I’m wearing the lightest cotton dress and fanning myself while waiting for the show to start. The audience is packed to capacity, hot and impatient.
Finally, the lights dim and the women walk on stage. They’re dressed in silk kimonos and high heels. Standing at the front they look us in the eye and slowly drop their clothing.
Charlie French. Miss Oh. Eva Bee. And Penny Wise
If it’s possible, the temperature in the audience rises by another ten degrees.
The women are all naked.
And we are all extremely jealous. Not because they’re beautiful, which they are, but because we want to slip our clothes off too. This heatwave, you know.
The only props the girls have are books.
One by one they sit down and begin to read.
Watching naked women reading is mesmerising. I don’t know why. They didn’t behave in a sexy manner and they weren’t overtly provocative. They just sat, legs crossed, confidently and comfortably, and read.
The stories were erotic, funny, feminist and even frightening, ranging from Kitchen Confidential to Dear Miss Manners and including one about a boy who got his penis caught in a pool filter! Each story an inciteful anecdote that got us revved up, laughing, thinking and crying.
Also, a bit turned on.
My favorite was an extract from a speech that actress Amy Schumer gave at the Glamour awards
If you’ve lost your self-esteem, find it.
Stop apologising for who you are.
Love the skin that you’re in.
Be beautiful, vulnerable and fucking hilarious.
And most importantly, be you.
And that is exactly what these women were. Each was herself. No apologies for any dimples or cellulite. No apologies for breasts that were a 44D or 32A. No apologies needed. They were all perfect in their own strong, sensual way.
They were themselves and their confidence shone through. It is what made them beautiful.
Somebody asked if I would have been at the reading if the women were not naked. A good question because I am not sure of the answer.
But I know that I seriously loved being read to. And I would definitely go again.
Pic credits: Anya Kovacs, DarkLight Photography, Ty Campbell Barnes