The subway is many New Yorkers’ 2nd home. It shows. We sleep on the subway, eat on the subway, put make up on, make money, make out, change babies, finish novels, puke, etc (guess which ones on this list I haven’t done!). Ask most anyone who lives in New York, they likely have a harrowing story (or ten) about something inappropriate/gross/bizarre/hilarious that they saw on the subway.
This past weekend I decided to take my pants off on the subway.
Yes, you read that right. Yes, I’m fully serious.
No, I’m not original.
Sunday was NYC’s annual No Pants Subway Ride.
No doubt you’ve heard of it but in case you missed the memo on this world-wide phenomenon (people participated in 41 countries!) here’s some press: The event was started in NYC by our resident troupe Improv Everywhere (check out their website, it’s fun) whose mission statement is to “cause scenes of chaos and joy in public places” like spontaneous musicals and throwing surprise wedding receptions.
Really, this news segment can give you the perfect 3 minute summary (that’s what news segments do best after all, I’m much better at wordy blog posts.)
ARVE Error: no id setSee me? I’m in that crowd! (I don’t think I made the video though, I can’t find me.)
Riders on the subway weren’t too fazed. It was a little disappointing. NY subway riders are so jaded they don’t even blink when hundreds of people pull down their pants. Plus the pants-less easily out numbered the pant-wearing. When we got off the subway in Union Square there was a moment of “am I really going to go outside (IN JANUARY) with no pants?” Answer: YES. It wasn’t as cold as I thought it would be. Organizers of the event met us with pamphlets COULD PANTS BE RIGHT FOR YOU? ARE YOU READY TO ACCEPT PANTS INTO YOUR LIFE? MISSING SOMETHING? ASK ME ABOUT PANTS!
The outside reactions were much better. Strangers on the street, easily tourists, “So how did you find out about this event? Why aren’t you wearing pants?” Oh you know, don’t you ever have those days where you wake up and just don’t really feel like putting on pants?
We brought our pants-lessness to a neighborhood bar where there were a whole bunch of fratty people watching the playoffs. The “Um okay….?” uttered by a girl clearly upset that her cleavage was being rivaled made it hard for me to keep a straight face. A man wearing pants sits next to me as we are just about to leave. “Ok. So tell me why you aren’t wearing pants? What’s the deal?” Oh my God! I forgot my pants, ok? Why do people keep mentioning it! I was hoping no one would notice! This is so embarrassing! With that I get up from my seat, grab my friends, and leave the bar. I love dramatic exits.
Why did I decide to take my pants off on the subway? Come on, if there’s something that society forbids you to do but on one day allows, you do it! I knew it would be a funny experience. I also love the feeling of being united towards a goal. The group events I go to usually have the goal to create change. Races, protests, even parades. The No Pants Subway Ride had all the comradery that’s amazing at Gay Pride or the AIDS Walk but there was no element of sadness, of fighting the fight. This was pure, unadulterated silliness.
Or maybe I did it to protest winter. Running around Union Square in my little pink underwear, laughing in the face of the teen degree weather I felt like I can beat the winter blues. That the days of running around in a bikini bottom (very similar to underwear, see?) aren’t all that far away. That’s life-blood to my chapped lips, scarf encased face, numb hands.
Or maybe I did it because, as we all know, I not so secretly aspire to be Carrie Bradshaw.