If you've ever been enslaved by pantyhose you'll understand this

THIS JUST IN ...

August 10, 1994|By DAN RODRICKS

The reporting of this item might make me an accomplice to the blatant attempt of two Baltimore-area women to get booked on the next "Geraldo!" or "Oprah." If that's the case, so be it. At least I knew -- or suspected -- I was being used for this purpose. See, what happens is, all those TV talk shows have little pixie producers who read through newspapers, looking for strange phenomena, such as "Women Against Pantyhose," which isn't the name but the raison d'etre of the organization I'm mentioning today (it's actual name is "Women Opposed to Restrictive Nonsense," or WORN) and the pixies get all excited because they just know it'll make great television. So maybe they get on the phone and call the Owings Mills offices of the women I'm mentioning today -- Cathy Shapiro and Randi Buergenthal, co-founders of WORN -- and ask them to be guests on "Geraldo" or "Oprah" or "Whomever" to explain to a nationally televised audience just why they feel women should liberate themselves from pantyhose. They'll ask Cathy to tell Geraldo what she told me: "We just couldn't bear the thought of putting on pantyhose when the humidity level surpassed the temperature level. Who wrote the book on how acceptable it is to wear these things anyway?" And then the pixies will ask Shapiro and Buergenthal to mail them a copy of their newsletter, "The WORN Hose." So there it is: More nonsense for the talk shows. I've played my part. I'm done with it. Now, on to weightier matters. . .

Memory is the first to go

My pal Frankie Sweetbread, having consumed too many pizzas and burritos over the long winter, joined the Downtown Athletic Club this spring in an effort to burn off some of the weight he had gained. But he still has not mastered the logistics of sweating in the early morning, showering and shaving at the gym, then dressing for work. This requires a lot of fussing, if you know what I mean. For Frankie, it required a major adjustment from what had been his morning regimen: Get out of bed, turn on Marty Bass and Don Scott, eat three bowls of Frosted Mini-Wheats and a sourdough English muffin smeared with peanut butter, read the paper, shower, go to work.

The other morning, two months into his new schedule, Frankie dressed in a swimsuit and T-shirt, packed some work clothes in a gym bag and drove downtown. After pumping iron, swimming a quarter-mile and showering, he found himself at his locker, searching frantically through his gym bag for his boxer shorts. Slowly, reluctantly, he had to accept the truth: He'd forgotten to pack them. (Poor Frankie. He's the kind of guy who freaks at the idea of not wearing undergarments. He's a bit obsessive. He's the kind of guy who, after polishing his shoes, wraps them in plastic bags before putting them away in his bedroom closet. He wipes the inside of the shower stall dry before leaving the bathroom. He goes bonkers if someone cuts his lawn east-west instead of north-south. You know the type?)

"I couldn't go to work in a bathing suit," Frankie freaked. "I could have put the soggy swimsuit and T-shirt back on, driven home to dress and shown up late for work. Or I could have pulled on my slacks -- boxer-less -- in front of a dozen other guys, and spent a most self-conscious day at the office."

So what did Frankie do? He wouldn't say. But I'm guessing he went boxer-less. And loved it. (Just don't look for him on the next "Geraldo!")

Come on, you guys

Gripe of the Month: People who back into spaces in parking garages and busy parking lots. I don't get it. Why do people insist on this? So they can make snappy get-aways from Jo-Ann Fabric? Why is so much effort put into making a maneuver that is totally unnecessary and delays other drivers? It happened again the other day. Someone took three tries to back into a space in an annoyingly small parking lot at a popular grocery store in North Baltimore. We couldn't see the point, but we did see the tag number. And wrote it down. And we don't know what we're going to do with it, but at least we have it for future reference.

Best deck around

Discovery of the Month: I've found the best deck in Maryland -- that is, the largest, most attractive, open-to-the-public deck with a phenomenal view. You'll find it in Green Ridge State Forest, Allegany County, just off the interstate. There's a parking lot next to the forest headquarters. Walk down the path, through some woods and there it is -- a sprawling thing built on a high slope overlooking heavily forested hills. The first look can actually be breathtaking. The deck was built by the state -- the guys who worked on the deck are memorialized on a plaque -- and the LaVale Rotary Club donated the wheelchair-accessible ramp and picnic table. The deck opened last year. Great place for a stop on your way to Deep Creek or Rocky Gap.

Here's to the cause

This month at the Polo Grill, certain American wines only cost five bucks with dinner, and each time customers order one the full amount will be donated to one of four organizations -- the Sexual Assault-Domestic Violence Center, the House of Ruth, the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and the Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Mimi said it

One last memorable Mimi-ism: "Du Burns will live to be 100, and I'll be his pall-bearing."

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