I watched as a woman of recent acquaintance ironed my pants, and wondered if I should tell my wife.

Did I mention that I was coming out of the bathroom, buttoning my shirt?

None of this, I know, sounds very good.

Truth is, I was involved in one of the most sordid, weird, and shameful acts that a man can engage in: a photo shoot.

I used to be somewhere in the middle of the magazine. That's all well and good if you are, say, a story. But if you are a columnist, you want to be on the back page. You might think that the back page is the last place a columnist would want to be, given that it is, well, in the back. But it is coveted space.

In any event, here I am, promoted to the back. But nothing in this life is free. If you want something, you have to pay for it. My payment for being on the back page was this photo shoot.

The shoot was at one of those hip studio spaces way beyond my hip factor. Situated inside a converted car garage, its walls were painted in colors found only in an artist's palette, such as coral and ocher. The six people in the studio, besides me, were slender and good-looking. The art director had a shaved head, a goatee, and wore a red pullover sweater, black slacks, and shiny black shoes. On the opposite side of the cool spectrum, the photographer wore a T-shirt, loose-fitting greenish slacks, and flip-flops. A woman on the art staff of this magazine wore heels the height of a small building and a dress that curved up her leg.

I shambled in, a pudgy guy with a graying beard, wearing faded black jeans, beat-up sneakers, and a patterned short-sleeved shirt that even my 13-year-old son couldn't believe I had donned. "You're not wearing that?" he said as I prepared to leave for the shoot. "Um, yeah," I said. "Why?" "Because, no offense, Dad," he replied, "but it's ugly."