Tuesday, July 10, 2012


There you go.

I turned six years of age in the summer of 1940.  I was still in short pants.  Even at that tender age I hated short pants.  Long pants in that day represented a rite of passage, and I could hardly wait for the school year to start, for then I would get to wear long pants!  Little did I know then that the tortures awaiting me at school would far outweigh the joys of wearing long pants.  But I have told that part of the story before.  This is about men and their "shorts."

Before I launch into the rant, look at the picture.  Why? I ask.  Nevermind the answer, for I know that there is no good answer.  Look at that!  And my spouse encourages me to go around looking like that?  Incredible.  She said to me just the other day, "You have a ton of Wranglers in your closet that are worn and holey.  Why don't you cut them off and make some shorts?  It is too hot for long pants."  See, one cannot even depend on his nearest and dearest for support sometimes.  But the answer is an emphatic "Not in this lifetime."  She even tells me, argumentively, "You have nice legs."  Nice, yes; they have supported me, lo, these many years.  Something to look at?  I don't think so.  I'm a guy.
A couple of days later, three of my stepsons were standing around here in the house talking about their shorts!  Incredible.  "I hate the way these things (tugging at the bottom of the things) catch on my knees when I try to get up from a chair."  "Yeah."  "Yeah, I hate that, too." 

Comfortable attire.

Ugly attire, too.  Whatever happened to us anyway?  Don't answer that, either.

If you ever see me in swim trunks, I will be on the beach or in the pool.  You will never see me in shorts.

So some clever person will say, "Aren't you hot?"  I say, "It's 102 degrees.  Aren't you?"
Short pants on men: reversion to childhood, sez I.


Sailorcurt said...

My dad rarely wore shorts too. I guess that explains why (he was born in 1936, not too long after you).

Another of his aversions was to blue jeans.

He was raised in a very poor family with 9 brothers and sisters. They wore denim when they were kids out of necessity. Denim overalls were all they could afford (and Dad was usually wearing hand-me-downs).

He refused to wear denim for years..."that's what poor people wear" he would proclaim, "We're not poor".

He loosened up a bit toward the end of his life (probably about the time he realized that a good pair of jeans cost twice what his normal choice of dickies work pants or slacks did) and had a few pairs of wranglers that he'd don on occasion, but I'll still never forget his declarations in my youth forswearing anything that may be construed as "dressing poor".

Jim said...

Ah, the generational divide. There are photos of my grandfather, b. 1916, as a boy in shorts, and stories of how boys wore shorts and men wore trousers. By my 1970s kidhood those distinctions had utterly gone. I love to wear shorts, and wish sometimes I lived in a climate warm enough to support wearing them year round.

Chuck said...

I agree.

Okay, I do wear shorts around the house in summer, but never when we have company. Ever!

Like Sailorcurt's dad, I had an aversion to denim that lasted until I'd passed 60. It was about the time I realized that the rest of the world didn't view donning denim as "dressing poor."

Anonymous said...

Men should not appear in public with bare legs. I think men in shorts, of any length, look silly.

Hairy legs are not attractive. Bony knees are not attractive. Lumpy and/or stringy calves are not attractive.

Anyone with legs that fit the description above should not appear in public with bare legs - man or woman.

vanilla said...

Sailorcurt, thank you for that insight into you dad’s thinking. Your dad was a gentleman of the first order. He could have worn burlap and it would not have taken away from his stature, so far as I’m concerned. But I do understand the importance to him of appearing appropriate in all ways. You were blessed to have such parents as you did.

Jim, I have a stepson with whom you would get along famously. His kidhood was about ten years prior to yours, but he does literally wear shorts year-round. And he lives only 130 miles south of you (New Albany). Mark has shown up at my house in February wearing shorts!

Chuck, we’ll let you get away with that. Out on the Secondary Roads, in the comfort of your own home, okay. As a professional, denim was anathema to me as well; but now? Now, unless I am going to church or a wedding reception, odds are, I’ll be in Wranglers!

Grace, you covered the issue exceedingly well! Thank you. A glimpse of a man in public exhibiting his “hairy shanks” would set my dad off. Especially if he saw a preacher sitting on the platform at church with bare skin showing between the top of his socks and the bottom of his trousers. He’d call him on it, too. Dad always wore over-the-calf hose with the little garter belt thingie around his knee to insure that he did not fall into such heresy.

Shelly said...


vanilla said...

Shelly, good for you.

Lin said...

Okay, I don't get it. Why can't we see men's legs?

That said, my Uncle Jerry will still not wear shorts. Nor my mother with jeans--for the reasons Sailorcut said--she associates them with being poor.

I think it is okay for guys to wear shorts. Sandals are another thing.

Rebecca said...

I can't tolerate any hot weather an therefore I live in shorts from April to October.

Shorts on guys... ? I guess it's immaterial. I don't look, anyway. :D

I certainly understand your historically-based aversion, though.

Sharkbytes said...

Cute- I used to hate shorts till about 20 years ago. Then I started being really too hot in long pants.