Monday, January 18, 2010

No Pants Fun

Ever since Alex Scott told me about this two weeks ago, I have been anxiously awaiting the moment I would ride the subway pantless. I've been holding off on the post until the official video was ready, but alas, I can't wait any longer (and I'm sitting at the Mexico City airport with nothing to do). Anyway, I was nothing but excited and curious when I dragged my causing a scene-loving sidekick, Lo to the meeting point last Sunday to join over a thousand other new friends for our briefing on how to take of our pants. My only concern was that, I may not be able to uphold the second (of two) requirements for participation: "be able to keep a straight face about it." (The first requirement was "Be willing to take your pants off on the subway."

Well, I must admit, when Lo and I boarded the N train at 3:30 on Sunday afternoon, I did giggle to myself just a bit as I unbuttoned and slipped off my jeans with dozens of subway riders watching. But as soon as they were off, I felt surprisingly calm and managed to keep a straight face-- probably the first two consecutive hours that I've maintained a straight face in the past year! For the rest of the afternoon, we rode the train uptown and downtown, waited on platforms, bought candy, and even had to run outside and across Lexington Avenue when there was no underpass and we needed to get back downtown-- and we did it all in our skivvies.

It was liberating, fun, and quite an interesting social experiment. Sometimes we were the only one's on the train pantless, while other times we would exit a train and find ourselves in a sea of 100s of pale legs on the platform, minding their own business, and acknowledging each others' presence no more than you would any other strangers on a Sunday afternoon in midtown. A surprisingly small number (about 7 in two hours) actually asked me what I was doing. I'm not sure whether this proves that New Yorkers are the least friendly people on the planet, or whether they are just the most accustomed to bizarre people and activity. There were a lot that stared, a handful that couldn't contain their giggles (that was my favorite), and a few that told me I looked good (pervs).

When people did ask, I alternated my responses between "Forgetting them at home" to "Getting uncomfortable and itchy legs." Most people left me alone after the response, a couple pushed on, clearly not convinced, or asked why she wasn't wearing pants, pointing at Lauren at the other end of the subway car, whom I was pretending not to know. I always asked surprised when I saw her, "OMG, what a weird coincidence, guess she forgot hers too!"

The best response was most definitely about half way through the joyride when a middle aged woman inquired about my naked legs to which I used the "itchy" excuse. She then launched into a story of her own about how she once had this allergic reaction to nylon and it was horrible and she totally knew how I felt. I sympathized, and she asked whether I was cold or uncomfortable. When I told her that on the contrary I felt great and quite free sans pants, she stood back and said, "You know what?! I'm gonna take mine off too!" and promptly dropped trow. Apparently riding the subway pantless is so fun, it's contagious.

I must say, when I boarded the E train on Monday morning dressed for work, I felt all together bored. I was tempted, though I withheld, to take off my pants.

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