From Swinging London to swingers’ parties

Schermata 2015-03-09 alle 10.56.13

How romance is losing its sparkle to the IT Revolution

 

We climbed the stairs up to the penthouse of a newly built upmarket block of flats in Battersea. Tara wants to avoid the lift as she thinks I’ll dilute the deliciously intoxicating mix of anxiety and lust that’s bubbling away in our stomachs. She’s one of those “friends with benefits” this city generously throws in your path every now and then, the kind of woman that stimulates the imagination more than the heart. We had discussed this night for weeks and finally applied to join on their website. It’s not easy getting accepted into this club, but we finally got lucky and here we are standing at the door of London’s ultimate classy swingers’ party. Only fifteen couples are allowed at one time. 

 

We don our Venetian masks: her mask is black, mine white and gold. Her blonde hair frames the mask, her eyes sparkle with excitement.

We knocked at the door, our pounding hearts bringing a rosy glow to our cheeks.  A gentleman in a tuxedo opens the door and politely ushers us in. In the large living room a violinist performs Air on the G string (appreciate the irony here please). In the hallway I catch a glimpse of the other guests,- a mix of young and middle-aged smart looking couples sipping cocktails. They appear relaxed.

Most importantly, they looked damn attractive. The party’s about to begin. For example, try speed dating and speed parties where you can meet loads of like-minded singles in one go and with minimum effort. These events now sell out faster than tickets for One Direction. Men and women are just dying to be chatted up.

If you’re feeling raunchy London has so much to give and these types of encounters for couples are only a taste of the many goodies on offer.

 It’s an unusual feast for your eyes as short dresses and generous cleavages abound, frequently offset by baggy shirts and square-shaped shoes worn by the British machos. That is why being Italian at these events usually pays off. The common myth that these dos are the haunt of desperate cases is exactly that: a common myth – because people from all walks of life attend. It’s the rule of supply and demand applied to dating, a market in which demand is huge. And so is the amount of money that the organisers of these events make. That’s also why Tinder and all the similar apps have been so successful. Not long ago a colleague of mine showed me an app that could show you how many women in our very own building were logged in and up for the dating rush. With your smartphone you can narrow down the searching criteria by so much that the shopping catalogue of beauties the app supplies is scarily well tailored. My colleague searched for ladies within a one-mile radius in the 40-45 age bracket and there you go, just choose whether you prefer dark or blonde. Such a fine connoisseur he is. Some men and women enjoy this to the point it becomes an addiction. Flicking through the Tinder profiles becomes an obsessive-compulsive disorder. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone had been medically treated for it. I don’t really see the point of collecting so many trophies of the opposite sex in the shortest time possible through apps. I suppose it’s just for the purpose of selfish enjoyment. That’s fine as long as it doesn’t become a way of life.

 

In essence, technology has transformed lust into a very refined commodity boasting a market so efficient that you can get it anywhere, anytime and basically for free (bar a couple of espresso martinis you may want to throw into the deal for the first chit chat). In a world where time, rather than money, is the rarest of currencies this might seem like the ultimate pleasure. However, there is more to this than meets the eye.

 

 

In the process of the commoditisation of sex something got lost along the way. Long gone are the times when writers and poets turned lust into an art. Could Lady Chatterley have found her lover on Tinder? Could Professor Humbert Humbert have sent Lolita a Facebook message like “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul”? No, because version 2.0 of sex lacks the flatus vitae it was permeated by, the romance and the art of flirtation. The IT revolution risks making love affairs into casualties of our times. And it’s often the financial district workers who are copiously represented.

Short-term incentives and satisfaction are specific traits of the City and that’s exactly what’s on offer here. Lust is just another capital vice that will fast track bankers to hell, as well as a lot of collateral damage. It’s just a matter of Gold versus Bronze membership. See you in the front row.

“…Could Professor Humbert Humbert have sent Lolita a Facebook message like “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul”? No, because version 2.0 of sex lacks the flatus vitae it was permeated by, the romance and the art of flirtation”.


 

P.S. Oh, wait a second, I didn’t tell you how the swingers’ party went! Well, I can’t reveal all, but I can at least tell you how it finished. At the very end of the night, whilst enjoying the last gin and tonic on the rooftop, overlooking the Thames when I met this big, jolly warm-hearted man from Tuscany. He smiled with satisfaction and introduced himself as the mind behind the website and the party. He claims he didn’t make a profit out of it, and that’s it, simply a way of giving (another kind of) pleasure to other people. I don’t believe a word of it, but I know I’ve just met one of the unsung heroes of forbidden London. Somehow, it’s nice to know he’s a fellow compatriot.