‘Are you hungry?’
‘Um…I don’t know, I don’t think so. Maybe. I think the fizz has filled me up. But yes, probably.’
I’m not sure if it was a teasing question, or just comic timing but I’d blatantly been staring at his cock, visible as he sat on the bar stool in the too-short white robes we’d just changed into. Hungry? Yes.
I like to buy experiences as birthday presents. Presents that create memories. My Mum gets trips to gardens and lunches with views. My best friends and I have saved £20 month for years and go on weekends to New York and spas, and dance at concerts. Exhibit A got dinner at The Bunyadi, London’s first naked restaurant. I’m not sure if the 40,000+ waiting list is fact or clever PR built around the number of people that signed up for more information when news of London’s latest pop up restaurant was released earlier this year, but I only booked a week or two in advance so I’m suspicious about that spin!
A few minutes later we were shown to our table through the black out curtains to the side of the bar. The restaurant, a ‘complex’ of private booths created with winding bamboo walls is in near darkness, lit only by candles. Once in your booth you disrobe. Seats are tree stumps, the tables made of wider slices of tree trunks. Terracotta plates and wine goblets and edible cutlery removed all the clatter of a normal restaurant. The website isn’t wrong when it describes it as having the feel of a spa. The waiters and waitresses are also naked, bar some strategically arranged ivy underwear: ‘It’s a very A Midsummer Night’s Dream outfit,’ observed Exhibit A. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from the food, assuming it would be okay at best and that the experience would be the main attraction, but actually it was delicious. And no hot food or liquids that could create a painful accident if you spilt it in your lap! Salmon sashimi, steak tartare and a coconut mousse. There’s a choice of vegan or non vegan too.
Directing us back to the bar after dinner the waitress told us robes were no longer compulsory in the bar. Back on the bar stools you soak up the experience of collective nakedness. It was at that stage that the ‘rules’ come into focus. No photography (the ones here were snapped quickly in the changing rooms) and ‘no sexual activity’. A quick affectionate slap to my arse or me unthinkingly running my hand up and down his leg as we chat suddenly comes into sharp focus and something you wouldn’t think twice about when clothed suddenly has a frisson about it. But a good teasing one! ‘The best and worst bit of last night was the constant tease of just wanting to take your cock in my mouth and feel it get hard and not being able to,’ I messaged the next day.
I’m sure some people keep their eyes firmly on themselves and their drinks, but we’re not those types of people and happily (but discreetly!) drunk in the nakedness around us. ‘If you could fuck anyone in this bar who would it be?’ he asked. ‘Her,’ I said, nodding to a woman stood at the bar to our left, chatting to her friend. Of course he immediately struck up conversation. What followed was two hours of conversation covering everything from careers in law to non monogamous partnerships to our blogs to sex positive and sex negative parents to body piercing and Doxy wands. I’m not sure if I vocalised it or just thought it, but at one point it crossed my mind that I hadn’t for one moment felt self-conscious or tried to tuck in my belly or worried about my flat nipples.
At the end of the evening, wobbly from the wine and atmosphere, we all get dressed. I remember looking at the two women we’d spend the last couple of hours talking to and being surprised at what they were both wearing. I’ve no idea why, really. I don’t know what I would have put them in, but I remember thinking if I’d been asked how they’d dress based on the conversations we’d been having and their different confidence levels I’d have probably swapped their outfits over. A reminder that so often our clothes are our armour and part of the story we tell the outside world about ourselves.
We all go our separate ways. Him to have an unfortunate end to the evening involving a bike and a pavement, one of them South and me and the hot woman to share a taxi to South East London where we both live. I could say my evening ended there, but it would be a lie. Three hours later in bed she says, ‘This is so bizarre. I’ve spent all evening saying “don’t look at her tits, don’t look at her tits!”‘ ‘Really?!’ ‘Yes! I clocked you as soon as you two walked into the bar.’
That was a surprise! I’m not self-depreciating; of course I know people fancy me but I always assumed I am more of a package! Not someone you’d notice as they walked into the room but someone you fancy more as the layers of their personality and experiences are revealed. I rely on good dresses and skinny jeans that show off my legs, shoes and jewellery that catches the eye. Things that distract from the middle bit, basically! I didn’t imagine for one minute that naked me walking into a room would catch an eye or that being perched on a stool with my belly rolled up and odd-shaped breasts on full display would be in any way hot to a stranger.
‘Ha! He asked who’d I’d most want to fuck minutes after we sat down and I said you.’
‘Oh my God. I assume nobody ever fancies me. I think they always fancy my hot friend.’
So there you have it. Great atmosphere, delicious food and assumption-busting encounters.