‘I went naked speed dat­ing – and loved it!’

Har­riet Mars­den, 26, from south Lon­don, stripped off in the quest for love…

Reveal - - REAL LIVES -

‘It’s al­ways nervewrack­ing the first time you get naked in front of some­one you fancy. But imag­ine it’s also the first time you’ve ever met, and you’re in a room full of other peo­ple... and they’re all naked, too!

If so, then you might have some idea how ner­vous I felt at­tend­ing the lat­est in Lon­don’s so­cial trends – naked speed dat­ing.

Or­gan­is­ers Date In A Dash have just be­gun host­ing nude events (cur­rently for ages 23 to 35), to spice up the dat­ing scene. For just £20, you can head up­stairs at the apt­ly­named Ex­hibit pub in Bal­ham, south Lon­don, strip off and hope to meet your match. Of course, I had to give it a go!

My col­leagues thought

I’d gone mad, friends joked I must re­ally be des­per­ate, and my mum al­ter­nated be­tween rec­om­mend­ing a spray tan and a rape alarm. I sim­ply had a light lunch and headed over to Bal­ham af­ter work.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m def­i­nitely not a nud­ist. I’m a very or­di­nary 26-year-old with a body you’d ex­pect from a life of sit­ting at a desk and or­der­ing De­liv­eroo. I’m nei­ther toned nor tanned, and I’ve never been naked in pub­lic in my life! I’d like to think I’m pretty nor­mal.

And, ap­par­ently, so were the rest of them – a far cry from the “old perverts” and “weirdos” I was warned about. When I ar­rived for the pre­match “bar min­gle”, I was re­lieved to see a group of fully-clothed and seem­ingly nor­mal look­ing young peo­ple.

It also helped that the or­gan­iser, Rob, took the time to speak to ev­ery­one be­fore the night kicked off. “There’s a real trend for quirky events,” he told us. “It seems that peo­ple are more will­ing to do some­thing batsh** crazy in the name of love.”

Af­ter the bar min­gle, Rob showed us girls into an­other room to change. We all got a bit gig­gly, then com­pli­mented each other, and it al­most felt like we were hav­ing a big girlie sleep­over. The boys got un­dressed in the bar area.

Next, we shuf­fled like zom­bies in our match­ing robes into the dimly lit bar. The whis­tle blew, us ladies each chose a ta­ble, re­moved the robe (if we were ready to), and then the men ap­proached and dropped their robes. Down they sat, and away we went.

The first few sec­onds were a blur: lots of un­con­trol­lable gig­gling and un­nec­es­sary hair flick­ing as I des­per­ately tried not to be caught ogling my date too bla­tantly.

I was quite flus­tered when I re­alised a gen­uine knock­out had sat down in front of me. Maybe this would be the fu­ture Mr Mars­den?

“Nice tat­too,” I grinned, try­ing to be cute.

“Nice tits,” he came back with.

Maybe not. Mov­ing swiftly on!

I was amazed at how fast I, and ev­ery­one else, re­laxed. Thank­fully, the or­gan­is­ers had turned the heat­ing right up… for the boys’ dig­nity, I imag­ine. How­ever, a blind date is stress­ful enough with­out hav­ing to prop your boobs on the ta­ble to air the un­der-boob.

To be­gin with, many of the girls had opted to keep their bra and knick­ers on, and some of the boys ar­ranged their robes awk­wardly in their laps. But as the con­ver­sa­tion flowed, more and more in­hi­bi­tions were lost – as well as lay­ers. By the end, with most of us as naked as a night­mare, there was a re­ally fun at­mos­phere in the air. It wasn’t any­thing like I’d ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore.

Weirdly, the event felt far less sleazy than an av­er­age night in a bar. None of the guys lost their eyes in our chests all night – I mean, what was the point? They’d seen it all al­ready. By and large, it was a nor­mal group of young peo­ple: friendly, re­spect­ful and up for a chal­lenge.

Plus the pres­sure was

to­tally off for when it came to match­ing with some­one. If they’d seen all my bits and still wanted to go for a drink, then I must be a pretty good catch!

I was told be­fore­hand that you’d only be put in con­tact with your “yes” can­di­date if they’d given you a “yes” back. And I had four! Ap­par­ently, a few of the lads were taken by my abil­ity to knock a pint over with a swing­ing tit…

Of course, I couldn’t for the life of me re­mem­ber who was who, what they said, or what any of them looked like with their clothes off – oops!

But, I did go out with one again – that said, the date went off to a rocky start when he turned up with a cac­tus.

“I was go­ing to bring you flow­ers,” he an­nounced. “But this re­minded me of you.”

I can only as­sume he was im­ply­ing some­thing along the lines of “spik­i­ness” – al­though whether he was re­fer­ring to my per­son­al­ity or my down­stairs fo­liage is any­one’s guess!

Naked speed dat­ing, on the other hand, was an all-round in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence that I’ve been rec­om­mend­ing to ev­ery­one. I def­i­nitely left with a new­found sense of body pos­i­tiv­ity. Strip away the nov­elty (and the clothes) and it’s not un­like any other form of dat­ing. Be brave, be kind, be your­self – warts and all.

Would I do it again? In a flash – al­though I might well spring for a wax and a pedi­cure next time.’

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit dateinadash.com

Dutch courage: Har­riet bared all in her search for true love

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