It felt voyeuristic and superior, and I would definitely recommend that they have to disrobe, too. But in general, as the night went on and the names stacked up on scorecards, people began to lose layers – and inhibitions.
There were also, as I found out, a few naked bike-ride aficionados – with seemingly intact ballsacks – and one or two girls who genuinely could have been models, but by and large it was a normal group of young people: up for a laugh and willing to try something new, but all friendly and respectful. Rob explains: “All these events act as great ice breakers, and I imagine it’ll be fairly successful given it brings together a bunch of people with core shared values.
But this stands out as one of the more publishable pieces of advice I received before I went naked speed dating.
The latest in London’s saucy scenes, Date in a Dash have begun hosting nude events for ages 23 to 35, to shake up the dating scene, cut through the bulls*** and to reveal right off the bat who’s really attracted to who, and who’s sporting, say, an unfortunate butt tattoo.
The first few seconds were a blur: heart pounding, breath catching, trying not to giggle or be caught ogling anyone too blatantly. Despite dire warnings about everything from “old perverts” sneaking in to “fatties on parade”, everyone was in their mid twenties to early thirties, and a pretty pleasant-looking bunch they were, too.
There were a fair few journalists in the house – including two who simply took photographs and didn’t participate, which I have to say did put people a little on edge. The optional clothes policy was certainly alluded to; a few girls kept their bra and pants on, while many boys arranged the robes judiciously in their laps when they sat down.
(A word to the wise, though, for whoever compiled the playlist: if you want to put women at their ease, lay off the James Blunt.
The only thing that “Goodbye, My Lover” was psyching me up for was a funeral.) I heard later the boys all undressed in the bar in total silence, avoiding eye contact. In we shuffled, in our matching Matalan robes, to a reassuringly dark bar filled with small tables.
But I screwed my courage to the sticky place and decided to brave it alone, without a friend along for moral support. (Also, they all refused to come.) So there I was, alone outside a pub in Balham, having broken the habit of a lifetime and arrived early, puffing frantically on a fag and trying to psyche myself up to go inside.
I’ve never been less excited to see a roomful of naked men before...