‘I went naked speed dating – and loved it!’
Harriet Marsden, 26, from south London, stripped off in the quest for love…
‘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