Recently, I was one of eight (allegedly) well-known Australian men who got completely nude in a choreographed dance/strip routine for a show called The Real Full Monty. Our motivation was to raise awareness for men's health.
Firstly, I'd like to pay my respects to the women of this world who wear G-strings. Wow! They're just not built for men. On performance day, I wore it for three hours (more like it wore me) and I can honestly say my relationship with that region of my body will never be the same. Trust has been breached.
I genuinely committed to getting in shape for the big night. I exercised four times a week, quit alcohol, and said goodbye to my three main food groups (pizza, haloumi and hash browns). I lost seven kilos in six weeks. Nothing gets you focused like knowing you're about to get nude in front of Australia. While standing next to Kris Smith. FML.
There are 1000 screaming ladies (and eight men) at the pumping Enmore Theatre in Sydney. Joe Cocker's "You Can Leave Your Hat On" is blasting through the speakers. The routine is going super-fast. Next, the G-strings are off and we take the last three steps in unison before throwing our hats into the air and letting it all hang out. Boom! We did it. The crowd goes berserk. My approach throughout the nude bits was similar to bungee jumping: whatever you do, don't look down.
The feeling backstage post-performance was sensational. What a relief. Hugs, high fives, bum slaps. It was like the most homoerotic footy changing room in history.
This show was about encouraging men to go to the doctor. All eight of us had a personal connection to the health issues we wanted to shine a light on – particularly prostate and testicular cancer. Even reading those words can be scary, and definitely not sexy, but we needed to do something out of the ordinary to get noticed. Like putting Brian Taylor in a G-string.
My personal connection is to mental health. I've lost a friend to suicide and I'm passionate about encouraging men in particular to be more open in talking about what's getting them down. It's OK to be struggling, there is help.
The response to the show was truly incredible; thousands of direct messages from complete strangers.
I heard stories of blokes who hadn't been to the doctor for a decade, but were going that week as a result of the show. Heartbreaking notes from people who'd lost their dad or their grandad all because they didn't get there in time. It was overwhelming and I shed a few tears. I knew we'd done the right thing. We started the conversation.
Over the next week I responded to every single message. Who would have thought that getting my gear off would be one of the best things I've ever done? I even scored myself a new stripper nickname: #MagicMac. I mean, sure, I came up with it myself and failed miserably to get it trending on Twitter, but it was worth a shot, right?
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