By Kenny Soto
Odds are, you spend much more time than you’d like traveling the rails of Boston’s “cozy” subway system. On Sunday, I joined The Societies of Spontaneity and more than 250 other T-riding enthusiasts in making those underground tunnels just a little more cozy -- by taking off our pants.
Boston’s first official No Pants Subway Ride took place in 2008, and for many, it’s become an annual tradition. Riders get together in groups and drop trou on the T, doing their best to act like what they’re doing is no big deal at all. Some claim to have “miscalculated their wardrobe due to unseasonably warm temperatures,” while others simply “spilled coffee on their pants.”
For many of us, the idea of riding the T without pants sounds like a nightmare. We wouldn’t dare go anywhere without our bus pants, and the idea of strangers seeing our skivvies (or seeing theirs) gives us the creeps. But for others, it’s a dream come true.
“We think it’s really cool; we’ve always wanted to see something like this,” said Lesa Bargsch, 21, who was excited to make the ride part of her short time in the U.S. “There is nothing like this in Germany.”
So how did I prepare for a pantsless ride on the T? Squats. Lunges. And a light amount of crotch stuffing.
“I would never stuff!” said Matt, another rider who admitted that he was probably too old to be taking his pants off on the train and, thus, didn’t want to give his last name. “Why mess with perfection?”
“I would never stuff; it’s all about confidence, man,” added second-time No Pants rider Christopher Brathwaite. “My lack of shame has come full-force.”
Surprisingly, there’s a lot more organization to the No Pants Subway Ride than meets the eye: Riders are divided up into teams of 10, and then pairs of two, each with a different designated route. The goal is to have a pair of pantsless riders on every train and on every platform at all times.
“It was even more complex than it looked,” said James Cobalt, the event’s planner. “We had to coordinate train times with connections, and the number of people in each car, and making sure each stop had people waiting outside in both directions….So participants got a route sheet, but there were multiple routes, and they all interacted with each other at different areas.”
Our assigned route left my team out in the cold at Charles-MGH, waiting for the next train to come. How did we stay warm? Squats, of course. “Last year they handed out leg warmers,” Avi, my riding partner, informed me; this year, we had no such luck.
Every rider had his or her own reason for attending the event. “I want to make someone who has no idea what’s going on take off their pants!” said second-time No Pants rider Ana Shreck, 24, who was very enthusiastic about her goal.
“I saw it happen a dozen times,” said Cobalt, who shares Shreck’s passion for spontaneous pants removal. “It's amazing how comfortable Bostonians are with taking off their pants.”
“More people should feel confident to do this,” said another rider, who wished to remain anonymous. “It’s just something fun to do!”
Following the ride, pantsless riders met up at Kings in Back Bay for pantsless bowling, pantsless pool, and pantsless drinks -- by all accounts, the social event of the year this side of sci-fi speed dating.
“I haven’t been out in a while,” said Rebecca Haze, 16. “What better way to jump-start my social life then taking my pants off in front of a bunch of people?”
Despite being leery of going to the event alone, after my first time, I’d now advise doing just that: Don’t leave your friends at home, but when you get there, join a different team than your buddies. In minutes, you will not only have nine new friends, but you’ll be able to give your bestie a big hug when you randomly share an Orange Line car.
My only other piece of advice? If you’re going with the open-fly variety of boxer shorts, remember to wear an extra pair underneath. You wouldn’t want to embarrass yourself on the T, right?
Photos by Courtney Sacco
About Kenny -- I'm a professional blogger and entertainer. In my spare time, I enjoy Boston sports and exploring all of the adventures that my hometown has to offer. You can connect with me on Twitter @RealKennySoto.
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