Back in March of this year, cultural critic and humorist Fran Lebowitz famously (or maybe more infamously) declared that men in shorts are disgusting, and that she couldn't take them seriously. Ouch! What did our bare calves and quadriceps do to you, Fran?
I know I'm jumping into the bare men's legs debate almost six months later, but this is still a hot topic and rather divisive generational issue in society. So now's as good a time as any to get involved in the conversation.
As you hopefully saw earlier this week, I shared a piece about the history of shorts in both US and British culture. For whatever reason, short knee pants were first worn by young boys, and it was widely believed that your maturity as a man was defined by your transition to wearing full-length pants. For the record, I know lots of men who wear pants that are not mature. But there's still a rather large group of people out there that seem to hold true to this age old, severely traditional belief. I strongly disagree with the naysayers for many reasons.
First off, what are men supposed to wear when it's hot? As we speak, New York City (and I'm sure many other parts of the world) is experiencing a late season heatwave that's turning every activity, inclusive of standing still, into a sweat soaked affair. I couldn't imagine enduring this raging humidity with full-length pants as my only option. Sure, I can roll up my chinos and give my ankles some relief. But that doesn't do much for my sweaty thighs. That gentle breeze down below isn't enough to travel the length of my full legs. The freedom to wear shorts in unbearable heat is one that all men deserve so that we can all hold hands in bare leg equality. Would you rather see men in shorts or soggy pants that look like soiled diapers?
Contrary to popular belief, men in shorts can absolutely be taken seriously when they're abiding by dapper gentlemen principles in their shorts selection. Yes, there are some really bad shorts out there with equally poorly dressed men to match. The baggy cargo shorts, adorned by many a college frat boy, are practically long enough to drag on the ground and double as a storage unit for every spare key, piece of gum, and old receipt known to man. The early aughts version of board shorts were so big they doubled as both beach fashion and flotation devices. These days, it's all about a more tailored cut and shorter length. Men have to stop being afraid to show some knee and thigh. For spring/summer 15, most retailers offered 7" and 9" pairs that hit at lower thigh and just above the knee, respectively. If you're especially daring and really proud of your stems, brands like Chubbies are offering pairs with inseams just over 5". If you're not careful here, you could end up revealing a lot more than just your thighs.
And lastly, in the age of the spornosexual, popular culture is chocked full of men who take pride in leading a healthy lifestyle. There's a massive crossfit movement sweeping the US, and the fitness community is spawning just as many celebrities with devoted followers as Hollywood. In the fitness community, one of the golden rules is that you never skip leg day. And for those who make this a best practice, why would you want to keep them stuffed inside denim when it's so damn hot outside? You've spent all winter squatting, lunging, and deadlifting. Now that the temperature is above 80 degrees, you no longer have to settle for posting leg progress pics or transformation Tuesday photo grids on Instagram. You can throw on a pair of shorts and share your quad development with everyone you pass on the street. If you'd worked this hard on something, you'd want to show it off too.
So in conclusion and in ultimate defense of men in shorts, this is a new era of fashion that deserves a new set of rules. Equality comes in all fabrics, patterns, prints, and garment lengths. Don't sound off in public touting your sartorial ignorance without first considering all of the sweaty legs that would be tortured in full-length pants if you had your way. All men reserve the right to bare legs.