Back when I harboured the illusion that I could carve out a career as an actress, I spent a good chunk of my day trawling through casting sites. For the uninitiated in thespian recruitment matters, casting sites are one of the only online platforms through which it is completely acceptable to declare your need for a human being willing to be slapped in the face with condoms of condensed milk, or perform fifteen minute improvisation scenes at spoken word events in Derby. While wearing a latex mask, obvs.
With such a dearth of decent and totally not exploitative roles to choose from, I was chuffed to land a speaking part in Youtube video series, My Boyfriend Can't Cook. The all-female cast were students Ravensbourne, a "digital media and design" college, and the show was part of their final year project. Plus, the role didn't involve masturbating with tears in my eyes or smearing myself in elk excrement.
All I had to do was present a cookery show in my underwear.
My cooking skills extend to opening jars of olives and sardine tins. As a teenager, I started a fire in my parents' kitchen by testing the temperature of boiling sugar with a wooden framed thermometer.
I currently have a kitchen the size of a sanitary towel. There's room to grab food and go (if I do it with my elbows close to my body like I'm hiding pit stains) so it's safe to say I don't cook much. However, as a former Playboy Bunny, I was unfazed by wearing underwear to work, and this seemed to be the main requirement of the role.
I told myself it would be funny but my hopes were dashed when I received the script for My Boyfriend Can't Cook. Lines included: Today I am going to spice it up a little and show you my big Spanish buns, even though I'm English…*stare looking confused at what you just said* and Better get this served for me and the rest of the girls, this can warm us up from pillow fighting in our underwear! Chao [sic]!
I'd like to say I pulled out at this point, but in a competitive industry, I considered it a victory to be cast for the role (I later found out I was one of only three people to apply). And so My Boyfriend Can't Cook secured a place in my Top Ten list of poor life choices, right up there with wearing Wonder Woman pants under a white dress.
I'd like to blame the series' shitness on the script, the production team and the editing, but the nausea I feel watching the episodes back comes purely from seeing myself behave like an utter twat.
The casserole episode opens with me effectively wanking off a sausage, which pretty much puts me on a par with Rebecca Loos. In the stir fry episode, I emerge from under the counter appearing to pleasure a wok. In Spag Bol I take a garlic crusher and breath, "Give it a good hard squeeze!" while winking at the camera. Nothing in that kitchen was left with its dignity in tact. I am probably on some sort of watch list.
The nachos episode begins with a close-up of my bum, which you may mistake for a small island. Borneo, perhaps. (Although unlike Borneo, I can't claim to harbour much virgin terrain and little remains unexplored). Spanish Pork Burgers contains lengthy close-ups of my minge in slightly see-through knickers. Feeling sullied after fingering raw mince, I hold my hand away from my body in an awkward claw, reminiscent of the creepy butler in Scary Movie. "Look at my fingers!" I say. With the camera focused on my lady garden, visible through white lace knickers, no one is looking at my fingers.
With a memory like a sieve that I wouldn't know how to use anyway (masturbate the handle, yeah?), I blatantly read the script from autocue—by which I mean a laptop to my left—so I'm constantly looking off camera. It's about as far removed from autocue as the Rosetta Stone.
Despite my shifty side eye, Pork Burgers received by far the most views of the series.
I made terrible innuendos. "Can you smell it darling?" I ask an imaginary man lurking beneath the counter, before revealing a pizza. It's possibly the most horrible vagina double entendre ever. "I like to drizzle it all around the pan," I say when making casserole, as if this means something sexy, which it patently doesn't.
In Chocolate Mousse, I spank my own bum with a cream covered whisk, declaring, "I like a good whipping!" before plunging it back in the bowl. I cram chocolate into my mouth in what I imagine to be a seductive manner. Unable to get the chocolate off my teeth, I resemble Shane McGowan with an aggressive strain of the munchies.
My leitmotifs throughout the series include references to wrist action, professing to like "a big portion" and chucking food at my chest, announcing that, "I'm saving it for later," as if I'm Mr. Twit and my breasts are a big spiky beard.
Thanks to a highly efficient production team who did my food prep for me while I huddled by a heater, I remain clueless in the kitchen. The closest I have come to recreating any of the dishes is eating nachos from the packet with a glass of wine (I swapped the chilli for a Chilean).
If I've taken anything from the presenting a cookery show in my underwear, I'd say that the morning I spent with my hands in mince has conquered my queasiness over touching raw meat. That said, I'd take some convincing to get to grips with giblets.
In a sort of reverse Oscars speech—as I should probably win an award for being that much of a dick—I would like to apologise to the following: Bromley Fire Brigade (who spent two days on red alert while I fannied about near flames in highly flammable underwear), the kitchen implements defiled in the making of the series, and culinary connoisseurs, for whom it must have been excruciating to witness the cack handed, slap-dash efforts of a food philistine.
And of course, to anyone who watched it: I am very, very sorry.