If you think watching people having sex in public is weird, get this: last night I was watching people watching people having sex in public. And at the same time keeping one eye on what some other people thought about it.
Twitter and Channel 4’s Dogging Tales were perfect partners – both examples of voyeurism and no-strings intercourse made possible by the illusion of anonymity. Us Twitter users were less hands-on versions of doggers like Les and his wife, whose faces, if not much else, were disguised by animal masks.
The masks were a stroke of genius, adding an eerie Wicker Man vibe to proceedings – and bringing new meaning to the phrase “at it like rabbits”.
But despite shots of real woodland creatures – their eyes glowing reproachfully in the reflected torchlight – plus some spectacularly starry skies, there was never any real danger that the voices of David Attenborough or Brian Cox might be about to sidle in. If your mind did drift that way for a moment, a swift cut back to that clearing in the woods, and a group of men with their trousers around their ankles, quickly put paid to that.
If Dogging Tales did somehow make you feel the call of the wild, there were some useful tips for beginners hoping to attract a mate (or a group of mates). According to Les, Lynx body spray – “You can’t beat it!” – or Joop! aftershave never fail (which begs the question, will sales go up or down after last night’s programme?)
Sadly, though, the “golden days of dogging” are now a distant memory, “ruined by the internet”. Which might explain why it felt as if Twitter users were having more fun last night than most of the doggers.