Ethan Mechare has been in the public eye since 2003, when he began a career with MTV in Los Angeles. In his current show, “Coming Clean: Life As A Naked House Cleaner” he reveals a part of his life which came together through, of all people, Oprah.
“I was doing a dream board,” Mechare said. “I noticed it had lots of nude, sexy people, cleaning products, and tidy homes. So, I decided to put those things all together. That’s how I decided to embark on my career as a nude houseboy.”
Despite his time in media, and acting in LA he never got to meet Oprah. However, she is a big inspiration for Mechare and she’s partly why the actor has made his home in London for the past six years. The other reason is love.
“I lived in LA for a long time,” said the Connecticut native. “I was burnt out by it. My boyfriend is French. So, it was just easier at the time to live in Europe. It was before gay marriage. We are both creative types so settling there was just easier.”
Mechare acted as a nude housekeeper for about two years, from 2013 to 2015. He claims he never counted up a tally of clients although he says it was about 100 men. Interestingly, he did not go through an agency.
“I did it all by myself,” he told me. “I very rarely had repeat customers.”
Which prompted me to ask him how he kept himself safe? Did people think he was using nude housekeeping as a cover for escorting? Were unwanted advances made?
“I made it really clear from my ads that it was 100% naked cleaning, all abut voyeurism. Of course people assumed that. But I was pretty hardcore about keeping it professional. I really loved naked cleaning,” he said laughingly. “Usually the clients understood that and respected that boundary.”
Perhaps that’s just British manners.
Still, one has to wonder, did he have any strange requests? The idea of a nude housekeeper or an otherwise scanitly clad houseboy is very much a part--or at least a trope--of gay life. The 2007 film “The Houseboy” starring Canadian actor Nick May documents just such a lifestyle, set in New York.
But, did Mechare receive any strange requests?
“I talk about some of them in the show,” said Mechare, who doesn’t want to reveal too much beforehand. “I did have this man who didn’t watch me at all. I thought that was weird. I had this man who sat in his living room on his laptop the whole time. I was really trying to give him a show. I figured out later, for him, it was a sort of master and sub situation.”
The show does not take place in a typical theater venue. Instead, once you purchase tickets a location is revealed. Fittingly, the location is a private home so you have the same experience Mechare did when entering a client’s domicile. Attendees too experience a stranger’s home, a new space.
“Using people’s homes is a way to experience theater in a different way. It doesn’t have to be in a theater, in the dark. I wanted a unique experience with this show,” Mechare said. “My stories take place in houses. So what better way to do that then in people’s houses? You get an invite. Best friend’s house type of feeling.”
There are two types of people who come to the show, which has toured all over the UK, also in private homes. People who come to see the show because they hope Mechare is nude the whole time, or people who make that assumption and won’t come to see it because of nudity. There is nudity in the show, but it’s not the primary aspect of “Coming Clean.”
The show deals with what he experienced as a nude housekeeper. Themes of sexuality, voyeurism, fantasy, and the titilation that comes with going to a stranger’s home and getting nude. He says the show--how he interacts with the audience--expresses one of his true talents.
“I have a few talents and one of them is making feel comfortable,” he says modestly. “My friend Cath, who is traveling with me from London, greets you at the door. It’s like going to a housewarming, and the atmosphere is very comfortable. We put out snacks, we encourage the audience to bring wine or their favorite cocktail. We even hand out little cards on which people are encouraged to write down a sexual fantasy they may have.”
Mechare’s one man show is taking place in three private homes in Portland on July 26th, 27th, and 28th. As of publication of this article there are still tickets available for purchase. Give a whole new way to engage with theatre a try!