What's sarong with men in skirts? Besides leg hair.

MIKE LITTWIN

March 19, 1993|By MIKE LITTWIN

Normally, I have nothing to say on fashion news. Normally, however, people of my gender are not wearing skirts.

So now I must speak up. I've known it was my duty since I read the news in the paper yesterday.

Yes, men are apparently going around in public in skirts. Seriously. In other words, we're talking Al Gore in a poodle.

Put your imagination to work on this one. Cal Ripken in a sarong. Sly Stallone in a nice little pleated thing, and maybe some saddle shoes. That is the latest fashion news.

Pat Buchanan always said it would come to this. But even he couldn't have expected it to happen so soon, with the Democrats in power not a hundred days.

I don't know. A skirt? How would I look in a skirt? A maxi, maybe. Maybe. Something mid-calf. Something tasteful. I mean, can you see me in a mini-skirt? I don't think I have the legs for it, not that I know what good legs are on a man. I never once heard a woman say, "Did you see the pins on that guy?" Is there a male Marlene Dietrich equivalent?

I'm told women like a certain kind of man (for instance, all those built better than I am) who wears those flimsy shorts that reveal everything except the guy's Social Security number. But I don't think a skirt makes the same statement, or have you noticed a lot of bagpipe band groupies?

And, besides, a skirt this time of year? Look, if you're in a skirt, you really don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

A skirt, hmmm. It isn't that I've never ventured into high fashion. I once had a Nehru jacket. And if it weren't for a particularly nasty fall, I'd still have those platform shoes.

I did draw the line at leisure suits. (Leisure suits equaled disco. Disco equaled the decline of civilization. The decline of civilization brought on malaise. Malaise got us Ronald Reagan. See what I mean?)

The last bad idea the fashion boys had for men was suspenders, in which grown-ups look like small boys trying to look like grown-ups.

But skirts? Are they kidding? Is this a female revenge fantasy? Why do I sense Betty Friedan laughing somewhere?

The paper says this skirt thing is a trend for the '90s. If that's the case, I say let's skip ahead to the millennium and get it over with. If the end is here, I promise you one thing: A lot of guys aren't going out with their legs exposed.

The problem with men being asked to wear skirts -- all of a sudden, with absolutely no training -- is at least threefold:

* Accessorizing. Tell me, what kind of skirt does go with Nikes and athletic socks? Generally, my idea of accessorizing is carrying a comb in my back pocket.

* Hair. On your legs. As it happens, I've got enough leg hair to cover a yak. You could wear tights, but my feeling is that all tights do for a man is make his voice higher.

* And then there's the tricky business of crossing your legs while wearing a skirt. As I understand it, women go to school for years to learn this skill. They cross their legs and pull down their skirts simultaneously, without thinking. When a man crosses his legs, he CROSSES HIS LEGS. You don't notice it in pants. But put a man in a skirt and it's like every day is Sharon Stone day.

And yet, I saw a Bloomingdale's ad featuring DKNY skirts for men. Personally, I only wear two designer brands: Levi's and Fruit of the Loom. But anyway, in the ad there were these very hunky guys wearing these skirt things, leather jackets, one of 'em had a bandanna, and they were all wearing their Doc Marten's. They looked great. Of course, these guys would look good dressed up like the San Diego Chicken. That's why they're models, and I'm not.

I'm just not convinced it's me.

For one thing, I don't own any Doc Marten's, which are shoes/boots that would require a great deal of lacing if they were ever laced up. Which they're not. If you're old enough to think you might trip over the laces, you don't belong in the shoes. If I don't have Doc Marten's, I guess I'd have to wear some sort of black pump.

Another thing is, let's say I'm wearing a nice little number, say with a slit down the side, to work. You think this goes over with the guys? You think you'd be in for just a little ribbing?

Oh, Mike, isn't your hem a little frayed?

Oh, Mike, that would look perfect with a halter top.

K? Oh, Mike, maybe they'll make a sequel to "The Crying Game."

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