The Naked truth

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 4 May 2011

How do I feel now?

Every time I think about it I go hot.

I've eaten a whole packet of biscuits, a bowl of red hot veg, an avocado and some strawberries to try and still my fevered brow but to no avail.

At 62 years of age leaving my knickers on the floor of a snooker room in Dean Street seems a little careless don't you think? But let me tell you why they were lying there in the first place.

On Monday 11th of March I went into Groucho's to try and blag a cuppa for my friend.

Bernie, the head honcho, saw me and screamed:

'Would you pose naked for me?'

Grabbed my arm and took me down to the Ladies Lavatory, frightened Mandy in the cubicle, showed me a set of pictures of naked men on the walls and told me they were posing in the buff for an autistic calender.

He was setting up a shoot for women would I be one of them....As a supporter of anything to do with autism

How could I refuse?

Bernie offered me the perk of the club how could I say no?

This morning I meditated.

It didn't help - well it did for a bit...

Then I went to the square to buy four lemons. Found myself in Bennetts and ordered eggy bread with maple syrup plus two rashers of crispy bacon not to mention a flat top cappuccino.

Shirley joined me and we talked about life and art.

Walked to the park and met Tara with her little whippet, she complained that I wasn't on LBC anymore and we hugged.

Went back to the flat and meditated again. It didn't help - well maybe a little bit more - put on a face pack, shaved, whitened and bleached bits, had a big foamy bath, did my makeup and left at 3.00

Took the 19 bus which stopped for a long time on Beaufort Street, then another long time on Sloane Street. By the time we had got to Shafstbury Avenue it was 16.27.

I had three minutes to get to my disrobing.

Arrived in Dean Street bang on time. Rhys Ifans was on the phone and Bernie met me, took me up one flight of stairs and through a door. A big green baize snooker table stood in the middle of an otherwise empty room. Johnny Depps hairdresser, a delightful West Londoner with two strips of gold on his front teeth and big hair under a woollen hat did my hair. A girl from Bradford, wearing a coat because she was cold ( and I was about to strip off ) brought me a glass of water - all that bacon - then a tall Italian photographer with an umbrella and tripod handed me a white bathrobe.

I dropped my dungarees and slipped on the robe. My heart was pounding. I thought there might be some kind of prop to hide behind. A saucepan? A bunch of flowers? A kitchen dresser with several large double 'D' cups or plates. But there was only the Italian his tripod, umbrella and camera and a set of cues a snooker table and a handful of balls - of which I had run out of.

I needed the loo. Who wouldn't? Went down some stairs, across a big room, through a door and into a ladies cloakroom. Took off my undergarment and looked at myself in a full length mirror.

WHAT THE BLOODY HELL WAS I DOING. WHAT RIGHT DID I HAVE TO THINK I COULD TAKE MY CLOTHES OFF IN FRONT OF AN ITALIAN, RASTAFARIAN AND NORTHERN LASS AT MY TIME OF LIFE?

I slipped out of the Ladies, across the room up the stairs and before I fainted took my place against the wall.

I had seen some of the pictures of the other two women. They were slim, one was pregnant, they had Brazilians and no stretch marks. I have a full Balham and a body that bares the weight of 62 years of bad, okay good, living.

How I managed to slip out of the bath robe is beyond me. How I managed to pretend that I was Christine Keeler on the chair is beyond me. I felt more like Christine Keeler on tenterhooks. How I managed to smile and simper, laugh and pose is totally beyond me. Every time I think about it I blush, cringe, sweat and hang my head with embarrassment. The sight of my off white drawers lying on my dungarees, all lonely and forlorn at the foot of the snooker table will live with me forever.

I had my picture taken in the snooker room of The Groucho Club for charity, that is a good thing. When Andrea the photographer called me darling, in his Italian accent, and told me to stop mucking around and push my bum out, when Andrea, the Italian photographer, asked me to hold my bazookers and look sexy I tried to magic a whole in the floor to swallow me up. When a stalker tried to get into the snooker room my only thought was if he took one look at my naked derrier he would never stalk again. Not even the thought of the snooker balls, the pockets, the cues or even Judd Trump could take away my discomfort.

I painted my toe nails red before I left the flat, something to hold onto literally. There is a series of poses of me holding my feet.

WHAT!!!!

A series of me holding a cue.

WHAT!!!

A series of me holding my....

ENOUGH ALREADY!!!

I don't know how long the session lasted but when it concluded the hairdresser looked at me again, he had kindly averted his eyes for the duration of the shoot.

I went to the Members bar and Bernie gave me a double brandy. The Barry turned up, as my witness, and has agreed to choose five of the best shots. I don't think I will be able to look at myself in the face again, or the belly or the bum or the cheeks for that matter.

Today, you would have thought it would be the most liberating thing of my life but it turned out to be one of the scariest things I have ever done.

Its only a body, but its my body.

Whats the big deal? Of course it's all to do with my relationship to my physical self. Maybe it has helped to lay some ghosts, demons, who knows, but if my naked body can sell calenders to help out the Autistic Society then I have done my job.

But if I am slamdunked into a lavatory again and asked to pose naked for another charity then I will have to think again, because on reflection I think I'd rather eat my own liver.

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

Comments

1. At May 5, 2011 1:14 AM christian dion wrote:

HA HA HA..
I am on the floor crying, with laughter CXXX

2. At May 5, 2011 3:44 PM Lindy Fleetwood wrote:

All I am going to say is WELL DONE GIRL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xxhugxx

3. At May 6, 2011 2:26 AM Fee wrote:

You're either very mad or very brave. Or both.

xxxxx
Fee

4. At May 6, 2011 8:11 AM Rhianon wrote:

Mad as a box of frogs, Jeni. Loved it, though! God gave you the body, kid. Up to you who you show it to!
You're right, L.V., herbs are powerfully healing because they naturaly contain the substances needed. They take time to work, yeah, but they work better in the long run than many chemicals for a lot of ailments. But being a baptist I see it as Gods medicine cabinet for us. If we're daft enough to turn away from it, well, serves us right!
Bit preachy, this comment, but you know what I mean. Love and peace to all.
Rhianon.

5. At May 6, 2011 4:23 PM Elaine wrote:

Jennifer Joy. What....were...you...thinking?

6. At May 6, 2011 4:44 PM LV wrote:

YES Rhianon i know what you mean, and your quite right too.
Now i need a cup of Passiflora to get over the details of your nude photo sessions Jeni. If that was me i would have been furious at the lack of props!! Are you absolutely sure it was for a calendar for Autism?? Even the most slim of us couldn't hide behind a snooker cue and a few balls. I'm not short of ideas for where i would have put them though......
In the Love and Light of it all, LV
...


7. At May 22, 2011 12:00 PM Tracie harp wrote:

Just hilarious! Made me smile for ages. Good for you ha x

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