I might just do those nude pics if they allow me to write the captions

''How much would it take for you to strip, Lauren?" asked Edwina Currie during her Radio 5 chat show, with what she imagined was a wicked sharpness in her voice. I sat and pulled a face at the other end of the phone line before I answered, because the question is getting really tired. Ever since it was revealed that an offer of 100K had been made for me to pose nude in a men's magazine, I have been asked the same thing by almost everyone I've met. Not "Would you, Lauren?" or "Were you disgusted, Lauren?", but "How much would it take?".

The most depressing thing about all this is not even that most of my interrogators have assumed that I would leap at the chance to drop my pride and my panties in return for a specific sum - but that most of them claimed they most certainly would. Men, without exception, have fallen into the "Well, I'd take my kit of for 50 quid, ha ha ha" category, while women have two responses to the conundrum. Those friends who have "real" lives outside the media shudder at the thought of being naked in public, and use words such as "prostitution" and "dirty". Sam the secretary is my barometer of normal life, and she shuddered at the thought that her mum might glimpse the (edited) pictures on the news-stand at Tesco's, or that her nephew's mates would download my image from the internet and plaster it all over his school under the headline "Jake's babysitter". But female hacks and editors live in a quite different world, one where cash equals achievement. Money for old rope (or, in this case, old skin) is their stock-in-trade.

When the pennies-for-porn scandal broke, female broadsheet editors were despatched to find out when (not if) I would be doing the photo shoot. One particularly hoity-toity type tried to convince me that I was "mad" not to pose and that, in fact, "it's a real compliment that a woman of your age is asked to be naked at all. I really think you're crazy turning down the cash." Not only had she obviously missed the last term at charm school, but she was quite serious about the age and flattery thing. "You know, it's normally 18-year-olds who are asked. It must make you feel quite sexy."

I even went on the TV show Live Talk to quell any further rumours by declaring that "turning down anything less than a million pounds won't even give me a sleepless night". The next day, my agent received an e-mail. An offer had been made by a "new magazine about to launch". According to the e-mail, the kitty to see my postnatal paunch now stands at $1m.

So what would I do for money? Well, I was briefly a cleaner when I got into debt at college. Judith, the Jewish matron who employed me, treated me well, but it's her long-haired German Shepherd I remember best. That bloody, huge, slavering beast would go for me the minute Judith went upstairs. Anyway, one of my "chores" was to scrub the stair carpet to get rid of the fluff shedding from the brute's coat.

Two Wednesday mornings on the trot, I got down on my hands and knees, J-cloth in hand, to grab up handfuls of doggy dandruff. On week three, as we sat down to our shared tea break at 11am, I suggested to Judith that using the Hoover might be a quicker and easier way of doing such an unpleasant job. The silence lasted throughout the digestive biscuits and continued until the utterly filthy oven had been scrubbed clean. As I got ready to leave, she paid me my tenner and told me I was "no longer needed". The reason she gave for sacking me was that I had abused the employer/employee relationship by refusing to leave my personality outside and by expressing opinions above my station.

Perhaps that's the problem I have with nude sex pics: you say nothing, have no personality, and are judged by the audience but have no right to reply, ever again. Now, perhaps if I could write the blurb next to my picture . . .

This article first appeared in the 14 May 2001 issue of the New Statesman, We Tories must change, or face eternal oblivion