by | May 27, 1990 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

As a sports writer, I watch people get undressed all the time. Until two weeks ago, I had never heard anyone say “Ooh, my tush is showing!” But then, two weeks ago, I was not the ultra-sleek fashion model you see before you. Two weeks ago, I wore white cotton socks and a cheap leather belt whose last hole was made when I stuck a fork through it, because, as any bachelor will tell you, it is far better to make a fork hole in your belt than to actually GO TO THE STORE AND BUY ONE.

In fact, going to the store must, for most bachelors — except those who live in Birmingham — be avoided at ALL COSTS, and should only happen when you can no longer pull a shirt from the “Kinda Dirty Pile” (not to be confused with the “Truly Rancid Pile”) without having it stick to your fingers. Then, if you insist, you can go shopping, but remember these Important Bachelor Rules: 1) Fall into The Gap. 2) Undershorts come six to a package. 3) Silk? Ha! HAHAAHAHA!

By following these rules, and the Bachelor’s Guide To Operating A Laundry Machine, which I will explain some other time, you will ultimately be able to make the following fashion statement: “Hello. I just got run over by a bus.”

But let’s get back to the tush. Walk the walk, talk the talk The person who said that — “Oooh, my tush is showing” — was a model who was changing clothes backstage during a fashion show in which I was participating. Yes! Me! I was modeling fork belts! No. Actually, this was a show sponsored by GQ magazine, which is a fine publication, even if most of the men inside it are always gazing off with one hand deep in their pockets, as if to say, “I have nothing to do today. I wonder how many nickels I own?”

GQ had asked me to be a “celebrity” model for the day, alongside a dozen really truly gorgeous professional models because, well, because, I have no idea. They couldn’t find any real celebrities, I guess. I was told to get there two hours early, for a mandatory rehearsal, which consisted of walking down a runway to music usually heard in a bad French disco. I waddled up, I waddled back. The woman in charge squealed, “Fabulous!” I said shucks, I’ve been walking on my own since I was 13.

Then came makeup. For serious fashion modeling, you need to spend only, oh, say, 37 hours in makeup. Unless you look like me. In which case, the makeup woman puts her hand over her mouth and explodes in laughter, then says
“Excuse me, I have to — HEE! HEE! — go to the bathroom.” Then you are left to sit there, wearing a bib, amongst a roomful of truly gorgeous men and women, all of whom act as if everyone comes out of the womb with high cheekbones and straight hair.

“I’m, uh, one of the models,” I said.

They looked at me as if to say, “You are ugly. Why are you speaking to us?” A dresser for your drawers Did I mention my dresser? Where I come from, a dresser is this ugly piece of furniture with lots of drawers to lose your socks in. But, in the world of fashion modeling a dresser is . . . a person! Yes. A real live person who helps you get dressed. What a great invention! And I thought only your mother did that.

Anyhow, dressers enable the truly gorgeous fashion models to rip off the black satin tuxedo ($89,595) and cream-colored silk tie ($10,000) and leap into the baggy swim trunks ($6,999) and yellow snorkeling fins ($3,448). Me? I had only one outfit. A blue suit by Giorgio Armani, whose name, in English, means “Get a second mortgage.” So my dresser just sort of sat there.

And at last. My big moment. The music was blaring. The audience was cheering. The other models were racing up and back, pulling clothes over their heads. I made my way toward the stage. The coordinator grabbed me and said “Just relax! Have fun with it!” and pushed me out. The lights blinded me.

I walked up. I walked back. I felt, and I mean this sincerely, like a complete moron. Somewhere in the middle, I stuck my hand in my pocket and looked off.

And some guy yelled, “What are you doin’? Counting nickels?”

So. That’s it. I am now an ultra-sleek fashion model. I will not be entering any more locker rooms, not without my dresser. And I would like to chat more but I must go shopping, because my Adolfo pants keep falling over my Luigi socks and my Francesco shoes. Have no fear, fashion plates. I know exactly what I need.

I need a fork.


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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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