ASPECTS the Barest Necessities of Our Modern Way of Life; an Impromptu Striptease Is Considered a Light-Hearted and Relatively Inoffensive Way of Crossing the Boundaries of Acceptable Behaviour. Why Is Everyone Stripping off These Days? Ros Dodd Takes the Wraps off a Recent Phenomenon
Dodd, Ros, The Birmingham Post (England)
It elicits sniggers, blushes or condemnation and is invariably done for a bet, to raise money for charity or simply as a result of alcohol-fuelled high spirits.
Stripping off in public is becoming more commonplace by the day.
While we're just about used to big-bosomed streakers darting across sports pitches, the sight of someone prancing about semi-naked on an airport runway or pushing a trolley down a supermarket aisle in the altogether is another matter entirely.
This week it was revealed a British Airways stewardess shed her clothes on a runway after a losing a bet with a pilot.
To cheers and wolf whistles from airport staff, dark-haired Andrea O'Neill ran round a Boeing 737 wearing just her bra, knickers, luminous safety vest and the captain's hat.
The eye-popping stunt was a result of a wager with the pilot - that he couldn't land flight BA2614 from Gatwick to Genoa, Italy ahead of schedule.
When he did - by ten minutes - she kept her side of the bargain and discarded her uniform.
Yesterday, 31-year-old university-educated Andrea said she was just having "a bit of a giggle" and never imagined her "light-hearted joke" would create such interest.
"I never imagined things would get this far," she commented. "It was all a bit of fun, but I have to say I am more than a little embarrassed by the attention it has created."
She added: "I do hope I have not offended anybody by what was supposed to be a secret, light-hearted joke. We were having a bit of a giggle with the flight crew."
Certainly it doesn't appear the striptease caused serious offence (the passengers had already left the aircraft) but a similar display of risque behaviour in a Birmingham supermarket undoubtedly left scores of people feeling hot under the collar.
Roland Melhuish, 24, shopped in the nude at KwikSave in Moseley after a dare during a night out in the pub with friends.
Apparently, after taking one look at Roland, one woman shopper turned on her heel and said: "That reminds me, I must get some button mushrooms."
And barman Stephen Brighton removed all his clothes for a drunken bet at the races in Fontwell, West Sussex. The 28-year-old ran in front of a race in May 1995, was whipped by top jockey Richard Dunwoody and then knocked over by a horse. He managed to escape serious injury and was finally captured by the police.
A wager was also the reason behind a BBC religious affairs producer stripping down to her socks just before Christmas last year.
Abigail Saxon ran round a fashionable Manchester bar naked after a riotous office party - and landed herself in trouble with BBC executives.
The 34-year-old producer kept her job after intervention from Church of England leaders but still had to suffer the embarrassment of seeing her story splashed across the newspapers.
Such antics are viewed by those who indulge in them (and even those who don't) as a bit of harmless fun. The same attitude is presumably taken by people who wouldn't strip naked for a bet but are more than happy to bare all in public for charity.
A group of Midland men recently raised pounds 16,000 for a Birmingham hospital - by compiling a Full Monty-style calendar.
The male strippers, ranging from farmers and pub regulars to cricketers and Round Table members, shed their inhibitions in aid of the burns unit at Selly Oak Hospital after five-year-old Rachel Jones from Staffordshire suffered 40 per cent burns when a candle ignited her clothing.
Members of a Yorkshire branch of the Women's Institute also recently posed for a calendar in various states of undress to raise money for charity. …