Some participants told mystified T riders they had urinated themselves. Others, their dry cleaners caught fire. The bold met the questions with confused stares, as if the inquiring minds were the weird ones.
Undeterred by the weather, hundreds turned out for the No Pants MBTA Ride Sunday, commuting pants-less. On the T. In January.
They were questioned often. The most common inquiry: why?
“There’s a big joy in the confusion, and then the delight from doing something unexpected,” said Helen Swanson, a 29-year-old web developer from Cambridge. “You have to keep a straight face while you’re doing it, I think that’s the hardest part.”
Despite the temperatures between the low-20s and the teens, crowds organized in Pemberton Square, where they queued up and were given cards that told them what route to take and when to take their pants off.
The cards contained various combinations of Orange, Green, Red and Blue lines. Various people took their pants off at various stops.
The event, organized by BostonSOS founder James Cobalt, is part of a global event started by Improv Everywhere in New York in 2002.
“The first year I ever did this was in Chicago. It’s so easy here in Boston by comparison. Chicago is elevated and right off the Great Lakes. Even at it’s worse, Boston isn’t as bad as that,” said Cobalt, who always encourages No Pants riders to don a few layers of underwear – you know, just in case.
“We like hot people,” said Cassandra Jeanne, a farmer who declined to give her age or hometown, “They’re seems to be quite few people here. We’re here for manflesh.”
Ken Dexter, a 48-year-old registered nurse from Lynn, explained his participation thusly, “It’s just something to get you out of your norm, you know? Something that will catch everyone’s attention.”