Archives for category: nude

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.

When it’s cold out, we look for warm things to do indoors. And there are few warmer than visiting a spa where the sauna runs 188 degrees.

Oh, there are other things to do at this particular spa we like to visit in Manhattan’s Koreatown — there are soaking tubs (two warm, one cold; one with lemons floating in it)

…and there’s a steam room with a special rainforest shower right outside it

…and across from the lockers there’s a low-temperature relaxation room where the only heating element is in the floor and you can rest for as long as you like without breaking a sweat (well, at least one caused by the room’s temperature)

But the sauna, built in the shape of an igloo, partly out of jade, is the spa’s centerpiece and legendary attraction, and it gets so intensely hot that naked really is the only way to enjoy it properly.

Of course, naked is how we like doing most things.

We had massages too, and a Secret Santa-style book exchange–

And a variety of delicious snacks to nibble on–

But the main attraction was the heat — that and the friends to share it with.

Would you like to share some warmth with us? Either indoors while winter’s on or outdoors as soon as the weather permits. If you’re an open-minded, body-positive woman who aches to escape the constraints of a) excessive clothing and b) convention, email us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com or DM us on Insta or Twitter, and we’ll get you naked with us in no time.

As long-time readers of our blog know, our events are generally not sexual in any way. In fact, that’s sort of the point: we want to demonstrate that it’s no more sexual for a woman to relax with her shirt off on a warm day than it is for a man to do the same thing. You see men jogging bare-chested, or playing basketball, or tanning at the beach or reading in the park all summer long, and no one accuses them of being exhibitionists or doing something shameful or immoral. A man’s chest is just a chest, no more interesting or worthy of comment than his elbow or his ear. Our goal is for a woman’s chest to be treated the same way.

That said, many of us — most of us — do also enjoy sex. And sex is one thing (among many, many other things) that it’s fun to do naked. Is it surprising, then, that once in a while, especially when it gets chilly out and our events move indoors, we find ourselves enjoying our nudity sweetened with a touch of the erotic?

What has that meant in the past? Once we were joined by alums of Betty Dodson’s famous Bodysex instructional group, which has been helping women discover their bodies and achieve orgasm since the 1970s. They shared a practice they call “erotic recess,” which is basically group masturbation, and we have to say, it was pretty great. Another time, we took over a spa in midtown for an evening and lay around in the relaxation room telling a very satisfying, very dirty story that we all collaborated on — sort of a group fantasy, unfolded by everyone, and having learned our lesson from the Bodysex crew, we had vibrators on hand for anyone who wanted to indulge.

That event was so popular that we decided to hold another erotic storytelling event this past October, only bigger and better. Instead of just $15 CVS vibrators, we got these imported beauties:

And instead of a little spa room we took over the penthouse suite in a fancy hotel, complete with its own private terrace,

We stocked it with macarons and fresh berries and Writers’ Tears whiskey,

and we lit candles,

and then we turned down the lights and all sat around in a circle and started telling each other about our fantasies. Because we wanted to come up with a story that would excite everyone, you see. So we could do our storytelling again.

Well, that was the plan. But you know what Robbie Burns said about plans — that the best-laid ones gang aft a-gley, and if you’re wondering what ganging a-gley might be like, well, we used to wonder too. Not anymore. We have an idea what he meant now.

Not a single story got told that night. Not with words, anyway.

And at some point pretty early on, we put the camera down too. Some things are private. But we also believe it’s important and healthy to be open about topics like this, so let’s not draw a gauzy curtain over it and leave you wondering what happened. What happened was one of the most positive and pleasurable experiences any of us has had: ten people of good will and kindness and enthusiastic consent deciding to explore their own bodies and each other’s, with love and without judgment, shame, or embarrassment. But maybe that’s still too much of a gauzy curtain. What happened was, we had sex, in pairs and triads and quintuples and whatever you call a pile of nine people. For a few people there it may have been their first lesbian experience; for pretty much everyone it was their first orgy. And so different from the cliched sort of sex party you read about, or that some of us have gone to. Without men there, for one thing, no one felt the burden of the male gaze or the sense that we were performing for someone else’s pleasure rather than our own. (We did have one solitary male in the group, but that’s very different from a room full of men.) And in the manner of the very best all-female events, everyone was supportive and thoughtful and collaborative. No one yucked anyone else’s yum. Orgasms cascaded from body to body like St. Elmo’s fire. It was a beautiful demonstration of what the female body is capable of and how good people can be to each other if only they want to be.

After it ended, we were all a little giddy and breathless. We took a little break to get our heads together again.

And then we went out into the night, hugging our secret close to our chests. We’d done this wonderful thing. But who could we ever tell?

Well, now we’ve told you. And we hope you’re open-minded enough to see it for what it was: a little moment of magic that made us very happy. Nudity does not equal sex. But sex is nothing to be ashamed of either, and we’re not at all sorry to have had this experience. Every girl should have the chance to set her inhibitions aside for a night and just enjoy what her body can do.

We’ll return to our usual sorts of events soon enough. But we’ll never forget this one. And maybe, once or twice each year, we’ll do it again.

Freedom comes in many flavors. It’s good to taste them all.

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.