SMOKE: Bad In Shorts

Originally published: 4 November 2004

I don't believe men were intended to wear shorts.

Birds? Shore. There are few things in this world finer than a handful or two of sweet ass stuffed into the tiniest little shorts you can imagine, perched high above a pair of smooth, feminine legs. Shorts were made for women.

But I've always felt like a complete idiot whenever I've worn shorts, and more than that - I lose my power when I do. It's very hard to appear tough and murderous while interrogating some poor stool in an abandoned shed out on the edge of Potter's Field, clad in a pair of garish bermuda baggies.

They just laugh at you.

The problem for men is their legs - sure there are men around whose legs alone could convert an entire convent of nuns into giggling, filthy-minded tarts, but those okes are few and far between.

Most of us have spindly chicken drumsticks covered with leg pubes. If I was chicks I would hate okes. I really would.

But most okes look just fine when they pull a pair of longs on, and they also gain a lot more status by doing so.

Walk into any given jeweller's in a pair of shorts and watch how icy the cold shoulder gets, but walk into the same store in a pair of chinos and tassled loafers and prepare your ass for a serious licking.

My rather unnatural loathing of shorts began - as with all problems - at school.

In South Africa's uniform-obsessed society pants were used to award status to older boys. In junior school you spent winter and summer freezing your thin young botty off in shorts until the day you started standard five, and on that day you would be handed a pair of longs to denote your status and to protect your shrivelled privates.

The ploy worked - older boys had more status than younger boys, but only for a year. Once you went to high school you were instantly demoted and again had to wear damnable shorts.

I found it all very stupid - just because you're a boy doesn't mean you don't freeze your ass off, and it should simply have worked that you had shorts in summer and longs in winter. Hot, cold. Shorts, longs. The problem?

I suppose the problem would be that young boys tend to behave like complete idiots and would no doubt ruin their long pants in half an hour flat.

Even when I was in high school I permanently had holes in the knees of my grey longs that needed to be darned, and no amount of needlework could hide the fact that you had a knee patch and were thus too poor to purchase new pants.

Those grey school shorts really were too ridiculous though - either they were too long (fat bullies always had shorts that were too long for some reason - I think it was because to accommodate their considerable girth they had to buy a larger size pair of shorts which were naturally too long for their obese, stubby legs) or they were too short, and when they were too short it killed off any notion you might have had of trying to appear cool or sexy.

Tight little grey shorts on skinny kids look ridiculous, which means I spent most of my childhood looking ridiculous.

It gets worse.

The moment I left school I threw out all shorts and stocked up on black jeans, which is just about all I've worn since. I used to go to the beach in jeans and leave them on - I'd rather boil to death than walk around looking like a perfumed ponce.

But I had one moment of shorts madness which was a complete blip on my radar - it happened once, and had never happened before nor has happened since.

I was at drama school, which might explain it. My standard fare at drama school was black boots, black jeans, black t-shirt, black shirt, black jersey and black trench coat, topped off with a black hat. Yup - I was that wanker.

But on one day the sun was shining, I was in a good mood and the madness struck.

I was performing in a December end-of-year musical and when I arrived backstage that evening an excited yet nervous frisson rippled through the large cast. A dude clad in black from head to toe they could deal with, but not the apparition that appeared before them.

I had on a pair of ripped denim shorts that reached my knees - they were made from a pair of my girlfriend's jeans and were intended for her use, and because of this they had little flowers embroidered around the seams. They were artistically ripped in places and the sawn-off legs were rough and thready.

I had a pair of Converse basketball takkies on with the socks just showing and a faded t-shirt with a nebulous print of a marketplace in India on it.

Over that I had on - I shit you not - an highly-detailed embroidered waistcoat and the coup de grace - the piéce de résistance, if you will - an ethnic peak cap which had embroidered elephants walking around it in a very Indian theme.

I don't know who I thought I was or why I thought I was being it, but the shock from the assembled crowd was palpable. I knew instantly that I had made a Very Bad Mistake, but by then it was too late to do anything about it.

Nobody said anything but the straight okes all drew back a few paces and the chicks suddenly felt a lot more comfortable around me.

One enormous, six-foot-something queen (who would spend hours each day describing the size of the penis he had sat on the night before while squealing in delight) smiled knowingly at me and offered a wink.

It was the last time I ever wore shorts.

All Smoked Out,
Luke Tagg
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