More Than a Movement: An Inspiring Dance Sans Pants


The desire to take one’s pants off in a crowded bar is surprisingly contagious. But is anyone really surprised? (Photo Illustration by Mario Weddell/The Observer)


The desire to take one’s pants off in a crowded bar is surprisingly contagious. But is anyone really surprised? (Photo Illustration by Mario Weddell/The Observer)

If you’re confident, you can get away with a lot. That’s especially true in New York.  This city respects people who know what they’re doing, even if they’re just pretending. I kept the power of confidence in mind the other night, when my friends (“Bonnie” and “Clyde”) and I started a pants-less revolution at a bar near Lincoln Center.

We were celebrating the Giants’ Super Bowl victory, blue face paint and all, and went out for a few drinks after the game. The night was pretty calm, until Bonnie told me that the last time they were at this bar, Clyde wore his jeans around his ankles for an hour, and nobody had noticed. It sounded like a challenge. I accepted.

I stood around in my boxers for a half hour, unnoticed. I even ordered a drink, and had a full conversation with a guy who remained oblivious until Clyde couldn’t take it anymore, and told him to look at my white thighs. I was invisible to everyone else. It was frustrating in a sense, because half the thrill of doing something stupid is the fear of being caught with your pants down.

But I didn’t just want to match Clyde’s accomplishment; I wanted to surpass it. The lack of awareness in the bar was becoming a joke. So I started dancing, to see if I could get away with it. And I did for a while, so Clyde pulled down his jeans and started dancing, too. Bonnie declined because, as she put it, she wasn’t wearing the right underwear for this sort of thing. Finally, a woman approached us.

“What are you guys doing?” she asked. I didn’t know what to say so I pointed at Clyde. Clyde said something unconvincing about the Giants winning. Bonnie saved us by calmly explaining that this was a pants-free zone. The woman nodded. Then something magical happened. She took her pants off. Bonnie told the woman’s boyfriend to join us, but he responded with, “No underwear,” and flashed his nether-cheeks at Bonnie. He possessed an entirely different brand of confidence, one that we weren’t quite ready to attain, so we didn’t push it further.

And then a young man saw us. And he took his pants off. And he was wearing a Speedo or something, which made his support that much more meaningful. A few minutes later, Bonnie convinced another inquisitive lady to join us, citing advantages in mobility, temperature and general mood. More people were starting to notice the dance-sans-pants by our table, and we looked so confident that they couldn’t help but loosen their belts. Bonnie found a large t-shirt and put it over her underwear so she could join us.

There were about eight of us at this point, rebelling against decency and sensibility by exposing our thighs to the world. Like any revolution though, there were detractors who supported the old ways. An uptight aristocrat in a North Face coat told us to pull our pants up. He was quickly booed and chased away, as Clyde informed him that the pants-free zone happened to coincide with the hater-free zone. We had strength in numbers.

Still, as the revolution gained ground and our notoriety increased, new problems surfaced. Newer recruits were a bit odd. One man kept trying to show everyone how he was “flopping around like a deep sea fish” in his boxers. As Bonnie put it, “…we saw some fin, unfortunately.” And the mayhem didn’t stop there.

Someone was doing pushups. People were posing for group pictures. A young woman started spanking an older woman. It seemed like we were losing control, and any minute now, the governing power would sniff us out and put a stop to the movement. Finally, the bartender noticed.

He caught my eye across the room. He pointed at my pants around my ankles, and put his hands out as if to say, “What the hell are you doing?” This was it, the moment when our cause would come crashing down on the Robespierres of legwear. The end was near. I had to act fast.

I mustered all the confidence I could, pointed at his pants fastened around the waist and put my hands out in the same judgmental fashion. My response was clear: “No, what the hell are YOU doing?” A thoughtful look came over him. I held my breath. Then he shrugged, looked at his co-worker and dropped his pants.