I was going to write about the Democratic National Convention, which gets under way this week in Denver, and the increased risk of global warming due to all the hot gas rising out of the Mile High City (hardee-har). But then I ran into something much more socially significant and disturbing, something that begs for commentary. It's an issue that could shake our national psyche and cause great anxiety.

Flood pants are in style.

For men, I mean.

Men are rolling up their pants or buying their pants shorter to show some ankle — oh, la la! — although you probably have never actually met any of these men.

A New York real estate agent, after admitting that he gets strange looks, told the Wall Street Journal, "I like it. It feels lighter, a lot more fashionable and fun."

Fun? Are they sure a man said this?

One article even described the new fashion as — are you sitting down (real) men? — pedal pushers for men.

Or, if you prefer, you can call them clam diggers or capris. That's what the article said.

Can culottes be far behind?

Flood pants are now considered a "fashion statement." They were a fashion statement in my day, too, and that statement was, Look at me, I'm a geek. Shove my head in a toilet.

Among the things I feared as a kid were acne, haircuts, math, my fourth-grade teacher Mrs. Connelly and pants that are too short, not necessarily in that order.

There were at least two things my generation wanted covered at all times: Our ears and our ankles. Hair and jeans had to be long. (A few years ago, I reunited with my old high school buddy Jeff Craig, whom I hadn't seen for 30 years, and the first thing he said was, "I didn't know you had ears." Funny guy.) Flood pants were social suicide. Jeans had to be bunched around the ankles and dragging the ground. No one ever saw an ankle or the top of a shoe. Given a choice between naked and pants that are too short, we would've taken naked.

On the list of things I hope never make a comeback — Dennis Rodman, Atkins diet, Hillary Clinton, Carrot Top, Arsenio Hall, disco, Sans-A-Belt slacks, Cher, Connie Chung — flood pants are at the top.

But it's happening. According to a lengthy article in the Wall Street Journal earlier this summer, raised hemlines are the style for men. One male fashion expert called the trend part "hipster" and part "authentic preppy American."

But not part "nerd"?

I didn't know this, but flood pants were in style for men during the '50s and again in the 1960s. Now they're coming back again, like Brett Favre.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Brooks Brothers has raised pants hems a half-inch in its

top-of-the-line suits, and J. Crew features models in "rolled-up, ankle-baring chinos." Paul Stuart (I don't know who that is) is making "suit trousers that touch the top of the shoe."

"Guys are the peacocks again," one fashion consultant told the Wall Street Journal.

Pardon me while I barf.

We men have had to endure many "fashions" over the years. We swallowed real hard through all the fads — flipped-up collars, wide collars, no collars, bell bottoms, white belts, a buttoned top button, leisure suits, Nehru jackets, tight jeans, baggy jeans, short shorts, long shorts, combed hair, strategically disheveled hair, skinny ties, fat ties and tying sweaters around our necks. Some of us even succumbed to some of the above fashions, although we felt fruitier than Richard Simmons and won't admit it now without photo evidence.

But flood pants? NEVER!!!

Give me a white belt and white shoes. Give me collars big enough to fly a 727. Give me jeans so tight you have to peel them off. Give me white gym socks with a dark suit. But flood pants? I think not. I draw the line right here —————————.


Doug Robinson's column runs on Tuesdays. Please e-mail [email protected].