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.

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.

It’s hard to believe, but the start of 2019 was 52 weeks ago. And now here we are, at the start of 2020. Such a momentous year, for better or worse. And such a memorable one, numerologically speaking. (Haven’t seen its like since 1919. And we won’t again for a century and change.)

Whatever 2020 might hold (and we’re praying it ends happily), we figured this was a good time to take a last look back at 2019. And this time around we thought we’d do the year-in-review thing slightly differently than in past years. Used to be we’d just pick out the photos we posted during the year that visitors showed the most interest in by clicking on them. But this time we thought we’d pick out our 52 favorites, one for each week of the year, and share them with you in chronological order.

And we hope that, if you’re an open-minded and body-positive woman who lives in or will be visiting the New York area, you might be inspired to be part of our next 52 weeks. Email us (toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com) or message us on Insta or Twitter, and we’ll find events to welcome you to.

With open arms, we promise. And bare ones, too.

Last July, we created our first Instagram account and worked hard to build up an audience there. When we’d gotten up to something like 3,000 followers, Insta deleted our account, claiming we’d violated their community guidelines, presumably by posting photos that included nudity (even though we tried hard to censor everything they insist on censoring).

So we started over again with a new Insta account and built that one up to something like 1,400 followers, and we were even more careful about censoring our photos. And last night? Last night Insta deleted that account too.

It’s really galling, when plenty of Insta accounts feature at least as much nudity as ours does, and they’re not getting deleted. There seems to be something about our account — which seeks to educate women about their legal rights, rather than just display women’s bodies for male viewers’ pleasure — that gets Insta all hot under the collar.

Well, we’re trying again. Our new Insta is @topless.pulp, and we ask that if you care about what we do, or enjoy seeing our posts, or are a body-positive woman and would like to come to one of our events sometime, you please follow us there.

We’ll keep fighting the fight, and we thank you for joining us in it.

So it’s nearly 2020. And how are we going into the new decade? Loudly.

You’re not really surprised, are you? No one has ever mistaken us for shrinking violets. We speak our minds, we raise our voices when change is needed in the world, and when it comes to leisure-time activities, it’s true that sometimes we like to just lie in the sun and read, but other times? Other times we like to make some noise.

That is how we found ourselves for the second year in a row taking over the largest room at Alphabet City’s best dive karaoke bar, Sing Sing on Avenue A.

What makes it a dive bar? Well, we love the hell out of it, but it’s not exactly for clean freaks. It’s a dark, grotty space, with the karaoke rooms located down a steep staircase in a dungeon-like basement. The walls are scarred and pockmarked, as if from all the decibels that have battered them, and no one wants to think about all the spills the floors have soaked up.

And yet — it’s a wonderful place. Warm when it’s cold out, and we’re not just talking temperature. (Though, yeah, we’re talking temperature too.)

This is the sort of place that, when we call up and say we want to bring two dozen topless women to belt “Macarthur Park” and “Me and Bobby McGee” and “Disco Inferno” and “Jump (For My Love),” they don’t ask any questions. They just take our drink orders and leave us to it.

Did we only sing old stuff off our parents’ vinyl? No way. But by the time we got to timelier fare, no one was keeping track of the tracks anymore. There was Gaga, there was Outkast. Some raps were rapped. But sometimes you just can’t beat “Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics. We all wish we were Annie Lennox sometimes. I mean, come on.

What else went down? Well, halfway through the night the $1 pizza joint down the block delivered a stack of pies. There may have been some fancier food hiding somewhere in the room too. Port wine potato chips and such.

Selfies also got taken, solo and group.

But mostly it was a night for singing, for total abandon, for letting it all hang out with dear friends and showing the night and the winter and the dying year and expiring decade who’s boss.

It felt really, really good.

Cathartic in that wonderful way only pouring everything you’ve got into a mic can.

And why does being topless make karaoke better? Damned if we know. But being topless makes everything better. And we’re not so sure bottomless isn’t better still.

So, what do you think, are you going to join us next time? We’ve got an acroyoga class planned, a couple of figure drawing sessions, a possible baking adventure, a dinner, a D&D night. (Yes, a D&D night. What, you think only boy nerds like that stuff?) And all that’s before the thaw comes in the spring, at which point it’s outdoor time again!

If you’re an open-minded, freedom-loving woman in the New York area, we’d love to hear from you. Email toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com or message us on Insta or Twitter.

And then come sing your heart out with us. It may not be Auld Lang Syne, but there’s no better way to ring in a new year.