Why London Hughes is the kind of female voice, we need more of in society.
“Let’s get one thing straight, this show is about catching dick: not duck, not deck, dick.”
I was at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year, reviewing an abundance of great shows but unfortunately, London’s was not one of them. As the talk of the fringe, she didn’t need one more reviewer to spread the word that so many others knew, that she had struck gold with her Edinburgh debut, To Catch A D*ck.
I’m not going to sit here and write about how side-splittingly, gag inducingly hilarious London was. I won’t go on about how she commanded the stage with a presence that captivated the audience. I’m not going to touch on how her facial expressions breathe so much life into her material, that trying to re-enact them to a friend would be futile. That’s too easy. To Catch A D*ck, between the crude hand gestures and the public humiliation of her male audience members, has a genuinely important message about female sexuality.
London has a past that most people would deny – I mean, who hasn’t. From being the daytime host on Babestation, sleeping with a guy for the latest Manolo Blahnik’s or being a self-proclaimed “ho”, not once did London shy away from her truth or try to make it seem less embarrassing than it was. London’s candidness is unapologetic and somewhat of a dying personality trait that, until Saturday night, I didn’t realise was so lacking amongst women.
Female sexuality, no matter how much women try and normalise it, is still something that is not covered as much as it should be by mainstream media. London made the point that in films, they’ll happily show a woman giving a man fellatio while he’s driving, but there is not one film that shows that in reverse. Whether she realised it or not, in a 60-minute window on the stage of the Bloomsbury Theatre, London Hughes burst through ceilings everywhere. Instead of acting how a woman “should” act, she showed people how women “actually” act.
She speaks openly and honestly about the things we’ve all done but feel like we must shy away from and deny. Even the title of the show: women who are honest about their intentions with men, intentions that don’t conform to the marriage and kids’ archetype, are viewed, quite frankly, as hoes. A man has every right to proclaim how his only intention is to, for lack of a better expression, “hit it and quit it”, but any woman who dares do the same thing must do it in secret and then lie about it later. London has the kind of voice that we as a society should be nurturing and giving more of a platform to. She may only be one person, but her narrative is one that normalises behaviour that society views as wrong.
Women are put into boxes far too often. If you’re in a long-term relationship, you must be beaming with self-respect and value. However, if you have a casual attitude towards sex and relationships, you must have some serious self-esteem issues and only be tolerable for the duration of sex. It’s a ludicrously naïve way of thinking, and yet it’s engrained in the fabric of our society. Well, London says no to that, and honestly, so do I. There are women everywhere, whether you know them or not, who are perfectly capable of living fruitful sex lives and being able to look at themselves in the mirror afterwards. This narrative we buy into is toxic and dangerous and is in urgent need of retiring.
One of the first things London said before she started her performance was, “if you’re expecting something deep, profound and highly symbolic then you’ve come to the wrong place” – or something to that effect. I have to disagree, To Catch A D*ck may not be The Vagina Monologues or Notes From The Field (neither of which I’ve seen, but I hear are very serious one-woman shows). Still, it raises awareness about the underlying issues the average woman must endure about her most basic of urges.
One tragic sex story at a time, London is living proof that self-respect comes from within and not from the number of notches on your bedpost. It may not be an airtight plan for world peace or the answer to the climate crisis, but in a world where women are fighting day in and day out to even the odds painstakingly stacked against them, it’s just as important.