Riddled with at least 500 pairs of rocklike nipples and numerous cases of uncomforting crotch contractions, a group took a spirited, mostly naked jaunt through the swanky elegance of Boylston and Newbury Street on Saturday, Dec. 11. Lining the roads in awe, a parted crowd of unknowing holiday shoppers made way for the participants, who were running on tanks filled mostly with charitable intentions, but freshly topped off with a spot of inebriation. Undercover, yet fully exposed, I went on an infiltrative exploration into the depths of this madness, what’s known as The Santa Speedo Run--formally The SSRun.
Gaining access to the well sold out event at 9PM the night prior left me little time to debate whether or not I would reveal my unclothed self to the public, but with haste I made the decision and interneted the number for the only City Sports still open in Boston. Flying through the tunnels to Copley Square, I called the store, subterraneously selecting a Speedo. “We’ll have it ready for you when you walk in,” he said.
I entered wearing a woodland camo hat, a ratty blue flannel and hiking boots with my pants half tucked into them. A confused cashier gave me a once over, then handed me two to choose from. Neither were the correct size so he called to a girl cross-store, yelling and pointing at me, “Hey Amanda, can you grab a red size 30 Speedo for this guy?” The remaining customers in the store all looked at me as I pretended to shop for the only thing nearby, which, making things more awkward, turned out to be a selection of women’s sports bras.
The following morning, next to a dog in a 1-piece women’s bathing suit, I waited in a chill for my friend to arrive. The pre-party for the event at LIR was already in full effect, sparking the interest of each passerby as they walked down the street shocked by the sight of a growing, bustling entrance line and people nonchalantly smoking cigarettes in Speedos.
Quite overdressed, we walked into the bar and so began the investigation.
Participants had signed up quickly before the list was full, then pledged to raise at least $300. This gave them access to the run and the parties surrounding. While some raised the minimum, others, in the name of benevolence and revealing spandex underwear, took it among themselves to selflessly collect thousands of additional dollars. The organization raised an estimated $214,000 this year, which will be dispersed to 3 area nonprofits, the Starlight Children’s Foundation, the Play Ball Foundation and Hospitality Homes. In its 11th year, led by founder Jon Ianelli, the nonprofit SSRunners Inc. will have raised over $850,000 for charity.
Feeling a bit apprehensive, we stood in the bar and drank a beer. Then, pausing for a moment--tapping into the combined strengths of Elliot Spitzer, Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton, and John Edwards--we crossed the threshold of the seemingly inappropriate and excitedly dropped trou mid-bar. My pathological bashfulness was in a surprising remission as no one took any notice--each registrant had already declothed and was festively indulging. Well, I thought, if everyone else is doing it, it can’t be that bad, right?
But wait, wasn’t that the same thought of the Nazi’s, slave owners, and people who grew rat tails in the 80’s?
There was no real start to the run that I could see, we were shuffled single file out the front door of the bar into a bulging crowd at 1PM. Engulfed by onlookers, we took off down Boylston Street at a good pace and, presumably unnerved from the alcohol and adrenally exempt from tiredness, I felt perfectly warm and comfortable. Bearing the cold in stride, it was definitely motivating to be cheered for and slapped high-fives by befuddled watchers. We swung around Newbury Street and finished back at the bar.
I’m quite certain I had been photographed at least 300 times in this Speedo debut as camera-phone wielding spectators snapped shots without refrain. The internet was, no doubt, quickly replete with mobile uploads of the skin caravan and I wondered if maybe one of my Boston friends would have, mid-surf, caught a glimpse of me. Nothing though until Monday morning when the publisher of Bay Windows, a New England LGBT newspaper, sent me this link advising I check the top picture.
Ah! Me atop the Wicked Gay Blog? Didn’t see that one coming. To make matters much gayer, they cropped out the stunning lady I was running next to the whole time.
I was, for that day and a lack of any real word to describe the situation, gaymous.
Afterward, we hung without clothes at LIR for a few hours, concluding that it was a great time--the SSRunners Inc. people undeniably knew what they were doing. I strongly advise signing up in the future. Who knows, when the time to succumb to the blissfulness of December arrives next year, you could be cutting out coupons in Sunday’s paper for both stocking and Speedo stuffers.