We must help our male models

As a man with a strong sense of fashion, I make a point, every 15 years or so, to sit down with The New York Times Fall Fashion issue.

Unfortunately, I was a little behind schedule; the last time I had checked the section was near the end of Reagan’s first term, in 1984, which explains why I’ve been behind the times, fashion-wise, for the past six years.

It was a good thing I finally checked it out. Times have changed. On the very first page I turned to I saw a man holding a boot on top of his head.

I’m not kidding. Apparently, this is how men in New York and other fashion hot spots wear their boots now.

Which makes some sense. As I entered middle age, I confronted an uncomfortable truth: I am unlikely to become a cowboy, making boots an affectation. But head boots are great for everyone!

(Also, don’t worry if you’re among those who insist on wearing boots on your feet. The fashion may not reach your town for another couple of years.)

The section also alerted me to what must be among the greatest scandals of our age: the shocking and barbaric treatment of our country’s male models.

Page after page, angry and sullen faces peer back at you, and it’s obvious why. These wretched young men are being forced to wear hideous and ridiculous clothing.

In fact, I suspect that many of these men aren’t models at all. In the bad old days, the British navy followed the appalling practice of impressing seaman, forcing them to work on ships.

Clearly, something very similar is going on in the fashion districts of New York City. These young men — the true fashion victims of our times! — are being shanghaied and brought against their will to photo shoots, where they are forced to wear absurd and silly outfits.

You want proof? Look at the pictures. One young man has fallen asleep on his chair, having fallen victim to the infamous All Night Fashion Photo Torture. (I had thought this was against the law!)

Another man raises a guitar as if to strike the photographer. One wonders what happened to him after the picture was taken.

Still another man, looking gaunt, pale and grizzled, appears to have taken refuge in drugs and booze.

And no wonder, he’s probably afraid they’re going to make him wear the bizarre pantaloons that appear a few pages away.

These pants are so outlandish, so clownish that, by comparison, rapper M.C. Hammer’s “genie” pants would be suitable for a president to wear to his inauguration.

(“My fellow Americans, as I look to the future, I foresee a time when no American will have to wear pants such as those I’m wearing today.”)

Just about the only one who looks normal is the guy from the Hathaway shirt company, though if I were him I would have gone for the eye patch made famous by the old Hathaway man.

Just because I’m too old to be a cowboy doesn’t mean I can’t be a pirate.

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