09 Jan 2007

This Year’s College Fad, Same as Last Year’s: Naked Parties

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A bit over a year ago (22 Nov 2005), the New York Sun was reporting on the spread of Naked Parties from Yale (and possibly Brown) to Columbia.

But the earliest public report probably appeared in the novel Chloe Does Yale published in March of 2004 by then Yale Senior (Timothy Dwight) Natalie Krinsky.

Today’s Times reports that the fad for naked parties was created in 1995 by the Yale Pundits, an undergraduate society which in earlier days contented itself with jokes and champagne-and-lobster lunches on the library steps.

The Pundits, founded in 1884 as a society of “campus wits,” have a history of rebelling against Yale tradition, often through elaborate pranks. They organize six to eight covert naked parties a year, which attract anywhere from 30 to 300 people to off-campus houses, neglected rooms in classroom buildings and even small libraries on campus.

“It’s one of those things people feel they need to do before they graduate,” says Megan Crandell, a senior who estimates that she has been to a half-dozen naked parties during her time at Yale. “The dynamic is completely different from a clothed party. People are so conscious of how they’re coming across that conversations end up being more sophisticated. You can’t talk about how hot that chick was the other night.”

News of Yale’s contribution to modern undergraduate social life has spread all the way to Scotland. The Scotsman.

While one campus source at Yale… says naked parties are “the No1” thing to do before graduation, students who attend the six to eight parties held each year say it can be a life-changing experience, far from the “frat-house” bawdiness portrayed in films such as Animal House…

Another Yale student, who did not want his name to become known by campus authorities – which do not try to stop the parties but do not encourage them – said: “Part of it is just the mystique of not knowing where you’re going. It’s become a hip thing to do.”

The events are magnets for social-climbers at other top academic institutions, including Columbia, MIT and Brown.

A better history, and a first person account from a Yale coed, appeared in the Yale Herald back in March of last year.

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