A party on Saturday night in Ridgewood, Queens came to a screeching halt when Gary Stevens, 26, interjected during a conversation about avoiding tan lines to inform the partygoers that female toplessness is, in fact, legal in New York. The statement was unexpected and spoken a little too quickly and loudly for everyone’s comfort.
“I was telling Sarah about how I got weird tan lines last weekend,” says Lisa Jeffords. “She told me to just pull the straps down on my monokini, and I was like ‘Yeah right, I’d probably forget and then get up and flash everybody and get arrested.’ That’s when Gary stepped in.”
Seemingly out of nowhere, Stevens sidled up and shouted, “Actually, female toplessness is legal in New York. Not a lot of people know that, but I do. It’s legal.”
“This was literally my first time meeting Gary,” says Jeffords. “It was like, why is this the thing he leads off with? Why does he have a dog in this race?”
Stevens attempted to defend himself, claiming that the topic recently came up in one of his law school courses so it just happened to be at the top of his mind. He added that he isn’t “constantly going around trying to encourage women to take off their shirts or anything,” and that it was just “a thing I know.”
“Maybe he’s just a strong believer in women’s equality, or one of those know-it-all types who has to correct people on every little factual error,” says Sarah Levi. “But he still seemed a little too eager to bring it up. Also, why did he say it so quickly and loudly? It was weird and almost made me drop my drink.”
Stevens inadvertently dug himself even deeper when he attempted to change the subject with, “So uh, are you guys going to the beach any other times this summer? Let me know, I’d be down.”
When reached for comment, Stevens says, “It was just the first thing I could think of to break the tension. Now they might think I’m a total creep.”
“Oh, no, we definitely think that,” they answered in unison.
At press time, Stevens was attempting to figure out a way to send the women an apology message on Facebook without making things even weirder. Early projections for his success in that endeavor (offered by his roommate, who was totally there and totally heard the whole thing go down) did not look good. However, the NYPD confirmed that toplessness in New York City is legal and “totally cool, we might just have to stop and ask some questions to make sure the person of interest hasn’t gone of their meds or something.”