At the Grouchy Club both three months ago and two months ago, there was gossip about a Scottish male comedian who had allegedly sent offensive unsolicited text messages and photos – ‘dick pics’ – to various younger female comedians. The story was not discussed at this month’s Grouchy Club, but resurfaced as a front-page story in the Scottish Daily Record and was then picked up by the English Daily Mirror and the English Sun last Saturday.
Unconnected to the above, I know other female comedians who have received ‘dick pics’ from male comics.
It gives new meaning to the phrase ‘stand-up comedians’.
So I thought: Who do I know who is likely to talk about this subject ON the record?
Well, obviously, Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award winning Becky Fury.
We met at a Pret a Manger branch in London’s Soho. The glamour never stops.
Her right shoulder was hurting. It was a boxing injury. She is left-handed.
Quite why she had been boxing may well be the subject for a future blog, but she does not want to talk about it now and… I am just saying… Don’t mess with Becky Fury.
“Have you ever heard of women sending men unsolicited pictures of their nether regions?” I asked her.
“No,” she replied.
“With dick pics,” I prompted, “some women have said to me – well, one woman in particular has said to me: Oh, it’s a just a bloke being a bloke. It’s not rape; it’s not mass murder. I think men may actually, bizarrely, treat it more seriously than women. Well, not more seriously than rape or murder. But I certainly do treat it seriously. It might be my Presbyterian upbringing. I see it as outrageous. But women – some women – do see it as just One of these things you have to suffer.”
“Well,” said Becky. “it’s virtual flashing. So it’s a mild sexual assault.”
“Why is it mild?” I asked.
“Because flashing is quite quaint… Well, no-one does it any more, do they? It’s a quaint sex crime now. You don’t get old men hiding in the bushes wearing dirty old macs showing their willy to old ladies.”
“Or, more seriously, to 10-year-old girls,” I said.
“Or to 10-year old girls,”agreed Becky. “But it doesn’t happen any more. Things have moved on. If you have sex crimes on a scale, then flashing is a mild one – compared to rape, for example. I am used to dealing with smutty boys.“
“This has happened to you?”
“Yes. I’ve been asked if I wanted to be sent a dick pic.”
“As a sampler?” I asked. “As a precursor to…”
“A precursor to more dick pics,” replied Becky. “It never really goes anywhere. Men just like to send pictures of their penises.”
“I don’t,” I said. “But you have, in the past, encouraged dick pic sending?”
“Well, I have agreed. There is dick pic etiquette. It’s like anything. If someone really wants to send a picture of their penis, just ask first – May I send you a dick pic? Then you will get a Yes or No and, if No, then you say: OK. That’s absolutely fine. Have a lovely day.”
“So,” I asked, “if I send you a dick pic request in half an hour, what will make you decide one way or the other?”
“Well, that’s the question,” said Becky. “Am I interested in seeing a picture of your erect penis? If Yes, then I tell you and you can send me the picture. If No, then that’s a No.”
“Could negotiations take place?” I asked. “Like You don’t want to see an erect penis but could we compromise on flaccid?”
“Well, you have to ask. It’s all about consent. Like anything else that has a sexual element, consent is vital.”
“But is there a negotiation process?” I persisted. “Could you start with erect and work your way down?”
“That could be involved,” said Becky. “Everything is open to negotiation.”
“If you were a tough negotiator,” I asked, “could it come down to me sending you a photo of a vague bump shape in the trousers?”
“Yes,” said Becky. “If you wanted to send that, you could. But you should still ask first. Because, once you step across that consent barrier, then it starts becoming virtual flashing.”
“You are going to hate the reaction you get to this blog,” I suggested. “Hundreds of solicitations. How many pictures does consent cover anyway? One picture? Twelve?”
“It’s a grey area – internet exchanges with people. Apparently it’s very common on Tinder. I have a way of dealing with it. When I received an unsolicited dick pic, I said: Do you want to see mine? They presumed they were going to see a picture of my private parts, but I found a picture of the thickest, fattest dick on the internet and sent that back to them.”
“How do you find the thickest, fattest dick on the internet?” I asked.
“You Google the phrase ‘Boris Johnson’,” Becky explained.
“So,” I said, “you have received unsolicited dick pics from people you knew and people you didn’t know?”
“I have never received an unsolicited dick pic from someone that I knew. When a dick pic is sent unsolicited, it’s not going to be from someone you know particularly well. Normally, sending dick pics involves not having very much respect for the other person. Like I said, it has this element of being an assault.
“If you’re involved in a smutty exchange, a sexualised conversation, with somebody on the internet – somebody you haven’t fucked – and they want to send you a dick pic, then they should ask permission. It’s not necessarily something you want to receive unexpectedly first thing in the morning over breakfast.”
“When you are having your sausage and eggs,” I suggested.
“Precisely,” agreed Becky.
“Why do men send dick pics anyway?” I asked. “Is it a form of advertising? Forthcoming attraction! Coming soon!”
“I dunno what the psychology is,” said Becky. “But I really don’t want to receive any more.”
Personally, if you send a dick pic, I think it is a true selfie – You really are a dick.