As this summer winds its way to an end and the world stares down the barrel of an uncertain future, one thing remains constant: men are wearing shorts and everyone has something to say about it.
We at Jezebel have covered men wearing shorts so thoroughly that one might think it no longer deserves our attention. However, a recent “trend” on TikTok has reignited this classic summer issue and we would be remiss to ignore it. According to my guiding light, the New York Post, shorts with a 5.5-inch inseam “make a guy instantly hotter.” A photo of writer Marisa Dellato’s boyfriend Nick Valeri demonstrates the marked difference a few inches make. Valeri’s kneecaps, previously on the verge of suffocation by the hem of his shorts, are free and clear in the 5.5 inch inseam, giving space for the quads to shine. I am not going to comment on Dellato’s “short king” boyfriend because that would be rude, but I will say that the shorts look better at a shorter length.
On TikTok, approximately one bajillion videos exist of men showing out in shorts that, blessedly, do not cover the hard work of Leg Day. Shorts look better when they’re just a little bit shorter because they make the wearer in question look taller. Shorts that actually fit and are not blousy look better because it’s nice to see some thigh meat encased in cotton every now and again, but also because your clothes look better when they actually fit your body. An athletic short has its moment. Cargo shorts are acceptable if you are doing something that requires you to have a Leatherman, a flashlight, a headlamp, a compass, and various carabiners on you at any moment, but otherwise, if you are a man and want to wear shorts, just wear some nice ones—hike up that inseam a tad and live a little.
Centuries of outdated notions about masculinity have conditioned men to buy shorts that are too big, too floppy, or overburdened by a multitude of pockets, and now, finally, in 2020, we are coming to terms with the fact that if men want to wear shorts that let their thighs feel the sweet caress of summer’s breeze, then honestly, why the fuck not? A 5.5-inch inseam is likely just short enough to give the legs a little breathing room but not so short that when the man in question sits down, the dong is in danger of escaping through the leg hole on its way to freedom. Thinking about shorts for men for longer than say, 15 minutes, is about 12 minutes too long, but it is the end of the summer and soon the large thighs and rippling gastrocnemius muscles of strangers on the street will go into hibernation. Let the legs be free. Wear whatever you want! No one’s looking (everyone’s looking) and nothing— honestly, not a single fucking thing—matters.