At my WI we like to liven things up a bit, teach our members new skills that they might otherwise not learn. Not for us a dry talk on the lesser spotted bastard of Salisbury Plain (or should that read 'bustard'?) or 101 ways with Great Aunt Matilda's hat. So for our first meeting of the new year we decided to have a go at Life Drawing, a new artistic endeavour for most of us and to be honest, the only way we could think of to get a naked man to come to our meeting. Strangely enough, the idea of a naked woman was never even suggested.
An art teacher was sourced and booked. She offered us her models who we managed to ascertain was about 60 and had a beard. Now, I've nothing against beards but if I was going to turn out on a winter's night it would need to be for something slightly more aethetically pleasing than a hirsute pensioner so we set about finding our own model. The advantage of living in (or at least near) a garrison town is that we have more than our fair share of fit young men and so it was in that direction that we cast our net. A well placed word in the ear of one of the commanding officers and two suitable candidates were procured. I suggested a panel interview so we could assess their relative 'merits' but this was deemed a bit too pervy, so in the end we relied on the wisdom of our Prez to decide which one we chose.
In the end we went for the lovely Graham, a tall, very game Scottish soldier who had 'a lovely body to draw' according to someone who actually went for the art... go figure! Originally we'd discussed only partial nudity, we'd let him keep his boxers on, but then, thinking it would probably be better for drawing (yeah really!) we decided on full nudity. The news was broken to Graham. We hoped that, having faced the Taliban, albeit fully clothed, the prospect of getting his kecks off in front of a full village hall of women would be only marginally more frightening. I did also check that he understood that we are a young WI so it wouldn't be a room full of matronly women but more likely of a similar age to him Ok, well I might be flattering myself a bit there.
The evening arrived. It was the coldest night of the year, well below freezing but, dear Reader, if you want a sure fire way to get women away from the TV and the central heating on a winter's night, the answer is, sadly, a naked man. There were twice as many people at the meeting as we would normally have.
We set a 'stage' up for Graham who hung around nervously watching us all file in. We plied the women with alcohol but not, sadly, poor Graham, who's the only one who probably needed a stiff drink. He seemed to be edging closer to the door. I warned The Prez that he might bolt. Maybe the taliban was preferable? Our art teacher suggested that he was already naked when everyone arrived to avoid a 'ta dah' moment when he took his dressing gown off but, to be honest, a naked man lounging around while we were all signing in and buying raffle tickets would probably have been even more weird than it eventually was.
I think it's fair to say that he was probably the first naked man I've seen since meeting The Husband over 20 years ago, well, apart from one ill-fated Hen Night at a rugby club where a male stripper left me with a mild case of PTSD. I don't know what I expected, I don't know what he expected. I thought he'd be lying around, artfully draped in the white linen sheet I'd bought along. What I didn't expect was to turn round from fiddling (quiet at the back!) with the heater we'd brought along to keep him warm, to find him standing there, stark naked in a Usain Bolt-esque pose. And my goodness, he had an extremely large............. tattoo on his back! I sort of squeaked and jumped. I guess you can take the girl out of Tunbridge Wells but you can't take Tunbridge Wells out of the girl.
He had to hold the pose for 10 minutes then change to another one while we tried out different, and in my case equally useless, drawing styles. I was only glad that I was sitting to one side so I didn't have to study his manhood in order to recreate it on the page. That said though, I think he'd be delighted at the proportions bestowed upon him by some of our artists. Mind you, this was before we'd been taught how to measure properly.
There was a little bit of sniggering from some people - you know who you are - and whether or not we created anything of any worth is debatable, but we had a great evening. Graham was a real sport, Mrs Graham was very good to lend us her naked husband for an evening and God knows what will happen the next time any of us run into him in Morrisons. And quite what the village hall committee would make of a naked man sitting on their prized fabric chairs, who knows, but now at least we now all know what a Scotsman keeps up his kilt.