actually, i AM just happy to see you


One thing I can be thankful for is that we live in the Era of Grown Men Wearing Shorts. Loving shorts – like hating Dook or being an unabashed liberal – was something I was told I’d “grow out of”, but like those other examples, my dedication has only increased. Yes, perhaps it’s another example of how I’m white, but I don’t care: simply put, there are very few places in the world cold enough for me to put on a fucking pair of pants.

Not wishing to be disrespectful, I always wear long pants to every event north of a business meeting, and I never wear sandals because they gross me out, but I just don’t understand why any guy in their right mind would wear real pants if they didn’t have to. As luck would have it, we live in an era when nobody gives a shit, as opposed to the 1940s, when you would have been captured by some G-men and force-fed red meat and asbestos.

So I was reading Men’s Vogue the other day – a magazine that employs some of my friends – and they had an article on men’s shorts. Cool, I thought, and flipped to the pictures, and was instantly paralyzed by paroxysms of Stupid Feeling. These guys were all tucking in their shirts, and the shorts were ending mid-thigh. Men’s Vogue, in what way is this either vogue or for men?

Then a story comes out in the New York Times yesterday about the same thing – the recent uptick in fashionable men’s shorts, complete with a slideshow… of some of THE WORST GODDAMN SHORTS I’VE EVER SEEN ON GUYS IN MY FRICKIN’ LIFE. And that’s saying something, since I grew up in Eastern Iowa and the Outer Banks.

MensShorts1.JPG     MensShorts2.JPG

Gentlemen, the Word came down from on high, and the Word was “Thou shalt wear short pants past the knee.” Hell, I’ve even experimented with culottes a time or two, shorts that almost came down to the ankle, but I’ve come to understand the basic rule: there’s a sweet spot just below your patella that marks the territory between “junky hipster who’s trying too hard” and “total asshole gonad.”

I have never touted myself as your go-to guy for high-end men’s couture, but apart from my hair, I’m no fashion disaster either. Seems to me this is in the right area for men’s shorts:


Super short shorts on guys are so reprehensible that I laugh every time I see Thomas Lennon on “Reno 911”. Likewise, I cry every time I see evidence of my own O.P. shorts from the mid-80s. We’ve been given this era of Guys Wearing Shorts, so let’s treat it with respect. I know it’s cool for designers to push the envelope, and god knows it’s cute to see the New York Times try to fathom what actual Americans are wearing, but the world revolves around one kernel of truth: deep down, nobody wants to see your balls.

11 thoughts on “actually, i AM just happy to see you

  1. Alan

    I too and a dedicated walking shorts slob, even taking a change of cloths to work so I can get out of the goddamn slacks at 4:31 pm on the dot. That being said, shorts need to be one thing and one thing only – a bifurcated kilt. And kilts go to the knee. Man on left above in the grey dry-land trunks looks like a goof ball, someone who forgot to change after getting out of the kidney-shaped pool circa 1966. Makes me think he’ll spend the day scratching himself from the lack of ventilation. A sad day for shorts if those are considered shorts. What next? A revival of early 1980s cheap hotel soccer shorts? [Cheap hotel, you ask? No ballroom.]

  2. monheric

    “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” – Oscar Wilde

  3. Sean

    Grown men are not supposed to wear shorts unless they are exercising, playing a sport, or spending the day outside, preferably at a beach.
    Grown men who wear shorts look like they don’t realize they aren’t boys any more. Now, I wear shorts all the time, because I take my son to the park where he runs around trying to kill himself, and it’s 92 degrees outside. But, in the afternoon, when the weather drops to the mid-80s, I almost always change into long pants.
    There are lots of options out there for breezy long pants that aren’t too hot and are very casual. One doesn’t have to wear jeans or corduroy in the middle of the summer. But shorts on grown men look ridiculous.

  4. CM

    Remember Bill Clinton’s jogging shorts? As Mike Myers put it during “Wayne’s World” on SNL: “Aren’t they are a little SHORT?”

  5. Neva

    Even the guys in the pictures look embarrassed. I thought they were wearing their boxers at first and just forgot their pants. The one with the cuffs is really stupid looking

  6. Ehren

    I’m with Sean on this one. I wear shorts when I’m spending a day at the beach or playing some sort of sport, and for just bumming around the house or neighborhood, but I have to say that as comfortable as they are (and they certainly are way better than pants in the summer), I feel ridiculous in them, like I should be at a Phish concert.
    It should be noted that I don’t think other dudes look ridiculous in them, but in the same way that you never notice some other person’s zit, but can’t stop thinking about your own, I just feel awkward with shorts in most contexts.

  7. emma

    The guys in the runway show look stupid, but it is hard for me to be critical of men wearing shorts when the temperature outside is over 95 degrees as it usually is here in July and August.

  8. Kevin

    The length of men’s shorts can and should vary based on body type, leg appearance and social situation. The models pictured can get away with what they’re wearing, although we may not find it appropriate around us.

  9. Annie

    Okay, Neva nailed it: the shorts models DO look embarrassed, as they should.
    What I love is the 1978-ish-era photo of Carolina-blue-shorted Ian. Was that actually in Africa? Methinks yes…

  10. herman

    sorry Ian, but you’re just plain wrong. Shorts look bad, period. They look bad on women, they look bad on men.
    No one wants to see your balls, and no one wants to see your legs either.
    And yes, shorts are easy, just like eating with a spoon.
    It’s just a matter of growing up.

  11. Alyson

    I don’t like shorts for anyone. I think it’s related to some vestigial Southern gentility thing somewhere in me, but I have never been able to stomach them on adults, except in the cases mentioned by Sean.
    And, Lord have mercy, did you SEE the guy who got kicked off of Project Runway two weeks ago and HIS ridiculous shorts?? Harumph. Thank heavens he didn’t win with his exceptionally poor personal fashion sense with his ball-hugging shorts.

  12. CM

    “No one wants to see your balls, and no one wants to see your legs either.”
    Oh Herman, speak for yourself.
    Tee hee hee hee hee hee.
    I wonder why that photo of Ian looks so professional! I can’t imagine what circumstance would lead a highly trained photographer to randomly photograph someone waxing their car, but that’s what it looks like; it could totally be used in an ad. For something or other.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.