Eight years ago, I began my battle with puberty. I left the winter of my youth behind and emerged into a 40-degree-summer-heat only to realise I had developed more leg than I knew what to do with and a severely dysfunctional relationship with what had become my body.
The 2000s were over and so were knee-length cargo pants. Fuck, I said to the pubey daddy-long-legged freak in the mirror, what am I supposed to do with my legs now?
These tumultuous years of confusion had been all but crushed into the sub-basement of my psyche until Madsy relayed what her 18-year-old brother recently confessed, “I’m still trying to figure out how to wear shorts.” My darling hetero counterpart, aren’t we all.
Straight friends; today I come to you as Elle Woods did to Brooke Windham–or in your language, as Gandalf did to Frodo and Samwise–with the sacred wisdom my decade long hero’s journey imbued me with.
A Gay Boy’s Gift to the Heterosexual Man.
Where to start? Shorts may be the official cultural attire of the Gays™, but don’t let that scare you away from showing a little leg boys. If anything, you’ll be doing me a favour–especially if you have meaty rugby thighs. Think of it as a peace offering for hate-crime-ing me in school.
Cis-hets, boneheads, gym-junkies and awkward straight boys alike; let this guide be my gift to you.
Before I impart this ancient queer wisdom, there are two things I need to ask of you. First; perhaps I’m asking too much, but it’s time to leave your pluggers and NRL ruggers in the past. This is 2019 and traditional heteronormativity has been declared dead. Second; I want you to explore where your desire to don shorts stems from. Are you a sporty boy, a summer boy, do you have amazing thighs you’ve been hiding from the world, or are you simply a boy standing in front of a pair of short-shorts wondering how to wear them?
If you’re a little insecure about your heterosexuality, this is a prime entry level to leg worship. The GymBot is the epitome of relaxation; he lounges by the pool, he glides into class twenty minutes late, and his
sweat perspiration smells like a bottle of Lazy Sunday Morning by Maison Margiela. It’s a classic day-to-day look for gays and straights alike, but the devil is in the details here fellas, and us queers are well acquainted with Satan.
Your go-to brands for this look are Nike, Adidas, Canterbury and Champion–the shorter, the better. Check out vintage stores for cheap finds, or head to ASOS Marketplace for more curated selections, Mood Shop and Greatest hits. are two of my faves.
For a versatile and polished sport-luxe look you can wear to brunch, uni and gym, stick to monochromatic ensembles. Pair white with white with white with white, navy with navy with navy with navy, etc. Dress this look up with a light long sleeve button down or a structural oversized t-shirt from COS.
Punctuate The GymBot with a plain sporty slide (preferably something like Suicoke’s Padri sandal, or Adidas if you must) worn with socks.
*Bonus tip: If ur a freak between the sheets and want to translate this to the street keep your eyes on the Carne Bollente store for risque ankle accessories.
Aptly named because of it’s likeness to the attire of a 14-year-old French school boy from a Godard movie, this vibe is also inspired by the Beat Generation. So if you’re one of those assholes that loiters outside Z Block at Kelvin Grove talking about New Wave cinema and quoting Kerouac–pull out your Moleskine journal and take a note.
First of all, forget form. Oversized business shirts, chunky loafers, and loose fitting shorts cinched at the waist–this is your aesthetic. And fortunately for you, you can score most of these items at places like Vinnies, SWOP and Arkive Vintage for a price that your student income can fuck with.
This has been one of my go-to looks for years; it implies preppy intellectuality with a side of I-used-to-smoke-cigarettes-in-the-Brew-alleyway-in-high-school. Don’t let the stale tweed, plaid and houndstooth patterns of yesteryear scare you away from playing Le Garçon. An oversized graphic T à la Gosha Rubchinskiy (if you don’t know his name by now, follow the link to join contemporary society) will not only pull your look into the present, but propel it into the not too distant grunge/punk future. Violent Green always have a reliable rack of T’s that should set you up nicely.
Accessorise with berets, neckerchiefs, a folded newspaper underarm, and a bag of freshly baked rye that you can’t afford over your shoulder. If you’re really looking to immerse yourself in Le Garçon, experiment by mansplaining critical theory to your qualified tutors and scoffing at people who use psychologists to sift through childhood trauma instead of a dependancy on drugs and alcohol.
*Bonus tip: This look works with layers and has been my best friend for transitioning to cooler weather.
Look, I think I’ve parted with enough intel to get you started on your own journey of unlearning the hetero-patriarchal relationship with leg exposure. But it would be unholy sacrilege for me to write a piece on short-shorts without making a nod to the official 2017 bible of the Gays™, Call Me By Your Name.
I can still hear Armie Hammer whispering Oliver.. Oliver.. Oliver.. in my ears. In truth, it wasn’t until I left the cinema with visions of tiny-short clad Armies and Timmy Chalamets in my head that I realised I had finally found short-short nirvana within myself. Not only did CMBYN rip my heart out and leave it bleeding on the newly renovated floors of Chermside, but it also brought me face-to-face with my anxious, closeted teen-self and his list of body issues as long as his awkward legs.
Now when I wear my shorty-short-short denim cutoffs that show my albino upper legs, or my itty-bitty Canterbury’s that expose the way my hairy thighs expand to the size of a baby fucking elephant when I sit, I don’t think about how fat my thighs look or how frail and un-meaty my calves are. I think about how 14-year-old me would be both appalled and titillated to see himself cavorting around town with the same confidence as Armie’s arrogant American Oliver, legs so scantily clad.
I think about how awesome it feels to raise my middle finger to the boys and men who made me feel ugly and less than.
I see myself in the reflection of a bus and think, Damn, that daddy-long-legs got freeeeaky short-shorts game.
Eat my shorts heteronormative masculinity, xx.