Archives for category: 2011

So, a good friend says we should be on Twitter. Maybe so. Not sure we’ll have something new to say often enough, but…if you like what we’re doing and want to stay on top of it, you can follow @toplesspulp.

How were we supposed to know that our little book club would strike such a chord for so many people?  As of this morning, more than 100 websites have written about us, and word keeps spreading. And the responses have been incredibly gratifying. Aside from the one censorious loonybird who warned that we’d never get dates with Nice Boys again because all their friends had seen our tatas (thanks, we’ll take our chances), it’s been nothing but positive comments.  “Okay this is really awesome,” wrote one blogger.  “This is really really cool,” wrote another.  And: “Pretty much all I’ve ever wanted from life (only slightly joking).” And best of all, it’s not guys saying this, it’s other women!

All we can say is: hooray. And thank you. And for the self-descfribed “Rockabilly Burlesque dancer, Ukulele player, Zine Writer, Knitter, Comic Artist, Feminist” who posted, “Can we start one of these in Vegas???  PLEASE!?”, we say: Go for it.  It’s warm out there all year round isn’t it?

Many thanks to all of you who wanted to know how our members weathered the big storm; most of us live in Brooklyn, Queens, or Manhattan and weren’t too badly hit. Not sure when our next outing will be (the parks are still cleaning up downed tree branches and such), but in the meantime we thought we’d share a couple of antediluvian photos (look it up) that we took last week. Just to bring a smile to your face.

Oh, and many thanks also to all the cool sites that have been writing about our adventures!  Fleshbot, the Topfree Equal Rights Association, Tales From the Bookworm’s Lair, and so many others (including some with names we’d be embarrassed to type!). We’re glad to know you’re enjoying our get-togethers almost as much as we are.

It was the last day before the End Of The World (otherwise known as Hurricane Irene), and we decided to spend it in style. And it was an amazing, amazing, AMAZING day. Thanks to the gods of good weather, and the providers of good books (the publisher of Hard Case Crime stopped by for a visit!), and the good citizens of New York who didn’t give the half dozen topless women in their midst more than a passing glance and a joyful thumbs-up, we had a spectacular afternoon in the sun.

Wish us luck with the storm…

So, did it rain today? Did it ever! Buckets and buckets; we got drenched.  But it was still warm out, and getting caught in the rain actually felt lovely.  We took our books up to the beautiful elevated Highline park and lounged around reading.  At one point, we ran into a bride and groom taking photos, and the photographer tried to get us to pose for a picture with the groom.  As a sort of wedding gift to the bride, we politely demurred.

Because tomorrow’s supposed to be all thunderstormy and today was gorgeous, a couple of us took a trip to the park today…Bryant Park, right behind the main HQ of the New York Public Library.

Today’s reading material included GETTING OFF by Lawrence Block and CHOKE HOLD by Christa Faust.  We spent some time reading out on the grassy lawn…

…and then repaired to the steps of the library for some reading in the shade.

A big thank you to Tom Lorenzo, mastermind behind the brilliant F-Listed website, for covering little ol’ us!  Just for that, here’s an extra picture to bring a smile to your face…

One of the participants in our first outing anonymously posted the blog entry excerpted below—we don’t know who it was (we found it in a Google search for “Washington Square” and “topless”…), but we were tickled to hear how much she enjoyed herself!

Adventures with the Topless Book Club (Why You Should Go Topless, Too.)

It was a sunny day. I hate to say it, because most stories with happy endings start out by telling you it’s a sunny day, trying to be clever and using the sun smiling down on their world as some quasi-deep metaphor. But, really, it was a sunny day, and that’s what made it all possible.

We were like a scene from the movies. Six young, thin, pretty girls sunbathing in Central Park, with some goofy mom and dad figures to make it just wholesome enough for family viewing. Dad was telling stories about his job and Mom was snapping pictures.

And oh my God, I was topless. We were all topless, except Mom and Dad, who were actually just two good friends who liked to keep their tops on and helped us shoo away unwanted attention.

But more importantly, I was topless. Like those girls in Europe who sunbathe without tops and never have tan lines. Actually, one or two of those girls were sitting next to me. One of the girls was from England and had a pretty British accent… She was so comfortable with her breasts that she hadn’t even worn a bra to travel in.

I couldn’t even make the trek to our picnic spot braless.

For all my ranting about The Evil Patriarchy’s attempts to control my body, I’ve never actually done anything about it. When a cousin mentioned topless sunbathing in Europe, I immediately pictured myself laid out on the beach, reading a book, and applying sun block to my breasts without the slightest glance from anyone else. I looked up a list of topless beaches and discounted them quickly once I realized none of them were accessible by train. (A dedicated New Yorker, I refuse to learn how to drive.)

But, Google saves the day! It’s time for me to blow your mind. Are you ready? In New York, women can go topless anywhere a man can. Heck yeah for equality.

And so, I rounded up some adventurous friends of friends of friends and we set the date for the only day that week my iPhone’s weather app didn’t have a stormy cloud with a thunderbolt next to it. The first meeting of the Topless Book Club. I was excited. I was pumped. I was scared shitless.

We all were.

We sat around on our blankets looking conspicuously at each other. A top off there, a string pulled here. But no one was willing to make the plunge alone, so we counted off and unclasped our bra straps and untied our bikini tops and sat frozen, unsure of what would happen next.

I waited for a mill of people to surround us. For women to walk by and call us names. For men to touch us and say skeevy things. But that never came.

The sun kept shining and we were left alone, for the most part.

I’d had the vague sense that I’d feel used, manipulated, and dirty with the girls on display, and was only slightly alarmed when I realized I felt so comfortable I was about to fall asleep. The sun’s warmth, which had felt like a laser when I first took my top off, was tricking me into idleness with its soft (non-dirty) caress. I had a book, some water, and a pair of newly acquired sunglasses to hide my identity from any family members wandering through the park. My breasts weren’t sweating against the heavy padding of my bra and I was finally evening out my tan. It was the most relaxed I’d felt since childhood.

It’s on my journey to Sleepy Comfortable Land that I learned just how shameless the male population of NYC can be. Three men came up to us asking for pictures–not only of us, but with us, as well. A French tourist wanted a posed picture of us pointing to something out of frame. One guy came up to us asking to “just hang out.” We decided it was time to move Operation Topless Book Club.

We settled on a grassy patch in Washington Square Park, where the men were much more respectful, and chose to do their picture taking from afar. One guy did get a little space-invasion-y with a fellow Topless Book Clubber, but retreated with many an apology after Dad intervened.

I was too blissed out to bother with conversation. I was busy trying to figure out a position that would allow for optimal breast tan-age as well as comfortable reading, while blocking the sun out of my face. I settled for shielding my face with the book, which was surprisingly engrossing, and sacrificing comfort altogether. I read on and hoped that my tan would even out nicely.

Before I knew it, our day was over. But no one seemed in a hurry to get back into their tops, so we lounged around for a few more minutes before deciding we were hungry. In the interest of our stomachs, we put our tops back on and made our way to an early dinner.

Topless sunbathing wasn’t as scary as I thought. Actually, it wasn’t scary at all. Reactions ranged from nothing at all to only slightly creepy. I’d like to attribute the number of men who came up to us as a consequence of our large group, but hopefully that won’t stop the Topless Book Club from striking again. It was the most perfect day I’ve had in a long time.

PS: If you’re ever in New York go to Shade on West 3rd Street. Best. Crepe. Ever.

Our first meeting last Friday in Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park was a success. Everyone started reading Getting Off, a new novel by Lawrence Block that hasn’t hit the shelves yet. When you’re topless, even book publishers will make special allowances.

Later on in the afternoon, we moved south to Washington Square Park.

Looking forward to our next meeting.