January 10, 2020

"After a while... wearing shorts when it was cold out became something he had to keep doing simply because he was already known as the Boy Who Wears Shorts."

"'There were days that got below zero... but it wasn’t even really a choice at that point... It’s like, if you’re going to wear shorts when it’s 30 degrees out, you have to be ready when it’s -10. This is your time to shine!'"

From  "The Boys Who Wear Shorts All Winter/The kid who refuses to wear pants is a familiar sight to parents, students, and educators—and a mystifying one. What’s so great about being underdressed?" and quoting Tyler Wood, who is now 31, but wore shorts year-'round in Boulder, Colorado when he was a middle-schooler,

I'm linking to this because I don't want you to feel I've missed it and you have to tell me about it. I know I'm The Blogger Who Writes about Men in Shorts. But do you see the word "men" in that article title? The word is "boy."

I have no problem with boys in shorts, and my problem with men in shorts is that shorts are infantilizing. Especially when they are baggy and worn with a boxy T-shirt, they make men look like enlarged boys. I realize that self-presentation as an enlarged boy is a matter of personal choice, but I don't think most men in shorts are trying to say, through fashion, I am an enlarged boy. I think they're simply doing what is easy and comfortable for them, and at most, expressing the idea that they don't care how they look and don't care if anyone finds them attractive. I'm just providing information. Make your own choice.

Now, for parents who worry about their sons suffering from the cold: I would lean towards letting teenagers wear what they want, but if your kids are younger, you have to protect them from themselves and you have to protect yourself from the intervention of Child Protective Services.

54 comments:

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Both my boys did this. I would have to tell them to use some common sense and put pants on when we travelling in inclement weather. A big part of it is the adolescent's inability to see 5 minutes into the future. It isn't surprising that so many young people are Democrats.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

I know a 60+ someone who lives here in cold CO and he wears flip flops every day no matter the weather. He wore flip flops to the Denver football game once. freaking insane.

gilbar said...

as i'm reading this...
i'm wearing baggy shorts and a tshirt
but; they're my pj's and i'm still in the house

that's my story; and i'm sticking with it

gilbar said...

i'd wear a jacket before i'd wear long pants

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

There are idiots around who wear shorts on really cold days. Another way to garner! attention.
You wanna be that cold and miserable to make a statement? have fun. What statement are you making? at least wear a pussy hat and a Madonna gives a blow job to a bottle t-shirt to stir it up a bit.

gerry said...

He was raised in Boulder, Colorado.

That explains lot.

rcocean said...

Some boys go through a "I'll show everyone I'm tough by wearing shorts and a t-shirt when its 40 degrees". And some just aren't affected by the cold. Personally, my tolerance for cold weather has declined markedly after 50. No more shorts at 45 degrees.

rcocean said...

Its really your head and upper body that need to be kept warm. Your legs can get cold for a while without much problem.

Lucid-Ideas said...

Budding little revolutionaries. What better way to declare your independence than being sans culottes.

Liberte. Egalite. Fraternite. Culotte-Nay.

Fernandistein said...

Kids aren't cold until their teeth are chattering behind their blue lips. They don't feel pain like we do.

rehajm said...

If you keep your core warm shorts are comfortable in temps well below freezing. When the temperature drops usually the heat is cranking in the buildings you're traveling between and if a woman is in charge of the thermostat it's usually set to an uncomfortably warm setting that feels like it would melt iron.

pacwest said...

I took the kids to an outdoor hockey practice one evening when it was -10. I expected it to be canceled, but it wasnt. I sat in the car most of the time, but there was one Samoan dad who was by the rink for the full hour. He was wearing spandex shorts and a light jacket. He showed no signs of being cold that I could see. One of those oddities you never forget.

tim maguire said...

In New Jersey a while back there were a couple postal carriers who were locked in a bet to see who could last longer in shorts as summer ended and the weather got colder. It went on for 2 years, eventually morphing into a fundraiser for charity.

Finally, the killjoys at the USPS stepped in and made them wear pants.

gerry said...

Budding little revolutionaries. What better way to declare your independence than being sans culottes.

True French radicals were (and maybe still are) sans pants.

tim maguire said...

rcocean said...Its really your head and upper body that need to be kept warm. Your legs can get cold for a while without much problem.

I jog and bike in shorts if it's above freezing, but I will wear a jacket, cap, and gloves.

What am I proving, BleachBit? I'm proving it's more comfortable to be active in shorts than in pants and it has to be pretty cold before that equation changes.

Annie C. said...

"and you have to protect yourself from the intervention of Child Protective Services."

You said a mouthful in these woke scold times.

Bruce Hayden said...

“I know a 60+ someone who lives here in cold CO and he wears flip flops every day no matter the weather. He wore flip flops to the Denver football game once. freaking insane”

A lot of it in CO. Figure it is a macho thing. A decade ago, there was a guy who worked in the (then Garts) ski shop next to the City Market in Dillon/Silverthorne who claimed to wear shorts to work whenever the temperature was above zero outside. Boulder may be the worst though, with a lot of young very athletic males living there. It’s not just CO though. My kid did their undergrad in upstate NY, and the guys would apparently shift to shorts when it hit 40 outdoors.

I laugh, but I wasn't that much better. I was in college during the hippie era, etc (a year ahead of Ann). One winter I went barefoot. That was the thing. And my longish hair, typically still wet from a shower, would often freeze on the way to class. Probably would have been wearing shorts too, if I had actually ever wore them. But really never did, except maybe to do yard work in my 60s. Just never my thing. In any case, that was all in CO too, and I wasn’t the only guy walking barefoot through snow to get to class. As I said - it was the thing. Indeed, my Classics (Latin) prof usually went barefoot, then would sit on the table in class, in a lotus position, to teach. I noted that he retired maybe a decade ago. Time flies.

I look back at how stupid I was back then, but it sure didn’t seem that way at the time.

Sheridan said...

Child Protective Services (CPS)and the TSA - who does their job better, making people safer? oftentimes it's a race to the bottom.

Fernandistein said...

"They slept soundly through the night with normal resting heat production. The white controls cooled almost as much, but unable to rest, they shivered and thrashed about all night, with a corresponding elevation of metabolism. The cooling adaptation of the Australian aborigines*, which resembles the insulative cooling commonly found in mammals, differs from the metabolic compensation and greater peripheral heating developed in cold-acclimated white man."

* To them, "shorts" would be "longs".

Earnest Prole said...

I'm a man in a trance
I'm a boy in short pants

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

I don't remember: did you comment on the Canadian story of a Winnipeg Blue Bombers fan (a man)(football) who promised to keep wearing shorts all year long until his team won the Grey Cup? This took years, and he kept his promise. Not a contract, I guess. https://globalnews.ca/news/6217527/blue-bombers-fan-pants-grey-cup-win/

rhhardin said...

Shorts all year, but with sweat pants over them when bicycling the daily commute and it's below 40. The shorts supply pockets, and heating only on the upper leg is nice.

Althouse's enlarged boy fetish is ridiculous.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Tim - I have no issue with people who want to wear shorts in winter. Do what you want. Certainly athletic activity gives an authentic reason to wear shorts. I see dudes walking around in shorts for no reason. They are not running, they are walking around. But hey - whatever you want to do. I think it is nuts. I am cold all of the time. I would never go out in shorts when it is cold out. I can only guess why someone would want to do such a thing. Ego ? or you're just hot all the time?

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Bruce H - ha. That explains a lot.

Sebastian said...

"I think they're simply doing what is easy and comfortable for them, and at most, expressing the idea that they don't care how they look and don't care if anyone finds them attractive."

Right. So what?

Black Bellamy said...

I wear shorts because it's hot. I have all kinds. Long short cargo dressy cotton synthetic athletic whatever. My legs and ass are in awesome shape for a guy in his 50s, who am I to deny the ladies something to appreciate?

Narr said...

"Quoteing"? And you, a law professor! Sorry if someone has beat me to it--I couldn't wait.

Anyway, I'll review and return.

Narr
Do you suffer shortness of pants?

Narr said...

There was a guy who used to use the university library here, who never wore anything that I could tell but summer weight clothes--plain cotton pants and a cotton short-sleeve shirt, no undershirt. He was one of those unfocused polymaths that hang around big public universities everywhere-- and he wasn't a poseur, just socially awkward and immune to cold.

We get very cold at times in the winter, and after work I would see him at the bus stop, bare arms loaded with science and math books even as the sun went down and I was shivering in my-not-yet-warm car.

Narr
And one of those survival shows features some long haired guy who only wears shorts and NO SHOES. WTF?

Mike Sylwester said...

In my high school class there was a guy who wore shorts all the time, no matter what the weather.

He was an extremely smart guy. He was studying advanced chemistry at the university.

wendybar said...

My 65 year old Brother in Law in upstate New York wears shorts, and goes barefoot (unless he is going out to a store or something) all the time...even out on his deck!!!

Narr said...

Well, I wear the short pants in this family.

As I boy, I was vehemently against wearing shorts, precisely because I considered them unmanly. My widowed mother and I had magnificent shouting matches about it for several summers in a row-- she didn't care that only little boys wore shorts as far as I was concerned and I was already 11. (I had neo-Victorian notions of appropriate dress for men.)

That lasted a few years, but as I got older comfort became more important, and I started wearing shorts again, just in time for puberty, and as it turns out I got nice legs--better than mi esposa as she'll be the first to tell you, and I probably wear shorts 7 months of the year.

Narr
I sleep in a pair of gym shorts year-round

Narr said...

The whole men-to-boys dress progression (declension? you choose) is just an aspect of elite appropriation of formerly subordinate modes of dress and expression. At least, that's how Narr, influenced by Fussell, Toynbee, Pareto and others would see it.

The obvious French Rev models have been trotted out. In the modern world, the American experience of WWII and after altered how American men chose to dress, and if you'd spent a few years sweating in some shithole in the Med or Pacific wearing shorts, t-shirts, and baseball caps most of the time you might have come to prefer practicality to looking sharp.

The people who were already there started dressing similarly, and a sort of international scruffy look took over. The backward ball caps and oversize shirts and shorts--the big baby look--has come from the tendency of Youthful Fashion-Setters to exaggerate the features towards impracticality for any activity more strenuous than hanging out.

There's always a tension between practicality and utility and status-signaling; the latter now has to take the form of too-large clothing, since it isn't possible to go the other way any more.

Narr
Incroyable

Unknown said...

Two-thirds of Boulder's January days are sunny with an average daytime high of 47°F.

Nothing wrong with shorts during the day. A guy needs all the vitamin D he can get so I wear them year 'round in Denver. Unless I'm going to a funeral or wedding or a fancy dinner, IDC what other people think of my appearance.

Tom said...

Unless it’s over 90 degrees and a bit humid, I wear pants to play golf - as it should be.

Ann Althouse said...

I've been seeing college boys in shorts in Madison in winter for as long as I have lived here.

I think this happens because they're spending time in the heated indoors and are dressing for that and just hurrying through the outdoors.

But I do see males and females running in shorts in winter around here.

People get acclimated.

tim in vermont said...

I went to elementary school in Upstate New York in the sixties when girls were required to wear skirts above the knee and this is before allowances were made for weather, and when school didn’t close for less than a foot of snow that had all fallen since 2 AM that day. I remember being a little bit awed at the girls in their black and white saddle shoes and those bare legs on the coldest mornings when as a boy, I got to wear long pants.

tim in vermont said...

"If you are a looks-judger, then a smart woman knows when she has aged out of the mini-shirt look with her lower body and legs.”

OMG, there was a lady today, I am in Florida, wearing a short skirt who looked not so much like she had been woken up this morning, but rather exhumed. I got nothing against elderly women, but there comes a time when mutton should just trying to stop carrying off lamb.

BertBaker said...

A college friend, way back when, would never wear more than a t-shirt through winter in NJ. He claimed it was a “mind over matter” thing. But when the weather turned warm he was the sweatiest, stinkiest guy in the room, any room. So maybe it was something else.

tim in vermont said...

If you really want to project little boy, go with the shorts and a baseball cap that’s round on top like beanie with a bill. Adding a propellor might be a little over the top though.

readering said...

My London school uniform shorts through equivalent of fifth grade.

Clyde said...

I’ve lived in southwest Florida for 30 years. I wear shorts and a t-shirt most of the time because it’s comfortable in this climate. When the temperature drops below about 50 degrees, I wear jeans and a flannel shirt. Again, comfort.

Bilwick said...

There are a lot of such "boys" here in Atlanta, which--despite what the Chamber of Commerce, the Tourist Board and others in the Legion of Boosters may tall you--does get old (with the wind chill, sometimes bitterly cold). These "boys" look about 30-40, and I think of them as overage frat boys.

Balfegor said...

RE: rcocean:

Some boys go through a "I'll show everyone I'm tough by wearing shorts and a t-shirt when its 40 degrees". And some just aren't affected by the cold. Personally, my tolerance for cold weather has declined markedly after 50. No more shorts at 45 degrees.

I show my toughness by wearing a suit and tie when it's 40 degrees.

Centigrade

Mr. Majestyk said...

I went through a period of never wearing shorts, even during the summer in Chicago. I just didn't like them.

Richard Fagin said...

"[Y]ou have to protect yourself from the intervention of Child Protective Services." Indeed you do. Politely expressed, they tend to err on the side of caution where child welfare may be in question. My parents would have died in prison for leaving me and my sister alone at home for entire weekend, aged 11 and 8 if today's rules applied 52 years ago. Just ask Gerald Amirault.

reader said...

When my son was younger I often sent him back to change into warmer clothes for school and made him take a jacket as well. He would complain that he wasn’t cold so I told him the rule was if I was cold he was cold. My husband didn’t get a vote because he runs hot. Once my son hit 7th grade I left him in charge of his wardrobe for the day.

My husband is typically always in shorts if he isn’t at work. In Southern California this is practical. Unless it gets really cold here or if we’re on a trip he is much happier wearing a sweater or jacket with shorts than wearing long pants. When we are arguing about the temperature in our house his standard refrain is that he can’t get much more naked...unless I want him naked.

I volunteered in the school library from elementary school through high school. The majority of kids who were dressed impractically for the weather were young girls of all ages. They would wear cute little (some really little) outfits that they didn’t want to disguise with a jacket. On more than one occasion I sent girls to the office because their skirts were too short.

Mark said...

There was a guy on one of those professional survival shows who went barefoot all the time regardless of terrain or weather. Cody Something, I think.

Cody Lundin.

ThunderChick said...

All three of my boys went through a phase in middle school where they only wanted to wear shorts - even in the winter. I absolutely refused to let them wear shorts if there was snow or freezing temperatures outside. Now that they are in high school, it is no longer an issue. They do wear shorts all year, though, inside our house and will immediately change into shorts when they get home from school or wherever.

oldwahoo said...

My son went through this phase. Until a late January day when it was about 10 degrees. Then he said "I think I'll wear pants today."

oldwahoo said...

One observation: As you get older (say over 55) you look better if you dress nicely.

Balfegor said...

Re: oldwahoo:

One observation: As you get older (say over 55) you look better if you dress nicely.

For most of us, this hits much earlier than 55. If one is the least bit overweight, this is true at 30.

Narr said...

Yeah, the cold bites sharper when you're old. I run hot, as someone noted about their husband, and actually have a reputation as a bit of a polar bear, but when I get cold ears and head or hands I'm the first one to put on a knit cap or gloves.

My memory has been jogged, and my son and his friends went through the "too cool to get cold" phase for a few years.

On the other end, little boys like me were expected to wear woolen long pants in the winter, especially when going somewhere nice; in JROTC we were issued green woolen pants and tunics for winter, which of course was most of the school year by their definition. We had to wear the uniform two days a week and suffered some ungodly hot afternoons . . . Black socks, plain black shoes--we smelled bad most of the time.

But our older brothers were winning in Vietnam so what was our little discomfort?

Narr
Nah, didn't think you would

Nick said...

are you serious... first place you go is child protective services...? you're dangerous...

Hercules, not that one though said...

First of all, Northern Idaho here. Here's the rule. Shorts are appropriate up to -16 F. Plus, I finally enjoyed a 'readering' post. These things come around. Still, Get an AR, and Althouse wears her skirts too high in High School. Can we at least agree on that? People, I'm trying to be diversity and inclusive. Let's at least agree on these 2 things. 1) shorts are good up to -16 degrees Fahrenheit. Don't give me this Celsius or Kelvin crap. 2) Apparently Althouse wore too short skirts in High School. I don't know. I wasn't there. BUT can we at least agree on these two things?