The art of streaking, once the passion of young Americans across the land, was briefly revived last week when a handful of Alexandria high school students gave fleeting performances at a private girls' school.
Have no fear. Alexandria authorities have the situation well under control. All the young men involved have been suspended from school or otherwise disciplined by school authorities.
In addition, one has been charged by police with indecent exposure.
Finally, just to make sure everyone gets the point, three of the young men were required yesterday to return to St. Agnes Episcopal School in Alexandria and offer written apologies to outraged faculty members.
"The object is to try to make 'em as embarrassed as possible," said one Alexandria police officer.
"It was a lesson," said John L. Porter, associate principal at T.C. Williams High, where the boys are students.
Compared with the massive marathon streaks of the mid-'70s, when bare bottoms once clogged U.S. Rte. 1 across from the University of Maryland for more than an hour at rush hour, the two nude dashes across the St. Agnes athletic field by Williams 10th and 11th graders on May 4 and 5 were unremarkable.
According to police and Alexandria school officials, perhaps as many as 20 female students witnessed the lunchtime streakings, which may have featured a dozen T.C. Williams students. The young men ran from one end of the field to the other, where a getaway car was waiting, police said.
In an effort to hide their identity, all wore silk stocking masks, police said. However, a sharp-eyed St. Agnes teacher was able to jot down a getaway car license number.
Just like that, the great St. Agnes Episcopal School streak of 1982 was history.
It was at least the second incident of streaking in Washington-area high schools this year. Earlier, three students at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda dashed nude through the school cafeteria.
Even so, there are those who say that streaking, born in 1974, a year otherwise remembered for President Nixon's resignation climaxing Watergate, may well be about to join flagpole sitting and goldfish eating on the trash pile of Americana. At least, that's what a relieved Jan Carlson, director of student activities at Oklahoma State University, fervently hopes.
He said he bases his assessment of the state of the art on the turnout at the university's annual streaker night, which has been held every year on the Stillwater campus since 1974.
"We only had about 1,500 people attend," Carlson said. "And not one of them streaked."
At the University of Maryland, scene of some of the most exuberant streaks in the nation, Campus Police Sgt. Fred Cross could not even remember the last time a streaker pattered across the university lawns.
Even in the household of Gregory Martin, one of the world's most famous streakers, streaking has become a thing of the past. Martin's streaking body was pictured in newspapers around the world in 1974, after he raced nude across a stage to accept his diploma at the University of Colorado.
"We met streaking, we fell in love streaking, and we even made money together streaking," Martin's wife, Cathie, said yesterday. "It was an expression of what we needed at the time--you know, frustration and all that."
Now, she says, "We live in the country, so we don't have to worry about clothes too much anyway. I might yell to him from the door naked when he goes to work if he forgot something. But that's about it."
In Alexandria, school officials see the whole incident as a warning to other would-be streakers.
"It's made the kids think," said associate principal Porter. "These things can start out as a prank and get out of hand and now the kids know it."