Ethan Mechare is bringing his unique, immersive comedy, Coming Clean: Life as a Naked Housecleaner, to Los Angeles July 12-14. Set in living rooms in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, the intimate, 90-minute show will explore sexual fantasy and desire through the lens of Mechare’s unusual former career.
Though it’s not uncommon to see those hot pink vans advertising “topless maids” parked around L.A., Mechare didn’t get his start as a nude housekeeper until he moved from Los Angeles to London. In L.A., Mechare worked as a TV presenter for networks including VH1 and MTV, but was looking to make a career change across the pond. Mechare made a vision board using clippings from O magazine—he’s admittedly a huge fan of Oprah Winfrey and got his friend to ship issues to him from the U.S.—and then took a step back to see the big picture.
“There was a lot of nudity and scantily clad people, and lots of beautiful homes and tidy spaces on the board,” he said.
The vision board didn’t lie. Though Mechare doesn’t specifically identify as a nudist, he was already cleaning his own home in the buff, finding it preferable to soiling his clothes with sweat and grime. He also realized he didn’t mind being naked in front of other people if it was “part of a whole fantasy or story.” So, he began putting up ads online for his services as an au natural housekeeper.
“Being a naked house cleaner is like being a cleaner, a therapist, and an entertainer all in one,” he said. “You have to be good with people and able to multi-task, and obviously you must be a greater cleaner.”
Mechare learned a lot about fantasy through his work, the contemplation of which is the crux of Coming Clean. For some clients, hiring a naked house cleaner could be about power, voyeurism, or submission. Some might have been drawn to the taboo nature of it all, or were simply in pursuit of a good, salacious story. In a piece for Gay Times, Mechare wrote about one client who taught him to play backgammon. They’d play after Mechare had finished cleaning, Mechare still nude. Whatever the reason, Mechare notes that hiring a nude house cleaner kills two birds with one stone: there’s the fantasy fulfillment, and afterwards, you’ve got a tidy home.
Mechere encourages audience members to speak about their own fantasies and past experiences throughout the show. Though Mechare hopes people feel empowered to let go of their inhibitions and talk about their desires, sharing is not mandatory. That said, Mechare told We Like L.A. he’s been pleasantly surprised at past attendees’ honesty and willingness to play along. One common kink people have divulged is wanting to role-play with their partners.
“We’ve had people wanting their partners to dress up as Prince, a hobbit, a mermaid, and a Russian oligarch,” he said.
It may help that audience members will see the show in the intimate, cozy living rooms of private homes, and not a traditional theater. Mechare and his stage manager, Cath Royle, will greet guests at the door. There will even be refreshments.
“It’s like going to your best friend’s housewarming, except you probably won’t know anyone else there, but it will feel like you do,” he said. “I chose to do the show primarily in houses because so many of my stories are in stranger’s homes. Homes are so personal and revealing, and I wanted the audience to experience what I did when I was a naked cleaner.”
As for Mechare’s naked housecleaning days, those are behind him as he tours Coming Clean and works on a new show about bisexuality.
“But,” he said, “I’m happy to come out of retirement for a curious new client.”
Coming Clean: Life as a Naked House Cleaner runs Thursday, July 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Santa Monica and on Friday, July 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the Miracle Mile. Tickets are $23 and are available online here. 18+.