The Final Word on Men and Shorts

Look down. Can you see your knees? Today’s a Thursday, so then you had better either be south of the 30th parallel north — Shreveport, say! — or “working at home” and totally naked.

Because if you’re in the office, and you work anywhere but the International Society for the Advancement of Shorts, you should go home and change.

The question has even been asked: can a man wear shorts at all, ever, anywhere?

At work, of course, no! Not even on a casual Friday at Casual Friday Inc. On the street, in the city? Well… here is where opinions become complicated.

On a recent spring Saturday afternoon, a clerk at a swank Madison Avenue store was actually grateful to receive a visitor in shorts. “Finally, someone in shorts!” she cried. It was nice out. And it was Saturday. And no one was wearing shorts. Yes, it was prior to Memorial Day. But the shorts were very dignified. Really, they were short trousers, which is to say, they were an actual garment, made by an actual person.

This matters, because the shorts you’re probably wearing, well… get the lighter fluid! Sorry!

Civilized society’s aversion to shorts is in part an opposition to the hideous epidemic of every dude’s current weekend uniform of the baggy cargo shorts. You guys wear these all the time and you look like garbage in a garbage sack in a sea of other identical sacks of garbage. Lazy is as lazy wears. Even if you’re really hot, we’re looking at you then looking down at that sea of brown swimmy gross sackcloth around your business area and we’re writing you off.

Sure, there are those that maintain that shorts can never ever be worn. And Barack Obama almost never wears shorts. Tom Ford says they are only for the beach or the tennis court.

But I’m going to tell you a secret. I enjoy a good expedition in shorts, no matter what the haters say! It’s high spring! Summer is breathing down the back of our knees. Now would be an ideal time for you to take a little cheap shopping expedition to find some comfortable shorts.

A few brief suggestions:

• Why not have a nice pair of garden party shorts, in seersucker or madras? You can wear them ironically at parties in Brooklyn! They should come circa knee-ish. They should be pretty and well-fitting. Also, there is really no such thing as “ironically” wearing shorts. You are in them or you aren’t. We can pretend though. Except when Thom Browne is involved…. I guess it is a bit ironic.

• “Designer” shorts can be unexpectedly tricky. Like, Rick Owens is pushing this, this year.

Yeaaaaah, no thank you.

And yet, these checked Etro shorts? Adorable!

• And of course there are cheap versions of shorts that actually fit or actually look good. Your Target mileage will vary, but aim for something that falls off and isn’t like a utility belt that had intercourse with a feed bag.

Listen, some days we all want to schlump around. But unless you have a laundry bag on your shoulder, there’s no need to actively repel people’s interest in you. Unless you need to do that of course. Some of you — yes you! — are just so stunning that we need to deface ourselves for the public good.

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