Sunday, January 14, 2007


It takes a certain kind of person to take their clothes off in public, in front of a bunch of strangers. For money.

And then, it takes a whole different kind of person to take their clothes off in public, in front of their friends (the ones they will have to make eye contact with again under sober circumstances). For free.

And enjoy it.

In my defense, I will say it was for a friend’s birthday. I was a little drunk. And there were a group of us taking our clothes off – maybe not all off, nor with as much wild abandon – but we were definitely egging each other on. So what can I say, safety in numbers.

Or so I tell myself.

The thing is, I love being naked. I love the frankness of nudity, the lack of guile, the insouciance of being able to say to the world at large here-I-am-and-here-are-my-jiggly-bits. (Note: I do try to keep in okay shape generally, just so it’s not too much of an imposition if there’s an audience involved.)

I sleep naked, I do the dishes naked, I blog naked and if I could go out naked (save a pair of Fendi boots, in case the temperature drops), I would.

It is the purest of pleasures to feel my body interact with the atoms around it – my tiny body-hairs bristling against the cold, my malleable bottom negotiating a wooden stool, my arm coming to blows with an unexpected corner, leaving a stain.

It feels authentic, elemental, natural. Like I am having a conversation with the universe.

I suppose some part of this philosophy translates into a fierce aversion to all things underwear. I don’t understand the need for tights, pantyhose or pieces of string obstructing the flow of air to vital body parts that need to stay fresh and spontaneous. Who knows when or where I might desire a quick poke? Or a surreptitious wank? Or just a bracing gust of wind between my cheeks, for that matter.

It’s a compromise really, but my reasoning is this: if I have to wear clothes for the sake of everyone else’s sanity, I will be as naked as possible underneath them. For myself.

Granted, I would freeze my arse off – literally – in a city that had a real winter i.e. Chicago, New York, London, Tokyo. But thankfully, here in Hong Kong everyone just likes to pretend. So they can wear minks. And eat cake. And sniff in disdain at those of us who wear cardigans from Giordano.

I was not always such a self-actualised naturist. I grew up with the typical brand of Singaporean propriety forced down my throat. My BeeDees bras were cotton, my uniforms below the knee, my buttons done up to my collarbone. Nudity was shameful and my dad would berate my mom frequently for just walking to the kitchen to get a drink in her t-shirt and underwear.

What will the children think, he would scold.

Of course, all my brother and I thought was, oh there’s Mom in her t-shirt and underwear getting a drink. My parents were about 15 years into their marriage at that point so Mom’s underwear didn’t quite consist of a blood-red garter and an Agent Provocateur thong, if you know what I mean.

Anyway the risk of censure didn’t stop me from rolling myself up in a carpet without a stitch when I was ten or regularly kicking off my pyjama bottoms in the middle of the night when I was twelve or once, standing outside in a storm until my clothes soaked through and stuck to me like a second skin.

But it took years of active defiance to get over all that social conditioning. And I can’t say I’ve looked back since.

Which brings us to a neon-lighted stage in an undisclosed Wanchai location with my tits hanging out, I suppose. It’s a slow night. We have the bar to ourselves, save the mamasan and a few working girls, who are all avidly watching or participating anyway. My Brazilian Girls CD is playing and I’m watching another friend en deshabille spanking one of the bargirls with a star-shaped riding crop.

We’re all laughing. The liberal vodka shots have just begun to hit, we’re flushed, we can barely walk straight, we’re happy and now, we’re best of friends.

Funny how a bit of tits and arse will do that for people.