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If Fleabag was a devastatingly funny, moving look at a self-possessed yet self-destructive twenty-something struggling after the death of a friend, then Touch looks a little like the next chapter. The play is about a year-old named Dee who, after a break-up, moves to a filthy shoebox flat in London, drinks a lot of wine, and gets up to all sorts of sexual escapades — from taking home the office intern to taking on oppressive "nice guys", from exploring sex with women to exploring whether you can be a feminist and still enjoy a good spanking….
Living alone for much of her thirties — in a studio flat every bit as squalid as the one Touch is set in — Jones felt hugely frustrated at how the narratives for women her age shifted to being all about marriage and babies. Touch captures the fraught reality of both the dating and the economic landscape ofbut also reflects a recent seismic shift in the way women are writing about that reality: no sugar-coating or flattering filters, no cooing over shoes or a fairy tale Mr Right.
Waller-Bridge was one, of course. Morgan, a Welsh actress best known for Mr Selfridge, is loving it. Over a lunch of lasagne and chocolate cake, the easy atmosphere between the two is infectious. Dating apps give the impression of a vast buffet of sexual opportunity, whatever gender, age or kink you fancy, open all hours — and the character of Dee certainly gets stuck in.
But then, casual hook-ups are no longer stuck in old gender stereotypes, suggests Morgan. And I was like, what?
Welcome to our club, pal. Another thing is our status gets lower in our thirties. And I hate that; I want to fight that. What better way than with a character like Dee? Touch may stage both her literal and metaphorical messiness, but it also celebrates her journey to self-knowledge and sexual power.
Touch is at the Soho Theatre until August 26; tickets here.
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Phoebe Waller-Bridge has created a new dating term called ‘Fleabagging’