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Random & Bizarre Society & Culture

How to React After Accidentally Exposing Yourself in Public

public nudity

Having Your Clothes Come Off in Public Is No Fun

It happens to the best of us. We’re in a public setting, fully clothed, when an event occurs that causes us to momentarily expose ourselves. Maybe a so-called friend decides to “depants” you—the act of unexpectedly yanking someone’s pants down. Maybe a gust of wind blows your skirt up in the air on the one day you forgot to wear panties. Maybe you experience a wardrobe malfunction, or your shirt gets caught on a nail and rips off! Or maybe you experience a momentary “brain fog” where you forget your surroundings and begin undressing. Whatever the reason, we’ll all accidentally expose ourselves to some extent in our lives, whether we even realize it happened or not! The bigger question, however, is how we react to these unfortunate events.

Think it never happens? What about Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl halftime show? Or former major leaguer Steve Lyons, who absent-mindedly took his pants off on the field after reaching first base! It’s so common that while you were reading this, someone had snuck up behind you and was planning on pulling your shirt off over your head, but since you just turned around to double-check whether or not someone was actually there, they have gotten up and left.

This man was depantsed in a Subway

Scooter was minding his own business, waiting in line to order a sub at Subway. He was scrolling through his phone mindlessly when the customer in line behind him said “yoink!” and tugged Scooter’s pants and underwear down around his ankles. The perpetrator giggled and ran out the door down the street to freedom. All eyes turned to Scooter, who, in absolute shock, froze. There he was, naked as the day he was born from the waist down, with fifteen strangers eyeing him in a Subway restaurant.

It took Scooter several seconds to realize what had just happened. While most onlookers shrieked and quickly looked away, others’ eyes remain frozen on his genitals. Scooter finally bent down to grab his pants to hoist them up, but was in such a panic that his pant legs kept getting caught. He was bouncing around on one leg, trying not to lose his balance, when he bumped into a woman nearby, pushing her into the Subway counter.

When Scooter got his pants fully up and refastened, now was the moment he had to decide how to act. Would he run out of the store and hope to never see any of these people again? Would he remain in the store and pretend that it didn’t bother him? Was he even sure that people were aware as to how he had lost his pants—did anyone suspect he was a pervert who just “dropped trou” for fun? Let’s visit the possibilities.

How to React to Your Scene of Unplanned Public Nudity

It should be prefaced by stating that the correct response is to always cover yourself, then work to re-clothe yourself immediately. In very few instances would it be acceptable to stand idly, uncovered, allowing the image to burn into onlookers’ memories.

  • Act humiliated, embarrassed, appalled, and very upset. Cry if you need to. Showing that you are upset that this incident occurred tells the public that you are not guilty of indecent exposure, and never intended for this event to occur. It should also play well in court if the act was perpetrated by someone else intentionally.
  • A second popular option is to simply get the hell outta there. Run. Don’t look back. Did you know the people who may have seen you? No explanation, no nothing. Just run home. If you knew the people who saw you and you need to eventually face them again, this strategy will only delay the inevitable, however.
  • The final primary option is to play it off and pretend like it didn’t bother you. This is a weird tactic because in all likelihood it did bother you. But if you are surrounded by peers who are laughing at your misfortune, one way to get them off your backs is to show them that it didn’t bother you. It’s no fun to laugh at you if you aren’t even fazed by it!
  • Fighting back against the person, gust of wind, or inanimate object that did this to you. Chase down the man from the Subway store and identify and report him. Scream profanities at Mother Nature. Or go kick that newspaper stand that your leggings snagged on. Don’t let them beat you!
  • Attempt to obtain and destroy any security footage that may exist. Your two seconds of nudity could otherwise live on forever once that store manager uploads the footage to Fail Army. The same should be said for onlookers who reacted quickly and pulled out their phones and captured the event. Plead with them to delete the footage.
  • Attempt to gain everyone’s pity by overplaying the incident. Pretending to be injured could make gawkers stop laughing and instead leap into action. Your bare ass gleaming on a packed Bourbon Street is suddenly secondary to your health.

In any instance, these events are typically very short in nature. From the moment you expose yourself until the moment you cover yourself, the average exposure lasts only five seconds. Hopefully, very few people observed or even realized what had happened. If your event was extremely public, though, you may consider counseling to overcome this dark chapter of your life.

My Hot Take

I was nearly depantsed in junior high choir in front of the entire seventh and eighth grades. I was wearing athletic shorts, and a boy by the name of John K. snuck up behind me as I stood in the front of the room and trying to yank down my shorts. Lucky for me, I had the strings tied tight and they didn’t budge, saving me from the traumatic experience of exposing myself to two whole grades. I can’t remember another time it would have happened to me, but my friend Nick did have his trunks fly off at the Waterpark of America in the surfing pool, leaving him momentarily scrambling to cover himself with many children nearby.

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