Publicity Doesn't Stop Pants-Free Prank

By Dan Zak
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 13, 2008

Denim and corduroy dropped to the carpet of dozens of Metro trains on the Red Line just after 4 p.m. yesterday, exposing a fleshy forest of goose-pimpled, sun-starved shanks. About 100 riders put their pants into their bags and commuted wearing nonchalance and not much else.

In cotton panties and colorful boxers, pants-free people of all ages and waist sizes mixed with perplexed residents, amused tourists and a horde of Georgetown basketball fans on their way from Verizon Center.

Before participants even organized in Dupont Circle for the 2008 No Pants Metro Ride, plenty of people were already tipped off to this local response to Improv Everywhere, the scene-causing prankster coalition that at the same moment was doing the same thing in New York. Dozens of curious oglers and news outlets showed up in the circle about 3:30.

"Why?" reporters asked.

Most participants said they just wanted to have some fun on a Saturday afternoon.

But if everyone knows it's coming, is it still a prank?

"There might be more media than people," observed Mount Pleasant resident Matt Boote, 23, who helped split the participants into groups.

About 4:15, half went north on the Red Line, and the other half went south. "Your undie-pants better be pretty!" yelled a Metro employee outside the south exit. "Keep it cute and clean!"

On the trains, the pants came off. Cameras flashed. Riders giggled. A seated, fur coat-wearing woman got a face full of derriere during the disrobing. "Spandex," she uttered gravely and turned her head.

"If you see something suspicious on a Metro train, say something to an employee," came the message over the public-address system. Ashley Miller and Patrick Coble, tourists from Raleigh, N.C., were delighted when they were swept up in a flock of skivvies at Metro Center.

"I'll definitely move here if people just take their pants off," said Miller, 24.

"Do they do a topless ride?" asked Coble, 43.

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