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Truman Says

A&F Fantasies, Shattered

Mitchelson swallows his incredulity and covers it with his best smile. He is hired as a greeter and cashier for PS6.50 an hour (about $13).

"My eyes accustom to the gloom. I confront tacky paintings of teenage boys stripped to the waist in frames that aspire to the look of a grand country house.

The theme of male near-nudity is pursued throughout. It has caused trouble. One edition of the company's catalogue had to be recalled after a storm over the explicitly naked photographs of young models."

After a few days of throbbing music and rippling abs, Mitchelson thinks he's figured out the A&F game, and it's grim enough to send him skipping back to the gutter press, notebook in hand.

"They trade on the inexhaustable supply of beautiful dimwits for whom the excitement of being hired as 'model' matters more than the pay scale. I got the impression that, ideally, they'd like us to pay them, rather than the other way round.

The men who stood semi-clothed at the entrance earned an extra PS1 an hour. But they had the required A&F six-pack. The new way of selling clothes seems to be not wearing them."

Photo: Getty Images

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