The year was 1980. It was a year of great tumult, filled with economic uncertainty, the height of the Cold War, and Magnum, P.I. Amidst all this, entrepreneurial University of Maryland students saw an opportunity to take their fellow students back to a simpler, more innocent time.
From Frederick Hall came “Pillow Talk, Inc.”, a service where, for a mere 99 cents, a young lady could call and request “tuck-in service.” Three gentlemen would arrive at her dorm room–two in suits and one in pajamas. The pajama-clad gent would tuck the girl into bed, read her a bedtime story, and depart with a chaste kiss on the cheek. Not to be out done, young ladies of St. Mary’s Hall vowed to arrive in a group of five at any young man’s door to perform the same set of services for a mere 25 cents.
The students gained a fair bit of press attention for their efforts. Articles appeared between April and May of 1980 in the Diamondback, The Washington Post, and Time Magazine. The minutes from a Board of Regents meeting around this time makes favorable mention of what was described to them as a “wholesome” activity, and adds that a camera crew from ABC News had visited campus to do a story.
Or was it so wholesome? This Diamondback article from April 10, 1980 describes one encounter where a Frederick Hall “tucker” was asked to read a story from Penthouse to his charge, much to her delight. The girls from St. Mary’s had to cancel several visits because the men requested that they be tucked in while nude. And yet another “tucker” described arriving in a girl’s room to find her in lingerie, bathed in soft music and candlelight. The Diamondback also uncovered that several of the “tuckers” had subsequent dates with their “tuckees.”
The founders of Pillow Talk, Inc. were none too pleased with the Diamondback’s attempt to get to the sexier parts of the story. In response, they wrote a satirical letter to the editor several days later, complaining that the Diamondback had forgotten to mention “that whips and chains are often used by experienced tuckers.”
The “tuck-in” craze seems to have ended as soon as it began. Pillow Talk, Inc. was able to raise more than $100 for Frederick Hall, and got more than their fair share of notoriety out of the adventure. But as Pillow Talk’s founders said in their letter to the editor, “It’s funny how some things can be misunderstood.” It’s hard to imagine this trend making a comeback today. So for now, we’ll place the story in our “You can’t make this stuff up!” file.
Were you a tucker? Or perhaps a tuckee? Tell us your (hopefully G-rated) memories in the comments!