Archives for category: rain

img_4025Two summers ago, we met a funny, smart, beautiful woman named Mara Altman, who said she was writing a book about women’s bodies in general and her body in particular. She wanted to see what our events were like in preparation for writing the chapter about breasts. We were delighted to have her join us.

img_3582Now, after a gestation period that would do an elephant proud, Mara has published that book: GROSS ANATOMY, subtitled “Dispatches From the Front (and Back).” And sure enough, it has a chapter about breasts, and the baring thereof in public, focused on a topless bicycle tour we did in downtown Manhattan. It is thoughtful, eye-opening, and laugh-out-loud funny, and we commend both it and the rest of the book to your attention.

img_3587“When I’d thought about participating,” Mara writes, “the possible pitfalls had seemed huge. What if I changed careers? Say someday I want to be a politician. I’m running on a ticket of universal health care and weekly pizza parties for all, but then, during opposition research, a picture of my bare tits bobbling above a bicycle is revealed. I am no longer fit to serve. Keeping fabric less than a millimeter thick between your body and the world somehow preserves your integrity and makes you honorable, respectable, and capable of deep thoughts. Taking that little swatch of material away makes you a hussy.”

img_3607But of course she goes ahead and joins us anyway. “We rode through Battery Park and stopped in view of the Statue of Liberty, where one of the girls — one of the ones who had breasts that I wouldn’t mind having (it was something about the perkiness, the lightheartedness of the pair, like they were tulips reaching for the light in the sky) — read Emma Lazarus’s sonnet ‘The New Colossus.’ ”

img_3683“We made a quick stop at the New York Stock Exchange, which was filled with men in suits, but what really stood out were the many tourists aiming their cameras at us. Our meaningful movement, to them, was merely a stunt to document on their Instagram feed.”

img_3701img_3694“I saw interest, shock, disdain, adoration, and curiosity on the faces that flashed past. Many, hordes in fact, turned their phones toward us and began recording. I got it; usually, viewing this kind of stuff costs money and endless viruses on one’s computer. I tried to be chill…But every time a camera pointed in our direction, one of the girls, the one who had grandiose breasts, large and pillowlike, the type I’d decided would be perfect to rest my face in for a quick respite from the world, would yell, ‘Fuck you, you have to ask!’…I didn’t share her sentiment. Going outside topless would be like going out with a pair of parrots chanting ‘I like big butts and I cannot lie’ while fornicating on your shoulder, and expecting witnesses not to snap a picture. It wasn’t realistic.”

IMG_4092She writes about the experience of shopping for a sandwich in a shop whose staff isn’t receptive; she writes about eating lunch in the park, with a break for kickball with some kids.

img_3827IMG_3955img_3891Finally when a brief rain shower breaks out, she has an epiphany: “As little droplets pinged pleasingly all over my body, I finally realized an interesting change — my breasts, in that moment , weren’t for anyone but me. I hadn’t really dwelled on it before, but since my beginning, my breasts have always been for someone else. When I was a teenager, I wanted my breasts to grow so I’d be attractive to boys. When my breasts turned out small, I felt it was my duty to warn boys before they went under my half-filled bra cups so they wouldn’t be disappointed by what they found. For doctors, my breasts were something that could potentially turn lethal. For the babies I may have one day, they would be a source of food…Being topless is always a stop on the way to somewhere else — to a shower, to a breast exam, to sex — but it is rarely the destination in and of itself. By exposing my breasts to everything and everyone in one of the largest cities in this nation, paradoxically I finally got a taste of what it was like to relish them for myself.”

IMG_4055We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Hell, we couldn’t have said it half as well.

Check out what else this eloquent topless bicyclist has to say  here — and let us be the first to say this: Mara Altman for President in 2020.

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IMG_7066Nature plays cruel tricks sometimes. After a long, cold spring, she’s treated us to a summer punctuated by torrential rainstorms and day-long drizzles, sometimes every day for a week. No, it’s not anything like the lava in Hawaii or the fires in California — we’re fortunate and we know it. But it has made it hard to plan and pull off the outdoor events that are our raison d’etre.

So this past week, when “chance of thunderstorms” was once again on the forecast every day, we decided to move up our annual spa date and celebrate Christmas in August. Twenty-two of us descended on our favorite spa, a serene oasis hidden on the fifth floor of a midtown building. We took the place over, which enabled us to roam freely, lounging naked in the jade-encrusted sauna…

IMG_7007IMG_7044…under the rainforest shower…

IMG_7021…and in the lemon- and ginseng-infused soaking tubs.

IMG_7030IMG_7069IMG_7017There were massages for all, and afterwards there was champagne for those that wanted something bubbly…

IMG_7071IMG_7080…and tea for our teetotalers.

IMG_7083But what made this particular rainy day extra special was the storytelling adventure we experimented with in one of the spa’s relaxation lounges.

Storytelling adventure? Well, you already know we love books. And while neither the printed nor the electronic variety survive well in a sauna or soaking tub, there is an older tradition — the oral tradition — that is perfectly suited.

For reasons we’re sure you will appreciate, we don’t have any photos to share with you of this portion of our afternoon — but it was truly a wonderful experience. We chose a comfortable room with gentle heating elements in the floor and went there in groups of five or six at a time. One person in the group would start telling a story — an erotic story — and as it developed, the rest of the people in the room would suggest directions the story might take. The first story, for instance, was about a sports victory and what happened in the showers after. A classic premise, you might say. But we gave it some fresh twists and turns, and well before the characters in the story reached their sorely deserved climaxes, we reached ours. Some of us several times.

Kudos to our brave storytellers, who shared their fantasies, and to all the brave women (and one brave man) who participated. We’ve explored group orgasms before, but never with this added interactive element, and it just took things to an entirely different level. Before long, people were already talking about doing an all-erotic-storytelling event sometime later in the year. (Maybe that will be our Christmas treat, since we’ve already done the spa!) If you’re feeling brave and might be interested in sharing stories and orgasms with a group of like-minded women, let us know: you can reach us at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com. Or if you’d like to come to our next spa event…or our next outdoor event. Whatever your interests, we’d love to hear from you.

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this little peek into our rainy day pastimes. There’s nothing like being out in the summer sun — but when that isn’t an option, we do find some wonderfully satisfying alternatives.

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18-02-10-Polar Bear-484A couple of times each year, the non-profit organization Human Connection Arts puts on a big public event that celebrates free expression through nudity. New York’s annual Bodypainting Day in July is the biggest, but there are others peppered throughout the calendar. Last October, for instance, the group fielded a topless float in the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, which seemed pretty bold at the time since October isn’t the most common month for outdoor toplessness.

But it pales in comparison to February. Which was when the group gathered most recently, on a frosty, somewhat rainy Saturday afternoon, with the temperature hovering not too far above freezing, applying bodypaint indoors at a studio near Times Square–

18-02-10-Polar Bear-12518-02-10-Polar Bear-11818-02-10-Polar Bear-225–girding themselves for the arctic winds they might face–

18-02-10-Polar Bear-14618-02-10-Polar Bear-254–and then bravely heading out into the cold to march to the Crossroads of the World, greet astonished tourists,

18-02-10-Polar Bear-32118-02-10-Polar Bear-35518-02-10-Polar Bear-373hobnob with costumed characters,

18-02-10-Polar Bear-522and take photos at the iconic bleachers near the TKTS booth.

18-02-10-Polar Bear-50918-02-10-Polar Bear-496One of our members gamely took part (see if you can spot her in these terrific photos by Daniel Vialet of Leinadmedia), together with some two dozen other participants of all ages, genders, sizes, and shapes. It was an exciting and liberating event, and we’re delighted to have played a small part in it.

18-02-10-Polar Bear-446If you’re inspired by what you see but need a little more mercury in the thermometer before you’d feel comfortable going outdoors in nothing but paint, remember that July isn’t that far off.

Or just paint yourself in the colors of the sun and think warm thoughts…

18-02-10-Polar Bear-264…or do it with a bunch of friends and huddle close. 🙂

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IMG_2556fUsually we meet as a group: we choose a day, head to a park or plaza, and hang out topless in the sun together. Safety in numbers, and also it’s more fun to hang out in the park with friends than by yourself. But sometimes there’s no one else around and you just feel like heading out for a walk on your own.

IMG_1789fA case in point was the recent rainy morning you see here. It wound up being bright and sunny in the afternoon, but you wouldn’t have guessed by the way the wet stuff was pouring down in torrents during morning rush hour. But that’s what raincoats and umbrellas are made for, and if you’re thinking, “How can you wear a raincoat and go topless at the same time?”, you clearly haven’t found the right raincoat.

IMG_1863feIMG_2107fThe morning’s stroll took us along the Upper East side, past stores and storied apartment buildings–

IMG_1327e–and on to Carl Schurz Park, home to some of the finest dog runs in Manhattan…

IMG_2322f…a beautiful riverside promenade…

IMG_2390fIMG_2501fIMG_2601f…and Gracie Mansion, where the mayor lives. (Didn’t snap any photos there. Next time.)

This seems finally to have been the end of warm weather for the season — it’s brisk and chilly now and seems likely to remain so until the Spring. If so, we’re doubly glad we took advantage of the warm weather while it lasted, even if doing so meant braving the elements.

IMG_2272fNext time — indoors! And we have many exciting indoor events planned. If you’re curious about them and you’re a body positive woman in the New York area, we’d love to hear from you. Just drop a note to toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com and tell us a little about yourself. We’ll be glad to invite you to join us for our adventures.

Not that it isn’t fun doing it solo, too…

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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_6162Sometimes you just need to have faith.

The weather forecast promised — threatened — rain for three days running, and specifically said it would rain today. Well, we’d planned an outing to Bryant Park and didn’t mean to be dissuaded. So out we went, hoping against hope that the rain would hold off one afternoon longer.

And did it ever. What began as a grey, grim, cloudy day turned into one of the loveliest of the summer. When it became apparent that it would, the staff at Bryant Park took down the ropes keeping people off the grass, and we were the first to lie down on the lawn, inaugurating it with our nakedness.

IMG_6119IMG_6165IMG_6198Some interesting encounters with passers-by, as is always the case in Bryant Park (bigger parks offer more spots for relative privacy; Bryant is basically one rectangular lawn, so everyone can see everything). This fellow stopped by to say how brave and courageous we were, and kept saying it until we finally (bravely and courageously) wished him godspeed and sent him off to meet his wife at Grand Central.

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This fellow stood painting us, and the result placed us on a lawn by the sea.

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And this little piggie…well, you can read his employer’s name on the side of his microphone, so you know he wasn’t likely to be our favorite person of the day.

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But…those encounters all fall into the category of sideshow. The main attraction was the chance to be out in the sun, to roll in the grass, to catch up with old friends and make new ones, to eat Tom Colicchio’s unspeakably scrumptious cinnamon buns, to read Anais Nin and Donald E. Westlake and Samuel Fuller and Beautiful Creatures, and to do all this without the encumbrance of a bra or bikini top.

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We even attracted a convert to the cause, as a recent NYU grad, seeing us relish our liberty, came over and asked if she could join us. Of course, we said. And then there were eight. (Or sixteen, depending on how you’re counting.)

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The lesson being, never trust a weather forecast.

Though we hope we can trust the one for this coming Friday, since it’s projecting sun…

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IMG_2543The latter days are upon us. It feels like fall. Suddenly afternoons in the park are brisk rather than sweltering, and walking off the street and into the sauna in a spa doesn’t feel redundant.

On a recent afternoon that was not only brisk but rainy, a small band of us visited a lovely spot in midtown called Athena Spa, where they’re cool about nudity, even the co-ed variety. The environment isn’t so photo-friendly (ever try carrying a fancy digital camera into a steam room?), but we snapped a few pics of ourselves in maximum relaxation mode.

Well, maybe not absolute maximum—but for the moments that were even more relaxing than these we turned the camera off.

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