Weingarten: Bare (almost) all in Times Square on Monday
You know that recurring nightmare where you wake up in a cold sweat after dreaming you're naked in public, while strangers point and stare at your jiggly bits? Well, now you can make that dream a reality! Monday is the 10th annual National Underwear Day (NUD), a day when thousands of courageous and exhibitionistically inclined New Yorkers and tourists alike assemble in Times Square in the hopes of breaking the Guinness World Record for the world's largest gathering of people in their underwear.
So if you've ever hoped to make like the Naked Cowboy (or your creepy uncle Arthur), now's your chance.
Conceived by Matthew Butlein, president of a website that sells undies and other unmentionables, NUD is supposed to be about creating "an environment where everyone feels accepted."
I asked Jené Luciano, author of "The Bra Book," for her thoughts on a day dedicated to individuals publicly exposing their underthings. She's not a fan of people running around in their undies. "Celebs like Lady Gaga (who recently walked around New York baring all in a black lace bra) and Miley Cyrus are made fun of, but they can sorta get away with it, because people expect a certain level of exhibitionism from them," she told me in an email. "But us regular folks can't really walk the streets in our skivvies!"
Though technically we can. While most of us choose to cover up in public, the city seems to be heading toward an underwear optional ethos. It's legal in New York City to roam the streets in all of your topless glory.
So what motivates the creation of an event that encourages everyone to strip down and bare nearly all? We already live in a city known as a mecca of creativity and free expression, as evidenced by everything from murals and manuscripts to bountiful body art. Butlein says that his goal in creating NUD was to make a place of acceptance for those "from all walks of life with all body types."
National Underwear Day might seem frivolous, but who can argue with the celebration of those young and old, thin or zaftig, scarred or unblemished reclaiming their right to publicly strut their stuff?
Rachel Weingarten is author of the upcoming "Real Brooklyn Girl" mystery series.