Too tired for spring-cleaning? Then call in the scantily clad Men In Gs - domestic help in a posing pouch. The List discovers
the bare essentials about household chores. Words: Stephen Naysmith Photographs: Creative Photography
LIKE MOST MEN. 1 think of cleaning as. well. not my forte. And. though I can assure you my rates would be most reasonable. no- one has offered to pay me to take my clothes off. So what am I doing standing in a complete stranger‘s flat. wearing a G-string. washing up to The Full Monty soundtrack?
I’ve gatecrashed an early assignment of ‘Men in Gs‘. the brainchild of New Zealander Julie Cardinal. She came to Edinburgh and wondered why on earth nobody was offering men in thongs to come round and do the hoovering at modest prices. Why indeed? If ever there was a gap in the market this is surely it — this kind of thing is very big in New Zealand. apparently. Bigger than I feel. anyway. standing exposed in a foreign bathroom with only a piece of purple silk between me and hypothermia. Can anyone lend me a sock?
Our mission is one any cleaner would dread. A student flat. post- party. Zena is 21 today. and her flatmates plan to follow up last night‘s celebrations with some hangover-tackling entertainment. A few bottles of wine shared with pals. while a bunch of guys in the buff tidy up.
Jason and Julian are two of nearly a dozen Aussie and Kiwi ex-pats who have signed up
Going for a thong: Julian and Jason of Men In Gs
it; < 20 rucusr 20 Mar-2 Apr 1998
I don't know where to put myself. I feel particularly exposed from the back, but washing up side-on to the sink is fiendisth difficult.
for Julie‘s scheme. Both are from Melbourne and they are at ease with the idea of a little Robert Carlyle-style entertainment for bored housewives. students. even gay men. I. on the other hand. am as nervous as John Prescott at an anarchists‘ reunion. On my way up Cockburn Street I am sorely tempted to opt out of the whole endeavour and into one of the inviting pubs with their warm. fully clothed glow.
‘lt‘s a doddle.‘ Jason says in an encouraging Aussie twang. ‘The women get to
crack open a bottle of wine and sit on the couch and have a perv. Why not? They're paying for it.‘
It‘s £40 for one be-G-stringed cleaner for about one hour. since you are asking. Tonight. thanks to The List, the girls are getting three for the pricevof two. Crikey. it‘s just like Boots.
‘They‘ll say things like. “Just bend down and clean under there will you'."‘.‘ Jason elaborates. Unlike me. he‘s not worried about his physique matching up. ‘lt doesn‘t matter. What you see is what you get.‘
A Post-It note at the close door reads: ‘Guys — it‘s the top buzzer (you know what I mean) . . .‘ Inside. we get down to business. as Hot Chocolate‘s ‘You Sexy Thing‘ booms out of the stereo. It doesn‘t feel very apt. I don‘t know where to put myself. I feel particularly exposed from the back. but washing up side- on to the sink is fiendishly difficult. Zena. meanwhile. is warming to the idea of her birthday present. arranged by ﬂatmate Rachel.
‘Rachel’s my best mate. and she‘s going to get battered.’ she warns. Jodie. Penny. Lindsay and Alexis join the party. with Jason and Julian answering the door and fielding phone calls with a cheerful ‘Men in Gs — can I help you?‘.
Jodie‘s boyfriend rings. Twice. ‘He was coming round but now he‘s not going to bother. He said. “I do trust you Jodie“.‘ she adds. ‘lt wasn‘t very convincing.‘
Jason hoovers the hall. while Julian tackles the bathroom. l‘m cleaning the hob when I notice ajug full of intimidatineg murky liquid. ‘lt‘s sunflower oil from deep frying.‘ explains Rachel. ‘lt seems a waste not to use it again.‘
Use it again? Dear (iod. Then 1 spot a brown portable radio cassette player. It must have been dumped in the jug three weeks ago. Then sprinkled in breadcrumbs. I clean it and it isn‘t brown. it‘s white.
But something strange has happened. Jason said you forget your state of undress very quickly. and it‘s true. I‘m suddenly very comfortable in my (i—string. The women are at case too and as the wine ﬂows. the party is in full swing.
So what do they think of Men in (is? ‘I think you‘re amazing. absolutely amazing.‘ Zena gushes to Jason. But I wouldn‘t class any of us as Chippendales — does that matter? No. they insist. ‘Yon get bored of that.‘ says Rachel. ‘We‘d seen their picture in the papers. so we knew what to expect.‘
She is surprised we aren‘t more nervous. but that is what seems to work about this set- up. Cleaning is such a routine business that it defuses the embarrassment on both sides. ‘lt‘s a bizarre situation.‘ Rachel argues. ‘Men you don‘t know. nearly naked. cleaning. That‘s what we‘re laughing at — not you.‘
I‘m relieved to hear it. But it strikes me there‘s a teeny bit of hypocrisy in the air here. What would they do if a boyfriend got scantily clad women in for the night? ‘l‘d be angry with him.‘ Jodie admits. ‘But it's different. You‘ve got all your bits covered. We‘re not ogling you. just having a laugh.‘
‘lt‘s nicer to say. "we‘re just having a gtty round to do the cleaning“.‘ adds Zena. who by now is very much the worse for wear. ‘l‘m worried about you though.‘ she adds. ‘What if you have nasty people to go to who aren‘t like us? Like a woman on her own. That might be frightening — a woman on her own with a dog.‘ she declares cryptically.
Then she brightens up. ‘I feel like a woman now. When you are a teenager. you just drink too much and throw up. but when you are 2|. you drink wine and get strippers!‘
Around us. the flat has been transformed. I‘m quite proud. having not bottled out of this unusual journalistic assignment. My pride is short-lived. ‘I know you‘re dedicated. but go and put your clothes back on.‘ Zena says. crushingly.
For information about Men In Gs. call 0131 4661417.