The robes come off, you check each other out for a sphincter-crushingly awkward ten minutes, then you get dressed and proceed to speed date as normal. At least, that’s what the tickets said.
The atmosphere fizzed like prosecco: we giggled, hugged, compared choice of hairstyle (top and bottom), admired each other’s underwear. (a few girls chose to keep their bra and pants on, but others decided to try the full monty with me). In general, the atmosphere was full of mutual support and sleepover-esque solidarity.
(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. )
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
In we shuffled, in our matching Matalan robes, to a reassuringly dark bar filled with small tables. 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. While we were free to hold onto our robes and our underwear, the dates would take place as we were. Ticket description notwithstanding.
While we were surprised, nobody backed out. After all, in for a penny, in for a few extra Christmas pounds.
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 just thought the lining up wasn’t going to work, I thought it was going to kill the atmosphere, with getting changed. So I just decided to completely change it last minute. 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.
After an awkward mingle in the bar, which rather like a school disco involved palling up with the nearest member of the same sex and huddling in the corner, the girls were taken into a sweet and quirky cinema room to change
He was right. The whistle blew, the ladies chose a table, up stood the men and off came the robes. The first few seconds were a blur: heart pounding, breath catching best hookup bar Augusta GA, trying not to giggle or be caught ogling anyone too blatantly. Then down sat my first date, and away we went.
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. It felt voyeuristic and superior, and I would definitely recommend that they have to disrobe, too.
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.