Say YES! to Pantlessness!


Last January, I took part in the No Pants Subway Ride, organized by the Boston Society of Spontaneity. The January 2011 event registration is now open.

The crowd gathered at the Alewife T station, as instructed. Organizers were identified by umbrellas. While waiting for our group assignments, I struck up a conversation with two lovely gals from Newton named Jess and MJ.

Boston SOS organizers at Alewife T station.New friends.

After signing in, we were directed to our group leader, Virginia, who had taken part in one of the original No Pants Subway Rides in New York. I was assigned to Porter station and instructed to de-pant on the train at the previous stop. Once at Porter, I was to wait and board the next train. At no point was I to "break character". In other words, I was to appear to be an average commuter and if anyone were to ask me why I didn't have pants on, I couldn't mention Boston SOS or the No Pants Ride.

Our group leader, Virginia.News cameras.

Our group boarded the train and spread out. Two local cameramen followed*. There were also plenty of photographers. I was nervous, excited, hungry and...had to pee. But there was no turning back. I retrieved the commuter accessories from my bag — book, iPod — and got "into character".

I was thrilled. I didn't know what to do with myself. But there wasn't much time to think about it because right after the doors closed at Davis, I was on. I quickly whipped off my yoga pants to reveal boxers and striped knee socks. I knew, but didn't see, that at least three other people were doing the same thing on that train car at the very same moment. While the cameramen scrambled for footage, the doors opened at Porter. I waited on the platform for the next train, as instructed.

For those of you who don't know the Red Line, Porter is the deepest station on the line. It's also very large. Therefore, it's frigid. I started shaking. One part nerves, one part calorie-crash, and ONE BIG HEAPING PART COLD. It felt like eons before the next train came, and when it did, I was grateful to find a warm spot and sit. I put on my headphones and opened my book.

Stealth shot on the Red Line.

Photographers clicked away. Fellow T-riders not in on the joke looked around nervously. Some smiled and laughed. Stop after stop, more pantsless riders embarked. I witnessed a cranky older woman confront one of my teammates but I stayed in character. I knew she could handle it.

I realized that having the headphones on may have precluded me from being approached, but I was ready just in case. If anyone asked me why I didn't have pants on, I would have looked down, feigned shock and said, "I KNEW I FORGOT SOMETHING!" Or, if anyone asked me why other riders were similarly bare-legged, I would have said, "Gosh, they should really cover up. It's cold outside."

We all changed trains at Downtown Crossing and proceeded to North Station, where we were to re-convene with the group and reverse direction. The station announcer kept us entertained with cracks about how cute we all were. I found a few members of my group, took some pics, and headed back.


The funny thing is, despite the cold, I wanted to remain pantsless. It was just too much fun! But reason and the desire to be warm again won out. So when I got to Downtown Crossing, the yoga pants went back on and I headed home.

I met some really friendly, fun people today. The crowd ranged from those who really understood the spirit of the event to just plain ol' exhibitionists. It made me realize that sometimes I tend to put myself in a safe shell and keep people at a distance. But because we were all there living this shared experience, it was easier to open up and start conversations.