It’s 87º — do you know where your ass is?
If you’re one of the literally millions of commuters aboard the NYC MTA, chances are, your sweaty upper thighs and gluteus maximuses are sticking right to the plastic seats aboard your chosen train.
That’s right. It’s ASS TO PLASTIC SEASON.
The phenomenon known as “Ass to Plastic” (or A2P for short, as it shall henceforth be referred to in this article) is the bane of the summertime commuter. Whether you weather the weather in high-cut jorts or that cute mini-skirt sundress, you’ll invariably find yourself refusing a seat on an all but empty train for fear of exposing your cheeks to the thousands, nay, millions of germs aboard that plastic bench.
Let’s just say that there’s a rule here in New York: assume that every surface has been urinated on. Subway poles. Hand rails. Escalators? Oh for sure. That “full” bottle of Lipton Iced Tea on the sidewalk is NOT full of Lipton Ice Tea, my friend! Once you’ve accepted this, and welcomed Carrying Hand Sanitizer Everywhere™ into your life, you are capable of moving on to being a Next Level New Yorker.
But look — this isn’t about the pee.
This isn’t even about the pee!
And yeah…. that’s pee.
The real problem, when it comes to A2P, is when you are betrayed by your own friend, who becomes your enemy. YOUR BUTT. Yeah. It’s YOUR butt, it’s MY butt, it’s OUR OWN NEAREST AND DEAREST BUTTS. Trust and believe when I say that, no matter how much you worship your own butt (and you should! it looks GREAT in those jorts!), it will betray you in the summer.
Here’s how it works:
Let’s say you’re having a nice walk around Manhattan in 88 degree weather. HAH! Nah, let’s say you popped to the bodega on the corner through 100% humidity begrudgingly because the thought of drinking hot coffee with breakfast in what used to be your room, but is now a Russian Banya? makes you want to ralph. Doesn’t pair well with borscht. Igor agrees. I can assure you that by the time you and your iced latte make it to the train, 1) your ice cubes will have melted and diluted your beverage into a weak milky slurry, and 2) your ass gonna be sweaty.
Now you’re on the platform, which is as close to experiencing the Christian concept of “HELL” as you can get. You’re stifling underground in the still air, hot electricity running through the infamous Third Rail, hundreds of other sweaty bodies steaming up the place Oh Hey, Igor!, a direct river of perspiration is not running directly from your forehead across your brow, over the bridge of your nose and along your nostril to your top lip, where you can taste your own salty suffering. And your back is a waterfall into your underpants. This is just a fact, however unpleasant. Don’t shoot the swamp-ass messenger.
After what feels like an eternity of suffering, the train pulls in, and as if God existed, there’s a seat! Quick! Before you faint, you make a dive for that empty 1-square-foot of grey bench and as you balance your melty iced coffee in one hand and the random flier you were fanning yourself with in the other hand, there is no free hand to gather your skirt underneath you, and your gluteus maximus makes direct contact with the seat.
In an ideal world, it’s at this point that your undergarments would protect you from the bench. However, it’s 2018, and we’re all miserable. So what’s gonna happen NEXT is, when your bare legs and butt make contact with the warm, recently-evacuated spot of another sweaty-assed straphanger, your treacherous panties will have ridden up your butt-crack, leaving your full moon to stick to – STICK TO – S T I C K T O – the bench.
Now you’re experiencing ASS TO PLASTIC.
You try to shift for comfort: your left cheek, completely exposed and suctioned to the plastic, squelches underneath you as the sensation of ripping flesh betrays you on your face. Wedged in between to manspreading assholes, you could TRY to sit up and spread your skirt underneath you, but to do that, the guy on your left would have to take his leg off your thigh (and that’s not gonna happen until 86th Street), and even if you had the free hand to do it, your butt is STUCK to the seat like it’s 1989 and your ass a Garfield plushie on the back of your cool aunt’s rear dash.
Forget about picking that wedgie. JUST FUHGEDDABOUDIT.
Now it’s your stop. Time to get up. You run your thumb along the border of where your thighs meet the MTA like you’re loosening a freshly-baked chocolate chip cookie from the pan with a spatula, because what’s about to happen isn’t going to be pretty. You’ve been sitting and sweating into this seat for the past two boroughs, and your bare behind has grafted onto the C train like an alien lifeform attached to its human host in the most unholiest of body-horror films. You’re a Human C-traintepede. Patent pending. So you loosen your upper thigh’s suctioned grip on the seat as you pull into the station and hope you don’t give your seatmates an eyefull as the train pulls to a stop and —
That’s the sound of a New York City summer: the unmistakable release of a sweaty bottom from a plastic seat. And to accompany this dulcet symphony of squelching is the burning sensation of having just left a layer of your epidermis behind as you unstick yourself from the seat.
What is the solution?
Well, if you’re already wearing bicycle shorts under your skirts to stop the chub rub phenomenon — or because you, I dunno, cycle? — you may be halfway there. I’ve seen smarter folks than me use a newspaper, scarf, or jacket to cover the seat before they sit down on it, this is Advanced Technique. In my ideal world, an underwear would reliably cover my full ass while I’m exposed to train benches, but for those of us who are assfully gifted, this is not always going to be easy to accomplish. My quest to find Full Coverage is a never-ending one, one that spans many summers to date.
Note: this post is NOT SPONSORED by Fruit of the Loom Beyond Soft Bikini Panties, but it might as well be, and if you want to send me some, please, be my guest.
Could not the MTA attempt to help? Sure. But with the impending L train shutdown and their *typical* shoddy service, we’ll probably have to wait until Cynthia Nixon’s THIRD term before we get cloth-covered mass transit seating and then? How long before it becomes so SATURATED WITH HUMAN PISS that the benches become merely wet sponges for human urine?
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Ass to Plastic it is. I’ll be farting my discontent into the benches all over town, everywhere I go. Won’t you join me?