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January 10, 2011

A photo essay of my experience during the 2011 no pants subway ride in NYC. Check it out! Note: nobody is wearing pants in any of these pictures. Exercise caution. =D

A few days ago I mentioned that, in the New Year, I was going to take every single opportunity that came my way in hopes of having as much luck doing it as Jim Carrey did in Yes, Man (Zooey Deschanel being the end game, of course). Well, my first opportunity came in the form of a Facebook event invitation to something that I had heard of before but never really knew much about: the no pants subway ride.

Now, I've always had a pretty neutral stance on pants. I don't mind wearing them, especially in public. However, every once in a while it's nice to sit at home without them  (without anyone else judging you or, especially and more particularly, your nearly transparent upper thighs). The pants-less portions of my life have very consistently taken place within the comfort of the private homes I've lived and hung out in my whole life. There simply aren't many other opportunities to... not wear pants anywhere else.

However, once a year in New York City (and now in 50 cities around the world), thousands of people who have historically worn trousers much of their lives plan and execute a subway ride where they can finally ride in public without the immense burden of pants. You might not think that a lot of people would be into doing this (male or female), but the numbers don't lie. We met at Foley Park just north of City Hall:

There were 6 meeting places around the city in all (2 in Manhattan, 4 in surrounding boroughs), an incredible turnout. And a whole lot of leg.

Anyway, we split up into groups, picked our subway trains and our subway cars, and headed underground (pants still on at this point). Moments later we were in the subway cars, on our way to Canal street, where the first group of people shed their pants to the horror of others on board (one old woman asking, "wait... so you're just going to take those off then?") and got off the next stop.

Over the next few stops, all of the pants were slowly taken off and put away, and we all got off at our assigned stops and waited for the next train, whose unsuspecting passengers were unknowingly getting closer and closer to seeing a lot more of us than they probably ever anticipated. The wait was freezing, but we forged through it.

Our aim was to portray ourselves exactly the way we normally would on the subway, sans pants. If you typically read a magazine, then that's exactly what you do. If you normally just slump down on a seat, fall asleep and slobber all over angry passengers next to you like so many do, then that's your prerogative on the no subway pants ride. For me, it was a marathon game of Angry Birds.

Our train finally came, and the invasion of the sometimes skinny and long, but more often flabby and stubby (it is America after all) legs began. I was one of the first on the train, wearing my probably too-skinny legs proud:

We rode to 59th street, got off and headed right to the downtown 6 train, where we back-tracked to Union Square station, our endgame.

One of Morgan Freeman's most famous quotes from The Shawshank Redemption goes something like "But really... how often do you look at a man's shoes?" The line was in reference to Tim Robbins having worn the warden's shoes the night of his prison escape without notice. It's an interesting line, certainly food for thought. The same can be said for pants. How often do you take the time to look at the pants of those around you? You probably wouldn't be able to do it without them noticing and immediately wanting to move away from you. Still, looking at somebody's pants is not something you typically do...

Take your pants off, however, and the whole world turns upside down. People crowd around with simple questions (the most popular being "...why." A quick story about how your laundry simply wasn't ready in time for you to leave shuts most people up pretty quickly. Others strain to get a picture to send to their friends back wherever they came from "look at this guy! no pants! whattttt." It's an interesting position to be in, and is something you should definitely try someday.... next January's no pants subway ride perhaps? If nothing else, the photo opportunities are priceless:

The point of this story? I guess it's that if you ever get on a subway car and the majority of the passengers aren't wearing any pants, unbuckle your belt. Life's too short to not take those pants off. Even if it's the middle of winter, and the temperature is a cool 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The feeling in your legs that you lose almost immediately will always come back. Well, almost always. If not, there's always a hospital around the corner. See you next year! Bring pants, but don't get too comfortable in them.

This article and more at http://www.YeahHeDid.com!