Archives for category: 2016

img_4025Two summers ago, we met a funny, smart, beautiful woman named Mara Altman, who said she was writing a book about women’s bodies in general and her body in particular. She wanted to see what our events were like in preparation for writing the chapter about breasts. We were delighted to have her join us.

img_3582Now, after a gestation period that would do an elephant proud, Mara has published that book: GROSS ANATOMY, subtitled “Dispatches From the Front (and Back).” And sure enough, it has a chapter about breasts, and the baring thereof in public, focused on a topless bicycle tour we did in downtown Manhattan. It is thoughtful, eye-opening, and laugh-out-loud funny, and we commend both it and the rest of the book to your attention.

img_3587“When I’d thought about participating,” Mara writes, “the possible pitfalls had seemed huge. What if I changed careers? Say someday I want to be a politician. I’m running on a ticket of universal health care and weekly pizza parties for all, but then, during opposition research, a picture of my bare tits bobbling above a bicycle is revealed. I am no longer fit to serve. Keeping fabric less than a millimeter thick between your body and the world somehow preserves your integrity and makes you honorable, respectable, and capable of deep thoughts. Taking that little swatch of material away makes you a hussy.”

img_3607But of course she goes ahead and joins us anyway. “We rode through Battery Park and stopped in view of the Statue of Liberty, where one of the girls — one of the ones who had breasts that I wouldn’t mind having (it was something about the perkiness, the lightheartedness of the pair, like they were tulips reaching for the light in the sky) — read Emma Lazarus’s sonnet ‘The New Colossus.’ ”

img_3683“We made a quick stop at the New York Stock Exchange, which was filled with men in suits, but what really stood out were the many tourists aiming their cameras at us. Our meaningful movement, to them, was merely a stunt to document on their Instagram feed.”

img_3701img_3694“I saw interest, shock, disdain, adoration, and curiosity on the faces that flashed past. Many, hordes in fact, turned their phones toward us and began recording. I got it; usually, viewing this kind of stuff costs money and endless viruses on one’s computer. I tried to be chill…But every time a camera pointed in our direction, one of the girls, the one who had grandiose breasts, large and pillowlike, the type I’d decided would be perfect to rest my face in for a quick respite from the world, would yell, ‘Fuck you, you have to ask!’…I didn’t share her sentiment. Going outside topless would be like going out with a pair of parrots chanting ‘I like big butts and I cannot lie’ while fornicating on your shoulder, and expecting witnesses not to snap a picture. It wasn’t realistic.”

IMG_4092She writes about the experience of shopping for a sandwich in a shop whose staff isn’t receptive; she writes about eating lunch in the park, with a break for kickball with some kids.

img_3827IMG_3955img_3891Finally when a brief rain shower breaks out, she has an epiphany: “As little droplets pinged pleasingly all over my body, I finally realized an interesting change — my breasts, in that moment , weren’t for anyone but me. I hadn’t really dwelled on it before, but since my beginning, my breasts have always been for someone else. When I was a teenager, I wanted my breasts to grow so I’d be attractive to boys. When my breasts turned out small, I felt it was my duty to warn boys before they went under my half-filled bra cups so they wouldn’t be disappointed by what they found. For doctors, my breasts were something that could potentially turn lethal. For the babies I may have one day, they would be a source of food…Being topless is always a stop on the way to somewhere else — to a shower, to a breast exam, to sex — but it is rarely the destination in and of itself. By exposing my breasts to everything and everyone in one of the largest cities in this nation, paradoxically I finally got a taste of what it was like to relish them for myself.”

IMG_4055We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Hell, we couldn’t have said it half as well.

Check out what else this eloquent topless bicyclist has to say  here — and let us be the first to say this: Mara Altman for President in 2020.

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img_6757There are no bigger fans of the Yuletide season than we — individually. Bright sparkly decorations on normally drab buildings, music everywhere, candy-striped leggings and floppy velvet hats…what’s not to love?

But as a group — as a group we require warmer temperatures to do what we do, namely go out without layers on (without even one layer on, specifically). Which leaves us hunting for warmer climes. And in New York City that means a spa.

img_6788img_6781It means soaking in a hundred-degree tub with whole lemons floating in the water.

img_6748img_6824img_6821It means breathing deep of the herb-infused steam in a glass-walled steam room, and enjoying the radiant heat beneath the mats of a wood-paneled relaxation room.

img_6874img_6878It means holing up in an igloo made of jade and stone and letting it bake us like a stromboli.

img_6851It means spending an evening blissfully naked with two dozen friends, enjoying warmth of another sort, remembering that even in 2016 there is kindness and love and people to share them with.

img_6743img_6912img_6943img_6931cimg_6833And because a few of us couldn’t make it to that spa evening, it means a trip to a second spa a few days later, for a more intimate do-over.

img_1529img_1549img_1560img_1586img_1575We’re very relaxed now.

Hoping you’re the same.

 

img_3506And so, we take our bows.

What a year 2016 was, and not only in bad ways. Oh, there were plenty of bad ways, and 2017 promises to be worse, much worse. And 2018, 2019 and 2020. A lot of us are holding our breaths and preparing for the worst. But 2016 also had some beautiful moments, some triumphant moments, and we’re proud to have been part of them.

The first-ever all-female, all-nude Shakespeare-in-the-park performances, in not one but two parks: Central Park in Manhattan and Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Our topless bicycle tour, which took us across the Williamsburg Bridge to Wall Street, Chinatown and the Statue of Liberty. Standing up to the police on the Fourth of July. Our topless snowball fight, after the biggest blizzard to hit NYC in 100 years. And, in the summer, our liberating the beaches of Coney Island.

It was one hell of a year. And let’s not forget the more ordinary adventures: just going out to the park or up to the roof on a sunny day and doing without shame or hesitation what men do without shame or hesitation every day, simply taking off our shirts and enjoying the sun and the breeze on our skin.

We hope you’ll enjoy this (roughly chronological) remembrance of the past 12 months. And if you’re a body-positive woman in NYC, we hope you’ll join us in 2017. Just email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and tell us a little about yourself. In times like this, we all need friends to read in the sun with.

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toplesspulp-01About a year ago, we invited some artists to take photos from our blog for inspiration, and the results were a lot of fun. So with colder times upon us again and fewer opportunities to exercise our rights outdoors in the real world, we thought we’d turn some illustrators loose again, ranging from the pencil-wielding variety to the ultra-modern digital sort. Once again the results brought big smiles to our faces, and we’re happy to share some of our favorites here.

toplesspulp-03toplesspulp-028l7l4lpinaporsi-2-smallpinaporsi-1Does this mean there will be no more live events until it warms up again? Perish the thought. We have our annual holiday spa visit coming up, where two dozen of us will get to hang out in saunas and steam rooms and get massages and generally enjoy being naked without being cold. And we’ve got a naked dinner planned (we’re talking with some really great restaurants!) and some other cool stuff too — if you’re a body-positive woman in the New York area and curious about spending some naked time with us over the winter, please drop us a note: toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com.

But in the meantime? Enjoy our representations at the hands of these talented artists and remember that warmer times are coming.

3l

 

img_6230When we’re not performing Shakespeare naked ourselves, we enjoy watching other groups tackle the works of the bard — naked or clothed, we’re open-minded.

We especially enjoy a creative, original take on the material. Which made the invitation we received from the Drunk Shakespeare Society irresistible.

img_4393-s-creditThis merry band meets eight times a week in a tiny theater lined with 15,000 books (catnip for book-lovers like us) to perform their own version of one of Shakespeare’s masterpieces…enlivened by the addition of a) improv comedy, and b) one of the actors downing four shots before the performance begins.

img_6103img_6100img_4419-s-creditWe arrived early to get good seats, doffed our tops after our presence was announced to the audience (one of us may have gotten started early…)

img_6024and watched a fine performance of what those in the theater community like to call The Scottish Play — only this time with extra Scotch.

img_6157The male lead was the only one of the actors to join us in going topless, although his mortal enemy, Macduff, did get down to a sports bra. But all the actors did a smashing job (whether smashed or not) of bringing the play to life. The vile concoction the three witches brewed was an alcoholic one, of course, and a waggling sex toy made a brief appearance — but brief appearances were also made by serious performances, startling the audience with moments of emotional depth among all the hilarity. (Okay, not too many. But there were some!)

img_6136After the show we took some photos with the cast,

img_6222-sand with the lucky couple chosen as the king and queen for the evening.

img_6201Then took ourselves off to Shake Shack for some post-theater French fries and shroom burgers. Not topless there, alas — one step at a time.

Today, Shakespeare; tomorrow, the world.

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img_5206The last two days were chilly, windy; the days before were those things and rainy, too. But Tuesday? Tuesday, improbably, the temperature got up to 80 degrees, and the sun shone down like a memory.

img_5213Carpe diem, they say — and carpe we did, with both hands. Only a few of us made it out to Central Park at lunchtime, but those who could did, and enjoyed cupcakes from Magnolia,

img_5276advance copies of Gregory Mcdonald’s SNATCH, the glorious colors of the changing foliage, and a live saxophone soundtrack courtesy of one of Central Park’s itinerant troubadours. (We’d call him a wand’ring minstrel, but he was playing Rodgers and Hart, not Gilbert and Sullivan.)

img_5179img_5268What more could we ask for? Well, a few months of this weather rather than a few hours. But that would be greedy. We’ll take what we can get. And when the spring comes, we’ll be glad to get more.

In the meantime, don’t think the cold weather means our merry band will stop meeting! We’ll just shift to indoor venues and more creative outlets for our topfree impulses. As always, if you’re a body-positive woman in the NYC area and would enjoy hanging with like-minded souls, please contact us, since we’d love to meet you. Write to us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. There may just be a spa day in your future…

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img_4831So there we were, in Central Park, reading our comic books. But was everyone doing that? No, of course not. Some of us were reading book books,

img_4869some were enjoying hot chocolate and baked goods,

img_4928some experimenting with a deck of tarot cards (yeah, tarot cards — wanna make something of it?), and some just basking in the unseasonably warm, sunny weather.

img_4876img_4948img_5004Is it different enjoying the afternoon topless in a city park in the fall, as compared to the summer? A little. You’re apt to be the only person around who doesn’t have a shirt on, never mind no top on at all; in the summer, there are sunbathers galore. But no passers-by stared or gave us a hard time. One fellow stopped by and offered to share some hash with us (we politely declined, both his hash and his company), but that was it for awkward encounters. Do the occasional chilly breezes make the outdoors less inviting? Not at all. I don’t think any of us would trade a beautiful 75-degree day with changing foliage as a backdrop for the sweaty 95-degree days of August.

img_4788But there is a subtle melancholy that pervades any autumn gathering — the knowledge that days like this are in short supply and a long, cold winter is coming. You value each golden ray that much more when you know it’s going to be a while before you get the chance again. Just thinking of all the new friends we made this summer, and the freedom we enjoyed, some of us for the first time ever — it’s gratifying, and so hard to let go of!

img_4914img_4880Well, the spring will come again, and so will we. But if you’re a body-positive woman in the NYC area and would like to hang with us even while it’s cold out, we have some indoor events planned for the colder months and would welcome the chance to meet you at one of those. Just email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com.

And in the meantime?

This Wednesday it’s supposed to hit 80 degrees. Yes, 80 degrees on October 19. Just saying.

We’ll be there.

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