(Editor’s note: Thinking about going on the No Pants Subway Ride 2017 in your city? Here’s what to expect from Ivana Avramovic’s ride last year.)
VIENNA, Austria – Simple black hipster panties on the ladies and an assortment of boxer shorts – prints, plaid, Union Jack, ladybug and everything in between – covering the men were on display for the passengers of the Vienna metro on Sunday afternoon, all part of No Pants Subway Ride Vienna 2016.
About 100 passengers gathered at 3 p.m. at Karlsplatz station to start their two-hour metro ride – pantless! (For those thinking in British English – that means without trousers. Underwear was mandatory, though.)
No, they were not too warm on this winter day with temperatures just above freezing. Bundled up in winter coats, scarves, hats and occasional sunglasses, they showed their legs and underwear.
Some posed and showed they feel very comfortable in front of the many cameras pointed at them. Almost as many members of the media – armed with video, photo cameras, microphones and note pads – as participants showed up to document the event.
All asked the same question: “What is the reason behind the taking off pants. ”
The answer – No special reason, just fun.
Clara, 19, a student of business in Vienna from Istanbul came prepared. She showed up with her boyfriend Mario, 20, also from Istanbul and studying biology.
Clara had heard about Mario doing something similar in Istanbul with a group of people. All pantless people at that event kept a straight face and brought laughter to the passersby. So she came prepared. Just before the event started, she showed blue boxer shorts peaking above the waistline of her jeans.
They seemed a bit over-sized on her skinny frame.
They were Mario’s.
This was not just some random lawless event. Rules of decency and laws had to be followed.
They were publicized on the event’s Facebook page and announced first in English and then in German just before the group boarded the train:
• Skip the pants, but make sure you have a valid ticket.
• Don’t forget to wear proper underwear and make sure that your appearance does not offend other passengers. No underwear means you are breaking the law.
• Dress warmly for the winter weather.
• Take off the pants only after you have boarded the train.
One participant of The No Pants Subway Ride Vienna, left, struggled a bit more than others and had to get help from his friend to take off his pants. With crutches on the ground next to him, it took two people to get his pants off his leg covered with cast from his foot all the way up to his thigh.
It was a dare from friends, he said, responding to a question from the media. Once the pants were off, he and two of his friends popped open their canned beer and joined the bare-legged crowd on the metro ride.
The No Pants Subway Ride was initiated for the first time in New York City in 2002 and has since become an annual event worldwide. The event in Vienna was advertised via Facebook and the media reported about it coming up.
A sense for fun was cross-cultural and cross generational. Along with Austrians, people from other nations living or visiting the city joined in. A group of pants-free Spaniards could be heard chatting next to random fully winter-clothed passengers.
Some were not so random however. Eighty-year old Inge from the southern Austrian province of Corinthia was visiting her daughter Silke, 48, in Vienna when she read about it in the newspaper. She wanted to make sure she gets to witness this event, showed up at the very start and followed the cool crowd for about 30 minutes.
“It is fun. Something unusual,” said Silke, leaving the underground with her mother after about 30 minutes of following the fun – both with big smiles on their faces.
No particular reason behind the event other than fun apparently worked.