A dating guide for Fringe performers
elf lyons

After extensive Edinburgh Festival dating experience, Elf Lyons shares her tips for first-timers

What’s that I see on the Royal Mile? A diploma in the performing arts? An unstable earning salary? No savings? Someone who has not quite realised their sexuality yet?

Oh goodie, it must be the Fringe.

A gloryhole of the most un-eligible people for long term commitment and thus the perfect array of people for a month of festive, light-hearted flirting.

The Fringe is a marathon. This is my eighth one. I’ve been here since I was 18. It has been every single sexual-awakening-teen-drama film but in a month. And set in Scotland.

If this is your first time at the Fringe and you’re looking for recommendations on how to stay sane, I have two tips. Aim to recreate all your favourite love scenes from Outlander, and snog everyone.

Kissing is fantastic. Not only does it bond you to a person, boost your immune system, increase happiness, decrease pain and lower stress, it is also is the perfect way to get out of talking about your sodding show or flyering. Kissing in this case is a MUST do for every person working at the Fringe.

Thus, to start on your way, here are my Dos and Do Nots….

1. Chat Up lines are the best way of starting a conversation

My favourites include the following:

“Are those 250 A5 Silk Printed Flyers at 250gsm or are you just pleased to see me?”

This shows that not only do you know a lot about paper, but you also know about genitals.

“I have a double bed.”

The idea of sharing a bed with just one other person, rather than the collection of lighting technicians, stage managers, six cast members and director-ex that they are currently sharing with in New Town is seduction enough.

2. Be innovative

Artists LOVE eccentricity so FLIRT outside the box.

Lie on the floor and pretend to be dead. Scatter your business cards around you. Don’t do this too near the Royal Mile or you’ll be mistaken for a show at C Venues.

3. Demonstrate your talent

According to Neil Strauss, the author of sexist diatribe The Game, it is good to ‘Demonstrate some kind of value skill or talent NEAR your target, but not directly at them”.

Despite what I think of The Game, this is a good tip. I’d recommend contact juggling, acrobatics, or an inventive flyering technique.

4. Seek out singletons

If it is a male comedian you’re after, save yourself time going after one that’s already taken by looking through the Fringe brochure and circling the 50% who are doing a break-up show. GAME CHANGER.

5. No matter how attractive they look as a Gothic re-imagining of the Mad Hatter in Alice and Wonderland – STAY AWAY

The face paint stains, Fringe flu and the awkwardness on passing each other on the Royal mile will not be worth that one night of freezing cold frolicking on Arthur’s Seat where they accidentally nearly pushed you off the top and let your bra fly away in the wind…

6. If at any point they compare themselves to the love child of Stewart Lee and Bill Hicks:


7. If at any point they compare their writing to Samuel Beckett:


8. Don’t be too desperate

No matter how tough the Fringe gets, there is no need to shout “CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HOLD ME” in the Pleasance Dome at 2am.

Chances are you will end up being spooned by a performer with a Ukulele who will at one point whisper in your ear “I need to go now, I left my boyfriend in Brookes”.

9. If a man walks out of the darkness of the Meadows and asks “do you want to be part of my human pyramid?”

Say no. Even if he is in one of the circus troops at the Underbelly circus tent. It’s not worth it. A human pyramid never is.

10. Tell them they’re funny

I usually find saying “I don’t usually find male comedians funny but I thought you were funny” a golden ticket into comedy underpants.

They. Love. It.

Remember, no one is a whole happy person until you have personally validated them and given them the right to be…

11. If in doubt, tell them that their show was brilliant

God speed lovers!

Elf Lyons: Pelican, The Voodoo Rooms: French Quarter, 6 – 29 August, 7.50pm, tickets