“I shave anyway. I don’t think cleaning with a jungle down there would be very hygienic.”
Alia is an employee of Naturist Cleaners – a nude cleaning firm set-up by 30-something Laura Smith several months ago.
However, it was only last month the company gained nation-wide media attention when it posted this Facebook notice:
The company, based in London, currently has around 70 cleaners on their books working across the UK, with Manchester being the latest city it’s expanding to.
Once a potential client makes an initial inquiry, they are asked about their specific requirements for the cleaner, mainly body shape, age and if tattoos are okay.
Next, the potential customer is emailed a selection of girls available in the area (faces covered with the company logo). The girl’s age and size are included in text at the bottom of each image with cleaners of all shapes and sizes, from a Sports Illustrated cover star to a school dinner lady.
The agency charges £65 for the first hour and £55 for each following hour with the cleaner pocketing £45 for each hour.
From a line-up of six available women, I booked 25-year-old Alia, size eight, for two hours. From a photo taken in a full-length mirror, clothes strewn on the floor around her, she had porcelain white skin, brown hair past her backside and the body of an avatar.
Laura told me it would be the first time for both of us.
Alia arrived. We made our way to the dining room.
Laura had been quick to mention that the girl must be paid before starting. After handing over the money I began to give a list of place to clean. Mid-way through ‘just give the skirting boards a once over…” Alia began undressing.
By the time I’d finished the instructions, she was standing on the other side of the table looking like a stripped Ophelia. Her clothes were now on top of a fruit bowl and her knickers and bra casually hanging from the back of a chair.
I looked down at myself then mumbled: “What’s the score here?” To which Alia replied: “I assumed the client would be naked too.”
I stripped which left us staring at each other over the fruit bowl in silence, like a Shia LaBeouf art installation. I put the kettle on then helped Alia with the Dyson Cinetic Big Ball up the stairs.
Naturist Cleaners attempts to keep their staff safe by using a telephone system. The cleaner must call Laura once they have arrived to confirm everything is okay. Throughout the service Laura makes regular 30-minute check-ins via phone calls.
If no-one answers then after a certain time, the police are notified. The first is constantly refining their safety procedures.
As Alia cleaned, I stood, leaning naked against a wall, asking her questions. Alia said:
“Right now, I’m on minimum wage and the pay was too good to refuse. My parents are neo-Pagans so I grew up around adults not wearing anything. Lots of naked rituals in the garden.”
Yet it’s hard to tell if the company is pushing a truly humanistic, hippy message devoid of any sexual intent.
While Alia stretched her 5′ 9″ frame over the bath I struggled to see how this service has purely aesthetic foundations.
Even the most enlightened naturists wouldn’t find themselves in such a scenario remarking: “Your form is reminiscent of Alexandros of Antioch’s Venus de Milo with hints of Rodin’s Danae.”
I asked Alia is she was concerned about the sexual element to cleaning nude, in particular that of a nude man getting noticeably ‘excited’ watching her clean.
“A client can masturbate if they want, it’s their house. I’d find it kind of flattering – and as long as they don’t touch it’s fine. But I’d want a tip. Not like £2.50.
If a guy asked for sex I would tell him this isn’t something we offer. I wouldn’t be good at that anyway. It would be a waste of his money. There are escorts out there who could do that.”
Alia also talks about what she calls “customisations” or specific requirements from clients. Some that she’s expecting include no body hair, hair tied in a certain manner or wearing sexy underwear.
She’d be happy to oblige but at the same time she’d remind them this is not a sexual service.
For those of us who aren’t dyed in the wool nudists, there is an undeniably perverted element to selecting a body shape from a line-up, even more so when you’re watching that choice scrub your hob or mop your tiles.
Alia moved round the house from bathroom to bedroom and, while waxing a leather chair, told me:
“If a client wants me to clean in a particular position so he can see more, something a little bit sexy, that’s fine.”
She looked down at her chest, grabbed her breasts and said: “But there’s not much to look at here.”
According to a 2011 Ipsos MORI opinion poll, six per cent (around 3.7 million of the UK population) identified as being naturists/nudists.
The British Naturism Society has over 9,000 registered members and Commercial Manager Andrew Welch said of Naturist Cleaners:
“This is not naturism. If you’re doing a job, the job is the most important thing. What you wear is secondary. And what this is doing is putting the lack of clothing as the focus.
“One does wonder about the motivation of somebody that would say come and clean my house but I’d prefer it if you had no clothes on.
“It just seems odd to add something rather unnecessary. You wonder what [the company] is really all about. If they called themselves nude cleaners that’s fine. It’s this whole naturism tag.
Why didn’t [Laura] come to us first? Actually being able to pick a girl says it all really. Her hoovering may be awful but she’s got great legs.”
But Welch defended concerns of sexual assaults saying: “We make an assumption in this country far too often that somebody without clothes on is more vulnerable than someone dressed. Anyone, man or woman, who enters a stranger’s house is putting themselves at risk.”
During a follow-up conversation with Laura I asked about the underlying sexual element to the set-up and she was emphatic in saying that the company is not an escorting service.
“We would avoid any client that thinks it’s a sexual service, anyone who isn’t a genuine naturist. It is a little bit erotic and sexual but it is strictly a cleaning service and that’s what we say to our clients.
“We have clients that are couples, females, families and we have males.”
Laura is committed to putting checks in place to prevent any potential client from picking a cleaner based solely on her body. In the future, potential clients will pick by age and size alone minus any image.
This isn’t just about making money for us. If this was a sexual thing the girls would be at more risk and sooner or later something would happen and we’d have to close down. We don’t want that.
In the case of Alia and tips for extras, Laura assures me this would soon stop as ‘we have regular trusted clients that we could send any questionable cleaners to who would report back to us if there was anything underhanded going on’.
Back in my house and with time left to spare Alia and I sat watching Bargain Hunt sipping on herbal tea: her at one end of the couch, myself at the other.
I felt a mixture of liberation, excitement, embarrassment and self-confidence, feelings not too dissimilar to just before a sexual encounter.