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Opinion

People worldwide shed pants for subway ride

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February 13, 2014

Last month, people in cities all across the world shed their first layer of lower body garments on public transportation in tradition of the global No Pants Subway Ride. There are participating cities on every continent except Antarctica, the nearest one being our neighbor across the river, Minneapolis.

While Minneapolis does not have a subway system, the light rail works just fine. The global No Pants Subway Ride originates in New York City. In 2002, a group called Improv Everywhere staged the first subway ride sans pants and the annual practice has been spreading ever since.

By now, it is probably apparent that not wearing pants while riding the subway is the main idea of this festivity. However, there is a simple rule that you must follow besides removing your pants at the decided time during the ride. The rule is that you must behave as you usually would and not acknowledge that anything is out of the ordinary. You must act as natural as possible. The first rule of the No Pants Subway Ride is do not talk about the No Pants Subway Ride. If someone asks why you aren’t wearing pants, appropriate responses include the following.

“Oh fiddlesticks, looks like I forgot my pants today!”,“Really? That explains the draft!”,“I’ve got no idea what you are talking about” and “This is my favorite outfit!” The other rules of the No Pants Subway Ride are more concerned with what exactly is appropriate and legal and what is not. It is urged that underwear is “family appropriate” and contains no holes or tears. You may not follow up the removal of your pants with that of your underwear.

In Minneapolis, Plan B MN has taken charge of organizing the No Pants Subway Ride each year. Plan B MN is a Minnesotan guerilla improv group. This year, they met up at the light rail transit station at the Mall of America at 1 p.m. and boarded there. Heading towards downtown Minneapolis, they banished their trousers at the first stop. It is necessary to wait until the first stop for the pants removal to begin because pants are required within the Mall. The ride finished at the stop at Target Field.

One challenge faced by Minnesotan participants in particular is the freezing cold that has typically set in by the time January rolls around. This has not stopped them though, not in the six years since Minneapolis first started taking part. Even this year during the winter of the great polar vortex, people still rallied in the name of organized de-pantsing and even stood outside one of the stops for a group picture.

If you are interested in participating in the Minneapolis No Pants Subway Ride, they make a Facebook page each year that contains the date and time as well as rules and all other information. The exact date changes each year, but it always falls during the month of January. Several friends of mine who have participated assure me that it is a dandy old time and a great activity for those who are fond of mischief and pushing themselves out of their comfort zone.