Watching a very shiny looking American man discussing experience of becoming a naked cleaner and the bizarre encounters this led to – in front of a small set dressed as a particularly kitsch living room, in an anonymous and intimate media office off Old Street. Just your average Friday night.
Ethan Mechare is a TV presenter (MTV, VH1, TNT) and actor, originally from LA, who has devised a one-man ‘immersive’ show packed with humour and jaw dropping anecdotes – about his experiences as naked cleaner here in the UK. The show aims to open up discussion about fantasy and desire and encourage people to be less inhibited and uptight about such things.
The old-fashioned euphemism for homosexual – ‘flamboyant’, seems particularly apt for Ethan; who has that kind of super-friendly slick charm that only American’s can have, combined with a knowing self-deprecating humour that is more typically English.
The show begins with Ethan describing how he came to be a naked cleaner – his obsession with Oprah Winfrey and how inspired by the wisdom imparted by the talk show host in her monthly magazine (I never knew she had one) – he decided to put a mood board together to help him figure out what his true calling in life was.
The images in his collage led him to the conclusion that – as he loved both being naked and cleaning – he should perhaps combine the two. And hence so he did.
Except Ethan soon found that being a naked cleaner – perhaps unsurprisingly (although somehow it seemed a surprise to him), quickly led his clients to wanting more than just having the dirt and dust from their furniture. But, as he enjoyed the attention and it paid, he thought why not?
Meanwhile, Ethan’s lack of shame and tongue -in-cheek, matter-of-fact attitude towards all this is very refreshing. No-one got hurt and there was a mutual exchange (so to speak) – everyone wins I guess you could say.
The main body of the show consisted of Ethan recounting several particularly fascinating and amusing stories about some of his clients (he later drops it in with self-mocking candor that no-one ever hired him more than once)
These included the ageing Essex ‘geezer’ whose wife had just died and who wanted to have sex with Ethan in his grown-up sons’ former bedroom – and who then subsequently also invited his male-model-eque looking ‘mate’ round to join in. The mind boggles.
This leads Ethan to ponder the question – had this guy spent most of his life harboring these desires while living a ‘respectable’ married life, or had grief made him suddenly feel the urge to go wild and try new things? And, how many people deny or hide their real sexual desires out of a sense of shame – depriving themselves of the chance to enjoy life to the full?
Then there was the ex-soldier down in Surrey with one leg (a Prince Harry lookalike apparently) who wanted to watch Ethan clean naked on his hands and knees, while he simultaneously also invite another guy around and got it on with him. I mean it all goes on in suburbia doesn’t it? If only we could see behind closed doors – or maybe not.
Ethan discussed the differences between British and American approaches to sexuality and asked the audience (he made it clear at the start of the show that he was keen for audience participation) – if perhaps his fellow countrymen were more upfront about their desires, while here we seem to prefer them more hidden and mysterious?
In the nicest possible way, despite talking about how much he loves exhibition and masturbation, Ethan comes across as curiously a little sexless – perhaps more like a younger, leaner, cuter, Graham Norton than a hunky sex god.
He’s an engaging character though, and while seemingly great lighthearted fun, ‘Coming Clean’ also throws up a few thought-provoking questions.
If you’re hoping for nudity you will be mostly disappointed – the show is more camp than titillation – but *spoiler you may get a little surprise at the end.
Coming Clean will run at various venues (homes, pubs, shops, cafes across the UK) from 6 April to 9 June (including The Glory, London 7 – 9 June). Tickets available at http://comingcleantheshow.com/tickets/
Do you think there are differences in the way Americans and Brits express sexual desire? Let us know on Twitter using @GayBoyBible