Annemarie Quill: Rudely spoiling an appetite

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Food porn has taken on a whole new meaning.

A restaurant that allows guests to dine naked is set to open in London in June, NZME reported.

The restaurant, called The Bunyadi, says on in its website that diners will be able to "revisit the beginning where everything was fresh, free and unadulterated from the trappings of modern life."

The menu will focus on natural food with fresh ingredients, and no artificial flavours or chemicals. Guests can expect wood-flame grilled meals served on handmade clay crockery, along with - bizarrely - cutlery that you can eat. So no worries about how to hold the fork.

Technology is banned, which means you will be safe at least from anyone taking a sneaky photo from under the table.

It is a pop-up eatery, planned to open for just a few months.

Its popularity could make it a lasting institution - there are more than 28,000 registered on the waiting list.

The mind boggles that there would be so many people keen to buffet in the buff.

News of the restaurant was greeted with predictable mirth on social media. One poster commented it would not be suitable for those "allergic to nuts". Another quipped about finding a hair in the soup. Some worried about the spilling of hot sauce on to one's lap. Others speculated about the cleanliness of naked butts on seats, particularly in respect to farting (in fact the restaurant provides you with a gown to fold on the seat). Anyway, who farts at the dinner table?

I was surprised to learn there is actually etiquette to dining nude. Bon Appetit magazine has published "Nine Rules for Naked Dining".

These include avoiding the hazards of a hot barbecue - "be careful around the weenie roast"; maintaining eye contact and not staring at people's bodies; sitting up straight, not just because it is good dining etiquette anyway to have good posture at the table but in naked dining in particular, or when on a "nakation" sitting up straight is important to avoid "a silhouette that is less attractive than if you have clothes on".

And lastly, naked dining etiquette requires that you be careful when you are reaching for the salt and pepper:

"Don't reach ... Nude or naturist dining requires a greater margin of co-ordination and control. Without a bra, and with a well-endowed chest, reaching - even a little - may result in your breasts in the marinara sauce."

Apart from the dangers of your bits dangling in the gravy, is dining naked a good idea?

Even presuming you are intimately acquainted with those on your own table, the thought of eating with a bunch of strangers in the nude is not very appetising to me.

When restaurants are trying to constantly reinvent and differentiate themselves in a competitive market, you have to hand it to Bonyardi's owners for coming up with something unique. But being nude in a public place just doesn't feel quite right.

I once had a neighbour, who has since shifted from his house, send us a welcome card. I popped over with the kids to introduce ourselves. He was sunbathing on a lounger in the garden. As I was talking to him, my girls were sniggering away and I had to give them a few stern looks to hush. When we exited his driveway they collapsed with laughter and I asked why they were being so rude: "OMG, Mum, did you not notice he was naked?"

I hadn't had my glasses on so no I hadn't noticed. The next day when I saw him (fully clothed) at the dairy, he told me that he liked to do a spot of naked sunbathing and he thought it was great that it obviously didn't seem to bother me. It seemed churlish to say that it did.

We got so accustomed to the sight of his naked butt mowing his lawn with nothing but a Masport and Nikes, we became blase about the man doing his jobs in the nude.

When visitors asked incredulously, "Is that man over the road naked?"

The kids used to reply nonchalantly, "Oh yeah he likes to garden naked."

Doing your weeding starkers is one thing, but more public displays of nakedness are questionable. I don't agree with nudism on beaches. It is not that it really offends me, but more I just don't really want to see other people's naked bodies.

Unless you have the body of Elle Macpherson, almost always clothes make people look better.

People can argue till they are blue in the nether regions that the body is a natural, beautiful thing, but some aspects of reality just need a bit of dressing up to swallow.

Consider how that pack of pale flaccid sausages looks so unappealing in the fridge, but sizzle them on the barbie, pop them in a fresh roll with some mustard and ketchup and people will be queuing to take a bite.

Similarly put a fabulous outfit on someone and they are immediately transformed.

To me there is nothing beautiful about looking at strangers' folds and creases, hairy portions and sagging breasts. It is enough to put me off my lunch.

I told my kids about the naked restaurant. They too thought it was pretty bizarre, with my youngest most concerned about how the people got there.

Did you just stroll down the street naked, and if anyone looked, just explain, "Oh don't mind me, I am just off to that new naked restaurant".

My oldest just said, "But why would you want to be naked in front of other people?"

Given that everyone presumably would be going to the restaurant of their own free choice then if that is what whets their appetite, each to their own.

Still, it may attract voyeurs and exhibitionists; people more interested in a bit on the side than a side salad.

Living in society dictates that we comply by general norms and rules. Wearing clothes in public is normal. It keeps you warm. You can slouch away to your stomach's content with all your rolls hidden by something that makes you look amazing. You don't have to worry about spilling chili on your willy or setting your pubic hair alight with your B52.

There may be 28,000 people hungry for the experience. But don't invite me to come dine with you.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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