June 27, 2010

Camille Paglia — opining on the failing libido of the American female — has something to say about "new age" and "men in shorts."

Men in shorts is, as you probably know, an Althouse theme, and New Age is the obsession of our beloved commenter Crack Emcee. Here's the Paglia:
The real culprit, originating in the 19th century, is bourgeois propriety. As respectability became the central middle-class value, censorship and repression became the norm. Victorian prudery ended the humorous sexual candor of both men and women during the agrarian era, a ribaldry chronicled from Shakespeare’s plays to the 18th-century novel. The priggish 1950s, which erased the liberated flappers of the Jazz Age from cultural memory, were simply a return to the norm.

Only the diffuse New Age movement, inspired by nature-keyed Asian practices, has preserved the radical vision of the modern sexual revolution....

Nor are husbands offering much stimulation in the male display department: visually, American men remain perpetual boys, as shown by the bulky T-shirts, loose shorts and sneakers they wear from preschool through midlife. The sexes, which used to occupy intriguingly separate worlds, are suffering from over-familiarity, a curse of the mundane. 
Paglia is dithering. Good Lord! Isn't she embarrassed to enthuse about the Rolling Stones one more time? And much as I enjoy her company in my crusade against adult men dressing like children, her inane bow to "the diffuse New Age movement, inspired by nature-keyed Asian practices" makes it all feel hit and miss.

***

On adult men looking like enlarged boys, my favorite description is still Tom Wolfe's:
[H]e had on a short-sleeved shirt that showed too much of his skinny, hairy arms, and denim shorts that showed too much of this gnarly, hairy legs. He looked for all the world like a seven-year-old who at the touch of a wand had become old, tall, bald on top, and hairy everywhere else, an ossified seven-year-old, a pair of eyeglasses with lenses thick as ice pushed up to the summit of his forehead -- unaccountably addressing thirty college students....

89 comments:

John Lynch said...

Heh. I read that article and was extremely confused.

The sexual revolution happened. It's over. We're picking up the pieces.

traditionalguy said...

Camille says that lust is too fiery to rely on drugs. That is sad. Now we will have to rely on day long seduction and an intimacy that shares our secrets. But we cannot share secrets if we are currently lying to cover up banging the baby sitter or someone at work. Voila, sexual morality is the key to good lust with your spouse.

Jeff V said...

Where I live, it's 102 degrees today. If I wore long pants, my legs would sweat all day, and the sweat would run down my legs. I don't like the way that feels, so by wearing shorts, I'm able to avoid that unpleasant sensation. I don't think that makes me infantile, but I'll leave that for other, wiser folks to decide.

Seven Machos said...

I read the essay before this post and I, too, thought it sounded like Paglia was phoning it in.

It did cause me to watch a Rolling Stones video on youtube. Something about a rooster. I was not aroused, despite Paglia's promise that I would be.

John Lynch said...

When Althouse was here in Durango I didn't wear shorts out of fear that she'd see me. As it was, I missed her by two blocks.

Peter Sattler said...

Ann,

Thank you for noticing that Paglia has been shuffling and rearranging the lines of her same tired song for (I'd say) a decade or two.

Apollonian, Dionysian, chthonic energies, elemental powers, Madonna, Madonna, Madonna. Ugh.

All that offhand pop knowledge -- that watered-down Nietzscheanism -- that trashing of uptight, button-down 1950s conformism and lefty gender-studies programs. (It makes one want to go back and re-re-read Foucault, just to get the taste out of your brain.) Doesn't she have anything new? Did she ever?

What may have at one time been bracing is now all just blather. Hardly even an essay.

ironrailsironweights said...

visually, American men remain perpetual boys, as shown by the bulky T-shirts, loose shorts and sneakers they wear from preschool through midlife

You know what's FAR worse? The way almost all adult women, as many as 75% of women in the 18 to 50 age range, choose to look like prepubescent girls.

Peter

former law student said...

Only the diffuse New Age movement, inspired by nature-keyed Asian practices, has preserved the radical vision of the modern sexual revolution....


What is she talking about? Are women studying tantric sex somewhere? Should I bone up (ha) on my chakras?

Or is that what the mysterious Zumba is all about?

And Bavarian women are all boobs and no butts.

John Lynch said...

Iron-
Christina Hendricks gives me hope.

Seven Machos said...

Paglia is at her best when she is responding. Her advice column on Salon was (is?) great.

I think Althouse has said this, but she really ought to be blogging. And, frankly, she ought to have done more than she has done academically and writing. Perhaps laziness is the cause. Or perhaps she's not as great as she once seemed.

John Lynch said...

Yeah, her responses to emails are the best things she writes.

For someone who rails against the postmodern academy, Paglia sure produces a lot of very far out essays.

traditionalguy said...

To me Camille functions like a canary in the coal mine. She is very sensitive to nonsense in political discourse, unless the politician is good at lust for life, for which she will give them a pass since to her that is "being real". She does worship good leadership that connects with people. Not that every leader who connects is good if his agenda is evil.( See, Schickelgruber, Adolph).

former law student said...

The way almost all adult women, as many as 75% of women in the 18 to 50 age range, choose to look like prepubescent girls.


Adult women have, en masse, adopted Mary Janes and ankle socks?

I need to get out more. I still remember the cleavarrific times of five years ago.

Ann Althouse said...

"Where I live, it's 102 degrees today...."

Seriously, when it's 102, do you stay out in the heat or are you inside in air conditioning?

Cousin Bob said...

Jesus, lady, you can take your fucking sartorial advice and shove it.

104 is a cool day here. As Jeff V says, you'll sweat like a pig if you wear long pants outside of air conditioning range.

I work in an air-conditioned place. We have a strict dress code that doesn't include shorts. But if I'm walking around outside, you can damn well think I'm a big baby, but from what I've seen, I'd think you're an overdressed, old pasty-faced weirdo.

And until they slice the southwest off and give it back to Mexico (¡viva Atzlán!) I'm not going to pay any heed to opinions of people in other parts of the country about what we wear.

If you think I should sport a jacket and bow tie, and maybe smoke a pipe like Tony Randall in 1957, so's I look like Daddy, well, that's just another sample of your own Daddy problem.

Bow Tie Daddy (doncha blow yer cool) didn't live in any desert, and neither have you, so why don't you just, like, bite me? (Yer own words, Perfessor)

traditionalguy said...

The south had better fight Obama's Energy Tax to stop coal and oil electric power plants or we will all have to go back to pre air conditioned days. That will be worse than the new Death Panels installed by the Boy Marxist from Kenya.

edutcher said...

If Camille Paglia wants to lament the death of the sexual revolution, she needs to keep in mind that AIDS is what killed it. The things that were always the counterforce to the "humorous sexual candor of both men and women during the agrarian era" were the poxes that came as a result of the "ribaldry chronicled from Shakespeare’s plays to the 18th-century novel". It's no accident that many of the literary figures of the late 18th- and early- to mid-19th centuries died of syphilis. Victorian prudery was the natural reaction and restraint.

PS This is the first time I've heard Ann's aversion to shorts is because it makes them look like "enlarged boys". She may want to consider the Desert Rats of the British Eighth Army in pursuing that line of attack.

former law student said...

And until they slice the southwest off and give it back to Mexico

Note that Mexicans, who live south of the southwest, wear slacks, not shorts.

Ralph L said...

Those British tropical trou looked even goofier than cargo shorts and basketball baggies, but they were probably cooler.

How do women wear synthetic clothes without melting? Could that be the reason for Peter's problem?

WV - chicsn - says Peter

Weren't the majority of weddings shotguns in the so-called prudish era?

Palladian said...

"...her inane bow to "the diffuse New Age movement, inspired by nature-keyed Asian practices" makes it all feel hit and miss."

Her entire œuvre has felt hit or miss.

"104 is a cool day here. As Jeff V says, you'll sweat like a pig if you wear long pants outside of air conditioning range."

Wear linen pants. Or seersucker. Or a toga. Or a kilt. Or a thawb.

Shorts, unless you have beautiful, muscular, manly legs, are only appropriate on children, as sports or exercise gear, or as lounge-wear.

I do make an exception if you're willing to wear silk stockings below the cuffs of your short pants.

themightypuck said...

People and especially women hate the end of fashion because it makes it harder to tell who is winning. There is obviously nothing objectively infantile or adolescent about shorts. It is simply that most people who work in serious, high paying, jobs don't wear shorts. Suits level the playing field for fat old men. Ties make no sense at all. On the other hand, girls mostly pick the boys so for all but the super rich and super beautiful, dressing up is a necessary evil.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Re: men in shorts.

When it is 98 +++ degrees outside with no clouds in the sky and no breeze in the air, as it is today where I am....why do you begrudge the men for wearing shorts?

Women get to 'pare down' their wardrobes and wear shorts, tank tops, guaze shifts. etc

Why shouldn't MEN be able to be comfortable? Wear airy clothing. Pare down their wardrobe?

Do you want them to be swaddled in denim? Heavy fabrics? Sweaty clothing while you/and I wear cool casual clothing.

You know what this causes? Of course you don't.

M'kay guys..... tell me I'm not wrong.

Crotch Rot!!!

Ann Althouse said...

Anyway, really hot weather has always been one of the exceptions in my book, as I've said before.

What annoys me is shorts when it isn't even 80° out. I see guys in shorts here when the temp is in the 40s.

Albatross said...

Here in South Texas, we do indeed go out of the air conditioning. Sometimes we take our sons to the park and play a little football or basketball with them. Sometimes we take guests to walk around downtown to see the sights. Sometimes we have a barbeque, and we hang out on someones back porch and visit. And sometimes we just take the dog for a walk.

All of this in 98 degree weather, give or take a few --- because this is South Texas.

Do you really think we should be doing this in linen pants? Or seersucker? Anything but shorts?

Easy for you and Palladian to say that when you live in a climate that actually has a winter.

jayne_cobb said...

"M'kay guys..... tell me I'm not wrong.

Crotch Rot!!!"


We always just called it "swamp ass", or "chap ass" if there is chaffing.

Albatross said...

Sorry, Ann. Simultaneous commenting.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dust Bunny Queen said...

What annoys me is shorts when it isn't even 80° out.

What if what annoys other people is women wearing long skirts that look like they were made from WWII parachutes and mary jane shoes that went out of style in 5th grade?

Who gives you the right to be critical of someone else's clothing styles?

Cousin Bob said...

Fls, why do you think I said, "Until Mexico..."? All the Mexicans and Indians around here wouldn't be caught dead in shorts. It's a cultural thing. They think it's undignified, something like Althouse. But at least they have a point, living here, and not being some uptight white lady buried up to her neck in snow 9 months of the year in America's Dairyland.

I'm married to a Mexican woman. When we go for a family visit, I always wear khaki slacks. 'Course they live in Riverside and Santa Ana, so what do they know about the *real* desert? She's learned to put up with my ways, and mine with hers, lotsa mutual underestimation having gone on.

Now, as for linen and seersucker, yer kiddin', right? You want white linen pants and a blazer and bow tie? Can I omit th' cufflinks?

You know, my ancestors *did* wear kilts, back where the only thing you could do to stay warm was drink another dram t'yer health, which wasn't very good, 'cause you were freezing your ass, curled up next to a turd-sized piece of smoldering peat.

Then we moved here to the South, where we wore long pants in a hot climate for a couple of hundred years. Made us real grumpy.

Then shorts were invented, and we stopped grabbing land, killing Indians and succeeding from the Union.

Put us back in long pants, mark my words, there's going to be hell to pay.

Palladian said...

"Who gives you the right to be critical of someone else's clothing styles?"

Why is it ok to deplore relativism in all intellectual concerns except æsthetics? It's why we've become a nation of tasteless slobs.

It is entirely legitimate for a man or woman of taste to take a critical attitude regarding æsthetics. If you think something is ugly or in bad taste, don't take the lowbrow false egalitarian way out and say "who gives anyone the right to be critical?". Be critical! Argue your æsthetic intelligently! It's something that's sorely missing from our culture, and something that could pull us out of the mire.

Palladian said...

"But at least they have a point, living here, and not being some uptight white lady buried up to her neck in snow 9 months of the year in America's Dairyland."

So you're resorting to racism to justify two æsthetic, sartorial standards over a third just because the third is held by an "uptight white lady"?

That's nearly as revolting as the probable spectacle of you in short pants.

Ralph L said...

Mexican men have an advantage: it's a much shorter distance from their nether regions to the open air. When they're all six feet, their culture will change.

Mark said...

Who gives you the right to be critical of someone else's clothing styles?

Umm, there's the First Amendment thing. Lady's got the right to say what she wants. Under the law, at least.

All you short-panted-men supporters have the right to call her names about it, too. (And hey, I'm wearing shorts right now. In the house. It's air-conditioned. I'm just rockin' it out, too. )

I really loathe the "what gives you the right" line of attack.

Mark said...

And for all y'all who think you can't be comfortable in long pants in the desert, I say unto you....

FABRIC COUNTS!

Of course, if you're out watering your lawn in Phoenix instead of worrying about the damage that can be done unto bare skin by the varied and sundry indigenous vegetation, you aren't listening anyway.

Fen said...

I have a pair of kneepads worn and autographed by Camille. She slurped Clinton's cum right off the floor.

Fen said...

And then she gurgled: "sexual harassment is...just about sex!" as she went down for another load.

Timon said...

"Who gives anyone the right to be critical of someone else's clothing styles?"

Copulation encourages authority. Authority encourages some opinions and discourages others. Current authorities tend to agree that opinions and tastes and the free expression thereof are part of a natural right of liberty or the pursuit of happiness.

Personally, I would agree that no such right exists in regards to the expression, and that non-punitive discouragement would repress the ability to form such opinions. I feel that companies such as this mart or that buy do yeoman's work in forcing young men and women into khakis and golf shirts, reducing both employees and customers into a tasteless morass of unsubstantiated desires. It's not quite a burqa, but it's getting there.

John Lynch said...

Perhaps libidos are only falling for women of Paglia's age? Is this another example of a Boomer mistaking their own decline for that of the world around them?

Notice all these apocalyptic fantasies started appearing when the Boomer generation got old?

dick said...

Personally I would rather do without the air conditioning, which I loathe, and wear shorts. I am far more comfortable and I don't have the problem of getting sick from the going in and out of air condtioned places all the time. I don't want to see air conditioning until it is at least over 100 degrees. I am just not comfortable with it.

And as to what people wear, take a gander at what the women are wearing out there these days. Unless you are really lucky and restrict yourself to Rodeo Drive or places like that, the sights are enough to blind you. Men in shorts look fantastic by comparison.

Ralph L said...

Fen, I thought Paglia was one of the few liberal public women who didn't give Clinton a ...pass in '98, or is my memory failing?

John Lynch said...

Camille Paglia didn't like Hillary Clinton, either.

Kev said...

@JeffV, DBQ, and Albatross--thanks for reminding our counterparts in the Frozen North that it does get really, really hot in some places, and that heat lasts for a long, long time. (Dallas hit triple digits a few weeks ago--early for us--and it's not likely that we'll have a high below 90 for the next two months, save for a rare rain-all-day situation.)

I'm fortunate enough to work from home for most of the summer, so the only time you'll see me in long pants is 1) in church (and we're a relaxed enough church that you will see guys in shorts there); 2) when teaching my college class; and 3) when I have a gig. Otherwise, no; the sweaty-legs syndrome is just too much (never mind the nether-region malady described by DBQ).

Here's my philosophy on attire: When I'm really dressed up, I'm probably getting paid for it, so it's like a work uniform to me. Why would anyone want to walk around in a work uniform on a day off?

Cousin Bob said...

Man, Palladian, you are one fucked-up dude. Is is New York, or were you born that way?

'Course pet potbelly pigs can get a little snarly when they're kept indoors all the time. Fat, too. Althouse outta let you out sometime.

Now, it is gettin' a little late back East there for you to look up insults in your database. That's OK. You can wait 'till morning. You already tried racist. Hard to do, 'cause I'm married to a Mexican, but I suppose I *can* be prejudiced against white people, 'scept, of course, I am one. So,"prejudice" doesn't really work. Why don't you try "bad taste?"

I'm sure you can think of something and get back to me in the morning when the absinthe wears off.

In the meantime, you outta wiggle outta that linen seersucker chemise. Yer gonna get it all sweaty.

Oligonicella said...

Anyone who wears crocks shouldn't be too strident.

It amuses me that those who deride others clothing choices fall back on the utterly absurd canard of having 'taste'. As if there is an actual taste which is (for real, for real) superior to that of another person.

"Clothes make the man." Uh, no they don't. Bob Bordella, the Kansas City serial killer showed up at trial in a suit. 'Splain how that made him a better man.

Cousin Bob said...

Now, Kev is a man after my own heart. Exactly what I think. You want me in long pants and a nice shirt? I'm getting paid for it or occasion demands.

And we're hotter here than Dallas, except it is a little more humid in Dallas, so it's a toss-up.

And don't say anything about Houston.

Methadras said...

I wear short and a t-shirt, not because I want to look like a large man-baby, but because I want to be comfortable in my environment. This also includes flip-flops. I'm in pretty decent shape, a little light up on the pate that I keep neatly trimmed, a shave my face often and I'm well groomed. Meh, if I look like an overgrown boy, so be it. Besides, not everyone can afford to walk around in tailored suits Mr. Wolfe.

I'm about leisure and comfort not overly pretentious stylings and musings on the aesthetic of ones wardrobe. Mr. Wolfe in shorts would illicit quite a bit from the chattering upper class, no?

Methadras said...

For the record. I think it was 106 in Pleasant Hill today. Felt like 180 million.

jamboree said...

Honestly, what does Camille know about sex? Yes, I know she wrote a book, but what does she really know about post-30 het sex? NOTHING.

I just laugh when I read her. She's entertaining but so so wrong. It's all imaginary for her. It's like reading a really articulate, idealistic 13-yr-old.

I remember when she had a fit about the Clinton Lewinsky scandal. No no, she was not a PRUDE like all of US mind you. She was simply upset about how tacky it was - whatever happened to the Kennedy-era discreet mistresses with darling little sports cars, Camille opined. I knew she was living in the imaginary world in her head.

Years later I saw "Butterfield 8" on TV. DING DING DING DING.

It's like Dude, guess what? Real life ain't an Elizabeth Taylor movie circa 1960. Stay gay and academic, that way you'll never have to deal with reality.

Palladian said...

"I'm sure you can think of something and get back to me in the morning when the absinthe wears off."

It's currently morning where I am (not at home), and hotter than you could handle, little short-pants pussy.

And anyway, if you waddled around this country in your K-mart knickers, you'd have quite a problem with the locals.

Oh, and only a loser in low-brow lederhosen would mistake absinthe for a classy drink. Absinthe was the anesthetizing swill of the lower classes in its heyday and the province of Marilyn Manson fans today. Dé - class - é, honey.

Paul Zrimsek said...

In what way is enthusing about the Rolling Stones one more time worse than enthusing about Dylan one more time?

Cousin Bob said...

"Absinthe was the anesthetizing swill of the lower classes in its heyday and the province of Marilyn Manson fans today. Dé - class - é, honey."

My point, EXACTLY.

You do make it easy, doncha?

rick said...

I am shocked, shocked that there were no comments on the Bamster wearing shorts on the golf course last week. Skinny legs and all. Talk about bad taste.

Then again, maybe it was an in your face response to Ann turning against the One.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

Anyway, really hot weather has always been one of the exceptions in my book, as I've said before.

What annoys me is shorts when it isn't even 80° out. I see guys in shorts here when the temp is in the 40s.


That last does explain some of the people WI has elected to public office over the years.

Truth in advertising: I see the same in NE OH and it also explains the people elected here.

Fen said...

Ralph: I thought Paglia was one of the few liberal public women who didn't give Clinton a ...pass in '98, or is my memory failing?

No, you're correct. She didn't think perjury and obstruction rose to the level of impeachment, but she was one of the few feminsists who called it sexual predation in the workplace.

I confused her with Gloria "one free grope" Steinem.

tim maguire said...

I can accept that we are not supposed to wear shorts (most men look better dressed than undressed), but no short sleeved shorts either, Mr. Wolfe?!? Sorry, but it's going to be 93 here today.

Besides, a more manly virtue than long pants is not worrying too much about physical appearance (good hygiene, maybe, but, as Al Gore learned to his dismay, men are to neither seek nor take fashion advice).

Paco Wové said...

I have to agree with Palladian re: linen as a preferred fabric for hot-weather pants. Cool, comfortable (as comfortable as you can be in 95+ heat & humidity), and the added benefit of not exposing my pasty white untannable legs to the innocent populace.

If only it weren't so damn wrinkly.

tim maguire said...

Short sleeved shirts, that is, in the Wolfe reaction.

Ann Althouse said...

"uptight white lady"

I think it's ironic that you're upset by female repression when the very issue under discussion is the insufficiency of female sexual response and its causes. Paglia posits that one cause is the failure of men to be vigorously manly, and the wearing of shorts is part of that. Men dress like overgrown boys. It's not just the shorts, it's the overall "playclothes" look that has various elements. If you say is, Tough! I'll wear whatever I want, then the response, in this context is, but you won't fuck whatever you want. You can have the comfort of your clothes, but what you sacrifice is the pleasure of hot sex.

Ann Althouse said...

"Besides, a more manly virtue than long pants is not worrying too much about physical appearance"

Key word: "too."

ricpic said...

I thought Paglia was an original thinker. That middle class is sexless meme is about a thousand years old...okay a hundred.

k*thy said...

On the other had, I have a nephew who's mother has consistently dressed him in belted long pants and tucked in button down shirt (Ralph Lauren). He's only 6. I sometimes wonder if he'll ever be able to be a little boy?

Nice people, but, geez...

Moose said...

You know, I've read Paglia since "Sexual Persona" and really love her stuff - in general.

What amazes me about her and Ann is the fact that apparently, they are either so dense about men or so insecure that we need to dress according to their codes in order to telegraph our "maturity".

Again - women that wear drapery in public don't have a persuasive argument here. As to Paglia's issue - I can't say...

Larry J said...

Yet another stupid post about men in shorts. I ask again, if men wear shorts because they want to be boys (instead of something else, like comfort), can we say that women who wear pants really want to be men? Fools.

I'm 53 years old and I wear shorts on weekends and the evenings after work. Among other things, it helps save money by reducing my need to run my air conditioner. It's about comfort, nothing else and I don't give a rats ass what Ann or anyone else thinks about it.

As for Camille's rant, it can be summed up in the immortal female whine, "It's all men's fault!"

GMay said...

AA said: "You can have the comfort of your clothes, but what you sacrifice is the pleasure of hot sex."

Nonsense.

Maybe the "pleasure" of sex with you.

There are plenty of hotter women capable of 'teh hot sex' who don't obsess over what men are wearing as much as some. Whoever made that "daddy fantasy" remark upthread was pretty much spot-on here.

The Crack Emcee said...

"Only the diffuse New Age movement,..."

The one thing I like is that she's admitting it's spread out, broken apart, like al Qaeda. That's one of the most difficult things I have to try and cope with:

The way people think NewAge is just this or that, and not that this or that is part of something else.

NewAge is an umbrella term for a whole lot of things. James Arthur Ray's sweat lodges. Oprah with her Homeopathic quackery and the nonsense of Dr. Oz. Yoga.

It's all part of the same sick cultural movement - and I'm glad to see that acknowledged.

Moose said...

Wow - Ann. Feeling liberated enough to tell men to dress according to your wishes. And opening the door to postulate whether you even know what "hot sex" is.

Of course you can trot out Meade her as a character witness. That'll then open the door further.

Since you're telling us what our short comings are, we can discuss what your problems are. Women's sexual arousal issues are for the most part what men's are (now): you wanted power and options - you got responsibility and stress. Men are lucky enough to have a single minded sex drive up to certain age, which can punch thru most distractions. After that you get Viagra and mid life crises.

Women on the other hand are "complex" and can be easily distracted during arousal. Now you got all this shit to think about and voila. Frustration.

Don't try to blame this crap on men in shorts lady.

Paddy O said...

"the failing libido"

Really? I can't imagine anyone from the outside would put this on the list of all the things that plague this nation, that plague Western society.

We live in a hyper-sexualized culture where we are bombarded every day by the sexual frenzies of men and women, in popular culture and then by the people all about who feel this should be a guide to life.

Which makes this article not the least about "the American female" and all about Camille Paglia who is apparently generalizing and exploring her own issues.

It's also a complete crock to suggest that what we need is yet more tutoring by New Age quasi-Eastern gurus. Real Eastern religions aren't quite in step with Paglia's libidic quest. Is this guy really the alpha sexual male that Paglia desires?

kathleen said...

"you can wear shorts if you want, but you won't fuck whatever you want"

Ann, are you assuming he wants to fuck you? In my experience the vast majority of women let men who wear shorts fuck them. Oh, and said women (myself included) also wear shorts. Try to withstand the possibility that they want to fuck us and not you, mmmkay?

btw Palladian, a word of caution, your role as Ann's white knight is a total bore.

dbp said...

Shorts often do look ridiculous on men. I don't think the problem is the garment, it is the men.

Without a doubt, a flabby man looks best covered in well fitting clothes. A better solution is to expend a bit of energy and discipline staying fit. Then well fitting, well made shorts will look fine.

An added benefit is that a fit man will still look good in the bedroom, once the linen slacks dispensed-with.

Ann Althouse said...

"I ask again, if men wear shorts because they want to be boys (instead of something else, like comfort), can we say that women who wear pants really want to be men? Fools."

I didn't say they "want to be boys." I said they look like boys and that's not sexually attractive (and it shouldn't be sexually attractive). I said that it was done for comfort. I realize that. Women wear pants for comfort too, and they do it not in order to look male, but in spite of the possible unattractiveness. Most women do look better in a skirt, and it can be more comfortable too

Ann Althouse said...

Anyway, let's distinguish "because of" from "in spite of."

And as to the issue of failing libido, its existence and causes, that is Paglia's theme, not mine. She gets it from the news stories about a new pill to enhance libido. The issue is thus whether women need a pill. Who are these women? I'm not purporting to say. I don't know. Is a pill what they need or better stimulation? Would manlier men improve stimulation and reduce the need for pills? Paglia says yes. I personally find men in most situations more fuckable or more nearly fuckable if they are NOT dressed like giant toddlers. Okay?

jamboree said...

I'm from the West Coast, and if done properly, guys look better in longish loose shorts. They have to be somewhat in shape, tan and/or non-white, and wearing flip flops or sandals with no socks, no huge running shoes, possibly slip on Vans or similar. Then it looks *great*.

I don't understand why it would make them look like boys/toddlers in 2010. Boys haven't worn short pants and "graduated" into long pants since the turn of the last century, have they? I have pix of my grandfather in victorian school boy-looking short pants, but that's it.

Anyway, I love guys that can continue to pull off the relaxed beachcomber look as they get a touch of gray. Makes me happy.

This is not the same thing as, say, a Prince Albert of Monaco or Al Gore in stiff khaki shorts and enormous trainers - kind of casual Friday gone wrong. That, yes, would be a very very bad thing for the libido.

kathleen said...

"you wanted power and options - you got responsibility and stress. Men are lucky enough to have a single minded sex drive up to certain age, which can punch thru most distractions....
Women on the other hand are "complex" and can be easily distracted during arousal. Now you got all this shit to think about and voila. Frustration."

Moose, that is right on.

70'sAntiHero said...

I'm 45 and single. Run 5 miles a day, do a 50 mile bike ride once a week. Don't need viagra don't want it. Work at a small company, so I'm not some corporate socialist drone. Hard working but not rich. Don't have one of those privileged 'G' jobs.

Always thoughtful about appearance. Wear shorts though, its Phoenix for christ sake.

Try to date women my own age that I meet online. Attractive, yes!, but find them asexual and frigid! Too much post-modernism, too much Oprah!

Can you say twenty somethings! No psychological baggage there. Its about relationships however, not promiscuousness. Which is the eventual demise of a May September affair. Bummer.

Most people of a certain age are physical messes.
How uninspired.

The malaise and balkanization of Po-mo's influence continues.

Camille is most agreeable.

Palladian said...

"btw Palladian, a word of caution, your role as Ann's white knight is a total bore."

There you short-pants pussies go with the racism again.

John Stodder said...

Men are lucky enough to have a single minded sex drive up to certain age, which can punch thru most distractions. After that you get Viagra and mid life crises.

Women on the other hand are "complex" and can be easily distracted during arousal. Now you got all this shit to think about and voila. Frustration.

Don't try to blame this crap on men in shorts lady.


Pretty apt. Yeah, the idea that men's off-time wardrobe is the essence of why women can't be aroused as easily is Paglia-esque without the Paglia. Stress has far more to do with it. I have an accidental relationship with the concept of style, always have. I imagine that put some women off the idea of talking to me, but I'm not sure how many, or whether any of them would have been more suited to me than the women I spent time with.

It's kind of like the issue of money. If I'd had more money, I gather more women would've been attracted to me. But, given my overall good fortune in finding wonderful female partners, how much happier would I have been if wealth had expanded my horizons? Have I really missed that much in not being attractive to women who are turned on by money or clothes?

If women are ignoring you completely, if all your relationships go nowhere and you have a low salary and a crummy wardrobe, by all means, try an upgrade if that's available to you. But if you're doing okay without the money and sharp clothes then, hell, why mess with it?

jamboree said...

@70santihero

Seems the solution for you would be to date someone in their 30s - old enough for the relationship, but younger than you and, theoretically then, not a physical and/or emotional mess.

Funny, My friends and I were the biggest emotional messes in our 20s. "Growing up" was largely a process of getting over our 20-something issues. For those of us who took a trip on the older guy train, it was basically looking for a parental figure to deal with it for us and yet being annoyed that someone was stealing our life. [g]

Ann Althouse said...

"Try to date women my own age that I meet online. Attractive, yes!, but find them asexual and frigid!"

You have to warm them up. If you don't know how, you don't deserve them. If you find younger ones who seem automatically hot, that won't last if you don't know how to be seductive. Just a guess.

"Can you say twenty somethings! No psychological baggage there."

Oh, really? Are you sure you're looking for a human being?

"Its about relationships however, not promiscuousness. Which is the eventual demise of a May September affair. Bummer."

So you want a "relationship" with someone of some substance... you want no baggage and baggage?

I'm leery of people who talk about people having "baggage."

Dead Julius said...

It's funny to watch you have it out with Paglia every few months or so, Althouse.

Whenever I see her name on your blog, the first thought that comes to mind is that you and her should just get a room and get it over with.

Moose said...

"You have to warm them up. If you don't know how, you don't deserve them. If you find younger ones who seem automatically hot, that won't last if you don't know how to be seductive. Just a guess."

Warm them up?! Warm HIM up. If anyone is going to have the "up" issues it'll be they GUY. You have Astroglide or KY or whatever.

Shit Ann. That's some presumptuous drivel from someone who was supposedly unaffected by all the feminist drivel of the past few decades.

dbp said...

John Stodder said...
...But if you're doing okay without the money and sharp clothes then, hell, why mess with it?

I think John pretty much nails it. It is quite situational. Althouse has made her preferences clear and so Meade knows what is expected.

In my case, Ms. dbp doesn't care if I wear shorts or not. She is turned-on by shows of affection and the performance of manly duties, like fixing her flat tire & etc. If she hated me in shorts, I would probably wear them less often--depending on my mood.

themightypuck said...

"one cause is the failure of men to be vigorously manly, and the wearing of shorts is part of that."

NO NO NO. This is not the problem. Well, I hope not. It makes roissy seem too right if all you need to do to impress a girl is put on some pants.

themightypuck said...

Or should I say trousers.

Eric said...

one cause is the failure of men to be vigorously manly, and the wearing of shorts is part of that.

I'm skeptical. I realize the Althouse pet peeve is shorts, but I don't think that's a huge issue for most women.

Paglia gets the best of the argument, mostly, but it's not a case of over-familiarity. It's no surprise women find men reflexively androgynous - we're trained to act that way in the workplace. Harassment law makes women dangerous to our careers, so we learn to treat you like you don't, in fact, have a sex at all. And you can't act that way 8-10 hours every day without having it bleed over to your personal life.

That's why men remind women of boys. Not because of the way they dress, but the way they act.

Kev said...

And we're hotter here than Dallas, except it is a little more humid in Dallas, so it's a toss-up.

And don't say anything about Houston.


Heh. I grew up in Houston. I'll gladly take our somewhat lower humidity (not to mention two or three snow days a year) here in Dallas vs. the "stick to your clothes the minute you walk outside" situation in Houston.

Mr. Forward said...

If the shorts are a problem I'll be happy to remove them.

Luke said...

Damn straight, Mr. Forward!

If she doesn't like my shorts, I will guarantee you she'd like my hairy ass even less.

Andrew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew said...

Paglia is full of rhetorical bullpoop, she is still trying to find ways to get back at society for her not enjoying the 70's unlike the rest of her generation. Furthermore men stopped wearing the bulky t-shirts and loose shorts years ago... or did she just wake up from her alcohol induced coma? Either way, I refuse to be criticized for wearing shorts... it's Florida, it's a 102 outside and humid. Shorts were invented to keep legs cool and comfortable not for children. Or should I cave in and wear those ever so dashing skinny jeans with saggy bottom. Especially when I see a huge assortment of women, ranging in ages 18-55, wearing Miley Fashions and focusing on reliving something that was lost to them decades ago. Where's Paglia's essay as to why women, can't get their age right?