PSST--Want to support your favorite Virginia politician and raise money for charity? What you do is hold a "roast," which is an aging Virginia rite where they serve aging male politicians. The "side dishes" at these affairs are dressed in G-strings and pasties. The good ole boys love it.

The latest of these low-level stag-gag affairs to make the papers was a chummy, 600-man roast of Democratic Rep. Norman Sisisky last Monday night in the Virginia Beach Dome. Many area politicians and government officials were among those bellying up to the bar, according to several men who attended "but who asked that their names not be used." According to the "emcee," proceeds from the $25-a-plate banquet were to go to the American Cancer Society.

This wasn't the only such dandy affair of the season. A month ago, there was a roast for an even more important politician in the Old Dominion: House of Delegates Speaker A. L. Philpott. That one, held in Richmond, featured a striptease act. And like the do in Virginia Beach, this roast was organized by a local chapter (tent) of the Circus Saints & Sinners, a philanthropic and fraternal organization.

"I believe in motherhood and things like that," explained the host of last week's gathering, adding that if men want to "have a few drinks and tell a few jokes that may be off-color," they should be able to do so.

Sure, and if politicians and other local leading lights in Virginia want to make asses of themselves in the name of charity, that's their affair. But when will these politicians grow up enough to realize that semipublic fund-raising events that exclude all women who aren't there to perform are as offensive as they are discriminatory?

And we don't buy the "good-cause" fund-raising argument offered as an excuse for these political peep shows. If that washes, you might as well organize "Caucasians for Charity" or "Dirty Old Men Against Impetigo." A good cause still doesn't hide bad taste.