Take Your Pants Off Toronto
As Josephine Brennan made her way to Museum Station on January 9, she walked with purpose. She, along with 200 others, were on a mission. Boarding the train as she normally would, she waited for her cue—then she took off her pants and got off the subway.
“It’s lots and lots of fun, so I wanted to do it again,” Brennan said as she gazed up from her book. Referring to the No Pants! Subway Ride, this was her second time participating. As the name suggests, the bold braved the winter cold (it was a chill -15 degrees Celcius) without pants.
The event is hosted annually by Improv in Toronto (IT), a pranking group formed in 2008. It’s Toronto’s version of New York City’s Improv Everywhere.
IT’s responsible for other unusual events such as the Subway Dance Party, the Eaton Centre Freeze, and the Protest Against Protests.
The No Pants! Subway Ride is always a highly-anticipated event, held in 50 cities around the world. Many people rise to the occasion by donning eye-catching briefs with cheeky sayings and ridiculous prints.
Even shy people participate. They come with groups of friends or they wear boxers and high socks. However, they never come in long johns—that’s cheating.
Participants are supposed to act as they normally would, and claim ignorance if anyone asks why they’re not wearing pants. Of course, this is extremely difficult once you factor in the intense stares from complete strangers. They try to resist the urge to look, but they eventually give in.
While some have looks of disgust etched on their faces, others are more open-minded. The goal is to puzzle, amuse, and humour; not to offend.
The looks alone are pretty priceless, but the best thing about the No Pants! Subway Ride has to be the atmosphere. Its warmth brings out the best in Torontonians—the friendliness that we’re so famous for but don’t always show. Perfect strangers talk to each other as if they’re old friends. There’s something about zebra-print boxers that makes people seem less intimidating.
If you want to experience the freedom of going pantless or you just want to share a laugh, join in next year. It may just be one of the most outrageous things you’ll ever do on a subway.