IMG_2994What to do when it’s cold outside? How about an interactive theater event where eight of us gather in one member’s apartment to play the roles of suspects in a murder mystery? Yes, please.

Thanks to the ingenious and creative folks at 8Players, we had the pleasure of being immersed in a poisonous 1950s film-noir-come-to-life, complete with a (make-believe) dead body and eight, um, players, each with a hidden past rife with secrets and motives for doing dirt to the deceased.

IMG_3099cIMG_3061We were provided with costume suggestions by the director (yes, yes, we know; costume suggestions for a bunch of people who prefer being naked, that was never going to last for long) and told to meet downstairs at 6:53pm. A handy bar on the ground floor supplied liquid courage, and then a masked man led us upstairs, single-file–

IMG_2926IMG_2934–enjoined us not to speak to one another, and firmly escorted us into the darkened apartment, where we were given our starting positions for the drama to come.

IMG_2949IMG_2958IMG_2965Stirring music set the mood, as did dramatic use of shadow and candlelight. We were each given a card to read, supplying some tantalizing bits of information about the nefarious people we were playing, and then–

And then we were set loose to interrogate and accuse one another, in character, for two hours. Who’d seen what? Who knew whom? How many of us were secretly sleeping with each other? And just what happened to the handsome woodsman’s missing axe…?

IMG_2999Fast-forward to Act III: we’re standing shoulder-to-shoulder, our costumes strewn in pieces on the floor, and the story is approaching its feverish climax. What seemed to be a crime yarn  ghost-written jointly by Agatha Christie and Orson Welles turns out to have a touch of Rod Serling to it as well. Revelation piles on revelation, until, at last — the killer is revealed!

IMG_3003And then, before we quite know what is happening, the 8Players team silently exits the apartment, no sign of their presence remaining, leaving the eight of us to catch our breaths and giddily discuss what we’d just gone through. It was a treat, a chance to step out of not only our clothing but, for two hours, also our identities. Or, if you prefer, it was the best game of Clue ever, only with Miss Scarlet and Colonel Mustard wearing a bit less than the Brothers Parker ever imagined.

IMG_3096Which goes to show — pulp fiction needn’t be limited to the page, nor toplessness to the summer.

More indoor adventures to come.

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IMG_2873Each winter, when it’s too cold outdoors for going topless, we round up our gang and head to our favorite spa for an evening of fun in the sauna, steam room, and lemon-filled soaking tubs.

IMG_2895IMG_2894Usually we wait until December, but this year we couldn’t because the spa is about to undergo extensive renovations — so we had to get in before the wrecking ball came.

It was hardly a hardship. Warm as September and October were this year, November has been, as people used to say, as cold as a witch’s tit. (Why did they say this, we wonder. Would witches have abnormally cold tits? We count some practicing witches among our membership, and haven’t noticed any particular mammary hypothermia.) In any event, it’s been cold, and the warmth of the spa was welcome indeed.

IMG_2889As was the excellent company. Twenty-one of us showed up, ranging from old friends to first-timers, and in addition to the wonderful facilities, we all enjoyed fabulous massages at the hands of the spa’s crack therapists. (Afterwards, a dozen of us commandeered a quiet room and treated ourselves to fabulous follow-up massages at our own hands, about which we will discreetly say no more, except that the MLTEK Bullet plus Trojan H20 is one powerful combination.)

IMG_2903But for all the physical pleasures (and they were many), the greatest satisfaction was just getting to relax with a group of thoughtful, smart, interesting women, and not being self-conscious about our bodies or anything else. “Just humans being human,” as one member put it.

IMG_2868IMG_2904IMG_2913If you’d like to try just being human with us sometime, we’d love to hear from you. Our email is toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and all women are welcome.

No reason to spend the winter shivering when warmth is close at hand.

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IMG_2475It’s not precisely freezing in New York City yet — it’s at least 33 degrees — but it’s certainly too cold to stroll topless through Central Park, or to lie naked on a rooftop sundeck. So how have we been spending our time instead? Finally getting around to tidying up this website, which had become a bit unwieldy, with more than 250 posts on a single long home page.

Oh, the home page is still there, for anyone who really likes scrolling through a thousand photos (and then some!), but we have also categorized every post (which ones take place at a pool? near a bridge? in the rain?), and also organized them by year. So if you want to browse by date or subject matter, you’ll find handy links now at the top of the screen.

To celebrate this new organization, we thought we’d flash back to some memorable images and locations from each of the past seven years.

Seven years! Can you believe we’ve been out and about, bare-chested, in New York City for that long? Well, we have. And the next seven are going to be even better. If you’re a body-positive woman — any age, race, sexuality, body type — and would like to be part of the fun, drop us a note: toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. We’d love to have you join us.

Meanwhile, won’t you join us for this warming walk down memory lane?

2011:

AtTheMet-01Highline-13-smMadisonSq-apark-j2012:

0622-s0726-a0921-z0831-f2013:

IMG_0728octpfas_080513-9270IMG_2190IMG_16532014:

IMG_6384IMG_7110IMG_5271IMG_5466IMG_55942015:

IMG_9460IMG_4087IMG_6705IMG_88742016:

IMG_3923IMG_1492IMG_9153IMG_5407IMG_40832017:

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IMG_0373Shape.com, the website of Shape Magazine, just ran a lovely article about us. You can see it here.

They interviewed two of our members who spoke eloquently about their experiences with the group and why we do what we do. Strangely, though, they didn’t include images of either of those members in the article. Nor did they show any photos of, you know, bare breasts.

We’re happy to rectify that oversight.

IMG_7462And we welcome any Shape.com readers who found their way here through that site. If you’re a body-positive woman in the New York area and you’d like to take part in one of our events — or even if you’re just curious — we’d love to hear from you. You can reach us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com.

IMG_2650Going topless is healthy; going topless is liberating; and in New York, going topless is legal. Won’t you join us?

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IMG_2556fUsually we meet as a group: we choose a day, head to a park or plaza, and hang out topless in the sun together. Safety in numbers, and also it’s more fun to hang out in the park with friends than by yourself. But sometimes there’s no one else around and you just feel like heading out for a walk on your own.

IMG_1789fA case in point was the recent rainy morning you see here. It wound up being bright and sunny in the afternoon, but you wouldn’t have guessed by the way the wet stuff was pouring down in torrents during morning rush hour. But that’s what raincoats and umbrellas are made for, and if you’re thinking, “How can you wear a raincoat and go topless at the same time?”, you clearly haven’t found the right raincoat.

IMG_1863feIMG_2107fThe morning’s stroll took us along the Upper East side, past stores and storied apartment buildings–

IMG_1327e–and on to Carl Schurz Park, home to some of the finest dog runs in Manhattan…

IMG_2322f…a beautiful riverside promenade…

IMG_2390fIMG_2501fIMG_2601f…and Gracie Mansion, where the mayor lives. (Didn’t snap any photos there. Next time.)

This seems finally to have been the end of warm weather for the season — it’s brisk and chilly now and seems likely to remain so until the Spring. If so, we’re doubly glad we took advantage of the warm weather while it lasted, even if doing so meant braving the elements.

IMG_2272fNext time — indoors! And we have many exciting indoor events planned. If you’re curious about them and you’re a body positive woman in the New York area, we’d love to hear from you. Just drop a note to toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and tell us a little about yourself. We’ll be glad to invite you to join us for our adventures.

Not that it isn’t fun doing it solo, too…

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IMG_0880“I just want to tell you,” the man in the dress shirt and necktie said, “I love what you’re doing. You’re bringing back the 1980s. Back then, everyone here was completely naked.” The smile on his face was warm and genuine, though it was hard to imagine the fond memory he was describing was accurate. People went completely naked on the piers at the Hudson River? Well, they hadn’t been developed yet; they were just rotting spurs of wood sticking out into the water; so, maybe. And yet…really?

“Yes,” he said. “You’d come here and everyone would be naked. It was free and wonderful.”

Free and wonderful: two words we could relate to, even if we still had our bottoms on. The wonderful part, especially, since it’s a wonder that in the middle of October it was still warm enough to go bare outdoors. Later, when the sun had set, we went online to search, and sure enough found this:

slide_218857_843458_freeThe Hudson Piers were once home to a flourishing gay and lesbian scene, which included nude sunbathing, until gentrification arrived and chased the sunbathers away.  Needless to say, we’re proud to be doing our part to bring it back, even if we’re only taking baby steps by comparison.

IMG_0827IMG_0814IMG_0824These days, the piers have been developed, with artful, asymmetrical grass swards and metal sculptures dotting the grounds, and the sun worshipers lounging about look like this–

IMG_0568IMG_0714But the day we came, they also looked like this:

IMG_0618IMG_0677IMG_0664And we saw the gentleman’s handstand and raised it three cartwheels.

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We certainly felt free there — no one bothered us or complained, or even gave us a dirty stare. In fact, when we saw a bare-chested man enjoying a beer at the outdoor bar at the end of the pier, we figured we’d be welcome that way too — and we were.

IMG_1023IMG_1065IMG_1077New York may not be everything it was 30 or 40  years ago, but in at least one respect it’s been freer and more wonderful since 1992, the year a state court established that it’s legal for women to go topless anywhere men can. Back in the day, maybe people went naked, but they were all breaking the law by doing so. Today, we can do what we do in total comfort and confidence.

IMG_0951IMG_0857IMG_0763Of course, the balmy temperatures won’t be around for much longer — already it’s turned colder.

But the flame of freedom? That burns all winter long.

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IMG_8036We recently had the good fortune to reach nearly 2 million viewers with the brief video documentary that 60-Second Docs created about us. Maybe by the time you read this it’ll be over 2 million, who knows. In any event, it’s a lot of people, all over the world, who have now been exposed to the fact that women in New York are free to go topless outdoors in public anywhere that men are. That’s a wonderful thing. We hope it encourages more women to try it if it’s allowed where they live, or to try to change the law where they live if it’s not allowed yet.

But public spaces aren’t the only ones in which people sometimes enjoy relaxing without clothes on. There are private spaces as well, such as this rooftop sundeck that we periodically visit for a bit of naked R&R. Happily, even in jurisdictions where public toplessness isn’t an option for women, private toplessness (or nudity) generally still is — you just have to find a suitable spot.

IMG_7971That’s not a substitute for equality in the public realm — nothing is. But if you can’t take your shirt off in a public park where you live, or on the beach, we hope you don’t let that keep you from getting a taste of outdoor nakedness altogether.

IMG_8062IMG_8065Similarly, if you live in New York and could legally go topless in the middle of Central Park but feel too shy to do it, maybe an afternoon sunning on a private rooftop would be a good way to try it out.

IMG_8001One way or another, we hope you do try it. It’s the most liberating, satisfying feeling! And each small step is another step closer to the ultimate goal: freedom and equality everywhere.

IMG_7878Today the rooftop, tomorrow the world.

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