As a part of a rather unusual tradition, over a dozen of Londoners boarded a train without their pants. According to a report by the BBC and The Evening Standard, the pants-less individuals rode the tube to celebrate the “No Trousers Tube Ride”
The tradition did not take place in the last couple of years owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The January 2023 edition was organised by The Stiff Upper Lip Society. According to their website, the group had previously organised the event for over 19 years.
“The idea behind No Pants is simple: Random passengers board a subway car at separate stops in the middle of winter without pants. The participants behave as if they do not know each other, and they all wear winter coats, hats, scarves, and gloves. The only unusual thing is their lack of pants.” reads the Improv Everywhere website.
The “No Pants Subway Ride” phenomenon has been happening since 2002. What started as a joke on one fine January day, soon spread all across the globe and became a reason for celebration. The coordinators of the organising group are in 60 different cities, across 25 countries.
The first ride which took place in January 2002 in New York, had only seven participants. One participant entered the train without his pants for 7 stops. The participants pretended to not notice each other. If asked they claimed to have ‘forgotten the pants’ at home.
From 2007 to 2011 the number of participants grew from 150 to 5,000. 2011 saw a major shift as over 48 cities participated in the event.
The tradition did not always go as smoothly as the organisers would have expected. With each year the number of participants also increased. 150 people participated in the event in 2006. Eight of them were handcuffed for ‘Disorderly Conduct’. However, the charges were dismissed later.
AOne of the biggest controversies involving the event unfolded in Moscow. 2016 was the first time the event took place in Moscow, Russia. The participants were later investigated by the authorities for “instigating mass public disorder”. It is believed that the allegations could not materialise, as the organiser’s intention was to make people laugh.