Strippagrams are a bare-faced cheek: In a restaurant or at a party, the atmosphere is suddenly ruined. Andrea Adams objects

UNLIKE Lucky, the alsatian reported to have wagged his tail in delight when a curvy blonde stripped down to sexy undies for his birthday treat, I am still reeling with a sense of outrage after my first exposure to somebody else's strippagram. What I object to most is being compromised.

It happened at the end of a busy week, in the quiet, relaxed atmosphere of a classy rural restaurant. Half-way through our main course, what I came to regard as a human appetite suppressant sidled into the midst of six men at a nearby table, raising their glasses to 'a happy retirement'. During an otherwise enjoyable dish of hot, sauce-covered salmon, I was confronted by the distinctly distasteful sight of a complete stranger suddenly being stripped to the waist, his flabby paunch rising in anticipation, as the strippagram 'nurse' in attendance urged him to lick his way through the foam liberally masking her mammaries.

I could feel the anger rising in my throat. How dare this restaurant assume that everyone else would want to witness these ridiculous antics without any prior warning? It's not that I'm a prude. When rampant sex scenes tumble into our sitting-room via the small screen, far from diving for the off-button, I often make them a constructive talking point with my two teenagers. Topless sunbathing, given the right place, is a pleasure. Years ago, occasional evenings out with an older friend were interrupted while she stripped to a G-string and gyrated round the audience at a club dance.

The thread linking all these activities is choice. Choice was clearly not regarded as important enough to place on the menu at that rural restaurant. Had the ubiquitous camcorder cut away to the rest of the dining room, it would have captured a look of general discomfort. It would also have revealed the visible pressure the man with the paunch was under to participate in front of his peers.

His retirement video could have zoomed in on the embarrassed glances being exchanged between one young couple, who let go of each other's hands the moment they were faced with expanses of bare flesh over their paillettes d'oignons frits. It could have picked up two women debating whether to leave the room in protest, thereby ruining their own evening. It could have captured our joint astonishment that in a recession, a restaurant of this calibre could afford potential damage to its reputation.

I later wrote to the proprietors, asking them to consider the impact an event like this might have. When there was no reply after two weeks, I telephoned. This was the crux of the conversation:

'I can assure you this sort of thing won't happen again.'

'But why did you allow it to happen at all?

'We didn't know it was going to happen until the day.'

'But why inflict a strippagram on everyone else?'

'We offered them a private room, but they didn't want to be away from the main dining area.'

'So they were given choice and the rest of us weren't?'

'Well, the man retiring is a good customer.'

'So sod the rest of us, it seems.'

'We had no idea it would offend anyone.'

Licensees and restaurateurs, please note. Take Jane, for example, a solicitor's wife who was reduced to tears at an office Christmas party when 'sex was practically rammed down her husband's throat' during the main course. Diners, including 10- and 11- year-olds, had no choice but to witness the 'fat, ugly French maid' advancing towards him with foamy breasts ready to envelop her prey.

Andy, a 21-year-old photographer, 'hated the experience' when a 20- stone topless strippagram revealed herself to him in another crowded restaurant. Still angry, he says: 'The last thing anyone wants when they're paying to eat out is someone dropping their trousers and crawling around on all fours being encouraged to grab at some woman's garters. It's humiliating for a lot of people present, let alone for the recipient. That's why I refused to comply.'

Debbie, a 17-year-old sixth-former, felt 'cheap and humiliated' when a strippagram vicar turned up at her birthday party. She recalls: 'As a regular churchgoer I found the fact that he was dressed like that offensive. He was also short, bald and bearded which really made me cringe. With everyone standing round me outside it was really claustrophobic. I seriously felt like throwing up. He got very stroppy when I told him to go, and grabbed hold of me. He was definitely pressurising me in a sexual sense. In the end I ran indoors and fell up the stairs in tears trying to get away. Then the anger came.' Debbie, who describes herself as 'a jokey sort of person,' had emphatically told schoolfriends: 'No strippagrams.'

Like those on the periphery (my son and others walked away because of Debbie's embarrassment, and their own), when the moment came she had no choice. She, too, was compromised.

Within the protection of the British workplace, unwanted attention of a sexual nature can land offenders on a charge of gross misconduct. Legislation allows redress for sexual harassment. In the public arena, it would appear that we have to tough it out because of others' insensitivity.

To foist such antics on to customers in any environment is entirely unreasonable. Where licences have to be applied for to allow singing and dancing, it seems ludicrous that a complete stranger can simply walk in off the street and remove nearly all their clothes. It is the managers of pubs, social clubs and restaurants who have the choice in this scenario.

They could ban strippagrams, or at least confine them to private rooms. The tee-hee factor has worn thin. After Lucky the alsatian wagged his tail at that blonde, she was quoted as saying: 'It was the strangest job I've ever had, but everyone had a great time.' I wonder . . .

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

    £26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

    QA Manager - North Manchester - Nuclear & MOD - £40k+

    £35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...

    Property Finance Partner

    Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

    Agile Tester

    £28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

    Day In a Page

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

    Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on