Friday, August 01, 2008

Are white-collar shorts necessarily gay?

Half Sigma points to a NYT article on the 'emerging' acceptance of shorts as legitimate white-collar attire. His take:

The “shorts suit” looks downright gay. I can’t imagine a straight man wearing that to work.
Following the link, it's hard to disagree with that sentiment.

The first image that greets the reader is displayed nearby. Is that visage of human emaciation prominent enough among whiterpeople in New York City to be justified as one of the three men whose pictures are featured, or is this a manifestation of the NYT's alleged gay agenda? The limp posture and concave back broadcast impotence, not virility. My biceps are thicker than his neck. To top it off, he's sodomizing the cowboy pose (below) with the positioning of his hands.

I'm afraid that if the black guy took a seat opposite myself, and we were facing each other without a table or some other barrier between us, I'd be able to see his scrotum. That is gayness by default.

The third guy moves away from overt homosexuality and more towards metrosexuality, but if he's the manliest on the shorts suit spectrum, it's doomed as a niche that the mainstream cannot touch.

The use of less androgynous models take away from the overt gayness of the look. Ridiculous maybe, but not necessarily gay. The nearby shot is more fair (though he also refuses to stick his damn hands in his pockets).

Located in the heart of flyover country, I suppose the look won't become widespread here if it dies on the coast. For pragmatic reasons, I hope it survives.

I have to operate within the parameters of what is socially acceptable for what I do, but within those parameters, it's a straight shot to whatever is most comfortable. When I'm not working out or playing ball, being hot sucks. Concentration is more difficult, my patience wears thin, my consideration and conscientiousness both drop, and I start to feel claustrophobic. As the heat and discomfort overtake me, I feel myself transitioning from erudite English to irascible Irish. It's not conducive to my social or professional careers to be in an overheated state of mind.

Fortunately, depending on the situation, I'm sometimes able to get away with the business casual khaki shorts, golf shirt, and clean running shoes athletic look. If this trend weakens the dominance of slacks, I'm for it. Yeah, who said I was instinctively conservative on all things?


Anonymous said...

NJ summers suck, but I have managed to stay relatively cooler by doing the following:

-Thong underwear. No lie.
- A few good pairs of dressier mocs. Try Cole Haan.
-Good moisture wicking socks.
-Change your shirt when you get to work.
Cold showers.

Audacious Epigone said...


Not sure I could do the first one.

Under Armour helps, too. The last one is definitely beneficial as well.

I've found not using the A/C in the car actually makes me feel better whenever I'm not in it, if you can stand that (driving as efficiently as possible is a game to me anyway, so it works on two levels).

Anonymous said...

"Not sure I could do the first one."

Buy 1 pair and try it, you'll be a convert. I was a skeptic myself up until a few years ago. Try Calvin Klein, they make a pretty good version.
Anyway, things are held securely but without the excess fabric that forms the "shorts" parts of boxers. If you tuck your shirt in like I do, you'll find it is more much comfortable and less constricting without the excess fabric. In other words, the tucked-in shirt is next to skin, not sandwiched between your pants and the fabric of your boxers. Who wants extra layers? It is almost 85 here and it looks like it will be 94 out in KC. The only time I wear boxer type underwear anymore is when I'm wearing shorts or for athletics.

agnostic said...

There's a remark in that article that no powerful place lets you dress that way -- banks, law offices, hospitals, etc. It's not because shorts look gay (those types of shorts do, though), but because they don't make you look authoritative. Lawyers, or whoever, are free to wear them on the golf course or at a beach club, just not at work.

Wear lighter-weight natural fabric, and it shouldn't be bad. Still, sometimes you have to sweat a little to make a good impression.

Audacious Epigone said...


Yes, and the temperature doesn't do our misery justice. Humidity is in the 80%-100% range most of the summer, so the heat index regularly tops 105 degrees.

I'll ask for them as a Christmas present, how's that?


Right. I know, and I'd never wear shorts in an inappropriate situation. Out visiting people is when I do it, not at the central office and not when I'm going to be with a superior.

But maybe if the rules changed... though it's a perception that goes beyond just dress etiquette. You've remarked on how you wear dress shirts and black slacks (I think) even in casual social situations, creating quite the "wow" factor.

agnostic said...

Always dress above expectation, and you'll stand out and make a good impression. Employers will not let you get away with anything at a high-powered office. Employers at lower-level places will tolerate some decrease in formality.

Girls are pretty forgiving of how put-together a guy looks, but they really respond when he looks sharp. Ever had a girl proclaim giddily to her friend, "I mean, omigod, he looks like James Bond!" ? It's worth it.

Audacious Epigone said...

When I was first getting into industry, my dad advised not to dress for the position you're in, but the position you want to be in. Agnostic's on the money. In business, in social gatherings, or with a girl you want to impress, looking sharp(er than what is necessitated) always works to your advantage.