Lose the Pointy Shoes, Guys

The assault on manhood continues. Men fend off environmental hormone disrupters found in everything from bleach to soy products to shampoo. Fat produces estrogen so chubby men everywhere fight for their manhood through a sea of female hormones.

And then there are the cultural messages through the media -- education and research teaching that men are intrinsically flawed and stupid. Guys are portrayed as Daddy Knows Least in too many shows to list. Boys are medicated into compliant automatons so teachers have an easier time of it. Research questioning the necessity of men makes the covert overt: men are no longer needed.

All in all, it's a tough time to be a guy. And yet ...

Sympathy would be easier to find if men didn't participate in their own demise. It's sad, really, this new form of sartorial self-flagellation.

It all began with Santa and the elves. You see, Santa used to wear shiny black work boots. Form met function. He paired the ensemble with a snappy red pajamas number and black belt. The rosy cheeks were cherubic and balanced with a  frightening amount of facial hair. The elves used to be tough, too. They wore earth tones and manly boots. Sure, they're diminutive, but they're hard workers. Burly little union guys, proud of their workshops and their products, they were manly men.

That all changed with pointy-toed shoes. I don't know if it was Mrs. Claus or maybe technology and bad ideas finally reached the North Pole, but whatever it was, it was not good. Santa and his tiny minions decided to go for elf slippers. Elf slippers were okay in fairy tales and Nordic history, but Santa?

Bad trends don't stay in Europe or California or the North Pole. These days, when ugly happens in Milan, it's eventually going to happen in Middle America. But the first American stop will be New York. And while in New York a couple weeks ago, I saw Santa style everywhere.