So Many People, So Little Pants: No Pants T Ride 2010

“I was up until 6 a.m. getting really excited. I couldn’t wait to have company without my pants.” It’s true. People like Erik Siersdale, who uttered that quote, are really pumped about taking their pants off. Not only do they want to take their pants off, they prefer to do it in public, and while riding the Boston subway system. January 10 marked the 3rd Annual No Pants T Ride in Boston, an event started nationwide by Improv Everywhere and organized locally by Boston SOS (Societies for Spontaneity). Over 100 people gathered to take part in a most epic no pants display. I spent the day riding the T with guys in boxers, girls in satin underwear and heels, and several confused passengers. Was I horrified? Amused? Shocked? Befuddled? All of the above. As I talked with this throng of no-pants-wearing folk, I gained some insight into the adventure and spontaneity that go along with not wearing pants. Am I convinced? Not in the slightest. But here’s a recap of my day documenting the largest no-pants-display I’ve seen since I’ve been in Boston:

I figured this utter disregard for pants would be a free-for-all. Not the case. The organization and detail put into the event were superb. Here’s how it worked: everyone broke up into smaller groups, and two people assigned themselves to each station along the T route. When in transit to your station, you would take your pants off, get off the train at your designated station, wait for the next train, and get on the same car that you started in. As the ride progressed, more and more people would enter the train sans pants, creating a “waterfall of no pants”, as one participant said.

Why do people do this? Obviously, this was my first question. Here are a few reasons:

“It’s playful, and I’m looking to meet some guys without pants.” ~ Barbara (at least 40 years old)

“I have no problem taking my pants off.” ~ Guy who was with Barbara, also at least 40 years old

“You just get to act out. You get to throw spontaneity in the face of normalcy. People have their pants off all the time, but for some reason, doing it on the train is socially bizarre.” ~ Bennett (Thanks for your appeal to the eloquent, but you’re still not wearing pants, so I’m not taking you that seriously.)

“I was sick with H1N1 a few months ago and I promised the guy upstairs that if I got through it, I would make an effort to live it up more.” ~ older woman who kind of cheated by wearing black tights with her underwear and found out about this event the night before, when her first boyfriend ever friended her on Facebook.

The pantsless people on the T did all they could to appear normal, by listening to their iPods, reading, even doing Sudoku (Erik…who claimed this was “like my favorite day of the year”). What did pants-wearing passengers think? Says one girl, “I think it’s fine, I think it’s a fun idea…but you’re never gonna catch me doing it because it’s 20 degrees out. [At least] they are much more respectful than drunks.” And what was the opinion of T passengers under the age of 10? Says one small Asian child, “Look at those people in their underpants!”

The best documentation I have of the day of no pants is visual. Below is a gallery of pictures to give you a taste of what Bostonians will do to get to take their pants off. Enjoy.

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2 Comments on “So Many People, So Little Pants: No Pants T Ride 2010”

  1. Terri Clark Says:

    This is the best commentary I’ve seen on this “event” in Boston. It’s crazy, yet has its place. I just wish they didn’t choose pants as their point of public commentary; as I agree with the author that pants are to be honored. Go pants!

  2. youngmi Says:

    i’m so glad that i’ve never witnessed this event. i’d probably walk onto the train, see people sitting on the seat in nothing but their underwear, walk right off again, and then find a nice quiet place where i can cry a little and pray that someone will sanitize all those seats. or burn them.


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