Where: Tin Roof/Demonbreun/Music Row
You know that recurring nightmare where you show up at school in your underpants?
I've never had that nightmare. Instead, I always had the one where I showed up totally unprepared for a big exam. To me, failing a test was way scarier than the idea slinking pantless down a packed hallway. Underwear just isn't a big deal.
Well, apparently underwear is a big deal, because I had a hard time convincing anyone to join me for Cupid's Undie Run, a national fundraiser for The Children's Tumor Foundation. I guess most normal people don't want to run down Music Row in their underpants. I somehow manage to strong-arm a couple of friends into doing it, but on the morning of the Undie Run, I suddenly find myself not only sans pants, but sans running buddies.
Oh, well. I've already purchased a fantastic pair of Bayside Tigers underpants, and the world deserves to see them, along with some bizarre accessories I've accumulated throughout the years but rarely have the opportunity to wear: silicon bra inserts from a wedding, Flashdance leg warmers from TPAC, and a stonewashed denim Guess fanny pack from Lollapalooza that Kelly Kapowski totally would have borrowed.
When I arrive at Tin Roof, the spot for the race's before- and after-party, I find myself among 300-plus half-naked people who have already been drinking for a couple of hours, which is pretty much how Tin Roof looked the last time I was there. I immediately order a double so I can catch up.
While I wait on the bartender, who is distractingly cute and also in his underwear, I survey the room. It's mostly 20- and 30-somethings, and it's a damn good-looking crowd. I'd expected the girls to use the risqué dress code as an excuse to dress as slutty as possible without really being judged for it — you know, like Halloween. On the contrary, many have taken the semi-modest route like I did, wearing tights under their underwear, which — in addition to sucking everything in and hiding pasty winter legs — makes you look like a superhero.
The boys, on the other hand, are more scandalously un-dressed than the ladies. Nary a boxer in sight; this was a briefs crowd, and these guys weren't intimidated by the fact that it was barely 35 degrees outside. I make my way through the crowded bar, avoiding the packed dance floor, where everyone is doing some type of line dance I've never seen before.
I'm relieved to find another person I know, my friend Beth. After meeting her friends, I realize I'd recently scheduled a meeting with one of them. Small world, Nashville. We giggle over our drinks and take a picture to show her boss, and, by proxy, their HR department.
The race organizers direct the crowd outside Tin Roof to the starting line, which is directly in front of the massive construction project on Demonbreun. I shiver in the shade of the newly erected building — which is surprisingly full of laborers for a Saturday — figuring that at least I can cross "stand in front of a bunch of construction workers in my underwear" off my bucket list. Nothing warms the body quite like humiliation.
The race starts, and we're off! While the construction workers take cellphone videos of our jiggling butts, we circle the roundabout, passing the naked Musica statues, which look downright Puritan next to us. We've brought our beverages with us, assuming that Music Row adopted a temporary Mardi Gras code of conduct for the occasion, and sloppily attempt to drink them when we encounter a policeman on Music Square West.
"Don't spill your drinks, ladies," he cautions. We flash a smile and continue down 17th Avenue.
If you've run the Country Music Marathon, you know that 17th Avenue/Music Square West is a sneaky upward sloping hill, so we slow down to a walk. We cut across Grand, the halfway point of this barely mile-long race, and saunter down Music Square East. A line of cars — probably filled with tourists sightseeing on Music Row — is trapped behind a police barricade on Music Circle North. They gape at us. We wave at them.
I look behind me. There are only a few stragglers, and they're gaining on us.
"We can't be last!" I scream. We start sprinting, drinks flying everywhere. One of my silicon insert slides down my abdomen and there is nothing I can do about it. Luckily, it's saved by the fanny pack.
We cross the finish line and bolt inside Tin Roof. As we warm up, we refuel with more drinks, candy hearts and ring pops.
After two more hours of drinking, I've completely forgotten that I'm in my underwear ... until we walk next door into Two Bits. The packed room quiets as everyone stops and stares at us. We shamefully slink to the back of the bar by the video games, but realize it's time to call it a night when we can't muster the dexterity to play "Space Invaders."
"I was hoping I'd meet my future husband here today, so I could make that part of the story," Beth laments as we walk out the door.
Not only that, but they already would have already seen each other in their underwear.