Archives for category: male

IMG_2904A new non-profit arts organization called Human Connection Arts wants to bring fully nude outdoor body-painting events to four cities this year: New York, Berlin, Amsterdam and San Francisco. But they need your help! They have a Kickstarter attempting to raise the money needed to fund the events, and with only 42 hours to go, they’re still $1,400 short of the goal. And if they don’t reach their goal, they get no money at all! [ETA: They made it!! Whew. Nakedness, art and free expression to ensue as planned!]

IMG_2894IMG_2902To build awareness, the HCA team brought four nude models to the streets of Greenwich Village today for an impromptu painting session that brought traffic to a halt and left hundreds of passers-by smiling.

IMG_2887Lots of people had questions, but only a few expressed anything less than delight and support.

Of course, this was in Greenwich Village — some neighborhoods might be less supportive. But it was a joy to see so many people face to face with public nudity and pleased to see it.

IMG_2868IMG_2872If you’re in New York and would like to see it live, the New York event will take place from 12 noon to 4pm on Saturday, July 22, in Washington Square Park. (Be there or be, um, Washington Square. No, wait, that doesn’t work.)

IMG_2890But whether you can come in person or not, if you like what this group stands for and the work they’re doing, please consider helping out. It’s not our event or our organization, but we do like what they’re doing and we support them. We hope you will too.

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IMG_0232Over the past seven summers, hundreds of women have joined us at our events all over New York City, some coming just one time, others returning time and time again. We love seeing both — our regulars and our first-timers. Part of what makes our group special is that both are greeted with the same warmth and welcomed like family. Maybe it’s something about being naked together. It’s hard to hold someone at arm’s length when your arms (and other parts!) are bare.

IMG_0323Would you like to come to one of our events? If you’re a body-positive woman in the New York area, we’d love to hear from you. Just send email to toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com, and we’ll answer any questions you have and very gladly invite you to our next event.

IMG_0266IMG_0312This past week we said farewell to one of our regulars, who just got a very impressive job at an impressive institution in another state. She’ll still show up at our events from time to time, she promises — she’s still on the East Coast! — but not as often as when she lived here, naturally, and we’ll miss her. On the other hand, we also welcomed several newcomers to our ranks this week. Perhaps one or more of them will become regulars in the fullness of time.

IMG_0369IMG_0370IMG_0372IMG_0290IMG_0143We were also delighted to be rejoined by two former regulars who’ve been missing from our events for a very long time.

IMG_0465IMG_0422We met at one of our favorite spots, a rooftop sundeck in Chelsea that thoughtfully permits not just toplessness but full nudity.

IMG_0260IMG_0344IMG_0160An inflatable pool gave us a respite from the unremitting sun–

IMG_0392IMG_0362IMG_0363–and Prosecco (with or without OJ) gave us a respite from unremitting thirst.

IMG_0444IMG_0136Not too much reading went on this time, but a few books did get cracked —

IMG_0256–as well as three new comics from Hard Case CrimeNormandy GoldPeepland, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

IMG_0276Doughnuts from Doughnut Plant, fruit from the finest local orchards, sunscreen from the finest aluminum cans…we had everything we needed for a splendid afternoon, and a splendid afternoon is what we had.

IMG_0415…and now you can be part of our next one.

It’s okay if you’re nervous, We were too, the first time. It’s okay if you’re shy. It’s okay if you think your breasts are a funny shape, or one is larger than the other, or you wish they were bigger, or smaller, or whatever. It’s okay if you’ve never been naked with strangers before. It really is. You’re curious or you wouldn’t be reading this. You’re tempted. And it won’t be summer forever.

Sending email takes 3 seconds. Treat yourself. Listen to Oscar Wilde: The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.

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IMG_9510Everyone knows (or should know by now) that it’s legal for women in New York to go topless anywhere a man can. Out on the beach, in the park, wherever. Sadly, though, outside of art exhibitions and theatrical performances, it’s not legal for either women or men to be fully nude in a public place. So where are you supposed to go when the heat approaches triple digits and you just need to get those last shreds of clothing off?

IMG_9384IMG_9416IMG_9436Native New Yorkers will tell you: the roof of your apartment building. But that only works as long as you don’t have overly nosy or censorious neighbors. Happily there’s an alternative, if you’re willing to rent a hotel room: the rooftop sundeck of our favorite boutique hotel in Chelsea, which is clothing optional 24/7, 365 days a year.

IMG_9209True, you’d only want to take your clothing off in New York maybe 10/7 and 120 days a year; but during those hours, on those days, this rooftop is a blessing. Private and serene, quiet and well appointed, you can bask in the sun or lounge under an umbrella…

IMG_9087IMG_8997…read a book or enjoy the scenery…

IMG_9402IMG_9371c…have a drink or a nap…

IMG_9351IMG_9375…or find novel uses for heart-shaped lemon cookies.

IMG_9045Other hotel guests turn up occasionally, but everyone’s tolerant and no one raises a fuss over a bared vulva or exposed penis. And mere bare breasts…? You’ve got to be kidding. That’s nothing at all.

IMG_9480rIMG_9022We’ve been coming here for years by now — at least six — and it’s become sort of a second home for us, a secret lair: our Batcave, if you will.

MK47382013-f62013-f30911-MK5And we’re glad to share our Batcave with you — photographically, as you see here, or in person if you’re a body-positive woman in the New York area (or visiting New York, that’s fine too!). Just drop us a note at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and let us know you’re interested, or curious, or whatever.

If you’ve ever hesitated about taking your clothes off outdoors, this is the perfect way for you to dip a toe in the water. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being naked in the sun — and in our little private hideaway, you can do it without any worries at all.

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IMG_8455Andy Golub, the visionary artist behind New York Bodypainting Day, has formed a new non-profit arts organization called Human Connection Arts, to spread the word that art and nudity can both be tools for human connection — and that the human body, in all its infinite variety, is deserving of respect and love.

IMG_8421The group’s first project, called “Body Notes,” took place last Friday in the middle of Times Square, with literally tens of thousands of workers and tourists, businesspeople and students, the young and the old, all present to witness and enjoy what we were doing. Who were “we”? About 200 models, women and men, including a number of members of our book club. And what were we doing? Getting completely naked and painting each other from head to toe, first with base coats of orange, blue and yellow, and then with heartfelt messages chosen by each model to express a point of view important to her or him.

IMG_8412IMG_8404RandAIt was a revelatory experience and a liberating one — to stand naked at the Crossroads of the World, with a sea of humanity around us, with police there to protect us, not to hassle us, and with the vast majority of the people in the crowd just honestly curious, and many of them enthusiastic.

IMG_8378So many people posed for photos with us! Or blushed at first and then asked how they could get involved. Or just nodded and took it all in. It was a profound moment of acceptance and tolerance and open-mindedness.

IMG_8384Every body type was represented, every age, every race, every gender.

IMG_8431IMG_8462IMG_8312And we all treated each other — and ourselves — with the kindness and respect we deserved.

IMG_8447Now, if you’d like to see how the event ended, you can Google “Body Notes” and see countless photos that ran in the media all over the world, of a mass of hundreds of painted models swarming the bleachers at the north end of Times Square and posing as a group for photos memorializing the event. Instead of repeating those, we thought we’d share some photos of how the event began, when we were all just works in progress, getting those first coats of paint on. The humanity of it inspired us — we hope it will inspire you too.

IMG_8324IMG_8329IMG_8363IMG_8416IMG_8290IMG_8337IMG_8323IMG_8335IMG_8388If you are inspired, take a look at Human Connection Arts and their upcoming events. Or, of course, drop us a note at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and join us at one of our get-togethers. There are many, many opportunities to exercise your freedom and be part of something wonderful. Don’t let them pass you by.

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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.

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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 toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com, 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.

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IMG_0637We’ve been lucky for most of the summer — the weather has been beautiful. But every coin comes up tails eventually, and this past week our visit to our favorite rooftop sundeck got called on account of rain.

IMG_0693Oh, we had a couple of gorgeous hours before the clouds rolled in. Eating strawberries,

IMG_0573reading David Sedaris and tales of surprisingly principled hitmen,

IMG_0651IMG_0623showering off in the sun.

IMG_0635But then darkness loomed, and the next several hours ranged from drizzle to torrent and back again. We huddled close under a giant beach umbrella

IMG_0674IMG_0679until stir-craziness set in and we decided to just let ourselves get wet.

IMG_0710Nothing wrong with a little cooling down on a summer day. But the key word there is “little,” and we eventually threw in the towel. (Threw on the towel? Whatever.)

IMG_0641IMG_0646Point is, we had fun. For a while. But eventually tapas down the block won out over continued exposure to the elements.

We’ll be back, though. You know it. And if you’d like to be with us when that happens? Just send email to toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. We welcome inquiries from all body-positive women in the NY area. (Especially waterproof ones.)

Like Uncle Sam used to say:

We want you.

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IMG_7888When we go up to our favorite rooftop sundeck, we usually have it to ourselves. But technically it is the roof of a hotel, albeit a small boutique hotel, and any hotel guest is welcome to use it. So once in a while we’ve been joined by hotel guests, who generally share our taste for naked sunbathing (it’s a clothing optional roofdeck whether we’re there or not) and who pay us as little attention as we pay them.

IMG_7646This last time, though, we met a fellow named Matthew, a real estate professional by trade, who turned out randomly to be a fan of ours. He’d been reading our blog for years (hi, Matthew! you’re probably reading this!) and even had an unfinished message to us in his outbox, half written. Small world, is all we can say.

IMG_8073While normally we are leery of random men who express interest in our group and hang around one of our events, Matthew was perfectly nice and handled the situation exactly as we might have hoped — no goggling and adulation, and in fact not even much attention paid after the first few minutes of “No way, you’re them?” To be all beatnik about it, he was a cool cat.

He even introduced us to the pleasures of sunning under the influence of coconut oil, an all-natural substance with, he assured us, an inherent SPF of something like 4 and a pleasant smell and sensation as you rub it in. Several of us gave it a try, including the one male member we had with us this time, and we were amused to observe that the whole “pleasant sensation as you rub it in” aspect seemed to particularly appeal to him and Matthew. It’s ok. There’s a kind of separate upper section to the deck and we left the boys alone up there to enjoy their coconut oil.

IMG_8098IMG_8055Meanwhile, the rest of us had a blast with the aid of a variety of other intoxicants, including ridiculously yummy popcorn,

IMG_7625fruit,

IMG_7960IMG_7973hose play (is that a thing?),

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IMG_7904cGabriel Garcia Marquez,

IMG_8074IMG_8082Hard Case Crime,

IMG_8025IMG_7886inexplicably hilarious coffee-table artbooks,

IMG_7774IMG_8090and napping,

IMG_8065and napping,

IMG_7870and napping.

IMG_7694It was about as perfect an afternoon as you could wish for, with none of the rain that had been forecast (that’s a recurring theme so far this summer: ominous weather forecasts that don’t come true) and the joy of hanging with good friends and good books and loads of salubrious nakedness.

IMG_7938IMG_8047IMG_7681Oh, and an inflatable pool filled with very, very cold water.

IMG_8010IMG_7989IMG_7982We talked and ate and slept and dreamt and read until the sun began sinking in the west. Could we call it paradise? Why not. Everything seems paradisiacal with enough sunshine on it.

And enough coconut oil.

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IMG_0928While most days you’d get arrested if you walked fully nude down the sidewalk at 47th Street and Second Avenue in New York City — topless is fine, for all genders; bottomless is not, for any — there is an exception.

Bodypainting Day.

Once a year, for the past three, Andy Golub has organized a mass bodypainting festival, gathering a hundred models of all sizes, shapes, ages, races, and genders to pose fully nude in the street and act as human canvases for dozens of talented artists flown in from all over the country and all over the world.

IMG_0948This year it threatened to rain — but despite all the gloomy forecasts, not a drop was felt, and the proceedings came off without a hitch. Several members of our august bookclub were there (even though it was still July, hee hee):

IMG_0955IMG_0952IMG_0938IMG_0932IMG_0887IMG_0899…enjoying the privilege of getting naked with countless strangers:

IMG_0926IMG_0914IMG_0954…all of us filled with boundless energy (you need it, to stand stock still in one place for four hours while an artist turns your body pink and gold) and utterly devoid of self-consciousness or reproach. This was a place of acceptance, of kindness, of generosity and fellow-feeling, all of which went splendidly with this year’s theme of “Inner Beauty.”

IMG_0873And the spirit of the day extended to the crowd that came to watch, which included the usual mix of the curious and the photographically inclined, but also just pedestrians who happened upon the event and stayed to watch, parents with toddlers in tow or on their shoulders, and senior citizens who asked with mischievous grins if they could pose for a picture with us. One little girl shielded her eyes as she walked past, until her mom told her it was okay to look. Another tugged mom over to watch Sailor Moon come to life.

IMG_0906IMG_0915Two high school girls (age, sheepishly confessed: 16) had finagled press passes and were in seventh heaven interviewing the naked men. But it wasn’t necessary to be sheepish — everyone was happy to talk with them.

Which is really the point. We’re all just human beings; we all have bodies. There is nothing shameful about them. A chin, an elbow, a breast, a penis. No one is harmed by seeing these things, with or without paint affixed. But if paint gives us an excuse to be naked one day a year — and yields such beautiful artistic results to boot — we’re beyond delighted to embrace it.

IMG_0980IMG_0984In fact, we were one of the sponsors of the event this year!

IMG_0871And if it continues (as we very much hope it does), we’ll be back again next summer, with bells on. And nothing else.

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IMG_6252You may have noticed a rather paltry number of books in our recent book club photos. No real reason for this, beyond the self-evident one that it’s hard to read when you’re playing with a puppy or walking a street fair (or performing Shakespeare). But we did get back to basics on our first visit this year to our favorite rooftop sundeck. (Which has been freshly painted blue and white for the season — yay, new colors!)

Before we could catch up on the latest from Max Allan Collins and Erle Stanley Gardner, or old favorites by Tad Williams and Deborah Harkness, or even work by non-pulp types such as Alison Bechdel and Elizabeth Benedict, we had to doff our garb–

IMG_6000IMG_5848IMG_5821–and also welcome a group of seven undergrads from Purdue who’d contacted us to say they were visiting NYC as part of a queer history tour that would take them to New York, Paris and Berlin, and could they meet with us while they were in town?

IMG_5948cIMG_6019IMG_5990Of course we said yes. And what an amazing group they were! Engaged and curious and passionate and intelligent and concerned and whip-smart. And so young! The world, we must say, is in better hands than we feared if these students are representative. (Sadly, they’re not. But if they were!) You can check out their blog about their travels here, and you won’t be sorry that you did.

Then it was on to our books, supplemented by our usual heady mix of edibles and submersion.

IMG_6178IMG_6074IMG_6187IMG_5879To this mix we added a bit of physical exercise, although of the moderate variety, trying to outdo each other by holding forearm planks (don’t ask why…it seemed like the thing to do…).

IMG_6162IMG_613420160530_141306The afternoon flew by, chased by the threat of rainstorms at its heels, and never have minutes felt more fleeting or more precious. The summer hasn’t even begun yet — but we can never have enough, and these were hours to be savored.

So we savored them.

Kudos to the unflappable pizza deliveryman, undaunted by the dozen or more naked people he walked in on, and to our visiting guests, and to our hosts whose roof we used. And kudos to you, too, our readers. Remember: if you’re a bold, body-positive woman in the New York area, you can join us sometime yourself. Just email toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and that might be you in the inflatable pool, or planking on the fake grass, or reading in the sun, without a care or a stitch.

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IMG_5171What else did we do over the Memorial Day weekend? (Other than enjoying a street fair on Broadway.) Well, we went to a lovely park — not saying where — and found a lovely secluded boulder — not saying which — and lay out under the sun in a state of undress suitable to the elevated temperature and intense sunniness.

IMG_5606IMG_5531IMG_5215How naked is naked? And how naked is legal? We’re fortunate to live in New York City, where any woman can go topless anywhere and anytime a man can. What about going further? Well, we know that full nudity is permitted in the context of a play or other artistic performance or exhibition, like our recent production of The Tempest in Central Park. The exemption for artistic activities has also enabled photographers like Spencer Tunick to shoot photos of fully nude individuals in public places. We were taking photos as well (as you can see), and we think they’re no less artistic than Tunick’s. So why shouldn’t the same exemption cover us?

In any event, some of us took the opportunity to lose that last shred of fabric.

IMG_5068Did it make a difference? Well, it felt awfully nice. And bothered no one (since no one who wasn’t in our group saw). And made it possible for us to create some photographic art, which we are delighted to exhibit for you here.

IMG_5407IMG_5435IMG_5503IMG_5277Could New York City someday be forward-thinking enough to choose some area in some local park and officially designate it for nude sunbathing? We’d like to think so; we’d like to see that happen. But in the meantime we’re glad that opportunities like this one sometimes exist. It’s lovely to lie topless in the sun. Even more so if you can be topless all over.

IMG_5585ETA: Several of you asked for (to quote one correspondent) “more, please,” including a few who wanted proof that the male member who joined us was in fact as brave as the women and wasn’t secretly wearing a C-string or something like that.

Happy to oblige. We got lots of great photos this time.

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