"DEAR ANN LANDERS," a May 2002 letter to the renowned advice columnist began, "I hope you can help me with an unusual problem. My teen-age daughter was recently invited to a nude slumber party."
Understandably chagrined, "Baffled Mom in Burlingame" phoned the mother of the girl who issued the invitation and was told the birthday-suit sleepover would be perfectly safe and harmless because males would be forbidden to attend and, anyway, "nude slumber parties are all the rage these days."
"I'm as baffled as you are," Landers admitted in her reply, but that didn't stop her from offering this profoundly liberal-minded advice: "As long as you trust the mother of these girls to supervise for the duration of the party, I see no harm in it."
Well, all this sounded not merely suspicious but suspiciously familiar to Newhouse News Service reporter Dru Sefton, who dove into the archives to see what she could find out about this supposed "trend." Just as she suspected, it proved to be a persistent but false urban legend — one that has caught advice columnists Dear Abby, T. Berry Brazelton and now Ann Landers with their proverbial pants down since it first surfaced in the mid-1990s.
"Relax, parents," Sefton concludes in her article, "Urban Legend Is Disrobed, but Not Before Another Advice Columnist Bites." According to various experts Sefton consulted, including a child psychiatrist and the author of a book on pajama parties, nude sleepovers are not "all the rage" among teen-age girls these days, nor — except perhaps in the erotic fantasies of teen-age boys — have they ever been.