May 29, 2016

"So no shorts at all for guys? Isn’t that a little extreme?"

"It’s a lot extreme, and let me tell you why: IT IS THE ONLY LANGUAGE YOU PEOPLE UNDERSTAND. Look, there are plenty of places where shorts are acceptable for those of you who are no longer in grade to school to flash your uncovered legs: If you’re on the beach or the tennis court or at some other event in which you are expending physical energy shorts are not only appropriate but actively preferred. I might even see the argument that you can walk about in the city of a summer weekend (emphasis on weekend and additional emphasis on summer, since most of the people you’ll see then are tourists anyway and given how they are dressed anything short of assless chaps will still leave you more appropriately-attired) in an approved pair of legless trousers. But far too many of you seem to think it is perfectly fine to show up at work in cargo pants and the other abominations (half slacks, dude capris, and hotpants) that pass for legwear in our rapidly-crumbling society. You are the people who are ruining it for everyone else. You are the reason we have to say no to shorts."

I'm posting this, from The Awl, so you'll know I've seen it and won't need to send it to me.

And let me pluck out the embedded anti-travel issue. I don't know about this particular writer and I don't have a Venn diagram showing the proportions, but it seems to me that there's a lot of overlap between: 1. People who travel and promote travel as a very important part of a good life well-lived, and 2. People who are contemptuous of travelers who happen to visit their home town. You might say this isn't a contradiction, because it's perfectly rational and normal to like something for yourself that you don't want to be involved in giving to someone else. But so much of the pro-travel propaganda has to do with meeting and interacting with the people of a different place, so you'd think it should matter whether those people want to interact with you. And don't retreat to the position that those people want the money that travel brings to the local economy or I will have to proceed with my rape/prostitution analogy.


rhhardin said...

I'm proud to have started the cargo shorts to the office movement in the late 60s.

It's something that doesn't matter that affects your management potential, which it may be remembered is the solution to the Peter Principle offered in the book. Arrange not to get promoted past what you're good at.

Also I had started bicycling everrywhere and that meant to work as well.

madAsHell said...

No shorts for the guys? How are they going to comb their leg hair??

William said...

I always thought cargo shorts were the natural and inevitable reaction to the banning of fanny packs.......I always liked fanny packs. They don't look bad on thin men, but they do seem to enhance a plump belly.

rhhardin said...

Travel just gets you involved with snotty shopkeepers who pretend to not understand your German.

Laslo Spatula said...

Girl with the Pony Tail on the Treadmill:

I'd love to travel.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

I took French in high school.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

I can picture myself drinking coffee at a sidewalk cafe in Paris, watching life go by.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

All that delicious food. And desserts.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

I'd get fat. I know it.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

It would be worth it, though.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

No, it wouldn't.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

I'd become just another fat American in Paris.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

French people would whisper things in French about how fat I was, and I'd be able to understand them. Humiliating.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

They would snicker at my fat American ass in my yoga pants.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

"I speak French, you know," I'd tell them.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

They'd probably just laugh harder. The Fat American Girl who thinks she can speak French. Ha Ha. Have another croissant. With butter.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

I can't think of anything more embarrassing then being fat in Paris and buying an issue of Paris Vogue, with all the thin girls in all those fashions.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

I love Paris Vogue.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

When I came home I'd run and run, but the weight won't come off. Ever. I ruined it.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

Maybe I should skip travel and buy an Audi. I wish.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

Meanwhile, I'm just here, running on a treadmill, waiting for something to happen.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

I need to make more money.

(pony-tail swish, pony-tail swish)

I am Laslo.

rhhardin said...

If you must travel, go to military bases where you can meet normal people.

rhhardin said...

French waiters bring Canadians menus in English.

William said...

Come spend a summer in central Florida without baring your legs Ann. Sauce for the goose and all that.

buwaya said...

Who needs cargo pants and fanny packs?
If a gentleman needs something carried, well, he has servants for that.
And it's surprising what you can carry in the pockets of a lightweight tropical linen suit jacket. I recommend a Colt Detective Special.

Ron said...

Althouse (almost mistakenly spelled "Athouse"....or is it?) doesn't like to travel? Who -- whomever reads this blog -- knew? Wonder of wonders!

buwaya said...

I am of two minds about shorts in the tropics.
The comfort factor is extreme. Walk a mile in that sort of heat and humidity and the value is clear. Of course, it's mad to walk a mile under those conditions.
For outdoor active wear shorts make great sense in a clean, organized setting, say on a garden or golf course. But anywhere else you want the protection of trousers, even on third-world streets. If you want to go out into the countryside or the wild, wear pants.
In addition, clothes make the man in those places. Your status, especially as stranger, is what you wear. You can't go wrong wearing what the local politicians wear.

Bill Peschel said...

That article was boring, enlivened by Ann's commentary and Laslo's comment.

Alex Balk's been around for awhile and seems to be cultivating grumpy as a persona, such as this "My Advice to Young People":

--No, the Internet is going to keep getting worse and there will be no chance for escape. It’s a massive torrent of sewage blasted at you at all hours and you pay handsomely for the privilege of having a hand-held cannon you carry with you at all times to spray more shit-sludge at yourself whenever you’re bored or anxious. Some of you sleep with it right next to your head in case you wake in the middle of the night and need to deliver another turgid shot to your wide-open mouth.--

Then there's this vignette from his Tumblr:

--I’m in a cab heading down 7th Avenue and all of a sudden, no warning, I’m weeping like a fucking fountain and fiddling around with the Taxi TV so that the driver doesn’t notice the goddamn torrent of tears flooding down my cheeks and it’s like, Jesus Christ, who the fuck thought this was a good idea, this fucking nonstop carnival of misery and sorrow and boredom and banality where the best odds you can hope for are a lousy one percent of the time when you feel like things are actually worthwhile and now we’re at my stop and I’m trying to furiously wipe away the giant fucking lake of saline that has pooled around my eyes while muttering “Keep it together, keep it together” over and over in my head and I’m realizing that, sweet mother of God, every hugely repetitive moment of your life that you’ve gone through about ten thousand times is simply a part of the plan to get you acclimated to this kind of constant misery or, worse, numbness, and you know what? I want my goddamn money back.--

(I must admit that I have a frequent problem parsing your arguments, Ann. Many times, I wonder if it's me (and it might be).

For example: "But so much of the pro-travel propaganda has to do with meeting and interacting with the people of a different place, so you'd think it should matter whether those people want to interact with you. And don't retreat to the position that those people want the money that travel brings to the local economy or I will have to proceed with my rape/prostitution analogy."

1. Why should it matter to them if "those people want to interact with you"? Is it something the pro-travel propagandists are made aware of? Do they need to poll everyone in, say, Shanghai, before they write their articles?

2. Why wouldn't locals want the money? I live in Hershey. The town is very pretty; it drew me here 16 years ago (especially after seeing neighboring towns). There's a nice convention center / hotel down the street, about a dozen chain restaurants and a couple smaller local joints. There's Hersheypark and the Hershey Theatre and we draw big acts (McCartney, he of the combed leg hairs, is something this summer). We even have a tour bus driving by where I walk. The only tourists I've met were lost in my neighborhood, so I'm helpful to them, but I'm generally helpful. Am I a prostitute? Am I being raped?

I think part of the problem I'm having is from parsing your pronouns. "Those people" for example is repeated, but apparently applies to different groups.)

walter said...

Stop with the short shaming.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

I would imagine there is an even greater overlap between those who don't like travel and those who don't like men in shorts.

Paco Wové said...

The Awl, eh? They had one shining moment of greatness, but it's been 'meh' before and since.

walter said...

"McCartney, he of the combed leg hairs"

Bob Boyd said...

Most likely a guy cursed with bird legs lashing out.

RichardJohnson said...

Where I live, there are 90+ days a year with the average high above 90 degrees. I wear shorts 6+ months a year, as they are more comfortable in such a hot subtropical climate. I walk several miles a day- shorts are much more comfortable for walking in the summer. As I work out of my home, I don't need to conform to any office wear protocol.

I also have minimal use of air conditioning, as I believe that the more one lives "al clima" the more comfortable temperature extremes can be. My downstairs temperature without using AC is in the 81-83 degree range nearly all summer.

I got an early introduction to how our neighbors to the South look on men wearing shorts. When I was in high school, I attended a summer language institute in Saltillo, Mexico. When we wore shorts in the patio, with the door open to the street, neighbor kids would shout "Que piernas" at us. [What legs!]

When I am in Latin America, I wear pants in most circumstances. Linen or cotton seersucker pants are comfortable in 90+ weather. I did change my policy on hiking. On one day long hike up and down steep hills. I noticed that my pants were soaked with sweat. I decided to modify my policy to wear shorts on long hikes in the countryside, and didn't get any negative feedback from the locals.

Michael said...

The corollary for shorts wearing men are the ankle length dresses and skirts that some women wear, winter and summer.

wildswan said...

The office is air-conditioned, I assume, so shorts are pointless. They are just cultural appropriation from beach days. But it's interesting that people these days don't even know their own culture from the inside - they disagree on what is OK to wear. You could travel just by knowing what is the inside on why some want to wear shorts at work in air conditioned offices and others see it as ridiculous.

mezzrow said...

You non-shorts people don't live in Florida, do you?

Rusty said...

Past th point of caring.

LYNNDH said...

Here in CO it is summer when the shorts come out. Of course the temp maybe 60. I did wear shorts to work for about a week a long time ago. The AC went out, the building had no windows. They were dress shorts, good sharp creases and all. I had on short sleeve shirt with tie and long socks. I did get looks from some managers but what the hell at least I was a great deal more comfortable than they were. So Ann, I will say no more Blond headed women. If you don't like men in shorts, don't look.

Laslo Spatula said...

Alize Wallace-Hadeeb, Safe Space Inspector:

"We at the University have done everything to make this the safest of environments on any American campus."

"I see you allow the male students to wear shorts."

"Well, it gets quite warm here in the Spring, and it IS a beautiful day."

"A beautiful day for Oppressors, maybe. People from other Cultures could be aggressed by such casual showing of skin."

"So no shorts on campus. I'll get a memorandum out to the men and women of the College."

"Just the men, actually."

"Females can wear shorts? Isn't that unequal?"

"Unequal is thousands of years of Patriarchy shaming women's bodies and denying them the Freedom of their Sexuality."

"Okay... No shorts for male students."

"To be precise, that should be no shorts for white students."


"People of color have been subjugated to White Norms for too long. The color of their skin shows their deep connection they have with the Sun, something the Ice People perpetually try to deny."

"So only white students are barred from wearing shorts. That seems unfair."

"No: it is True Social Fairness catching up with them. Besides, white male students in shorts are more likely to rape."

"More likely to rape because they're wearing shorts? That can't be true."

"It doesn't need to be 'True' by White Male Standards: it just has to FEEL True."

"Fine. I'll put out the memorandum: no white male students in shorts."

"Frankly, I would be more supportive if that Memorandum was issued by a person of color."

"Now why is that?"

"Isn't it obvious? The white students will be less likely to be seen rebelling against a person of color. White Authority is over, even when it pertains to whites."

"I don't agree with any of this..."

"I understand. That is why my report will demand that you be fired."

"Fired? Over shorts?"

"Don't feel defensive. If it makes you feel any better I have demanded people be fired for less..."

I am Laslo.

Mr Wibble said...

The "Everyone should travel" brigade is usually full of crap. They don't want everyone to travel. By saying that, they provide cover to then assert that they are better than you because they travel. Traveling around the U.S. doesn't count. You have to go to Europe, or some third-world hell-hole. And then you have to come back and describe how superior to Americans the locals were. You know, despite the massive poverty, crumbling infrastructure, corrupt governments, etc.

buwaya said...

I come from a long line of travelers, professional expats, exiles, immigrants, diplomats, colonialists and wanderers. And I grew up in that society. I have relatives in every continent. So maybe I'm biased.
Travel is a good thing. Done right, it improves perspective, expands the range of ideas, creates a strategic understanding, and is an essential reality check. It can be done badly for stupid reasons, it can be done by following a herd of the like minded, etc. But done right it can be an education, just like broad reading, but one that hits the gut.
I have been to Bali Hai.
I love Kipling's "Mandalay" because he gets it (of course). The dawn does come up like thunder.

RichardJohnson said...

Mr Wibble
The "Everyone should travel" brigade is usually full of crap. You have to go to Europe, or some third-world hell-hole... And then you have to come back and describe how superior to Americans the locals were.

I didn't just travel. I worked in Latin America for 4 years, which showed me what it is like for the locals, a perspective not readily available from mere tourism. I came back with a greater appreciation for the United States. If you want to turn a oikophobic progressive into a flag waving right winger, just have him work in the Third World. At least that was my experience.

buwaya said...

To put it another way, consider that you yourselves live in a land of unparalleled exoticism, by the standards of most foreigners. You are picturesque. You won't understand that unless you can manage to see yourselves from the outside.

Balfegor said...

I generally toe the anti-shorts line, but I vaguely recall that the British diplomatic staff in Washington DC were at one point issued pith helmets owing to DC's unhealthful climate, so I suppose Bermuda shorts aren't entirely out of line. I say opt for high-twist fresco cloth (I think one of my suits uses the wool crepe here and it's quite good), although that does precious little unless there's at least a little bit of a breeze. In stagnant air, it's useless.

Re: travel, I enjoy it, but what I enjoy is not meeting new people, but (1) experiencing pretty pre-war buildings and public spaces, built before the advent of modern architecture, (2) eating, and (3) shopping. The US does have some nice buildings and public spaces (DC has several nice ones that have not yet been ruined by modern professional architects), but I find going to restaurants and shops extremely stressful in the US, because -- as I have written here before -- service is so aggravatingly rude.

What the US does have is cheap, high quality red meat. Australia is apparently good for that too -- I've only been once and I only had lamb -- but our meat is cheaper and, I believe, not inferior in any way. This sort of place is where the US truly shines. Service in my experience is fine: when there are no plates, only plastic trays and strips of butcher paper, one does not expect 5-star service, and these places exceed expectations.

buwaya said...

On the contrary I find US service mostly efficient and friendly. Other places tend to be one or the other and often neither.
And the best reason to travel is people, frankly. You can stare at a building for five minutes and its done. Yes it's pretty, on to the next.

Balfegor said...

On the contrary I find US service mostly efficient and friendly.

I have stood in front of wait staff, waiting to be seated while they studiously ignore me, too many times to consider US service friendly or efficient. It's okay at fast food places, though. The service in restuarants in Tokyo and Hong Kong is, for me, what service ought to be.

buwaya said...

I would be interested in knowing where it was you were not being served, to avoid them. Hong Kong IMHO is one of those places that is efficient but not friendly.

James Pawlak said...

For those of the proper heritage, the kilt is the best solution for many activities.

Balfegor said...

Re: buwaya puti:

I would be interested in knowing where it was you were not being served, to avoid them.

It's actually kind of random -- for example, right downstairs from my office, there is a restaurant, Farmers Fishers Bakers. The food is good. I have been seated there before. But I've also, on at least two occasions, gone up and stood there like an idiot trying to catch the attention of someone at the front, while they ignored me and sat other people instead. And there's other restaurants in DC and NYC where I've had similar experiences. It's common enough that I usually just avoid sit down restaurants entirely, because it's humiliating to go in and have to walk out without being served.

It might be an appearance thing, but I doubt it. My skin was quite dark when I was teenager, but now that I work an office job and wear hats in summer (it being almost Memorial Day, I am wearing a straw hat today), I'm fairly light-skinned. I attribute it to the poor service culture in the US generally.

walter said...

"The service in restuarants in Tokyo and Hong Kong is, for me, what service ought to be. "
Well..HK had me wondering when I went to "Jumbo" where they don't attend to you until you flag them over. Once you know what's going on, it's great. The obnoxious tradition of wait staff butting into conversations to ask "And how is everything?" and often working to move you along (freeing table) still grates after experiencing being left alone to eat and converse. Intentionally avoiding the tourist ghetto can be up and down though. I had placed my order at a little noodle shop and had a table full of native HK folk inexplicably laughing at me. I don't think that sensation could be duplicated at home.

Balfegor said...

Re: walter:

Fair enough -- there are restaurants in HK where the service isn't exemplary. And in Tokyo, there's all those ramen shops where the "service" is nonexistent -- you have to go to the vending machine, buy the ticket, and then hand the ticket to the man behind the counter. But outside of that, my experiences have been consistently better there than in the US, at least DC/NYC.

buwaya said...

An aside, if you are any sort of Kipling fan, look on YouTube for Peter Dawson's "Mandalay" set to music by Okey Speaks.
There is another Dawson version to music by Hedgecock.
Dawson was himself a great wanderer, like so many Australians.

Bilwick said...

As I may have mentioned before, in the Southern Sunbelt city where I live, shorts seem to be part of the Alrightnik Uniform, a "de rigeur" item of clothing for Yuppies and Fratboys-bout-to-be-Yuppies to express suburban conformity. They can't even argue that "it's the only thing to wear in hot weather" because so many of them are also part of the Shorts-in-Winter goofiness.

walter said...

Service was fine, once I knew the code. The food? Eh..highly variable. The most memorable was a smoked pidgeon entree (head optional) that arrived flattened like road kill and segmented in that position. Starving, I ate it..then ordered house specialty desert of three massive sugary dough balls. Had one and offered the other two to a couple at next table. Staff became visibly incensed..WTF? The woman of that couple spoke English and informed me that they interpreted that as insult.

Tom said...


Sarthurk said...

It's all relative. When I get home from work, and retire to my lazy Boy and laptop, I revert to my Boxer briefs. Is that short enough for you? Otherwise, I ramble around the mini ranch in Carhartt Carpenters shorts, sometimes even if I'm weedeatering some sort of verminal vegetation. I would however, suggest to avoid weedeatering while wearing flip flops. Been there, done that.

cubanbob said...

"But I've also, on at least two occasions, gone up and stood there like an idiot trying to catch the attention of someone at the front, while they ignored me and sat other people instead. And there's other restaurants in DC and NYC where I've had similar experiences. It's common enough that I usually just avoid sit down restaurants entirely, because it's humiliating to go in and have to walk out without being served"

Don't try to catch someone's attention. Be bold and go to them and ask for the table. That always works. The restaurant isn't doing you a favor with your money.

I like travelling. It's fun and educational and never fails to make appreciate America when you return.

Roy Lofquist said...

The very worst service I ever encountered was at the Waldorf Astoria. I have found that Denny's has consistently good service. The ladies are older and know that paying the rent depends on making you happy. Cautionary note: Don't go there after church on Sunday. Bedlam!

jaydub said...

I suppose I'm what could be described as an unapologetic traveler. I've been to Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, Bermuda, Virgin Islands (all of them), Panama, Puerto Rico, Dominica, Granada, St Kitts, Marshall Islands (three of them), Line Islands (two of them), Caroline Islands (two of them), Guam, Kapangimarangi, Fiji, Australia, Borneo, Phillipines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Kenya, Crete, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Italy, Austria, Germany, France, England, Denmark, Sweden, Great Britian, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Belgium, Portugal, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam, China, Taipei, Morocco, Malta, and I currently live in Spain. There are probably a couple of other countries that I missed, but I don't often try to count them. This summer we're going to add Poland to the list and Greece in the fall. I've also been to 46 of the "57" states. By the way, this afternoon I was watching the Corpus Christi processions wind through the centuries old plazas of Cadiz, a 3500 year old city that has been ruled successively by the Phoenicians, Carthiginians, Greeks, Romans, Visagoths, Moors, Christian Kings, Franco, and now the Spanish monarchy. I don't claim Cadiz can hold a candle to Madison because the closest I've got to Madison is Janesville. But, intuition tells me that there are probably things worth experiencing in the world that cannot be found in Southern Wisconsin; hence, travel may not be the complete bust that some may think. By the way, did I say that I've worn shorts in 3/4 of those countries? Well, so did most of the natives, so deal with it.

Balfegor said...

Re: cubanbob:

Don't try to catch someone's attention. Be bold and go to them and ask for the table. That always works. The restaurant isn't doing you a favor with your money.

There's only so many times I'm going to say "excuse me" before I just leave. I shouldn't have to touch someone or yell to be served. The fact that this is apparently what's necessary is precisely why I dislike service in America.

TML said...



Chaps (/ˈʃæps/ or /ˈtʃæps/) are sturdy coverings for the legs consisting of leggings and a belt. They are buckled on over trousers with the chaps' integrated belt, but unlike trousers they have no seat and are not joined at the crotch.

Clyde said...

I'm glad that I live in Florida where we can wear shorts year-round and not worry about what the Yankees think about it. We dress for comfort down here. It was not always thus; I'm always amazed when I see photographs of the settlers who came down here in the late 19th-early 20th Century, before air conditioning, wearing their long sleeves and wool suits. I can't imagine how they did it, and I wouldn't want to try.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Calling Mark Twain a pimp would benefit his legacy among anyone not aware of it already when talkin' travel.

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”

Not that I know, I have not been there, but I can see this quote applying to Amercans sent to Iraq and other areas realizing concepts they had of America were prejudiced against Her greatness. The bigotry was thinking everyone is like we are and values what we value as just plain old humans, and not the Sovereign American.

If diversity legally enriches the people not accepted through Affirmative Action logically one would therefore also benefit from diverse environs. And the environs would be enriched by yourself as added an diversity. This could be called synergy aka 1 + 1 = > 2.

Or the legal "logic" is just an amusing way for some folks to pass the time for cash.

bozonomous said...

The reason I never wear shorts, I figured out, is when i was growing up, I never saw any man I respected wearing shorts. For instance, John Wayne never wore shorts.