Have you noticed how much British people like to get their kit off nowadays? So much for ‘reserved’ Brits, it seems we can’t wait to bare all and have as many people check out our vitals as possible.
You can see this in the Channel 4 series Naked Attraction where three members of the public stand bucknaked in the studio while a (fully-clothed) ‘chooser’ tries to pick one as a partner.
“Ooh, I don’t know which to choose,” says the chooser, flustered, “Number Two is usually my sort, but looking at Number Three’s… um… well, it’s so hard to decide!”
Not too long ago this whole programme would have been seen as an affront to public decency, but not now. We’ve seen this greater ‘openness’ manifested on MoneyMagpie.com too (no photos though, thankfully). An article about how to make money as a life model has hundreds of comments on it, mostly from people who want to get naked and show their all to a bunch of strangers brandishing paint brushes.
They’re certainly not shy. For example, Robert Marshall says: “I’m a young 74 years of age, have been a nudist now for over 40 years, so I have no problem with nudity, and would love to be a life model in Devon. I can travel too,” adding his contact details.
Then there’s Anthony Underwood who says: “I’m 39 and want to be a life nude model. I’m very confident at being around anyone naked, so I’m available evenings after six. Get in touch.”
Some of them are happy to strip off on their way to other gigs. Vince Gorman says: “I’m a 53-year-old guy living in Kettering in Northants. I’ve never done life modelling before but it wouldn’t be a problem stripping off. It’s possibly unusual, but I don’t have any body hair due to alopecia. I’m available at random times due to other work and music interests.”
Admittedly, life modeling does have the attraction of paying you £12 to £15 an hour for really just sitting around, but then there are people such as Dominic, 21, who says he’s “interested in being a nude model more than making some extra cash”.
You can almost hear the eagerness as these would-be nude models dash off their vital statistics, height, weight, phone number and email. In my head I can hear Father Jack in the Father Ted sitcom thumping his chair and exultantly chanting “Nudie Father Jack!”
So who says the British are reserved? Well, financial organisations, actually. Because for all our desperation to let it all hang out, we are as shy as ever when it comes to stripping our finances bare. If not more so.
The mobile payments company Paym reported recently that more people know how many previous relationships their partner has had than their sort code and account number.
Certainly from my experiences of trying to get people to open up about their finances on TV or in print, I’ve felt as if I was asking them to do something disgusting and immoral. I should have just asked them to talk about their sex lives.
Just watch TV for a while and you’ll find that many people are happy to talk about every sexual partner and position they’ve had, to the point of tedium (have you seen The Jeremy Kyle Show?), but as soon as you ask them about the state of their bank account they tell you to “wash your mouth out with soap… how very dare you!”
Maybe that’s why the Money Advice Service reported that, in 2005, 9% of us couldn’t pick out the balance on our bank statements while, 10 years later, in 2015, a whopping 22% couldn’t do it.
Now, if we could just turn those spreadsheets into bedsheets maybe Brits would finally start to read them.