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RUNWAY MODELS' WARMTH IS ENOUGH TO KEEP YOUR CHECKBOOK FROZEN SHUT

I don't get out a lot, especially to women's events. So I was really looking forward to a style show held recently in Chicago. I had a great seat, and get this . . . I even thought if there was something I couldn't live without, I'd see what they had in the way of financing.

Well, the music started, the curtain opened, and down the runway came a rush of heels, bones, white legs and hollow faces. At first I thought they were X-rays.After the original shock of seeing garments that clung to these cadavers like peeling paint, it occurred to me that models haven't changed in the past 30 years. You'd think that if someone is trying to sell you something, there would be a warm rapport, an eye contact - a bonding between them and your checkbook. Forget it.

Models have a way of looking at you as though cellulite were contagious and they are at high risk just breathing.

They pout. They look hostile. They challenge you. They look over the top of your head with indifference. But mostly they are bored. In their hearts they know there isn't one thigh in that entire room that will fit into one of the skirts they are wearing.

One model came out with an exaggerated swing to her hips. If that was her normal walk, then someone should stage a telethon on her behalf.

Another came down the runway with small baby steps. She had the look of a tortured woman who had just sneezed after surgery.

A small brunette suffered from a tic of sorts. Her head was completely pivotal and she could twirl it all the way around on her shoulders. It rotated constantly, her vacant eyes seeing nothing.

The male models acted the same way. As they took a beach stance in their brief bikini suits, looking cool and detached, I felt like Peg Bundy on "Married . . . With Children."

Maybe I'm used to warm, fuzzy television pitchpersons such as June Allyson, who tells me to stay dry and get in the swing of things, and Angela Lansbury, who answers all my questions on aspirin. They want to be my friends, not adversaries.

Even when Tommy Lasorda implores me to lose weight, I want to say, "I'm overweight, Tommy, not hard of hearing," but deep down inside he is warm and personable.

When the show was over, there didn't seem to be a rush to go out and buy skirts priced just under a thousand dollars that didn't cover as much as the table napkins. As one woman observed, "New clothes should make you happy. These models are wearing new clothes and they are not happy people."

She's right.