Personal trainers, topless waiters, underwear models ... what do they all have in common? Outside of their busy schedule of parties, charity events and hanging around the entrance to Abercrombie & Fitch, they might well be rugby players.
There are plenty of opportunities available to players willing to flaunt their well-sculpted bodies in front of the adoring eyes of Hong Kong’s socialite women.
Asked to help out at the inaugural Christina Noble Children’s Foundation Ladies Long Lunch ahead of the Sevens, I was glad to put my hand up and assist with auctioning some items for charity. Little did I know what was in store ...
After the ladies listened to a few speeches, enjoyed a splendid meal – and their fair share of champagne – it became apparent the real entertainment was yet to be enjoyed.
After being handed a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan “official eye candy”, I realised the rugby boys were a big reason for the large turnout of women armed with their husbands’ credit cards.
The Ladies Long Lunch, now in its fourth year, was perhaps payback of a kind for the women of Hong Kong. After hearing about what goes on during other rugby lunches, the wives and girlfriends decided it was time to have their own fun and help out a charity at the same time.
With a few items up for grabs, including a meal with two young good-looking rugby players, the MC asked how he could tempt the women to spend a little bit more of their husbands’ bonuses for this great cause.
“Take your shirts off!” came a cry from the back of the room, at which point the well-lubricated crowd began to stamp their feet and scream their support.
Why not? It was for charity. Does that cheapen me? At the sight of the chests honed in the gym and in training, and the chiseled jaw lines of some of the players better looking than myself, the bidding heated up nicely.
The ‘cougars’ were determined not to be outbid by their rivals. For some, a quick feel of a stomach that didn’t protrude over the waistband got the money flying out of their purses. Needless to say, the event is a huge success for the charity.
There are other opportunities for players willing to exploit the physique required to play at a decent level. You don’t have to go far on any night of the week, down Wyndham Street or through Central, to hear of a party with topless waiters. Chances are those guys filling ice sculptures with vodka, or walking around serving canapés wearing just a bow-tie and boxer shorts, are moonlighting rugby players.
There is a certain individual, who will remain nameless, who has been seen dancing covered in oil and sparkling under the disco lights of Hong Kong’s loudest clothing store, Abercrombie & Fitch. This guy’s done the trifecta: Ladies Long Lunch, topless waitering and Abercrombie.
He tells me the only reason he plays rugby is to get a gym membership, which allows him to continue getting in shape for the extra activities outside of the sport. His biggest fear is getting injured because he’d miss out on all the moonlighting opportunities.
So as you sit in the stands watching the rugby, remember these boys have a lot more strings to their bows than just running about – they are willing and keen to get their kit off for most occasions, all you need to do is ask.
As for me, having woken up to see my photo plastered over the South China Morning Post following the Ladies Long Lunch, sitting on the lap of someone old enough to be my mother, I decided topless waitering had limited career potential and it was time to move on. The sky's the limit for me.