Archives for category: 2020

March 9, 2020.

With social distancing being enforced all over the U.S. — nowhere more so than in New York City — group events aren’t possible, and even just walking on the street is complicated.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t go outside, or enjoy the newly mild spring weather — or get out of our clothes, for that matter. It just means we need to be a little more inventive, and a little more careful.

Rooftops have always been a New Yorker’s best friend when it comes to outdoor nudity, and they’re your friend now. Go up on the roof and you’re in your own little world — quiet, private, secluded. Take off as little or as much as you want. Get the Vitamin D your body craves. Fight the stir-crazy that gets to all of us when we’re stuck inside for too long.

And sure, why not, get a photo or two to remember it by. Just ask your friend with the camera to stand at least 6 feet away.

One day this will all just be a memory. Our rooftop events will look this again, we promise:

And when that time comes, we hope you’ll join us.

But until then? We hope you find some comfort, some freedom, and some naked time out under the sun, even if it has to be all by yourself.

Who knew that, just a month later, Valentine’s Day would feel so far away? On February 14, none of us had heard of “social distancing.” Certainly no one was practicing it. And yet here we are, on March 16, and the world has changed.

Let’s take a look back at that lost world of a month ago. One of our members who is in training to become a licensed massage therapist had the lovely idea of celebrating Valentine’s Day by leading a session where she’d share her knowledge and we’d all get the chance to try out a variety of massage techniques.

Some folks came in pairs–

–while others paired up once they arrived.

And still others found their ways into trios.

We began with some demonstrations on eager volunteers…

…and then split up into our pairs and trios to try the moves out on each other. (Even a foursome or two.)

We worked on individual body parts: feet, glutes, pecs.

Were we masterful masseuses? Not after a single demonstration. What we were was game and open-minded and eager to learn.

And learn we did. We all emerged from this session better at massage and more appreciative of its benefits than we went in.

But what we didn’t appreciate then, and are only starting to now, is just how wonderful a thing simple human contact is. The contact of a group of warm, kind, like-minded individuals coming together for a common purpose. And also the very simple physical contact of your hands on another person’s body, her hands on yours.

That was February. Now it’s March, and we’re all trying hard not to breathe on each other. To stay 6 feet apart. To “hunker down” at home, alone.

But touch is so very precious.

So profoundly, deeply intimate.

We will all come to crave it over the coming months.

We are very grateful that we got to have such a lot of it on Valentine’s Day.

And we hope you will join us when it’s possible to have it again.

So…where were we?

If you read our last post, you know we met recently at a studio in midtown to learn acroyoga from a team of four instructors from France; that acroyoga is a form of exercise that involves using your feet to lift each other off the ground and balance each other in midair; and that when we practice this form of exercise we do it shirtless, just like guys do all the time without anyone thinking there’s anything strange about it. We watched our instructors demonstrate moves and then we tried duplicating them ourselves.

And what did we do after mastering some of the basic moves? Well, we went back to watching, to learn some more advanced stuff.

Some of us were brave enough to attempt the more advanced moves. You’ll be glad to hear (though not half as glad as we) that there were no injuries.

What there were, though, were cases of muscle soreness — hell, some of us came into the room with muscle soreness. So our instructors moved on to demonstrating acromassage: getting your partner up in the air and then using your feet and hands to twist and stretch them like you were making hand-pulled noodles.

Did we attempt those master-level moves? Well, maybe we were just a tiny bit less ambitious. Gotta walk before you can run, and all that. But we did enjoy a bit of good old-fashioned terrestrial massage.

And then we started changing to head out. But in the process we discovered — well, two of our members discovered — that we had a pair of underwear buddies in the room.

Which struck the two of them as a photo op not to be missed. Two of the instructors were kind enough to elevate them for an undie-forward acro moment.

And then — why not? — a photo op of their own.

Since this event, the weather has happily been warming up — only a tiny bit, but you can see the first buds of spring creeping onto the branches in Central Park. So pretty soon we won’t be limited to indoor events. But we have at least a few more coming before putting the winter behind us. If you’d like to join the fun, drop us a note: toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com.

Next up? Naked baking. 🙂

We’ve done acroyoga before — that’s the sort of yoga you do with a partner so you can lift each other into the air, balance each other on your feet, turn each other around like a seal with a beach ball. But we’ve never done it with a team of four instructors — from France, no less! — who somehow made it seem utterly effortless.

Of course, we didn’t start out up in the air ourselves. We started out dressed, for one thing, and that had to be rectified.

And then before launching ourselves into the acro portion, we started with some ordinary yoga to get ourselves loose and limber.

Then we sat and watched some demonstrations, and if we look mesmerized, that’s because we were.

And then it was our turn. Were we as smooth as the pros? Of course not.

That’s why every pair was actually a threesome, with one person on spotting duty, to help the “flyer” stay balanced or catch her if she fell.

But it took surprisingly little time for us to find the rhythm of the thing.

What came next? Well, more advanced moves, for one thing, and some techniques to turn acroyoga into acromassage. But we’ll save those for Part 2. For now, let us just say that getting free from the bonds of gravity that ordinarily tie us to the ground is just as liberating and exhilarating as freeing ourselves from the bonds of convention that ordinarily keep us in shirts and bras even as men all around us carelessly, casually go top-free in the sun. We believe in freedom of all sorts. And if you do too — or even if you’re tempted but nervous — we would love to hear from you. Email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com or find us on Insta or Twitter. We’ll get you up in the air — or at least your shirt on the ground! — in no time.

After we posted our report last week about the first of our two recent figure-drawing sessions, a follower of our blog sent us this image of an outdoor mural in Christchurch, New Zealand. It was painted by a man (on the side of a strip club, no less!) and it’s a bit on the Jessica Rabbit end of the spectrum; but all the same, it’s kind of a nice piece of art. And we certainly approve of the message that women can take brush (or pencil, or charcoal) in hand and make art out of the naked female body.

We just prefer to do it ourselves.

Why did we split our figure drawing event into two sessions? Not enough room for 40+ people at one session, for one thing. And not everyone could make it on the same day. Plus, it’s fun to see each other again so soon!

We had a few return attendees from the first session–

–but mostly it was new faces. Some new to our events, some new to figure drawing, some new to both.

We changed things up a bit this time. The treats from Baked By Melissa were macarons, for instance.

We had a different photographer on duty.

And at least one person experimented with applying pencil to paper in an entirely different fashion.

But other things stayed the same. We took turns posing for each other.

There was one male in the mix.

And lots of fun was had.

Between poses, we threw in some bits of massage, to help keep muscles from locking up.

But the heart of the matter was as it always is: sitting and drawing.

Want to join us the next time we sit down to draw each other? Pretty soon it’s going to be warm out — so maybe the next time we’ll be sitting on the rocks in Central Park instead of on stools indoors. But either way we’ll be in a state of nature — and celebrating how nature shaped us.

You can do it. Just email toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and the rest will come naturally.

In Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, the va-va-voomish Jessica Rabbit, chesty cartoon vixen, famously says, “I’m not bad — I’m just drawn that way.” It may seem an unlikely rallying cry for a feminist group like ours. And yet. What woman has not felt, at one time or another, that the body she finds herself in through no act of her own does more to determine how people see, evaluate and treat her than anything she might do or say or think or believe or accomplish?

One of our goals since founding this group 8+ years ago has been to take back control over how our bodies are presented and how they’re seen. One of the ways we do this is by taking our shirts off when we feel like it, and insisting that there doesn’t have to be anything sexual about it — a bare chest is just a bare chest, whether it’s a woman’s or a man’s. Another way we do it from time to time is by taking pencil in hand and producing our own images of ourselves and each other. Why should men be the ones to decide how women’s bodies get depicted? Like Ms. Rabbit says, we’re not bad — why should we even have to be drawn that way?

All of which is by way of explaining how we found ourselves, a few weeks back, taking over a theater-district rehearsal studio, stocking it with pencils, erasers, sketchpads and Baked By Melissa mini-cupcakes (yeah, it’s a thing, all right? Georgia O’Keeffe would totally have done it if they’d existed back then) and spending several hours on each of two evenings transforming our bodies into art.

Here you see photos from the first for those two evenings. We had a really nice turnout — about two dozen people — and though there was some nervousness to start, by the end of the session pretty much everyone had taken a turn drawing and getting drawn.

It’s an interesting feeling, having a dozen people staring closely, minutely at every inch of your body in order to recreate it on the page. And just as interesting to stare closely, minutely at someone else’s body and direct your hand to reproduce every line, every curve.

The female body is a wonder. Every one different, every one unique. The male body, too — we had two XY-chromosomed pals along for the ride and got to draw some male anatomy as well. And not for one instant was any of it sexual. Not having clothing on is just that — not having clothing on. Our bodies are just these extended forked things, with joints and skin and stuff. Pass the cupcakes!

We had some trained artists, some novices. Also some experienced figure models and some newcomers. The more ambitious poses were mostly offered by the newcomers. (It’s experience that teaches you not to offer a pose holding an apple core in your mouth for ten minutes.)

Fun was had.

Then, before long — before long enough — it was over. We packed our supplies away, said our reluctant farewells, and headed out into the world again, where the billboards and taxi-top ads of Times Square offered Photoshopped images of cinched waists and made-up faces and cantilevered cleavage. We were back in the land of Jessica Rabbit once more.

But not for long! A second night of figure drawing was on its way, our pencils ready to come out again. As they say: watch this space.