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A Night in My Undies: 'You're Embarrassing Your Kids!'

Photograph by Getty Images

Last weekend I participated in a Los Angeles ritual, the No Pants Subway Ride. I had a blast hanging out with some of the most free-spirited people in the city. I happened to be the very first person to arrive at Union Station, rocking my bright blue bikini underwear, a hoodie sweatshirt and ankle boots in 60 degree weather.

I am the type of woman who doesn’t appreciate attention; I never want to be noticed when I am offline. Yet this day was different. I had no problem marching up and down Union Station, scaring the travelers waiting for the Amtrak train and others passing through the Los Angeles hub on their way to connect with other public transportation lines.

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About 500 other people showed up in their underwear and the press came to capture it all. We stood together, taking pictures and laughing at our bravery and camaraderie. We posed, poked and connected with each other, attracting whistles, random pictures and curious stares. We then all hopped on the train to Hollywood and sashayed up and down Hollywood Boulevard shocking the tourists.

After the after party, I wasn’t ready to end the night’s fun so I rode the train back home in my underwear. A curious woman approached me asking what my issue was. I kindly explained to her that she was the one with the issue because today was No Pants Day and she was over-dressed.

“Do you have kids?” she asked.

“Yes, I do. Two sons.”

“Well, girl. That is so embarrassing for your kids!” she argued. “Their friends are going to make fun of them and say they saw their Mama in her draws walking down the street!”

I laughed a hearty laugh and imagined that scenario. I had actually never given any thought as to whether my actions would embarrass my kids, after all, they live 3,000 miles away with their dad.

I kind of got teary-eyed because all of my life people either tell me to tone it down or stop being so ‘me.’ But my sons get it; they get me.

I called them up a day later to ask if they had viewed the pictures I emailed them from the No Pants Subway Ride. They confirmed that they had.

“How did it make you feel to see them?” I coaxed them for a reaction.

My 12-year-old son Solomon spoke up, “It’s weird. You could have at least worn boxer shorts, Mommy.”

“Why? Is it embarrassing to see me like that?”

“Yes!”

“Really?” I was dumbfounded.

I’m just living my life, enjoying it when I can, trying to squeeze out every smile that is possible. As a non-custodial parent, I may have the freedom to come and go as I please but I don’t go anywhere. I sit in the house on the Internet, building my online empire. If I want to switch my focus every year and go out on the town in my underwear, I think I’m allowed that.

This wouldn’t be the first time my sons would mention that their friends were onto my hi jinks. A few years back they let me know that their friends had seen me wearing my bra in a YouTube video. Even still, I somehow feel that my sons understand.

When my 14-year-old began high school, he said he met a 12th grader in one of his classes who had a baby. He said the young girl was pretty and smart but she laughed so loud that it disturbed the class. One day he saw a boy approach her to tell her that her laughter was too much. The boy asked her if she doesn’t feel ashamed to laugh that way.

The girl responded, “I’m happy. Let me be happy. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

My son chimed in, “I understand that.”

“She’s just like you, Mommy,” My 14-year-old said to me.

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I kind of got teary-eyed because all of my life people either tell me to tone it down or stop being so ‘me.’ But my sons get it; they get me.

No, I’m not an embarrassment to my sons but maybe I’ll be a little more cautious next year and wear boxers to the No Pants Subway Ride.

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