Archives for category: 2019

Every so often we’re contacted by someone who wants us to take a look at something she or he has done. It might be a writer who would like us to read her book or an artist or photographer who’d like us to pose for pictures or, in one memorable case, a member of the Queens Economic Development Corporation eager to have us grace his borough rather than spending all our summer afternoons in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Generally, we politely say thank you but no. But once in a while something special catches our eye.

This summer, we heard from Deb, one of a trio of charming Canadian ladies who’ve spent the past 25 years doing various body-casting projects and more recently have created a cast-at-home kit you can use yourself to make permanent casts of…your nipples.

The kit is called Areola Art, and they sent us one to try out. It uses the same stuff dentists use to take impressions, and after mixing up a batch in a little plastic cup (feeling every inch a Girl Scout — the kit even comes with little wooden tongue depressors for stirring!), you bend forward, aim, and plop your boob down in the goop.

Yes, it’s cold. And squishy. And feels funny as it hardens. But not bad. And peeling it off is kinda fun. Then you mix up a batch of stone, fill the mold, let it harden, pull off the mold, and — voila!

The next step is to use the included set of paints and brush to add color and transform your little stone nipples into proper works of art. We didn’t take it quite that far — we were trying this out at a Very Special Indoor Event, and by the time our nipples had hardened, some other stuff was calling us away from the kitchen that we found rather hard to resist. (What was it? That’s a subject for another post.) But here are some examples of what other Areola Art customers have done with their nipples:

Would we recommend Areola Art? Absolutely. It’s a fun group activity at a party (if your parties are anything like ours), and the end results are kind of cool. Who wouldn’t want to see her nipples made permanent in stone? Look on my nips, ye mighty, and despair!

Our male friends might be interested as well. (You might just need a bigger kit.)

Cynthia Plaster Caster poses for a portrait at the Michael Mauney Studio in Chicago, IL, January 1969.

A year ago, a singer and activist know as “Ton Dou” (an abbreviation of his real name, Tony Douglas) held the first of what he called his Ultimate Freedom Concerts — events held in public places (in this case, Times Square in the middle of New York City) where people of goodwill could demonstrate that being naked doesn’t need to be sexual or offensive in any way. For six or seven hours, a group of partially or fully nude people congregated in this high-traffic spot, in full view of locals and tourists, vendors and costumed characters, and peacefully sang, spoke, practiced yoga, painted one another, and explained to the baffled masses on the other side of the protective fencing what it was all about.

This year he did it again, and it went more or less as before: baffled masses on one side, naked people on the other, some mutual understanding gingerly arrived at between the two.

Was there any difference? Well, last year’s profound gender imbalance — two dozen naked men, one naked woman — was slightly less profound: there were maybe one dozen men and four or five women. It’s a step in the right direction.

And the interactions with spectators were less confrontational. Last year the group was met with some antagonism, especially from people stumbling on the event unawares after exiting the annual Brazil Day festivities a block away, coincidentally scheduled for the same day. It was again Brazil Day this year, but somehow celebrants from that event seemed more tolerant or curious than hostile. Maybe the slightly better gender balance had something to do with that. Stumbling across a pen of naked men in Times Square is somehow different from stumbling across a mix of naked men and women. And maybe it also helped that some of the Brazilians this year seem to have embraced at least partial nudity:

Participants were still in a pen, though. The group meets with the city’s blessing and under the protection of the New York Police Department, but that same police department mandates metal fencing between the event and the public, and the result is an inescapable suggestion of animals in a zoo. Then, too, the male participants are a motley bunch that include some sincere idealists, some grizzled veterans of the nudist scene, some starved-for-human-contact sorts who might otherwise be tossing tetrahedral dice (not that there’s anything wrong with that…), and some hardened exhibitionists (not literally hardened, thankfully — but it’s clear enough what they’re there for). The message is a good and healthy message — but the participants attempting to convey the message aren’t all equally good ambassadors for the cause.

But: one step at a time. Last year’s event was a bit shaky; this year’s was definitely better; next year’s should be better still. And we do wholeheartedly endorse the goal: to make nudity more acceptable, more understood, less a cause for shame or embarrassment or anger. We feel fortunate to live in a city where an event like this can happen, not just once but annually, and with no motive other than to make the world a better, freer place.

Over the years, our group has been the subject of lots of media coverage — the New York Times came out with us to Prospect Park once to shoot a terrific video story; Salon did so twice, once reporting on our ordinary activities and once about our all-female, all-nude production of Shakespeare in Central Park (though the actual videos seem to have gone missing); NBC News has a video still up about our Tempest; and 60 Second Docs ran a minute-long tribute to our events and their raison d’etre.

To this august company you can now add our friends at Naked News. Naked News is a Canadian outfit that began years ago just by reporting everyday news events but having the anchors and reporters doing so be unclothed. But over the years they’ve expanded their coverage to include stories that are about social nudity and the body-freedom movement. (Yes, we know a lot of their subscribers are probably male and are watching out of a motive that has less to do with liberation and equal rights than Ooh, boobies! But even the ‘ooh, boobies’ crowd can learn something about freedom and equality if they’re exposed to the message often enough and persuasively enough.)

Anyway: we’ve known Naked News for years and years now, but somehow never managed to get together with them in the flesh (ha ha), until NN news anchor and all-around fabulous human being Laura Desiree told us she was going to be in NYC for other reasons anyway, and could we finally do this thing?

And our answer was yes. Yes, we could finally do this thing. And we did. You can see the result here.

To shoot a pair of live interviews, we met on our favorite rooftop sundeck, where we could be fully naked if we wanted rather than only topless. (Also, we could count on it being quiet, which is handy when you’re recording audio.) Two of our eloquent members came out to talk about our history and goals, offer testimonials about what it feels like to go shirtless in public, and explain why the freedom to do so matters.

While we were there, we even got some reading done, thanks to a selection of delicious pulp goodness from our friends at Hard Case Crime. (Yes, we have a lot of friends. Life is better that way.)

And Laura filled us in about some of her upcoming projects, including a clothes-free cruise up the Danube. The woman travels a lot! Though she once called New York her home, she’s here only rarely these days.

But she promised to join us again the next time she’s back — not for another news story, just for the pleasure of being naked with other smart, interesting, like-minded women. And if that idea appeals to you too…well, you’re welcome to join us as well. Just email toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com or DM us on Insta or Twitter. We’re getting naked all winter long (though mostly indoors!). And when the summer comes — well, just you wait.

Our tour at summer’s end of the city’s parks, celebrating our warmer-than-normal September and October, culminated on an October day when it hit 90 degrees. Yes, you read that right: 90. So we decided to make that day a twofer and also pay a last visit for the season to our favorite rooftop sundeck.

What’s the difference between meeting in Union Square Park and meeting on the roof? In the park it’s legal for women to go topless — but on the roof we can dispense with clothing altogether.

Not everyone does, of course — everyone does whatever she wants. But it’s nice to have the option.

We can also be ourselves, let our hair down in ways we probably wouldn’t in a public place.

But most of what we do on the roof is the same as in the park: we chat–

We laugh–

We read–

We play with our food–

Even this late in the season, we got to welcome several first-timers who finally got around to coming to an event.

Along with some old friends.

What’s next for us? Well, as the weather has finally turned colder, our next 6 months or so are likely to be spent mostly meeting indoors. But you never know — there have been warm days in November some years. It could happen again. And if not, our indoor events are a lot of fun too! If you have any appetite for the sorts of things we do and would like the chance to try them for yourself, get in touch: our email is toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com or you can DM us on Insta or Twitter. And don’t forget — another summer is only 6 months away…

For the last leg of our end-of-season visit to our favorite NYC parks, we paid our first visit of the year to Union Square.

Why Union Square? Well, to start with, it’s home to the city’s biggest farmer’s market, which means fresh-picked fruit to feast on — or to wear as impromptu pasties.

It’s also quiet, in spite of being home to a subway station and a never-ending stream of pedestrians (and chess hustlers, and street vendors, and, and, and…). The lawns on the east side of Union Square are set off by fencing and shrubbery and statues and just generally feel like an oasis amid all the midtown tumult.

It’s near the New School and some other schools where members of our group are enrolled, making it a perfect spot for a quick topless break between classes.

It’s far enough downtown that no one bats an eye if you walk from the subway to the park in a stylish leather top that lets you enjoy the breeze almost as thoroughly as if you had no top on at all.

Nor does anyone remark on it when you switch to actually having no top on at all.

But there was another reason for our choice when we went there on an unseasonably warm day earlier this month: Union Square is within walking distance of our favorite rooftop sundeck, and we wanted to pay a last visit there as well. So we had a rather full day: topless in the park at noon, nude sunbathing on the roof at 3.

Was that too much naked fun for one day? Sure — for a day in July, with the summer stretched out before us, feeling endless. But for a day in October?

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, the poet tells us, and so we did.

Would you like to gather some rosebuds with us when next spring rolls around? Or perhaps discover what indoor fun we’ve cooked up for the fall and winter? Drop us a note at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com or DM us on Insta or Twitter. You’ll find that when you’re with us, naked is always in season. 🙂

For the third leg of our valedictory tour, we returned to Central Park, but the southern end this time, where all the tourists do go. This being one of the very last days of summer, there weren’t all that many tourists around — or all that many of us, for that matter. (School had started, summer Fridays were over at work, iffy weather made people hesitant. And so on.) But those of us who came enjoyed a truly lovely afternoon.

It was overcast, so no need for sunscreen (although the sun did peek out once or twice!), and there’s really no better spot for a mid-afternoon picnic on the grass than the lawn at Columbus Circle.

If it was too chilly at first to go fully topless, it wasn’t too cold to unbutton–

–or to find other ways of setting our nipples free.

And it did warm up! After a bit of brisk weather at the start we found ourselves bathed by gentle breezes and warmed lightly by the sun.

We weren’t super-energetic this time (for the most part). It was a snoozy afternoon, but that’s fine. Nothing nicer than lying in the grass with friends.

No one bothered us, our bare-chestedness notwithstanding. Which is proof yet again that a) New York is the coolest place on earth, and b) people here have finally figured out that a woman going topless isn’t grounds for ogling or catcalls or complaints or even paying attention especially. Yes, one teenage boy came over on the obviously concocted grounds of asking where the nearest bathroom was, but eh. A boy’s got to see his first boobs sometime. What do you want to bet he’ll treat the sight as more of an ordinary one now that he’s seen women simply relaxing without shirts on, just like he and his friends do all the time, rather than only ever having seen a woman’s chest in the context of porn or some sexualized videogame?

This was one of our last park outings for the year — but not the very last (yes, there’s a Part IV still to come). And we’re still holding out hope for a warm November! But if we don’t get that, we’ll have indoor events to tide us over until the thaw in the spring. Want to join us, indoors or out? We’d love to hear from you. Just email toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com or DM us on Insta or Twitter.

For the second leg of our valedictory tour (which began in the secluded northern reaches of Central Park), we went back to the place we began this summer: Washington Square Park.

Now, Washington Square is about as different from upper Manhattan as you can get, and not just because it’s on the opposite end of the island. Where the meadow in Central Park is pretty empty even on warm summer days, Washington Square Park is busy and crowded even when it’s cold out — and the day we returned was far from cold. So the lawns were full of NYU students (and professors, and random other people) taking a last bit of sun for the season.

That didn’t stop us from doing the same. And happily, the results weren’t so very different from what we experienced up north. Far more people saw, but they ignored us (not counting the one wild-eyed fellow in an ill-fitting suit who stopped by to tell us about his role in the development of the anarchist movement — and we have a feeling he would’ve buttonholed us no matter what we’d been wearing). We felt comfortable and safe, two things you might not expect to feel out in public without a shirt on, surrounded by a hundred strangers.

New York seems to have accepted the fact that women have the same freedom of choice that men have when it comes to how much or how little to wear. When we first visited this park eight years ago, we certainly got more questioning looks than we got this time. It’s real progress, and we’re so pleased to have had a role, however small, in bringing it about.

What did we spend our time doing? Not all that much reading, although three books by Stephen King made an appearance. (The Shining, Joyland, and The Colorado Kid, if you’re wondering.) An adorable puppy also made an appearance, briefly, and got lots of attention.

Mostly we spent the time getting to know each other, since there were a number of first timers in the group. According to time-honored tradition we said hello by comparing ink.

We also shared some ingestible treats, most of them 100% legal.

And we just lay back and recharged our batteries.

How will we recharge when it’s too cold out for sunning in the park? We have no shortage of plans: there will be a topless karaoke night in November and our annual spa visit in December, among other well-heated delights. But we do miss being outdoors and warmed by the late summer sun.

Might November contain a day warm enough for us to do it again? It might — we’ll see. If you’d like to join us if it does, email toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com or DM us on Insta or Twitter. Same thing if you’re in the mood for singing along to Madonna’s greatest hits. We’d love to make your acquaintance — indoors or out.