OK, let’s get something straight. We Brits are generally not known for our love of being naked in public. We didn’t grow up baring our boobs on beaches like our continental cousins (we were shivering beneath our coats). That’s not to say we all live up to the stereotype of the buttoned-up, reserved Brit, but I think it’s fairly safe to say the vast majority of us do like to wear clothes when we dine out in restaurants.
Or do we? Because a staggering 25,000 people (and rising) have joined the waiting list for London’s first “naked restaurant.” Who are these people?
From June to August 2016, the capital city will be home to The Bunyadi, a Pangea-themed pop-up restaurant with a slightly different dress code from your typical London establishment: Clothes are optional. According to the website, customers are invited to dine free from all the trappings of the modern world — “no chemicals, no artificial colours, no electricity, no gas, no phones and even no clothes.” Food will be prepared using a wood-flame grill and served on handmade clay crockery with edible cutlery. Gowns, changing rooms and lockers will be provided, and vegan and non-vegan dishes are available.
“The idea is to experience true liberation,” Seb Lyall, founder of Lollipop, the company behind the concept, said in a press release. While nudity is encouraged, it is noncompulsory, and The Bunyadi will have both a naked section and a clothed section. But wearing clothes to a naked restaurant is a little like wearing regular clothes to a fancy dress party, no? You’re going to feel like a major party pooper.
Sometimes being naked is the only way to go. In bed, in the bath… in fact, anytime and anywhere behind closed doors, if you’re in a nude kinda mood. But being naked in a restaurant, surrounded by naked strangers, is a surefire way to make me lose my appetite. Maybe I’m more of a prude than I thought, but I’ll take my vegan stew with my clothes on, thank you very much.
I’m not alone. A quick browse through the online reactions to this proves the British public is seriously grossed out by the idea of bare genitals on seats. There’s also a lot of speculation about the menu, which remains a closely guarded secret. Meat and two veg, anyone? (Wink, wink.)
The Bunyadi’s capacity will be just 42 people, so at least it will be a fairly intimate experience — as intimate as you can be in the company of a few dozen complete strangers trying not to look at one another’s genitals.
The interior, however, doesn’t exactly scream “take off all your clothes and lounge!” Is it just me, or does this look like the last thing you’d want to perch your bare butt on?
Have we really exhausted all other novelty dining options that the next big trend will be to try to eat soup without scalding your nipples? Apparently not. Maybe I’ll be proved wrong, and naked restaurants will soon be popping up all over the U.K. Maybe I’d even be curious enough to check it out if it arrived in my city. I’d be the party pooper in the cardigan, of course.