Archives for category: 2016

img_5053Last week was ComicCon in New York, and more than 100,000 people (supposedly — we didn’t count them) descended on the Javits Center, many of them dressed as Harley Quinn or Wonder Woman or Rey from The Force Awakens. (I guess there were boys there, too.) More power to them all, we say. But we prefer wearing less rather than more, and convention center rules prohibit what New York City law permits in public places, so we picked up our comics — in this case, the first two titles from the brand new Hard Case Crime comics line, PEEPLAND and TRIGGERMAN — and took them out to Central Park for a little outdoor reading time.

img_4794Yes, it’s October. So what? It was sunny and warm(ish) and pretty much a perfect day to have your shirt off in the park. So that’s how we enjoyed the tale of a peepshow worker in 1980s Times Square getting involved in murder (by Christa Faust and Gary Phillips), and the tale of a convict sprung from prison in the 1930s to track down debtors for the Mob (by film director Walter Hill). Cool stuff. On an unseasonably warm day.

img_4745img_4786img_5072Will there be another one like it before the winter shuts us in for good? (Or at least for the season.) We’ll keep watching the weather forecast.

If you’d like to join us, drop us a note: All body-positive women are welcome, whether it’s comic books, plain old prose, or just brisk fall weather that gets you excited…


img_4541Summer has, at last and alas, come to an end — but that has never stopped us before and won’t stop us this year. There may yet be a warm day or two in October and November (one year we even met in the park in December!), and if not, we’ll find indoor spots to enjoy while waiting for the Spring. In the meantime, though, a colder, damper season has replaced sun-streaked days.

img_4338Before it settled in in earnest, on the last 90-degree day of the year (technically one of the first days of autumn), we enjoyed a valedictory visit to our favorite rooftop sundeck, where we devoured French pastries, California strawberries, and Caribbean rum.

img_4322The event was also a debut of sorts, since we had not one, not two, but half a dozen first-timers in attendance — people who’d not only never come to one of our events before but who, in some cases, had never gone nude outdoors before, or in front of strangers. We asked if any of them would like to share their experience with you, and two of them took us up on it:

To be completely and openly honest (wrote the first), I was slightly terrified of attending my first time with the Topless Pulp Fiction crew. When I would scroll through the blog I felt excited and for lack of a better word, empowered, by their message and ideas that directly coincided with my own. Packing a towel and book before coming, I felt this same wave of excitement. But the minutes walking from the train, leading up to meeting the group, was a moment of panic.

Meeting new people is always abstractly scary in some way, but meeting new people with the known fact that the group celebrates, de-sexualizes, and normalizes women’s bodies; well that’s a whole new level of scary.

But somewhere between slipping off my shoes and feeling the last proper summer warmth in my feet, I opened up.

That isn’t to say I immediately shed my clothes, but the walls I put up in normal conversation, just didn’t show up. I’ve never felt like I knew a group of people so well, with barely even knowing their names.

I think what makes the experience special and emotionally rewarding is that suddenly all the physical barriers society has created and rudely placed upon us, have been stripped away. I was no longer making small talk about my job, I was having a critical discussion about my industry with someone who I had known for 5 minutes. I felt a strong emotional connection to women (and men, shockingly) who didn’t come to ogle my body, but to make friends and truly indulge in the human experience. 

I really thought this Mercury Retrograde was going to fuck with me, but it directed me right into the hands of new friends, new experiences, and brought an action to my politics. Well played, Topless Pulp Fiction.


And here’s what the second had to say, in a piece she titled “Eden”:

I was naked in the middle of New York City. Outside on a rooftop, with a crowd of people I’d never met, there I was with my bare butt in a soft chair, eating a chocolate chip cookie and drinking a bottle of water. And everyone around me, including my husband, was similarly naked.

No, it was not some weird dream. It was real. And weirder still, to some at least, might be the fact that I identify as a Modern Orthodox Jew. Yes – it was a Friday, and my husband and I stayed for about an hour before heading home so we could make it on time to prepare for Shabbas (the Jewish Sabbath).

To many, this makes no sense – I’m a contradiction! Isn’t my religion incompatible with such an activity? Shouldn’t my body be only for the eyes of my husband? If I’m so religious, then where’s my modesty?

Modesty. What does it mean?

When nakedness is discussed in Genesis in the Bible, it is associated with shame. Adam and Eve had just eaten the apple, realized they were naked, and felt ashamed.

Shame. What does it mean?

Modesty, to me, means having something to be proud of, something beautiful, yet not bragging about it or showing it off. Shame, to me, means having something to be guilty of, something ugly, and therefore hiding it.

I am a contradiction because the body is a contradiction.

So what is the body? Should we be proud of it? Ashamed of it? And should we hide it either way?

To me, the body is nothing to be ashamed of, and I chose to come to our naked rooftop gathering because it is my way of spitting out a piece of the apple – a way of seeing what it might have been like in the beginning in Eden.

I agree that the body is beautiful, because God created it. Like any gift of God, it can be misused and lusted after. So to protect it from such misuse and lust, we hide it. But it is only misused and lusted after when it is seen as a solely sexual object.

There is a fear of who we might become if we were let loose from law: William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies, comes to mind. Civilization equals protection; it is how we save us from ourselves. The moment we return to our natural state, we risk turning into “beasts” that have no control over ourselves. No, we must hide from our nakedness, under masks that disguise our true nature – beasts temporarily restrained by the cage of civilization, who would no sooner come out of our clothes than we would jump on the next naked member of our species we see.  

But at our rooftop event, I was surrounded by people who, I feel very sure, recognize that the body is more than a sexual object. And as we recognize that the body is more than sexual, we recognize that humans are more than we can imagine.

img_4329It may not be warm outdoors anymore — at least not in the narrow sense captured by thermometers. But in the ways that count, there’s no shortage of warmth to be had. We want to thank our newest members for so powerfully demonstrating that.

img_4512Won’t you join us too? Email us at, tell us a little about yourself, and perhaps together we’ll  discover what naked pleasures we can unlock while the rest of the world is jack o’lanterning, turkeying, caroling, and hibernating.


img_3587Well, it’s true: we do want to change the world. Just like John Lennon wrote.

We want people to see women’s bodies the same way they see men’s: neutrally, as objects in the world, objects of beauty some of the time, objects of simple utility other times, in either event deserving of respect and fair treatment. The way we set out to achieve this is by going out in the world and using our bodies in a wide variety of ways, and doing it unclothed to the same extent men have been doing for ages, and hoping that repeated exposure to the sight will cure people of whatever concerns or anxiety or fear or prejudices they might have.

Most of the time this involves sitting in the park reading books — we are a book club, after all. But when Adam Benedetto of Loudest Yeller Bicycle Tours approached us to suggest a topless bicycle tour of literary and historical sites in downtown Manhattan, we jumped at the chance.

img_3619So, at 11am on a balmy Saturday morning, a dozen of us met up with Adam at his headquarters in Brooklyn, at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge.

img_3571img_3582Now, not all of us are what you would call expert riders of the two-wheeled contraptions we were being asked to climb aboard. But Adam reassured us that in all his years of running bicycle tours around the world, from here to Shanghai, he’s never had an accident. And sure enough, once we were all seated and pedaling and got the initial wobblies out of the way, breezing through the city streets turned out to be a joy — an absolute joy.

img_3679We headed first for the ferry dock to drop off supplies with Adam’s fiancee (she was leading another tour at the same time — not a topless one, sadly), then bicycled across the Williamsburg Bridge. And let me just say this: if you have never bicycled across a New York City bridge bare-chested on a warm summer day, well, you simply haven’t lived.

img_3607img_3645The next five hours — yes, five hours — sped by in a blur of exercise, education, conversation, and bare bodies. We rode along the Battery Park esplanade toward the Statue of Liberty, where one of our number was enlisted to recite poet and activist Emma Lazarus’ sonnet The New Colossus — not just the famous part, but the whole thing: “Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand/A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame/Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name/Mother of Exiles…” (Imagine it, if you will, read in a beautiful British accent, courtesy of one of our ex-pat members.)

img_3683From there it was on to Wall Street, purely for the ironic juxtaposition, and to discover that tourists find bare breasts absolutely astonishing, judging by the number who turned their cameras on us.

img_3694img_3701City Hall Park, where the mayor presides over New York’s affairs, was a short ride away, and Adam pointed out the site — now up for rent — where in the 19th century Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton published the women’s rights newspaper called The Revolution. (An appropriate theme for our group on any day, but doubly appropriate on a day of bicycling!)

img_3724After a stop at the African Burial Ground National Monument, we cycled past the giant, imposing courthouses where in past years women were sometimes brought before judges for doing no more than we were doing on that very spot, at that very moment.

img_3750On we went, to the crowded streets of Chinatown and Little Italy,

img_3755img_3773img_3835…where finally we stopped to pick up the makings of a picnic lunch. Disappointingly, Murray’s Cheese chased us out before we could buy anything there, citing some entirely nonexistent health code supposedly being violated by our bodies, but their next door neighbor — Faicco’s Italian Specialties — welcomed us warmly, sold us sandwiches and cookies and fancy imported sodas, and did it all with a smile.

img_3827Next stop: Washington Square Park, where we rested our well-worked-out calves and thighs and glutes while munching, kicking a ball around with some guys who were playing nearby, and chatting with a New York Post reporter, who looked like she was about two seconds away from taking her shirt off too…but never quite got there. Next time. 🙂

img_3853img_3891img_3936img_3955img_3963After lunch we had all those new calories to work off, and we did it with a visit to a former women’s prison, the site of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, the Stonewall Inn, and the former workplace of Anais Nin.

img_3988img_3994At this point it briefly rained, but you know what? Far from ruining the day, it felt refreshing and wonderful. Basically nothing could ruin the day for us. Even when one of us got a flat tire and we had to stop while Adam patched it, we found ourselves outside a downtown boxing gym, where this fellow entertained us by working his jumprope outside on the sidewalk.

img_4010Now, look at that chest. Just look at it. Isn’t that an object of beauty? Sexually attractive? It certainly is. And no one but no one told him to put a shirt on or asked what he was doing exposing himself where children might see. No one bothered him or whistled at him or booed or cheered or applauded. And that’s as it should be. All we ask is equal treatment for our bodies. It’s really not that much to ask.

img_4014From there, it was back to the bridge–

img_4055img_4069–and back to Brooklyn, where we returned our bikes and helmets and bid Adam a fond and grateful farewell.

img_4083He’s the best — well informed, a great guide, a feminist through and through, and a whiz on two wheels. If you’re in the mood to discover New York by bicycle, you should totally contact him:

And if you’re in the mood to discover the pleasure of being topless outdoors while it’s still warm enough to enjoy it, you should totally contact us:

It’s your body. Why not enjoy it?

It’s how we hold our revolution.

It’s how we change the world.


img_3376For the last three nights, our all-female, fully nude production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest has played to sold-out houses in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. (Well, tickets are free, so maybe “sold out” isn’t precisely the right phrase. But packed houses. Standing room only. Let’s call it that.)

img_3138Tonight — Saturday, September 10, 2016 — is your last chance to see the show. If you’re in New York and at all curious, we encourage you to come.

img_3156The show is different in Brooklyn than it was in Central Park in May. The performance space is less isolated, so random pedestrians walking by are more likely to stumble across a mystifying and magical scene. The bulk of the audience is watching from an elevated pagoda, and the lawn before it is flat, reversing the earlier dynamics (in Central Park, most audience members sat on the ground and the stage had a variety of vertical levels). And two new actresses, one new dancer and a new pair of musicians have  joined the cast, appearing in new costumes and new body paint.

img_2933But the script is the same — the same timeless fable of exile and liberation, of vengeance melting into forgiveness, told in some of the most beautiful verse ever crafted. And once again we celebrate the female body in all its variety and wondrous versatility. Our cast displays tenderness, rage, horror. wonder, despair, elation — the full range of human experience, giving the lie to the premise that a naked women conveys only one thing: sexuality.

img_3210Come join us tonight and see Prospero and Miranda, a sorcerer and his daughter–

img_2970Ariel, spirit queen of the magic isle–

img_2995Ferdinand, boy prince, thought orphaned–

img_3164Alsonso, King of Naples, and his loyal retainer, the good lord Gonzalo–

img_3421Sebastian and Antonio, conniving conspirators–

img_3370img_2952And the other spirits in attendance–

img_2909See love blossom,

img_3070img_3089and ripen

img_3257img_3268See perfidy punished

img_3228and virtue rewarded

img_3452See magic abjured

img_3343and captivity…prolonged?

img_3052See it all, before it vanishes into air — into thin air…


IMG_1256We meet outdoors. Why? Because it’s warm outdoors; it’s pleasant; it’s sunny, and it won’t always be this warm. New York is a beautiful city in the winter too, we love New York at Christmastime, but summer in New York is something special, and we want to enjoy every last bit of it.

IMG_1462We meet in the park. Why? Because it’s a touch of nature in a city that has all too little of it. We love tall buildings too, we love the rumble of a subway train, the rattle of the taxis, but grass is lovely, it feels nice underfoot, and you can lie down on it and roll around in it and do backbends and bridges and handstands in it.

IMG_1541IMG_1556We meet in a group. Why? Because our friends are important to us, because we enjoy their company, because reading books is more fun when you can tell your friends about them; but also because there safety in numbers, and support in numbers too. There’s comfort in knowing you’re not the only one who enjoys what you enjoy and confidence in doing something together with other likeminded folk. Because a harasser is more likely to target a solitary woman than a group of women, and because that’s true even if the solitary woman is fully clothed and the group is topless.

IMG_1476IMG_1593We meet topless. Why? Because it feels good; because we can; because the law permits us to. Because men do it without anyone asking why, and have for eighty years, but once upon a time people thought male nipples were scandalous too. Because eighty years from now, people will think it’s equally ridiculous that people once thought female nipples were scandalous — but only if we start normalizing ours now. Because a beautiful chest is no sexier, and no more inherently sexual, than a beautiful pair of legs or lips or eyes, or beautiful hair, or a beautiful back, and we don’t require either women or men to cover up any of those things, or shame them if they choose not to. Because a beautiful chest is no sexier, and no more inherently sexual, if it’s a woman’s than if it’s a man’s. Because our daughters need to learn this, and our sons too. Because our bodies are all we have, ultimately, and we can’t shed them, and if you criminalize them, you criminalize us. If you shame them, you shame us. If you hide them, you hide us.

IMG_1227IMG_1406IMG_1312We photograph ourselves, and we post the photos here. Why? Because what we do in New York can benefit women all across the world. We’re fortunate to live somewhere where it’s legal to do what we do. But not all women are so fortunate. Most women are not. And we want to show women everywhere — and men, men everywhere too — that a bare breast will not cause the downfall of civilization, that exposed nipples need not be met with outrage, that sane, normal women can enjoy a day in the sun with no top on just as sane, normal men can. Because we are proud of what we do and want you to know we are. Because we choose not to hide.

IMG_1412IMG_1381IMG_1388We want you to write to us at Why? Because you’re a woman, because you love books and the sun, because you have a body, and you choose not to hide either.



IMG_2395Two summers ago, we scoured the city to find a hotel with a rooftop pool that would let us come and swim topless. All but one expressed horror at the idea. That one — the Dream Hotel Downtown — said that topless sunbathing and swimming was of course fine. And they of course got our business.

IMG_1981We had such a good time, we returned for a second go-round last summer, and this week we came for our third visit. For the record (and in case any of the Dream’s competitors are reading this, and we know they are), no other guests at the pool complained and no one seemed to mind that both men and women were enjoying the pool bare-chested. The Dream has now enjoyed several thousand dollars of our patronage, not to mention whatever incidental benefit publicity on this blog might confer, with no negative side effects whatsoever. Other hotels might do well to reconsider their senselessly restrictive, sexist policies. We’re looking at you, Hotel Americano.

IMG_2217But enough editorializing. Back to the fun stuff. Which in this case included a nice shady cabana for getting out of the sun,

IMG_1609IMG_2154Some truly delicious champagne–

IMG_2610IMG_1909–and nibbles,

IMG_1694IMG_2574Hanging out both in the pool–

IMG_1861IMG_1874–and on the pool (fun with inflatables, yay!),

IMG_2458IMG_2425Showing off new hairstyles,

IMG_1985IMG_1986Taking selfies,

IMG_2178And of course reading some wonderful books, ranging from the serious poundage of Infinite Jest to the tawdry pulp pleasures of Sinner Man. (Each a wrist workout in its own way, as one wag observed.)

IMG_2358IMG_2777IMG_1716Best of all was hanging out with friends, and holding the onrushing end of summer at bay for one more glittering, timeless afternoon.

IMG_2277IMG_2484IMG_2434And while we may not have another pool adventure in the works this year, we’re not letting the summer slip from our grasp without a fight. If you’re in the city and would like to join us for one of our end-of-summer flings, we welcome inquiries from all brave, body-positive women (or even timid, body-positive women — we were nervous our first time too). Email us at and let us know a little about you. We’d love to meet you sometime, before warm afternoons are once more just a thing of legend.



IMG_4581This past May, we put on an all-female, fully nude production of Shakespeare’s final play, The Tempest, outdoors in Central Park. It was a huge success, attracting not only an audience of hundreds to the park but also coverage all over the world, from NBC News here in New York (and the New York Post, and the Daily News, and New York Newsday, and many more) to four of the five major newspapers in the UK (Daily MailIndependentGuardian, and Times), and from Jezebel and Salon online to The Huffington Post and The American Spectator. We were covered in Oregon. We were covered in India. We were one of the “photos of the week” chosen by The Atlantic. For an hour or two, we were one of the top 3 trending topics on Facebook.

But despite all that attention, not everyone who wanted to see the show was able to.

Well — now’s your chance. Our Tempest is coming back, this time to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, for four nights only: September 7-10, at 5:30pm each day. You can find information about the show and directions to the location in the park here.

IMG_3732IMG_4750IMG_4856The cast and creative team is mostly the same, though we have a new Miranda and Gonzalo joining us, and a new painter doing the body art for our supernatural characters.

IMG_4814IMG_4936We’ve already started to get attention — CBS News ran this story last night, and local Brooklyn publications have been all over it.

IMG_5027If you’re in the New York area on the dates in question, we hope you’ll join us in Prospect Park for some open-air Shakespeare and to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy as New Yorkers. And needless to say, if you do come, you’re welcome to watch the show topless yourself. 🙂