For nine years now Improv Everywhere has hosted a sans-pants flashmob on the NYC subway system. Since then it has grown into a worldwide phenomenon, with over 40 cities hosting their own pantless use of public transportation. This year was Boston's 3rd.
The first question many people ask is... "Why?"
These are the same people that why Apple Jacks don't taste like apple.
Of course, the reasons are too numerous to list. Oh wait, no they aren't, here are a few:
- Kodak moment (remember those?)
- Hilarious story to tell
- See people in their underwear- just like that weird dream you had
- Become a bit more confident about your body, regardless of its shape.
- Put your poker face to the test and think on your feet
- Fill a free hour on a Sunday
- Meet new people with a sense of humor
- Earn InterroPoints on your SOS account so you can donate money to charity
- MAKE PEOPLE LAUGH
As with everything we do the primary reason is to make somebody's day... in a good way. But we really shouldn't have to spell all that out. The point is, about 200 people felt there was enough reason to brave the sub-freezing temperatures. That's a lot of underwear and a lot of goose bumps.
Registration began at Alewife Station. People signed in at various umbrella stations (just look at how inconspicuous our umbrellas were!) and were assigned to smaller groups. Each group was assigned a car on one of two trains. The group leader reviewed the route and instructions, then off we went. Starting at Alewife and working our way down to Downtown Crossing, where we switched over to the Orange Line up to North Station. At North Station we planned to switch platform sides and head back to DTX, where we would disband.
At this point, everyone had their pants on. Each person in the group was assigned a stop. Right before their stop they would remove their pants, place them in a bag/purse/backpack/tophat/beehive wig/etc and act like nothing was out of the ordinary. If anyone asked why they were removing their pants, they were given deadpan answers like "I was getting hot" or "they were itchy". The goal (and the struggle) is to appear calm, collected, and reasonable... while still being pantless in public.
At the assigned stops the participants would exit the train and wait on the platform for the next train. For this trailing train, every stop brings on more pantless people, giving the impression the entire city has gone crazy.
|Berlination||Currently pantsless and freezing outside at Charles MGH. #nopantsboston|
One woman asked coordinator, James "why is everyone is wearing underwear today?"
With a concerned look he responded, "I don't know about you but I wear my underwear EVERY DAY..."
Pantless rider, Dustin was asked by one patron, "Why y'all don't have pants? 'cause the pats game?"
"I didn't even know how to correlate the two," Dustin mused later on Facebook.
Just because you're not wearing pants doesn't mean you shouldn't look your best
The MBTA operators had fun with it, with one employee in particular at North Station chiding us over the loudspeaker. Participant, Joe recalled her safety announcement on the Facebook event page, "If you touch the yellow line, you will never be allowed to ride the MBTA again"
|heymermaid||Best moment over mbta loudspeakers: "the trains aren't running, you're going to have to walk." Hilarity.|
At the end of the hour long event many people were not ready to put their pants on. The most surprising thing to participants is how quickly you adjust to being pantless. After 10 minutes or so it no longer feels unnatural, even for the most modest of the group. Many people decided to head home sans-pants or do a few more rides around town with their friends. A group of 30 or so left DTX determined to get into a pub. I'm happy to report they succeeded and incriminating photos abound on Facebook.
Social experiment blog, "Talk 2 Me on T" has a video with interviews and a number of photos.
Blog, "Boston Foodie" also has a couple of videos.
Even more photos, videos, and recollections below: