A manifesto for our upper legs
Why short shorts can liberate you from fear and discomfort.
Sep. 24, 2010
I've got a lot of leg, a lot of twiggy leg. My slender stature is more than 6 feet tall, not incredibly tall, but I'm not hiding from anyone either. I also don't weigh anything, a buck sixty tops. I've been described as a gazelle, a tarantula and a grasshopper giving birth, which is scientifically inaccurate, but that's not the salient feature. The point is I've got a lot of leg. And I don't mind showing it.
I like showing it when I wear shorts, particularly of the 5-inch inseam variety. For those of you who aren't familiar with seamstress terms, that means the shorts are five inches long from crotch to bottom, which on a set of gams like mine essentially means a lot of knee cap and a lot of lower thigh. But I'm not solely interested in the lower thigh.
You see, I think a lot of people have a phobia, a phobia that their upper leg is maybe the snow-capped peak to their otherwise bronzed and breezy bottom-half, the barren netherland only exposed privately or accidentally. Men stick feverishly to the cargo short paradigm, which is not to say the excessively-embellished and camouflaged are particularly haute within our college-age broasis. The paradigm, rather, is the child of that cargo: that is, the institutional demand that male shorts must in no way resemble female shorts, that one “must (only) protect this house” in below-the-knee Under Armour at the cost of exposed ass and stained undies.
The paradigm insists upon short shorts relating to some kind of weird masculinity complex in which the longer the short, the manlier the man. But I'd like to insist upon the opposite, that the more willingly-exposed, the manlier the man. Because masculinity shouldn't be your passive devotion to some blindly officiated realm of "masculine culture" but rather your pride of your own body -- your own gams, in this case. Up until now, masculinity has been the recently blasted pectoral and the unsettling abdominal. But why foreclose the otherwise unexposed from masculine value, whatever that might be?
So this is my manifesto for the short short, but mainly for the upper leg. I know many of you aren't afraid of the upper leg, and by "you," I mean the bizarrely shaven mavens of yesteryear with your rolled Soffe shorts. We're all impressed and have been since sixth grade.
But for the rest of you, insistent upon your regular sporting of shin-length garments, liberate yourself from the paradigm and invest in some Oxford shorts. Get even more ballsy and buy them in a pastel color. Seven-inch inseam shorts from J.Crew are a nice middle ground between 5-inch inseam shorts and what you've been wearing up until now and are an acceptable step in the right direction. You could even get crafty and take a pair of your shorts and chop off a solid five inches of their length, as cut-offs are fairly popular right now.
In the end, the method doesn't really matter. It's more about the message that clothes aren't meant to hide your gendered differences, nor are they meant to assist you in buying into ambiguous and weakly enforced societal "expectations." Short shorts are my vice, because I don't have the pecs you have. I don't care to have the pecs you have. My shorts go with everything, and make me feel free, and that's all they ever have to do.