Short shorts, an item that all genders used to don side-by-side, judgement free, has now become an item allocated to females and deemed not "manly" or appropriate for a male to wear. It's both amazing and interesting how the idea of masculinity can change in the span of 10 to 15 years-- everyone in the 70s, 80s, and 90s were sporting short shorts, but now it's frowned upon or seen as weird for a guy. Even more shocking are the adult males who used to try to pick up chicks while sporting the thigh-baring pants now being opposed to it and seeing it as a "manly" taboo. From the Victorian decadent heel-wearing men to the modern day gym buff, masculinity can be such a fragile subject.
In elementary school, I wore short shorts up to around the 3rd or 4th grade. At this time, most of the other boys had already transitioned from the 90s short shorts to the big boy early 2000's below-the-knee shorts. I, however, had yet to transition. I remember a group of fifth graders making fun of me in my red high waisted short shorts as I stood in line for my $2.75 cafeteria lunch, probably consisting of chicken nuggets or stuffed crust pizza. But I never let that bother me, and I still donned my beloved red short shorts for as long as I could… until doomsday arrived during the summer of 5th or 6th grade.
My mom came home one day with a plastic bag, and a few moments later she took out "big boy" cargo shorts. I was horrified. I mean, who wouldn't be horrified at the sight of cargo shorts? I remember my mom trying so hard to make me try them on while I ran and cried from the horrific sight. I remember my mom saying, “but all the boys are wearing them,” and “don't you want to be like the others?” I just didn't care about being like the other boys, to be honest, and apparently I told my mom all the extra fabric would stifle my running. ‘Cause I was totally an Olympian in the making. (Not.) I tried my best to not lose this fight, but being a measly 3 ft-something little human, I of course lost. My mom was successful in getting the shorts on me and I remember standing there crying in the mirror with my swollen pink teary eyes and snotty nose. It didn't feel right, and it didn't feel like me. I eventually got over it and continued playing (gaymer alert) my Pokemon and Final Fantasy.
As the hell hole we call middle school passed and time progressed into high school, my shorts got slightly shorter - just above the knee. People started saying how skinny my legs were which then made me self conscious and I dared not go any shorter for fear of my stature being judged.
Until college, that is.
I maintained my "Bermuda" length shorts for the first couple of years of college, but then decided to take a pair of old American Eagle jeans and scallop the hem to mid-thigh length. Once I did, the reaction was different from my initial attempt to go short, and instead of being shamed I received compliments on how nice my legs were! This came to a shock to me, as I always thought my legs were too skinny. Those self deprecating thoughts got thrown out of the window, and I never went back to non short shorts ever again, as evidenced by my Instagram.
People still give me perplexed stares, but it's ok, all I can do is educate them and destroy their barriers by gracing them with my presence. Guys shouldn't be so terrified of "shorter" shorts. I see super buff guys sport them so well with their tight perky asses to cool skinny hipster boys. Show off and liberate those gams and let them be free! They're also so much more practical in the summer months, and create less eyesore tan-lines. What's there to lose? One's "masculinity?" Please, if a guy or anyone can have the confidence to wear what they please, that's more powerful than biceps that can lift 500 lbs.