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 . . .

A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
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

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

    £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

    Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

    C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

    C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

    Day In a Page

    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
    eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

    eBay's enduring appeal

    The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

    'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
    Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

    Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

    Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
    Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

    Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

    After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
    Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

    Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

    After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
    Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

    Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

    Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
    7 best quadcopters and drones

    Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

    From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home