It was my wife who first saw him. We were striding through the mall when she braked in front of the silver-toned image of a hunk that filled a whole window at Abercrombie & Fitch.
"What about it?" I asked. "They always have the sexiest models. It's like Victoria's Secret: People get the catalog just to ogle the pictures."
"I knew that," she said. "But normally they're wearing some piece of clothing. That guy's naked."
I looked closer, and sure enough she was right. From his tousled sandy locks to the ant trail that cleaved his abs and plunged somewhere below the store window, he wore nothing he hadn't grown himself. "It's finally happened," I said. "Abercrombie's selling naked."
This poses a problem. I've had my old naked as long as I can remember, and I've been pretty happy with it. It was something comfortable to wear in the shower or even for an afternoon nap. I rarely wear it out of the house--for one thing my car has vinyl seats.
But to judge by the poster, my naked is passé. So now I have to shop Abercombie for a new one. I walk right up to the clerk and ask her for a naked: "Usually I wear a medium." She brings me a hanger and lingers outside the dressing room. I prance out to the mirror to see how it looks.
"I like it," she says. "It's great on you!"
I frown. "I don't know. Somehow it doesn't look the same as the picture. Like what's with these wrinkles here? Do you do alterations?"
"Our surgeon's here Tuesdays and Thursdays if you want to bring it back with your receipt. I think it'll look better after you wear it to the gym a few times," she says.
"And this color. Do I look pale?"
She shakes her head. "No, not at all. Maybe your butt, but I think that's the light in here."
"I don't know," I say. "How much is it?"
"Seventy-nine ninety-five, but if you apply for a charge card you get 10 percent off all your purchases today!"
"That's still steep," I reply, "and I already have a perfectly good naked. It's just not, well, as 'cool' as this one." I change back into my clothes and hand her the hanger on my way out. It's OK. It's only a matter of time before Old Navy comes out with a knockoff, and from a distance you really can't tell the difference.