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Everyone pretty much took their kit off straight away.” I ask him whether, if people had known the naked truth – as it were – there would have been fewer ticket sales. Bit cheeky, but the way I advertised it was to get people here, and I knew deep down that people would go for it – which is what they did.” He was right.
The whistle blew, the ladies chose a table, up stood the men and off came the robes.
While we were free to hold onto our robes and our underwear, the dates would take place as we were. At the halfway mark, I quizzed Rob on this big reveal.
“It’s going better than I expected,” he grinned with barely concealed jubilation.
“I wouldn’t do it in a million years.” Red rag to a bull, I’m afraid.
Full disclosure: I am a 5”4, size 14 woman on the latter side of 25 with all the trimmings – cellulite, scars, bruises, chipped nail varnish and a rack that gave up the fight against gravity years ago.
It’s hard to stress over small talk when you’ve seen someone’s labia.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.So this isn’t one of those #bodypositivity Instagram larks done by a part-time teenage model with an airbrush filter.
In fact, trying to make a good impression on a total stranger while sweating from your inner thighs is about as #nofilter as it gets.Boys on one side of the room, girls on the other, with barely repressed giggles and fear sweat in the air – the temperature was turned up to the max, presumably to make sure the women had something to look at when the men stood up.It was then that Rob informed us that, as predicted by my friends and family but strenuously denied by myself, the clothes would not be coming back on anytime soon. After all, in for a penny, in for a few extra Christmas pounds.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.