No you don’t need to do a double take on the title! Last Thursday I attended the UK’s first ever Naked Speed Dating Event, hosted by Date In A Dash at The Exhibit in Balham. I was front and centre amongst 30 other single men and women, between the ages of 23 and 35, who dared to bare all in the name of finding love and shaking up the dating scene. No matter what anyone says physical attraction is a strong basis of any relationship, and this was a chance to reveal who was attracted to who without all the bullshit that comes with dating.
When I heard about Naked Speed Dating my first thought was who on earth would want to attend such an event, would it be filled with a bunch of pervs who just want to ogle some naked bodies, would it be filled with models with perfect bodies whilst the larger girls like myself look on embarrassed and hidden in a shadows. As a 5’2 29 year old, with gravity endured breasts and a size 14-16 body, I couldn’t think of anything worse than baring all to a room full of strangers… Cut forward 24 hours and having told two of my girlfriends about the email I had received I found myself so intrigued that I couldn’t not go. So with a shaking hand and a racing heart I said yes to attending.
On the event’s details it explained that on arrival girls would retreat to one room with the boys in another, where you would undress and receive a robe, from Matalan and very comfy I might add. We would then line up in two rows, guys opposite girls and reveal ourselves to each other, with how much you revealed being completely up to you. You could be brave and bold and bare all or keep your underwear on, and then we would all get dressed, compose ourselves and the speed dating would begin. I was asked by the friends that I had told whether the dates would be naked and whilst I stated no as per the events details, on the night I realised just how wrong I was.
I arrived at the venue far too early and rather than potentially being seen gawking outside like a weirdo, or doing the normal thing of just sitting inside and having a drink I found myself walking the streets of Balham on the phone to my friend convincing myself that it was a great idea that I was about to go and stand in a line being flashed whilst I stripped off to my underwear. I had decided I didn’t quite have the confidence to go fully nude, and had bought myself a new set of underwear from Boux Avenue, but was still mulling over whether to just forgo the bra as I do have a nipple piercing but keep my knickers on.
When I finally found my lady balls and went inside I arrived at the same time as a guy who was attending, dared by a friend they had both signed up but said friend had bailed on him last minute and so he said he had a point to prove by still coming (and a £10 bet to win). Rob greeted us on arrival and was extremely welcoming, although it was assumed we were a very out there couple who had come together to spice things up. As is custom I zoned in on the first girl I could find that was also there alone for some moral support and soon after a third girl joined us. It turned out they were both journalists, and what with me and my little blog we had something instantly in common and became a trio for the night. Ali was planning on just wearing knickers whereas Harriet had decided that as she’d made it through the door and this far she was going to bare all, and after some nudging from both I happily bowed to peer pressure and agreed to go naked too.
We were taken into a cosy little cinema room next door with all the girls where we got changed into our robes before being brought back into the room where the boys had changed, which I hear was a very silent and awkward moment for them. This is when Rob broke the news to us, standing in a line and flashing would just be awkward and ruin the vibe of the event and so it had been decided that all the dates would be had naked. Que the mix of shock with a slight undertone of I’m not even surprised in the slightest as we all made our way to a table for the first date. The room was extremely hot, great for the guys as there was no problem with junior wanting to hide from the cold, but not so great for us naked girls who had skin touching skin as it got a tad sweaty and you can’t exactly air out your crotch during a naked date now can you.
The moment of truth had arrived and there we were, 30 guys and girls all practically stripped down to nothing, three girls chose to keep their underwear as did one guy. Another guy had a contraption on his penis, lets call it a muzzle shall we as that’s all I could think of when I saw it. Moving swiftly on, aside from muzzle boy and one overly leant in guy who didn’t quite understand the prospect of personal space, everyone else was very respectful and just normal, down to earth people. Whilst the first few moments of the first date was met with nervous giggles from across the room, and a few uncomfortable starting exchanges the conversation was soon flowing. Once you’re naked on a date there really is nothing to worry about, you can forget awkward silences, worrying about what to wear or if you’ll say the wrong thing, when you’re stripped bare there’s nothing more to worry about, the worst is over. I found a sense of liberation come over me and I found I confidently went into conversations, on all different topics that I wouldn’t have necessarily have talked about on a date.
Halfway through the dates we took a break, a chance to grab some drinks, have a catch up with new found friends and you could put your robes back on during this part if you wished to. I met the girls at the bar, where the bar women had taken her shirt off in support of us all (but couldn’t take her bra off as it would have become a “different type of establishment”) and we ended up leaving our robes at our tables as it now felt weird to interact with everyone with any form of clothing on. We were now at the other end of the spectrum and felt more comfortable around each naked. We were even hugging each other and then after thinking right yeah we just naked hugged and what, and it didn’t even faze any of us when a guy wandered past the bar with a massive erection.
Once the dates had all ended Rob collected the score cards where you could pick Yes, No or Friend, and there’s no pressure or awkward moment after where you put yes and they put no as it’s all uploaded privately online. You receive an email the following evening confirming whether you received any matches and have the option to message them if you’d like to meet up again. A friend match is where one of you has pressed friend and the other has pressed yes, or you’ve both pressed friend, basically you want a yes. If anyone puts no then you never see any reference to them again, but make sure you put your picture on your online account because after having 15 mini dates in the space of a few hours you can forget who was who.
We were told we could have another 15 minutes or so to mingle naked but then we would have to get dressed, to which a number of us actually groaned. We had all clearly embraced this nudist life we were living in that moment hidden away from the world in an upstairs room in Balham. Afterward we could either go home or stay downstairs for a few more drinks, and whilst it seemed that we all actually became a bit less confident once the clothes were back on and names became fuzzy a handful of us did stay for a few. Whilst I didn’t find the right guy for me that night I was extremely proud when one of the girls grabbed me to say goodbye because she was getting into a taxi with her favourite from the night, go on girl!
I have not been confident about my body for quite a while as I’ve put on weight over the past 18 months but Naked Speed Dating invoked a part of me I had long forgotten. I felt liberated, I felt confident, I was getting compliments, and not just on the nipple piercing which is usually the go to for a lot of guys. But there was even a point where one of the girls who had kept her underwear on came to find me at the end just to say she wished she was as brave and confident as I was. Me? The same girl who had been shitting it not a few hours before thinking why did I ever agree to this, the girl who didn’t want to look at herself naked let alone have a complete stranger looking me up and down judging me. And yet off the back of this event I was so busy enjoying the feeling of self love and confidence that I have since booked myself on for another Naked Speed Dating event.
On the 19th April and 3rd May Date In A Dash are holding another two Naked Speed Dating events and I really think this is going to hugely take off and be extremely popular, proven more so by Rob telling us that it was the fastest selling speed dating for male tickets where usually they are struggling to get the guys in. If you don’t think you’re quite at the level of Naked Speed Dating I would definitely encourage you to attend one of the other events hosted by Date In A Dash. Alongside standard Speed Dating they also host quirky events like Drunk Jenga, Dirty Pictionary, and Ball Pit Speed Dating. I need to read up more on that one because honestly how does that work, and it sounds like a lot of fun.
In the fast-paced world we now live in it’s hard to actually meet someone without being drunk in a club or hitting up a random dating app but with Speed Dating you can meet between 15 and 25 singles in the space of a few hours. You could meet the love of your life or have the worst 4 minutes ever, but that’s it! 4 minutes with someone that you didn’t have to spend an entire evening with and never have to see or hear from again, or like I said it could be the turning point for you and you could find the one. All the events have age breaks so you don’t have to worry about being sat across from someone old enough to be your grandad or young enough to have you wondering if they are old enough to hit up a 21 plus venue. Even if it’s just as a laugh or something new to do with friends I would definitely recommend Speed Dating, and I would even more so recommend Naked Speed Dating. Be frivolous, be liberated, be confident, be you! Don’t life too seriously and just enjoy yourself because you only live once right. And personally I love that I can say “I went to the UK’s first Naked Speed Dating and I bloody loved it!”