IMG_7358Over several months last year, the tireless and wonderful Deborah Acosta — crack reporter for the New York Times — met with us, interviewed us, interviewed other people about us, and generally dug into the story of gender equality, attempts to regulate female bodies, and the Freeing of the Nipple. The result is today’s wonderful video essay on the topic, which you can see here.

We salute the Times for covering the story at all, and for doing so bravely: unlike most media outlets that have reported on us, they didn’t blur our breasts or edit around them or otherwise censor us. They simply presented us as we are. Hats off to them — and shirts too. :)

IMG_9626Two feet of snow might not seem like a lot to those of you reading this from Boston, Vermont or Antarctica, but for New Yorkers it’s a record — 26.8 inches to be specific, second highest snowfall in recorded history. A bustling metropolis brought to its knees? Not precisely — more like brought to its senses. So much joy on so many faces! Yes, it’ll turn to frustration when the work week returns and the wondrous powder turns to sooty slush. But for one magical Sunday, it was Christmas and Narnia rolled up in one.

So we had to go out in it. Who wouldn’t? Yes, we froze a little. But there’s nothing like a bracing topless snowball fight in Columbus Circle to stimulate the senses and jumpstart a frost-rimed heart.

IMG_9872IMG_9682IMG_9615IMG_9799There were snowmen, too — both pocket-sized and jumbo:

IMG_9741IMG_9743IMG_9916And the simple joy of being out in nature, unencumbered by clothes.

IMG_9580IMG_9585IMG_9823We are children of the summer it is true, and we long for her return. But a once-in-a-century winter day like this? There’s nothing better. Just think of the story it will make! In the winter of ’16, child, the snow was so deep, and your grandmas strolled naked in it…

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Happy 2016, everyone.

IMG_7304And so we come to the end of another year, our fifth, and what a year it was. They all are, of course. It’s such a joy to spend time each year with friends, with women we respect, admire, and love (and, yes, the occasional carefully selected man — we love you, too!). What a privilege it is to live in a city that, whatever its flaws, acknowledges that its female citizens have the same rights its male citizens do. And what a simple, sensual pleasure it is to feel the summer sun on our skin — all our skin.

Below you’ll see a selection of the photos we took at our events this past year that you clicked on the most. We’ve divided them into public and private — first our forays into the wider world of New York’s parks and plazas, and then our visits to private rooftops, pools and such. We hope they bring back memories for you that are at least a fraction as wonderful as the memories they conjure for us. And we hope you’ll join us again in the new year, as our adventures continue. (You can always reach us by email at toplesspulpfiction@gmail.com, and if you’re an open-minded, book-loving, adventurous — or adventure-curious — woman, we hope you will.)

Remember: be brave, be bold, be free. It’s your right.

And have a very happy, healthy new year.

TEN OUT IN PUBLIC…

IMG_9454IMG_4483IMG_7462IMG_1157IMG_9950IMG_9784IMG_4394IMG_3727IMG_39741510_STUK_TOPLESSSOCIETY_0129…AND TEN MORE IN PRIVATE.

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IMG_9497Normally we hit the spa in December because it’s too cold to get naked anywhere else — when it’s freezing outside, you need that hit of heat from the sauna and steam room just to prove you’re still human under your icy carapace. But this year it was 70 degrees in New York on Christmas Eve.

We met at the spa anyway.

Because, tradition. And really there’s no wrong time for a spa visit with friends.

IMG_9461IMG_9465IMG_9490You’ll notice the photos this time are somewhat grainier than usual. Low light conditions combined with steam and such are our excuse. Probably we were also lazy about the camera settings. But we thought you might enjoy joining us anyway. And it gives us an excuse to wish you a Merry Christmas if that’s what you celebrate or an early Happy New Year if it’s not.

Hope you got everything you were hoping for or dreaming about.

We did, at least for one evening. :)

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1510_STUK_TOPLESSSOCIETY_0129This past weekend, the Sunday Times of London ran an article about us in their Style section. It was the work of reporter Rosie Kinchen, who joined us for our pre-Halloween get-together in the East Village, and featured images captured by the brilliant Sally Montana. Who else would have thought of asking us to re-enact The Last Supper?

1510_STUK_TOPLESSSOCIETY_0254The Times only managed to find room for two of Sally’s photos, but we’re very happy to share a few more here. (Along with a copy of the article itself at the very bottom, since you can’t read it online unless you’re a Times subscriber.)

1510_STUK_TOPLESSSOCIETY_01841510_STUK_TOPLESSSOCIETY_01391510_STUK_TOPLESSSOCIETY_03351510_STUK_TOPLESSSOCIETY_04671510_STUK_TOPLESSSOCIETY_0486We’re so pleased that our message has begun to spread internationally! Maybe it’ll even reach people in some part of the world where it’s warm enough now to take advantage of the freedom to go shirtless outdoors (which it currently isn’t in New York City). In the meantime, we’re wearing our best cable-knit sweaters and enjoying warm beverages and snuggling with friends and loved ones and, of course, many good books.

And waiting for the spring.

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IMG_8771When a mild Halloween is followed by an even milder November, there’s nothing for it but to break out the old beach towels again and go back to the park. Yes, it gets late earlier these days, like (the late) Yogi Berra used to say. But while those fine golden hours last, it’s lovely to spend them surrounded by the crisp autumn air, meeting friends old and new.

Our reporter friend from the New York Times came out again, shooting some more video for her story, which we’re hoping will see the light of day while there’s still enough daylight to see it by. Two first-timers from St. Louis also came, together with a bunch of our regulars, and we all enjoyed doughnuts and hot chocolate and a discussion of unreliable narrators and the feel of the breeze against our skin.

IMG_8743IMG_8733IMG_8852We were probably more conspicuous than at the height of summer, if only because we were the only ones sitting out on the lawn, but no one bothered us, and the handful of passers-by our reporter friend spoke with all seemed at worst indifferent to and at best supportive of what we were doing.

IMG_8870To be fair, there were other things going on nearby to capture the attention of people in the mood to be shocked — the performance artist Matthew Silver and his crew were leaping about wildly in their underwear just outside the park, while a few yards away someone had outfitted a batch of taxidermied rats with roller skates and remote controls and was scooting them around underfoot. (Yes, one of them had a slice of pizza gripped in its claws.) What’s a half dozen women calmly discussing books without their shirts on compared to that?

But as our St. Louis friends reminded us, this is nothing to take for granted. Where they’re from, doing what we did would be illegal  — six women who did it recently got arrested for it, they told us. It’s something to remember, and something for us, living in New York, to be thankful for. The simple act of sitting shirtless in a park on a beautiful fall day should not be a crime, either for women or for men, and where we live it isn’t one. It’s really not too much to ask that women everywhere have the same right.

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IMG_8478Most of the time, New York is cold enough on Halloween that only a madwoman would go outside shirtless. But once in a very long while it’s milder, making a variety of costume options feasible that otherwise might not be: topless flapper, for instance, or topless princess, or topless Carmen Sandiego. Several of us explored these and other forms of sartorial self-expression at the intersection of Stanton and Allen Streets, where the city has helpfully set out some benches in the middle of traffic…

IMG_8494c…before heading down the block to the Slipper Club, burlesque emporium extraordinaire, for an evening of merriment.

20151030_173933What sort of merriment? Well, to start with, it was the largest gathering of our members we’ve ever had, with several dozen of us in attendance. Costumes were welcome (as was the lack of costumes — we’re nothing if not open-minded). We welcomed cyborgs…

IMG_8548…and monsters…

IMG_8508IMG_8519…droogs that would’ve made Anthony Burgess proud…

IMG_8671c…and various other characters, familiar or invented.

IMG_8515IMG_8514(What is this last costume? So glad you asked. It’s a blue-footed booby, of course.)

The Pinchbottom burlesque troupe put on a special stage performance just for us, featuring numbers inspired by Shelley, Coleridge, and Dante, with pulp novelist Jonny Porkpie on hand as Master of Ceremonies and Reader of Excerpts From the Referenced Literary Works.

IMG_8644IMG_8654Afterwards, there was a bit of a bar crawl involving Bulgarian hookahs, Belgian ale and silent televisions playing World Series game three for the Mets fans among us. Photos are few from the indoor portions of the evening, and in-focus ones fewer still. But you can get some sense of what we got up to below.

(And here’s an extra treat for those of you in the UK: a reporter from the one of the biggest newspapers in London flew in just for the event, and an article about us is supposedly forthcoming. Who knows? Maybe it’ll inspire a revolution across the ocean…)

IMG_8558IMG_8525IMG_8573IMG_8559IMG_8659IMG_8660Happy Halloween, all.

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