stage. I'd go to the doctor and he'd spin a big tombola and bring out some drugs and say, "Here, see what them do." [laughter] My current meds weren't doing anything except ballooning my weight, but I kept taking them anyway because well, you know, a placebo effect, Dumbo's feather, whatever you want to call it.

Now, I figured all I really needed was one good date. That would lead to a second and hopefully a third. Three dates was the time to drop the Crohn's bombshell I figured, 'cos up to two dates you can kind of bail whenever you like, but after three you kind of have to have a good reason. And I figured no woman would be callous enough to say, "It's because you've got a chronic illness and I think it'll be a real drag."

Now, you think my body would be complicit in this nefarious plan, but no. It wasn't going to give me three trouble free dates. It wasn't even going to give me one trouble free date. So as I waited for the taxi to arrive that night I was bolting back and forth between the front window and the toilet. And maybe it was the nerves making things worse, I don't know, but thanks to Imodium I finally got into the taxi and made it to the restaurant, and his back seat was still okay. [laughter]

And I walked in and I saw her there. She didn't see me yet, but oh, she looked really good. And I could tell she'd made an effort. She wanted this to work as much as I… needed the toilet. So I bolted. And I made it to the cubicle with nanoseconds to spare. I tried to wait for somebody to use the hand drier to cover the embarrassing noises, but it wasn't always possible. This was really bad. But I had to stay positive. She hadn't seen me. That was good. She didn't know I was in here. That was good. She didn't know I was in here. That was good. And if I could just get this all out of the way in one go I might be okay for the rest of the night.

"Davey?" I heard a very drunk voice say. "Davey?" Now, I'm not, nor have I ever been, Davey. [laughter] So I didn't answer, but I heard him repeat this name over and over again as he checked the cubicles next to mine. "Davey, Davey?" And eventually he got to mine and he knocked on the door and asked me directly. "Davey, is that you man?" I said, "No, it isn't." "Are you all right, Davey?" "Look Dude, I'm not Davey, okay?" And then I saw his feet under the door and he went into the next cubicle and climbed up on top of the toilet. [laughter] And he looked down over the wall at me, sitting on the toilet, and he goes, "Oh, you're not Davey." [laughter] I said, "I know I'm not, I told you I wasn't." He goes, "Oh sorry big man, sorry. Sorry. Oh, oh right." And I said, "Well, forget it, forget it, forget it," and I looked down at my feet, and when I looked up again he was still there. He was just smiling at me looking down. "What are you still doing there, Dude?" And he went, "Oh right. Oh sorry again big man, sorry." And with that he trundled off looking for Davey elsewhere.

So, after a couple of false starts I finally got off the toilet and left the semi privacy of my cubicle. And I saw these two lads standing at the sink, kind of daring each other to take an ecstasy pill. So I went up to them, took an Imodium. [laughter] "Third one tonight, guys."

So, after that I went out and after cursing the taxi driver for making me late I had some drinks with Lydia and we had dinner. I had the steak and chips, it was good solid food. I was hoping it would settle my stomach which was still turning like a washing machine. And we talked over dinner and she was lovely. She laughed at all my jokes, even the really crap ones so, you know, this was going great. And there was a band playing across the street and after dinner we decided to go over and it was a lovely night so we took our time and I put my arm around her waist as we walked and she put her head on my shoulder and just for one second I forgot there is a date saboteur hiding in your intestinal tract.

So, we watched the band for a while and then it started. Just the odd little twinge at first, but I knew that foreshadowed something like a fire hose being shot down a toilet. My stomach was like the engine room of the Enterprise, and I could hear Scotty saying, "The warp core's going to breach Captain, I cannae stop it!" [applause]

So, I scanned the pub for the toilets and I saw them at the far side. You know, there's only a journey of a few seconds on maximum warp. [laughter] So, if I left now… But then something I wasn't expecting happened. She made the move. Right? While I had been trying to save the Federation's flag ship her hand had been edging across the bench we had been sitting on towards mine and it had reached it now and she put her hand on top of mine and interlocked our fingers and gave me a nice little grip. And I turned to her and she smiled at me. And I thought, oh my God, that's the most romantic thing that's happened to me in years. And I wanted to tell her that, and so much more, I wanted to reciprocate. But instead I said, "I think I see someone I know, back in a minute." [laughter]

And with that I broke our two handed fist and ran into the toilets. So as I sat there in the cubicle, reading the graffiti, cursing the spelling and grammar errors my stomach sank in a way that had nothing to do with Crohn's Disease. She had made the move and I had run away. I was so angry, I wanted to punch somebody repeatedly. Where was that guy looking for Davey when you needed him? [laughter]

When I left the toilets that night Scotty confirmed it. The dilithium crystals were knackered. It would be hard to create any sort of forward momentum after this. when I got back to the bench her hands were folded over her stomach. The conversation was polite but dry. I had embarrassed her. She had made the move and she thought I had rejected her. there was only one thing to do, I had to come clean. Honesty was the only hope. What did I have to lose at this point? So I said, "Lydia, I didn't duck into the toilets because of you, the truth is, I just saw my crazy ex, and if she saw us together she would have went mental, so I had to hide in there until she left." I was pathetic. It was ludicrous and it was the most transparently obvious lie I have ever told… And she bought it! [applause]

Twenty minutes later we're in the back of a taxi snogging on our way to her flat. Ten minutes later we're in bed together. An undisclosed amount of minutes later we're lying back in each other's arms, smiling. I fell asleep that night happy, content, and with no more emergencies reported by Scotty.

And then the morning came. Now, mornings have always been the worst time for me, it's always been a sprint to get to the bathroom in time. So when I looked around this strange bedroom and realised I didn't even know where the bathroom was I knew I was in trouble. I looked at the space next to me in the bed. She wasn't there. So I pulled on my boxers and I ran out of the bedroom. Right then I knew I was in trouble. I heard the shower, I saw the door closed.

AUDIENCE - [groans]

PHILIP - So I ran down anyway and I knocked tentatively. "Um… will you be long?" "Give me ten or 15 minutes. Put the kettle on." There was no way I could hold on for ten or 15 minutes. My sphincter was already at maximum clench intolerance. [laughter] I looked around, but it was too much to hope that this little flat had two bathrooms. So I ran up the hall looking for anything that might do as a… And then I saw it. And I considered it for a good few seconds, considering the logistics, before deciding the cat's litter tray was not a good idea. [laughter]

So, I ran into the living room and I scanned it quickly. There were two large vases. Let's call that plan B. Right? The sweat was dripping off my forehead at this point and I ran into the kitchen and there I saw the answer to my prayers. The kitchen bin. Right? It was about seat height, right, it had a bin liner in it, and next to it on the counter was a roll of kitchen tissue.

AUDIENCE - Yay!

PHILIP - So, with one deft move I turned, pulled my boxers down and started running towards it. My sphincter had conceded defeat by this point. The air lock was open and the cargo was rushing towards open space. [laughter] I had one shot at this. When Lydia arrived, rubbing her damp hair…

AUDIENCE - Oh!

PHILIP - She stopped at the threshold to the kitchen and her mouth dropped open at what she was seeing. "You made me breakfast." I nodded and ushered her towards the table and the bacon butty and mug of tea that I'd made her. As she sat down she looked up at me shaking her head and said, "I can't believe you did this." And I said, "I also emptied your bin." [applause] Thank you very much!

LEE - That was the amazing Philip Henry. Give him some more of your love. [applause] Now your final act of the evening, a brilliant comedian who I know very well, and always love working with. She took my iPad off me earlier and tied herself. Please welcome Laura Lexx. [applause]

LAURA - Hello. Oh, what a beautiful night. Thank you so much for coming and for having me here. I'm Laura. I suffer from depression and generalised anxiety disorder, and I've chosen to be a comedian, so we can chat that later.

I had a very specific thing happen to me. I used to be the happiest person you'll ever meet, and then a few years ago my wonderful husband and I decided trying for a baby. You see, I love my husband more than anything and I love babies more than anything, so I thought okay, this will work, we'll get our wet bits, put them together and make a baby of our own. That's the fun way to do it isn't it?

So we did, we started trying for a baby, we got three months in and I was diagnosed with depression and generalised anxiety disorder and we found out that my husband can't have children… because of my personality.

AUDIENCE - Oh!

LAURA - If you're making that noise now you're going to be in trouble by the end of the show. I did, I got depression instead of a baby. It turns out though, depression and children, very similar things actually. All my friends have got kids now, I've got a 22 month old depression and you cannot tell me apart from my new mum friends. We're all over tired, we've all got stains on our clothes and none of us are as much fun at parties as we used to be. I just go to quieter support groups. Same padded play area though. [laughter]

I named my depression. I thought sod it, when life hands you lemons and all that crap isn't it, so I thought sod it, right all my friends with flesh babies have named theirs, what shall we call the misery foetus? It's quite hard isn't it? What do you call a ball of obsessive thoughts? So I thought oh well actually people with actual kids, they name them after where they were conceived don't they? So I did the same with the depression. I called it Inside Every Silence. ISIS for short. [laughter] Figured it works, name depression after a terrorist cell, because that's what it is, it's hard to pin it down, it undermines your hope in a future and articles about it in the tabloids tend to be dangerously misguided.

It's a funny life though being depressed. I see a therapist, and I decided to be quite open about it, so the reason I talk about it in my stand up is I see a therapist, technically though I'm on my second therapist now because my first one got signed off with stress. [laughter] Yeah. I think it means I won.

I take antidepressants too, and this is a contentious subject, antidepressants, isn't it? People don't tend to talk about it. I didn't talk about it for a long time. I was absolutely petrified that if people knew I was on antidepressants that I'd lose my career. I'm a self-employed stand-up comedian, who wants a sad clown? And I was scared that people would think I was faking it when I was happy, I wasn't sad enough when I was sad, and I didn't tell anyone.

And then one day I met somebody in the green room of another gig who was telling me all about how his life was not going the way he wanted it and his marriage was struggling a little bit and he was really struggling. And I said, "Oh, you should get help," and he said, "Oh yeah, I've been to the doctor, they prescribed me with antidepressants."

And he was sat there with them in his pocket. I said, "Oh, what brand are they?" He told me what brand it was and it was exactly the same ones that I was on. And he was too scared to take them because of the side effects and I sat there thinking oh, of course you are, if people like me aren't honest about it then why would you ever know that it's okay, you know?

I think people are weird about antidepressants, they want them to be perfect and they're not, but what cure is, you know? Have you ever met anybody that's broke their leg and then worn a cast for a couple of days and then after four days taken it off going, "No, do you know what? That cast was making it too difficult to walk."

It's so daft. And anxiety's a funny thing. The story I want to tell you today about going out, I specifically had depression and anxiety based on climate change. I became utterly obsessed with climate change to the point where I couldn't do anything that I thought might increase the environmental impact of my life and I started out being a very normally environmentally aware person and it descended to a point where I couldn't do anything if I thought it would hurt the environment. And as I got better I had to learn to go out again. I'd got to a point where I didn't want to turn the lights on, you know, I was just living under my bed with an organic carrot running out of ways. That was fun. It took me a while because I'm disgusting.

I had to build myself up to going out. Going out with anxiety is quite difficult, right? Now the first place I started to shop when I started shopping again, the first place I chose was a soap shop. Now, I'm not allowed to tell you the brand of this soap shop because of the television stuff, but it's the one soap shop that you can smell before you've entered the town. [laughter] Do you know the one I mean? If you've ever been walking down the high street and suddenly thought, do you know what, I've got a cracking headache? You've just walked past it, is what it was.

It's an amazing place. Get up early in the morning, watch the staff going in to work there, they all gather outside and then one of them lets in a canary. [laughter] And you've got half the staff out the front and they're the friendliest staff you've ever met in your life and the other half are all out the back mining bath bombs out of the wall. They tend to die very young, just coughing up glitter and rose petals. Thatcher.

And I liked shopping there because it felt guilt free to me, it was something that didn't trigger one of my anxieties, because everything there's very environmentally friendly and all recyclable packaging, so it's guilt free. It's like sex with somebody that sort of looks like your husband. [laughter] You're allowed to do it. It's all wonderful. The shampoo is made from organic fairies that have been shat out upon a bed of safe refugees. Oh, that feels lovely.

And I had to slowly get okay with shopping in places like that again, and once I'd conquered that bit I thought okay, we'll up the game now, we'll start shopping in more difficult places. Here we go, I can do this. And the next place I tried was a department store. Now, department stores are nerve-wracking whether you're me or not. They are a lot more intimidating and especially the cosmetics department. So I set myself the task of buying a small bar of make up removing soap. I've had this soap before, I thought how hard can this be? And I'll go in and I'll buy it.

And I headed down to the shop. And now the cosmetics department in a big department store, it's always the first bit you walk into isn't it? The double doors open and there you are. Everything's white. The floor, white marble. All the white counters and glass shelves everywhere and all the women that work in this department are dressed like dentists. [laughter] Nobody knows why, and then what's happened is the cosmetics companies have freaked out. They've gone, oh no, look at this place. Oh bother, what have we done? Right, get the dentists over here. Dentists, come over here. Listen, listen we've messed up here because this place looks like a spaceship and you're all dressed like dentists. We don't know how obvious it is that we sell makeup anymore, so could you just do us a favour? Could you just wear a little bit of everything that we sell? [applause]

It's bonkers, these poor women have the job of fitting every type of make-up that's ever been invented between their hairline and their neck. I don't know how they do it. The layering, everything's got an outline, everything's coloured back in a different colour. Some bits are visibly sticky, it's incredible. What it means for you is you wake up in the morning and if you chose to wear make up or not that's your call, but you at least think you look like a human person, and you step into Debenhams and go, oh no, no, I have not got enough stuff on my face. And then you step into a department store and think oh no, I have not got enough stuff on my face. Just searching through your bag for a Sharpie or a yoghurt or something that you can just… [laughter] Just cover up a few more square inches.

I walked in and I was feeling anxious, I don't like one on one stuff very much, and I know that seems weird given the career I've chosen, but being a comedian is nothing like you'd imagine. In a room full of people having a great time the comedian is the one stood on their own worrying. I wander down and I was ready for it. I was ready for the interaction. I'm ready for their stupid questions, because sales people try and make you feel insecure don't they, and I don't need any help with that.

So I'm ready for it and I walk up to the counter and I say, "Hello, please can I have this bar of soap?" and she starts with the stupid questions. The first one is, "What's your skin regime currently like?" Now, I don't have a skin regime. Skin regimes to me, they're like recipes with more than eight ingredients, you know. You read about them in magazines but you're never going to actually do them are you? You just cut it out and put it on the fridge so your friends think you might but you're not going to.

Regime isn't a positive word. I don't want a military take over of my face, thank you very much. And she says, "What's your skin regime like?" and I'm stood there looking at her and I can feel ISIS kicking off in his pushchair, you know. I'm thinking this is why new mums don't get out of the house very often, he's going to humiliate me in a department store. I can feel him kicking off and I think I wish I was this me. I wish I was the me that I think is capable of so much, you know, I wish I was material because if I was this me all the time then I'd look her in the eye and I'd go, "Oh listen my love, no, I don't have a skin regime actually, if I'm truly honest with you I only really started taking my make up off before bed when I bought white pillow cases." [applause]

I'm not one of life's heroes, but the point I could get out of my bed and my face was still in it, that's when I went all right then, yeah okay. So I muttered something to her about, "Oh I moisturise whenever I can," and I missed the words, "be arsed" off the end of the sentence, so it's half a win isn't it? I said, "I moisturise whenever I can," and I think okay, maybe she'll give me the soap now. Obviously she doesn't, she's got more questions.

She raises an eyebrow at me and by eyebrow I obviously mean drawing of an eyebrow. [laughter] She raises an eyebrow at me and she says, "And if you don't moisturise does your skin feel tight?" And the prickles are going on the back of my neck and I'm thinking oh, this is so embarrassing, how can I be the woman I think is capable of crushing every television show? I've got jokes for days and I can't buy a bar of soap, how is this happening? ISIS is trying to sweep stuff off the shelves, and I'm breaking all of the parenting rules, I'm doing all the bad things, you know, I'm bribing him, I'm going, "Look, if you just be quiet in the shop, if don't cry for mummy then we can watch a whole series of 'Queer Eye' when we get home, okay? Just settle down, poppet."

And I'm looking at her and I'm thinking god, I wish I was material. If I was stand up Laura now I'd look her in the eye and go, "No. Do you know what? My skin doesn't feel tight, all right? My skin is the one thing I wear every day that I don't wish I'd bought a size bigger." [applause] My skin's always had my back, it just expands production to suit the donuts I've had, it's excellent. Leave it alone. I can't do that, I haven't got that and I'm shaking now, the chills are kicking in and I'm thinking oh, maybe I shouldn't have even tried to do this and it's stupid to try it. And I say to her, "Oh no, it's fine thank you, because I'm sorry, I'm in a hurry actually, would you just…?"

And I think she's going to give me the soap. She sort of slides it half way across the counter and then she stops and reads it as if she's a pharmacist or something. She reads the box and she says, "Oh, what skin type do you have?" I don't know the answer to this. I'm exhausted, stood there, so humiliated thinking, I don't know, A negative? [laughter] It's been a while since I donated, I don't know. Can I please have the soap and I haven't got anything and ISIS is in full melt down mode and I'm humiliated and I've got nothing.

There's a wall built. The me that I think I am is in a box in the back of my head, unable to do anything, and I'm just standing here thinking how can I get out of this? She asks me the question again, thinking she's being professional. She says to me, "Sorry, I didn't catch that. What skin type do you have?" I said, "I've always been white." [applause] It is not the right answer to that question. I didn't buy the soap. I just had to wheel ISIS back out of the shop going, "Do you know what? Don't worry about it, I'll just buy pillow cases with a clown face on and it'll stay on." Thank you very much. [applause]

LEE - Thank you for downloading this podcast. You heard from Lucy Jollow, Philip Henry, Laura Lexx and me, Lost Voice Guy. The producer was Ed Morrish.

Around the BBC