The Long and Short of It

Why are men’s shorts long? Who decided this was a good idea? It’s over 90º out and all the shorts I have are only a foot shorter than my regular pants and have twice as many pockets. Fifty years ago I had shorts that went below my knee without all the extra pockets, but only because my mother expected me to grow into them.

When women have pants that are just short of their ankles they don’t call them shorts they get a new name – capris. A women’s wardrobe includes pants, capris, shorts and the offshoots – culottes and skorts. Age determines the length of women’s shorts, starting with very short for the very young and adding length with age. Men’s pants also come in three styles – jeans, work or funeral – and, like the ladies, the length of men’s shorts is also based on age, but in the inverse. Male toddlers shorts are so long they interfere with their unsure walk and aging baby boomer shorts barely contain their happy bits (this last item is only true if the boomer has no lady friend to keep him fashion forward otherwise men wear whatever they have until it is in tatters).

And how did this come to be? A pox on the house of Michael Jordan. Just because a guy was so superstitious that he had to wear his winning UNC team shorts under his Chicago Bulls shorts the rest of us have to suffer. His slightly longer shorts hiding his college history were the start of the long slide to shorts down below our knees.

Now if I can just figure out who thought I need more pockets in the summer than I do the rest of the year…


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