Asking For It

Comedian Zahra Barri gives advice on the most effective ways to ask for money.

I’ve noticed a lot of women writing into magazines asking the question, “How do I ask my boss for a pay rise?” which makes a nice change from the usual, ‘How do I please my boyfriend in the bedroom?”

The advice is largely something of this ilk: ‘Be strong, be assertive, be worthy, whilst chanting “Who runs the world? Girls!” into the mirror.’ This is for the pay rise not for pleasing the boyfriend in the bedroom. (Although, if you find a man that digs that, then he’s a keeper).

I’m really happy that women are asking how to get their boss to give them a pay rise a lot more these days. Even if one magazine’s agony aunt made the suggestion, ‘Have you tried sucking him off?’

Albeit, that comment aside, what this reveals is that Feminism has advanced. #askingforit? We sure are! I ts the era of 4th wave feminism, (not a setting on your GHD’s). Back in the days of 3rd wave feminism, we would marry for money, 4th wave, we divorce for money. 3rd wave feminism, we revered Germaine Greer. She fought for women to have a voice and to be visible. 4th wave Feminism, shut up and pipe down, Germaine. In many ways she was a victim of her own success.

Back to asking for money.

I’m not afraid anymore to go on a date and ask the man to pay. Gender pay gap aside, he absolutely should pay for the meal because I know, I KNOW I’m going to pay for the morning after pill the next day. The morning after pill is £38 and you don’t even get Boots advantage cards on it. (I asked for that too).

I have definitely become more astute at asking for money over the years. However, perhaps there is another more pressing financial question that we need to be asking, more important than asking for a pay rise, or your date to pay, or for Boots advantage points with your morning after pill.

Why is no one asking?

What’s the best way to ask your parents for money?”

It’s like that ancient proverb:

“Teach a person to ask for a raise, they will eat until they get fired. Teach a person to ask their parents for money, they will eat for a lifetime or (until the inheritance runs out).”

So, I wrote into money saving expert, Martin Lewis (the camp bloke who’s always talking about 0% bank transfers on ‘Lorraine’ ) asking this very question.

Martin at Money Saving Expert might call himself an expert but that means nothing in this day and age. Gillian McKeith calls herself a doctor. Jamie Oliver calls himself Italian. Boris Johnson calls himself a leader. IT MEANS NOTHING.

And Lorraine Kelly (the very woman who has given Martin Moneybags a platform) calls herself a character (for tax reasons). You see, it’s always about money.

Martin Lewis seemed to be flummoxed by my quandary because he never replied. I would have to find out the most effective way to ask your parents for money on my own.

Here are my findings:

1) Always make sure you ring your parents regularly because ringing them out of the blue and asking for money is way too obvious.

2) In lead up to asking parents for money:

a) Be sure to refer to them as ‘mummy’ or ‘daddy’ in all correspondents to make them feel like you are still that little child that needs protecting and looking after.

b) Ask about their day and go out of your way to take a ‘genuine’ interest in their life. This might mean that you need to feign interest in things like, facia, soffits and gutterings, for example, the colour the neighbour has painted his new shed (mint green-outrageous) or in the case of my father- solar energy panels. This is the hard slog, you’ll feel exhausted by the conversation and frustrated. Stay strong, this ground work is essential for maintaining a relaxed rapport between parent and child. Do above for at least a week before making your demands.

3) When making your demands it is important to never specify an exact amount. Be vague whilst listing all the things you need to pay off/buy.

4) When listing these things, be sure that each transaction is something that they will understand and approve off.

For example don’t say, ‘Dolce and Gabana jumpsuit’ say ‘uniform for work’. Don’t say, ‘tickets to Download Festival’ say ‘Artistic research for my dissertation on music and culture in the community’. Don’t say, ‘Money to pay my rent’ say ‘money to pay my London rent’. If you don’t live in London- fuck off, why do you even need to be reading this?

5) Finally and this last one could work in your favour or not depending on the relationship you have with this parent. But I find dropping into the conversation:

“I mean, I might have to move back in with you” Again, PLEASE DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK. This can go either Money Saving Expert

Good luck and remember if all else fails:
‘Be strong, be assertive, be worthy and chant ‘Who Runs The World, Girls! into the mirror’.


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