Most of us have taken part in a spelling bee. Standing in front of your classmates while having to spell a word you may have never heard before is pretty nerve-racking. Now imagine doing that in a room full of strangers while naked. Yes, completely naked. This is the kind of spelling bee organized by Sherwin Tijia.
“Last year I put on a Hipster Spelling Bee and a friend of my ex’s said she would only go if there was stripping,” said Tijia. “And when I heard that basically a light bulb flashed over my head.”
Here are the rules:
One by one, participants are asked to spell a word. If they get it right, they make it through to the next round. If they get it wrong, they must remove an item of clothing off. When they misspell a second word, they must remove two items off. A third “strike” requires the removal of three items. After three misses, a participant is out of the competition. However, they may choose to “save” themselves and remain in the contest by taking one additional item off. Once a participant is completely naked, they are truly out of the competition.
Tijia has organized other unique events like this in the past; his latest was “Slowdance Night,” which consists of slow songs all night long. The participants didn’t need to know any dance moves except the one they learned in junior high, so basically just holding each other and moving back and forth. For those interested, he is hosting another one on May 29 and signing up can be done through his Facebook group, “Slow dancers of the World Unite and Dance Slow.”
For the spelling bee, he wants people to use their bodies and their brains at the same time. Ultimately, he wants to know if they can concentrate while being half naked while dozens of people watch. Contestants were selected through a sign-up system on Facebook.
“I had to do an initial call-out over Facebook just to see if I could get enough intellectual exhibitionists to even hold the event and book the space. Decidedly more women were willing to participate. The total numbers of spellers will be 25,” said Tijia.
He also mentioned it drew a great deal of interest and contestants were not too hard to find.
“I’m hopeful we’ll see quite a bit of skin,” said Tijia. “But our main concern is that the spellers feel safe and comfortable, so there is a rule in place that they can drop out at any time, at any stage of undress, even at the last stage of the competition.”
Strip Spelling Bee will be held at the MainLine. Tickets are available at the door for $6. Doors open at 10 and the bee starts at 11 p.m. Signup to be a speller is over at 10:30. There will be drinks available (contestants get a free drink).