If you were in Union Station the afternoon of Sunday, January 12th, you would have noticed a lot of people in their undies. It was LA’s 6th Annual No Pants Metro Ride, and my first year participating. Just as one would expect, the event and the pantsless after party at Loaded in Hollywood were a crazy fun time. I joined in with four friends, all of whom are experienced transit riders and always down for a silly good time.
Of course, being in a public space without ones pantaloons will get a reaction from the masses. It was pretty interesting to see the way participants interacted with other non-participating subway riders. Some normal interactions then become somewhat uncomfortable, while other interactions become way over the top.
Below are a few tips that would be good for participants and non-participants to keep in mind for any subsequent events. You know, for everyone’s enjoyment!
* Don’t be so quick with your camera. Of course, it’s a spectacle to see a parade of eccentric 20-30 somethings parading down Hollywood Blvd. in their skivvies. Let me in on a little secret: it still remains rude to snap a picture of a stranger without permission. I think everyone who participated in the No Pants Metro Ride understands that there is a very good chance the press would be there. Cameras were everywhere. There is no expectation of privacy in a public area, but that doesn’t make it okay for casual observers to snap photos of strangers. If the spectacle looks like a crazy hoot of a time, participate! If you see someone in particular whose picture you’d love, simply ask. Most people would love the compliment, even if they don’t feel comfortable with a stranger snapping a photo.
I think this would apply even more so when snapping a picture of a woman without her permission at the No Pants Metro Ride. Women have enough to worry about regarding our safety. Not every woman would mind, but many would feel uncomfortable with a stranger snapping a photo of her without pants. Sure, we’re pantsless for a specific event, but you’ve gotta admit, it’s a little creepy knowing a stranger has that photo of you on his phone.
If you don’t know the person and you aren’t a member of the press, just ask before taking a picture.
Flirting Without Pants. There was a dude who participated in the No Pants Metro Ride and the after party at Loaded. He seemed to have forgotten much of his other clothes too. He was your standard creeper: at the event without any other friends, bad pickup lines, hitting on every girl. Since this was an event that involved less clothing than normal, it elevated this standard creeper to someone you worry could be a threat.
Less clothing isn’t an open invitation to sex. No pants doesn’t mean that certain getting-to-know-you niceties are waived. And no pants certainly doesn’t mean it’s kosher to whip out your junk to strange women in public.
Err on the Side of Full Coverage. You know, for hygienic purposes. Do you really want your nearly exposed butt to make contact with the seat of the Red Line? I ride the subway every day and see the horrors that have happened on that upholstery. Take my word for it: you don’t!
On the other side of the token, it seems rather gauche to sit in a public place with only underwear. Nobody wants to take a seat where someone’s fart hole was just a thin piece of cotton away from the chair. Put down a hoodie for good measure, while you’re at it, and sit on that.
Some People on the Train Are Just Trying to Go Somewhere. One of my favorite things about metro-based events like this is that it shows the general population that the metro isn’t this scary, confusing system. It’s easy, convenient and fun. It was really cool feeling the sense of camaraderie amongst all the participants. However, those participating in the No Pants Ride ought to keep in mind that there still are some others on the train who are simply trying to get to their destination. Save the seats for those people. When standing, lean away so you aren’t giving the unwitting civilian a close-up of your balls.
* It’s no coincidence that I did not include pictures of this event.