Look, I'm as secure in my manhood as the next guy, but I'm telling you right now, mantyhose aren't happening.
Yeah, mantyhose. Pantyhose for men. In designer fashions.
Pick up his-and-hers styles to make you and yours the cutest couple gliding the shapeliest legs through fancy nightspots in matching bold stars, gray swirls or orange triangles.
I repeat, not happening.
The crack female features staff here at the Tribune Chronicle alerted me to this breaking fashion news. Mantyhose are legging their way (sorry) to the United States, which apparently is three years behind the European trend.
Francesco Cavallini, vice president of hosiery company Emilio Cavallini, told Women's Wear Daily, ''If it's fine for Italian guys, it's fine for the world.''
I'm not Italian. And I hope to never see a single one of the Italian guys I know parading around in designer mantyhose. Then again, it just might make marked improvements on one or two of my Italian buddies.
In the mantyhose ads, men and women cast about cafes and lounges, leg sheens of various colors protruding from beneath all shorts, skirts and slid-up pants. The couples appear to be engrossed in graceful conversation, as if the women are not thinking, ''Ralph, aren't those mine?''
What can they be talking about in those photos? Shakespeare in tights? You just can't carry on a decent conversation about carburetors or fishing rods while wearing chartreuse mantyhose.
They look as natural as those guys in department store catalogs standing around relaxing in a manly lodge with their buddies, sipping coffee and sharing chuckles over sports, politics or the stock market. And all they're wearing is their Fruit of the Looms or Hanes.
What guy has EVER done that? Show of hands. I thought not.
I always thought the catalog underwear guys smiled because they knew women in undies cavorted only a few pages away. Turns out it wasn't the women. The guys were just musing, ''Wait until we get our legs into those pantyhose. Won't we look fine!''
Sigh. OK, he who protests too loudly, and all that. I admit it. I once - once! - wore pantyhose. My college dorm hosted a Ms. Clark Hall contest for some benefit or other. I was second runner-up. It was 30 years ago but the fear that a photo might yet surface is what has kept me from running for president. That and the complete lack of qualifications.
But that was a spoof. So was New York Jets Super Bowl quarterback Joe Namath proclaiming to female TV viewers 40 years ago, ''If Beautymist can make MY legs look good, imagine what they'll do for yours.''
These trendy fashionable guys aren't kidding. Not since the days of Robin Hood have men worn tights so seriously. In those years of yore, as historian Mel Brooks tells us, they also sang such refrains as, ''We may look like pansies, but don't get us wrong or else we'll put out your lights. ... We're men, manly men. We're men in tights.''
And that is the point of the manliness, stylishness and togetherness of mantyhose.
Note to my wife: Sorry, Sweetie, but your hosiery is safe from me. I'm just not that much of a man.
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