Photo: The NBA’s Hawks. Note, this is not this year’s team. It’s the St. Louis Hawks of the 1950s. Just in case you were confused.
A lot of important things happened in 1957. The Braves won the World Series … the Milwaukee Braves, that is. And the Hawks made the NBA Finals before losing to the Celtics … the St. Louis Hawks, that is, of course. And John Pulman won the World Snooker Championship in a hard-fought 39-34 victory over Jackie Rea.
Something else happened in 1957 that had way more folks snickerin’ than snookerin’ — a band called The Royal Teens had an incredibly bad earworm song called “Short Shorts.” You’ve heard it: Who wears short-shorts? We wear short-shorts.
It’s horrible. It’s those lines over and over again for more than two minutes. Fortunately, they really mix it up a couple of times by saying: They’re such short-shorts, followed this time by we like short-shorts. Completely different but equally annoying. There’s also a sax solo that goes honk honk short-shorts.
(Yes, I speak sax. That’s why I always note that I’m bilingual on job applications. And if they ask me to prove it, I just go “Da duh duh da duh duh dun duh — TEQUILA!”)
I’m guessing that in the evil days of Elvis and his pelvis, short-shorts must’ve been a fairly controversial song. It was like the “Darling Nikki” of the 1950s. In fact, Tipper Gore’s grandmother threatened to label the album “explicit” if they didn’t change the name of the song to “Who wears length-challenged pants? And why, you evil little hoodlum?”
Of course, there were plenty of folks wearing short-shorts back then and even through the sixties and seventies. Just look at the NBA team photos of those eras. I can’t tell if those are the Boston Celtics or the Boston Tea Party Swim Team with those little shorts. And they hiked those short-shorts up so high that all the guys sang in falsetto. It’s a scientific fact that Frankie Valli was a deep baritone before he played guard for his high school hoops team, the Jersey City Rag Dolls.
Then came the 1980s. That’s when the 1982 Nets — the Macon County Recreation Department Nets, not the taller NBA guys — posed for their team photo, and one guy killed short-shorts forever: me. Never mind those two points I accidentally scored that championship season. Nope, all anyone can recall is me in those short-shorts.
Don’t worry. It won’t happen again — me wearing short-shorts or scoring points in a basketball game. Although, the fashion world insists that short-shorts are coming back for men. In fact, there is some whole hashtag movement — #5inchseam — on social media that encourages the trend. I didn’t even know folks measured inseams on shorts. I mean, where do you even …
“Um, who invited Chris to the Zoom meeting? Don’t go Toobin on us!”
“Sorry. Don’t worry. This is research.”
This may surprise you, but I’m probably sitting this (and every) fashion trend out, even though my wife believes my shorts are too long. Like most women, she also thinks cargo shorts are out. Like most men who like to be both practical and comfortable, I believe cargo shorts are the bomb and don’t care what you think about fashion.
I survived a few years working with the women of the features department at the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer — nice ladies who were unfortunately slaves to fashion and frequently fainted when I’d walk in wearing cargo shorts or white after Labor Day. They didn’t understand that before that gig, I never cared about fashion — nor did I care about fashion during that gig or since that gig. I had to talk one of those ladies off a ledge when I said she had too many shoes.
“Three pair is more than enough,” I said.
She went running for the nearest window like the Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz” — who, by the way, was not wearing any shoes … or shorts.
So, you conformists may see me out and about wearing cargo shorts, flip-flops and a white shirt after Labor Day. My underwear probably has holes in it, too. You’re just gonna have to get over it. I certainly will. I’m a proud, comfortable slob, and I promise it bothers you more than it does me. I was too old to care when I was 30. Now, I’m waaay too old to care.
Besides, my legs are too pretty for short-shorts. And I just can’t stomach being objectified like that.