Zack: This is what health clubs look like in the Ukraine. This is why we won the Cold War.

Dr. Thorpe: Hey, I've got a great idea for an underwear shoot- let's take all the guys to Eastern Europe's most depressingly Spartan gym and let them play around on the rings and the... big lump of wood and cement.

Zack: With no Bowflex they have to sit around and invent new ways to get a workout. After this photo they ran outside and ripped bark off of trees and then threw cattle into a pond.

Dr. Thorpe: That's the kind of exercises you're expected to do in a Ukrainian gym. That's why those guys are so tough. Just strip down to your BVDs in the freezing cold and take a few face-plants off the lump of cement.

Zack: "Great workout, Ivan! How many reps did you do on the thistle bush?"

Zack: "Only fifteen, but I got up to 27 pumpkins in the basket. That's a personal best."

Zack: "I think I'm going to hold these rocks out to my side for a while and then maybe bite down as hard as I can on that cat's tail."

Dr. Thorpe: "Great idea! Then let's get back inside before the temperature drops below freezing and take a few runs at the bare brick wall to toughen up our faces."

Zack: Actually, yeah, being outside probably isn't depressing enough for the Eastern Bloc workout. You have to like strip rocks from a coal mine or bang your legs with rusty pipes in a basement. Maybe, if you're lucky, your gym will have a cage full of dogs and you can strangle them to work on your forearm strength.

Dr. Thorpe: The thing we're seeing in that photo is probably considered a lavish and decadent spa for the super-rich. The gyms for the common people are much more austere.

Zack: Peasants just boil a crude cast-iron pot of water and then upend it on their head. Scald yourself strong.

Dr. Thorpe: You can get a great abdominal workout simply by severely electrocuting your torso with the exposed wires hanging from the ceiling.

Zack: I had a friend in high school who claimed that smoking cigarettes made him strong. If that were true I think I should be able to punch through cinderblocks by this point. Instead I get winded turning my head too quickly.

Dr. Thorpe: These Eastern European guys have to make up for the fact that Europeans smoke like chimneys by enduring these horrible exercise routines. They have to keep fit if they want to keep up with Eastern Europe's greatest exports: laconic strongmen and depressing pornography.

Zack: Maybe the constant smoking is why every Eastern European person sounds like they've had a stroke.

Dr. Thorpe: Actually, maybe this isnt' a fashion advertisement at all. Maybe this is just really depressing pornography.

Zack: When Schwarzenegger talks it's like letters are just sort of falling out of the corners of his mouth.

Dr. Thorpe: Those letters all indicate captions like "L: Homosexuals, please observe the buttocks of this man while you stimulate yourself to climax. If your seed is watery and yellowish, please report to the local Health Baron so that a mule may kick you in the liver."

Zack: "H: Examine the contrast between flexing cigarette-enhanced muscles and the shabby interior of this gymnasium. If this juxtaposition does not stimulate you sufficiently then try inserting a skeletonized fetus into your rectum."

Dr. Thorpe: "K: This man's waistline indicates that he is starving. Please fantasize about the modest sum of money you might earn by drying his brittle sinews after his imminent death and selling them as kindling."

Zack: "G: The T-zone is the most vulnerable to cobra strikes when you attempt to do a head stand. When the cobras strike, and they will, the engorged capillaries of your face will carry the blood to your heart in a matter of seconds. Choke yourself with a rubber ligature while you consider this."

Dr. Thorpe: "H: This man is about to leap from this wooden promontory and crush his face upon the hard floor below. Please imagine the erotic geometry of his shattered nose. If you have a wife, now would be a good time to beat her."

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About This Column

Fashion SWAT... the fashion industry is obsessed with impracticality. We know that what designers create was never meant to be worn by the grimy masses, but that doesn't somehow diminish how ridiculous many of these costumes are. Make no mistake, they are costumes, and like a Halloween prize pageant we will turn our discerning gaze on the grievous fashion misfires of Paris, Milan, and New York. We're not pulling any punches, and we're definitely not interested in making any friends. We're Joan Rivers without Melissa Rivers to temper our screeching. We're the Fashion Police in jack boots. We are Fashion SWAT.

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