Pants-Free Wednesday

So I was waiting for the M5 (yes, the bus is the preferred mode of transportation among those of us in the know) on Wednesday evening, enjoying the last few hours of my current hairstyle (I was starting the first part of the evening’s activities, the culmination of which was a haircut with a stylist in another state), when I saw a small Asian girl, probably about four years old, happily skipping down a beautiful set of brick steps leading down a hill on the other side of Riverside Drive. She wore a long-sleeved black and white striped pullover top, black maryjanes, and white tights. And that’s it. Oh, other than her underwear, which I could see clearly through the white tights.
My first thought was, “What the fuck?” followed quickly by, “Maybe it’s a very short dress, not a shirt, and it’s riding up by dint of her frolicking down the steps. Surely she’s not pantsless.”
The girl jumped off the steps laterally and bounded onto the grassy hillside alongside them. An older woman, whom I took to be her grandmother or some other sort of guardian, watched as she appeared to be searching for a place to do what I’ve seen a lot of dogs do on that grassy area. She would sort of poke around slowly, inspect one spot, then wander to another, inspect some more. At one point she fell face down into a patch of dirt, exposing her white-tighted toddler tush to two lanes of Riverside Drive rush hour traffic. And that’s when I realized she was, indeed, not just wearing a micro-miniskirt. “Oh my god, no,” I thought. “The kid is pantsless. And she’s pantsless for a reason. She’s going to pull down those tights, squat, and … oh good god no. No. No.”
I was wrong, thankfully. At least about the activity. But the pantslessness? No. The kid was pants-free. And her shirt came only to the tops of her little hipbones, which meant that her entire ass and corresponding front part (Mommy, don’t make me say it) were just … out. And the kid was just doing kid things, running around, acting “cute” (which she was), not paying any mind to the fact that she was inappropriately pants-free.
I watched in horror for about five minutes. When she got to the bottom of the hill, her grandmother/guardian accompanied her across the street, and they stood about 20 feet away from me at the bus stop. The little girl bounced around, sort of singing and laughing, and climbed onto a railing, where she sat, swinging her parted legs. She got off the railing, ran away a short distance, and was called back by her grandmother/guardian. I finally took a good look at this woman.
She was probably in her mid-60s, with dark, obviously dyed, thinning hair that almost reached her shoulders. Two barrettes were lodged in the tangle, down low so that they served no purpose (other than to look really cute). Her mouth, a simple line not unlike that of a Muppet, was hidden behind a smear of bright pink lipstick. That mouth uttered something to the little girl along the lines of “Get back over here, the bus is coming,” which I took as a good sign that she was at least marginally in touch with reality.
The little girl kept looking over at me, and I looked back at her, silently asking her, “Do you know where your pants are? Does Grandma have your pants in her handbag?”
The bus arrived, and Pants-Free dashed in front of me to board. I turned to the woman and said, “Does she have pants?”
“Yes. She does,” she said.
I waited for her to elaborate. She didn’t. This was like asking someone, “Do you have the time?” and that person saying, “Yes,” and walking away without telling you the time.
“Well, don’t you think she should wear them?” I said, as I started to step onto the bus. “This is just wrong.”
No answer. She boarded the bus too (hooray! I thought maybe she’d just let the kid ride alone), and sat down in front next to the girl. I watched in dismay from my seat toward the back of the bus. Please take pants out of that handbag, I said telepathically. Please take little girl pants out of that granny handbag. Please take pants out. Take pants out. Pants. Out. Take pants out and please cover the little girl’s bottom. Please.
My silent pleas went unheeded. They got off the bus maybe ten blocks (half a mile) later, at a stop where quite a large group of little boys was playing ball, and then continued walking south on Riverside Drive, the little girl gamboling half-dressed and oblivious.
I felt really bad about this for about half an hour, until I got off the M79 (my trip involved a free transfer!) on the East Side, for it was then that a man, with two small “sprout” ponytails on each side of the back of his head, ran down the street dressed only in a red charmeuse slip (spaghetti strap) that reached just to the tops of his hipbones, sheer black pantyhose, and black running shoes. Just like with the little girl on Riverside Drive, I could also see his panties, and they, too, sported some kind of floral (or other) pattern.
It was then that I recognized that this was not just random. That these two incidents were not just coincidence. This was a pattern as clear as flowers on underpants.
It was Pants-Free Wednesday — and no one had told me!
I hate being left out of the loop. ‘Cause you know me: I always like to be on top of all the latest whatnot and whozit. Whether it’s a new club opening or a new restaurant launching (do restaurants “launch”? I know people lunch in ’em ‘n’ all, but is “launch” the correct term?) or a new ploshplimkrip zimzoppenin’, well, I have to be there, smack dab in the middle of all the hoohah and huzzah, decked out in my flirty Arden B. baby-doll top and 7 For All Mankind jeans and pointy-toe stilettos (the kind that would have Stacy London shouting, “Shut up!”) and chandelier earrings (how I love the bling!), whoopin’ it up with all the similarly attired beautiful people. So when I find out that Something Big happened and I wasn’t in the know, well, I just want to pout prettily and stomp my stilettos and whine, “Why didn’t anyone tell me?”
No one really likes to see me pout or stomp (even though I look really cute when I do it), so I’m surprised that no one told me that this past Wednesday was Pants-Free Wednesday. Then again, this event wasn’t endorsed by Daily Candy, on which I rely almost exclusively to provide me with all the inside scoop on what’s going on in this city, so maybe it wasn’t worthy of my attention after all. But still, it got it (my attention, that is).
I shook my head at my own silliness. How could I have been so ridiculous as to have been concerned about that little girl and her rampant pantlessness! I chuckled, unzipped my pants, stepped out of them, and dashed down Third Avenue, a worry-free and unencumbered woman.