Three sets of clothes are laid out on the floor. Three women walk out on to the stage in their underwear and proceed to dress in an exaggerated choreographed manner. We are being lured, reeled in, played. Within this act of dressing, concealing - the subtlety of provocation is disarming - but then, this isn’t like a traditional kiss and tell, teen angst trauma fest or misery memoir.
How We Lost It is a ‘coming of age’ treatise by Cheap Date Dance Company, blending spoken word and dance as it explores the first drunken fumbling of burgeoning sexuality to the first time of ‘going all the way’ and beyond. Anyone who has been through this knows that it is never as simple as all that.
For late Millenials and early Gen Z’ers - the digital natives - growing up is no longer a private matter, everything you do is pasted over digital media and you are no longer the custodian or curator of your own life. How do you explore your own sexual potency, your own sexuality or gender by which you identify? How do you explore intimacy and relationships when there is such a contradiction between the acceptable codices of the private and public? How do you even begin to learn, let alone understand, these rules which appear so amorphous and abstract to the outside eye?
We hear words like sweating, smelling and shaving and other natural yet socially taboo words such as vagina. The women as younger selves discuss where to shave, when and how much but not the why - as if that’s a given. The digital age has a more pernicious prevalence of extremes of body image for young women, and men, to aspire to. Pornography isn’t mentioned though this is undoubtedly a modern force in young women's experience of sex, altering the expectations of what is normal and acceptable as opposed to the distorted fantasy peddled on the internet. It seems easier to ‘lose it’ or to ‘give it away’ in a meaningless encounter than something intimate and meaningful. According to the Office of National Statistics, the teenage pregnancy rate is at its lowest level since 1969 so something is changing, perhaps the digital natives are too savvy about the consequences.
This is an innocent, 'looking back and laughing at it all' version as the women recount their stories of ‘losing it’. We do not always get what we want, the chocolate box and roses scenario rarely plays out how we plan and no matter how old in the dating game, that first kiss is often just noses, teeth and lips in an awkward dance. (AM)
The run of How We Lost It at Paradise at Augustines has now finished. https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/how-we-lost-it
How We Lost It Cheap Date Dance Company: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on#q=%22How%20We%20Lost%20It%20%22
Public Health England STIs: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/534601/hpr2216_stis.pdf
Teenage Pregnancy and Social Media: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/12189376/How-teenage-pregnancy-collapsed-after-birth-of-social-media.html
Virginity - the influence of Genes: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/apr/18/genes-influence-the-age-at-which-you-lose-your-virginity-first-sex-dna
Losing your virginity and regret: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/11512386/Girls-Virginity-is-not-something-to-regret-losing.html