Sunday, June 6, 2010

Jean Shorts: A User's Loser's Guide

The only hard and fast rule I know about summer clothing is that, apparently, it's only OK to wear white shoes between Memorial and Labor Day.

I don't know who decided this--probably the same old rich dudes who find it acceptable to attend yacht parties wearing pastel-colored khakis embossed with tiny lobsters and schooners.

Anyway, the white shoe thing isn't even a problem for me, because wearing white shoes in New York City is a fool's game. After a week, your virginal footwear will take on the fetching, mottled gray hue of diseased pigeon (incidentally one of New York's most prized indigenous species).

No, my summer style conundrum can be summed up in two words: jean shorts.

I love jean shorts... in theory.

In theory, as soon as I put them on I instantly look exactly like Giselle Bundchen from the waist down.

In theory, my skin turns from the color of tracing paper to a golden tan the color of fine scotch, and my legs grow two feet, like Inspector Gadget's did when he needed to climb over tall things.

Of course, this is all in theory. In reality, even doing my model-iest pose I resemble an albino Munchkin when compared to Her Leggyness.

Seriously, here's what a combined photo of the two of us would look like, to scale:

And in those photos I'm wearing store-bought jean shorts. So you can imagine how dire the situation is when I wear cutoffs I made myself.

You know what? Why bother imagining? Let me show you.

(Jean shorts mistakes to avoid)

Please note: Lest you think I've succumbed to TTDT disease, know that I'm purposefully standing with my legs apart in these photos, for vanity purposes.


Paranoid about accidentally cutting too short (see #4), you may end up with unflattering--albeit Vatican-appropriate--jean-Jams.

This is a hell-to-the-no style for all but the most coltish among us. Try again.


If you're anything like me, you don't use measuring tape or even a ruler; you just eyeball the length and hack away. This can result in an Arnold Schwarzenegger-Danny DeVito situation:

It can also result in...


"Oh, hey!" you may be saying to yourself. "These look OK."


Unscientific cutting has led to an uneven, mullet-y effect:


The only thing worse than leaving shorts too long is making the question "Who wears short shorts?" rhetorical.

(Fun story: I went to the NYC gay pride parade with my uncles in the mid-90s, and a gentleman was wearing shorts so short his balls were hanging out of one side. Innocence lost!)

Is there any way to use the remaining legs?

There are only so many ladyparts a denim sleeve can fit on. Herewith, some ill-advised modeling:


Because the most flattering part of the leg is the upper thigh!

*Like hijab... get it?


Could this be summer's answer to the Texas tuxedo?

Yeah... no.

Also, maybe I've just been staring at this photo for too long, but don't my knees look like little faces? I wonder what they'd say if they could talk...

Perhaps best not to know.


No, I haven't been drinking... why do you ask?

BTW, when I was taking this photo with my self-timer, the settings were off and I wound up with this:

Me: JEFF! Jeff, omigah, look!
Jeff: [Playing video games] What?
Me: The camera can't see me! I'm a ghost! 
Jeff: It was a natural light photo, so the shutter was open for a long time, and you moved.
Me: No, I'm pretty sure this means I'm going to die. 
Jeff: Yeah, probably.
Me: AND if this picture's any indication, I'm going to spend eternity in jean shorts and arm cutoffs!
Jeff: Let's hope St. Peter's blind.


Wait... this means my thighs are the same circumference as my skull. Is that normal? Excuse me while I go stick my head in all of my pants.



  1. I love you so much for this post. It's exactly what I needed to see today when I'm dead-to-the-world hungover. You are my hero. In denim.

  2. I really love the leg warmers!
    Plus, I was raised in Utah, so I know all about the Chastity shorts!

  3. oh my gosh!!!!! Pat and i just sat here cracking up!!!!!! you are so brilliant.... SO damn funny.... you are my girl crush. i heart you!!!! =)

  4. omg! The truckstop Jailbait is the Greatest!

  5. Wow, who knew you were such a... designer? Stunning stuff! And very funny.

  6. An old man at one the tables I waited on had on super short shorts, and his balls were hanging out off the side of the booth bench. Classic.

  7. That's so damn funny it made me forget I wasn't wearing any pants...

  8. Party in the front..Malcom in the middle..

    ha ha! I love it!

  9. The Fe(mur)dora gets my vote as the best way to wear jean shorts in 2010. A new fashion statement is born!

  10. Have you thought about writing for a living. . . BTW I pimped this particular post on Facebook. Just in case you get inundated with three more readers.

  11. Best. Post. Ever.

    Oh and PS, I've totally done the mullet shorts. Sigh.

  12. I am guilty of vatican shorts! anything shorter gives me a reverse muffin top! you know, chunk outta the bottom. yuck. My upper thighs have seen better days (in high schhol, when I ran, and dieted constantly, and had time to work out, and didn't know about beer.
    I'll stick with empire waist sundresses, thankyou.
    The legs can be made into a handbag, so you can go to fancy restuarants in the shorts with a matching bag- just be sure to wear heels and lots of long necklaces.

  13. Haha jorts are the worst :P

  14. Anonymous9:57 PM

    At our house my husband is the jean short maker. My friend calls them "jorts"... He uses nice old jeans (think 7's and paper denim), always cuts straight and occasionally makes himself a pair of truck stop jail-baits to wear around the house for my amusement! All hail the jorts! It's not the worst fashion crime you could commit on a hot summer day!

  15. Anonymous10:12 PM

    I hacked away at some old jeans once and ended up with Truckstop Jailbait. Now I only wear them around the house when I want to pretend to be a stripper...

  16. Anonymous10:27 PM

    There is nothing I don't love about this. Thank you! We were talking about "jorts" as my hubs calls them, and we saw some in the store today, in the mens section... never ok. Never.

  17. another great post.

  18. I've always wondered what one would find when Googling "old guys from Muppets jean shorts gay pride balls mullet Giselle".

  19. Odd question.. How did you make that picture your background? My friend is trying to put his picture up and i have no idea how to do it.
    And yes i love your blog, I look forward to reading it everyday. :)

  20. Ah, thanks for the memories. Who doesn't have a 'balls out the side' story from the 80's?

  21. @elizabeth: men can't wear jean shorts? i shall prove you wrong, m'lady!

  22. Your ode to denim shorts had me laughing so hard I think I sliced my inner thigh trying to make my own pair. Because of this, and the fact that you constantly make me laugh when I picture you sticking your head in your pants, I would like to pass along the Beautiful Blogger award I received last week. Feel free to stop by and claim your winnings!

  23. While quietly and in full espionage-type style trying to sneak a peek at your blog today without being caught, I burst out in outrageously loud and unbridled laughter... and everyone in my very quiet, very serene job looked at me like someone must have their hands up my "jean shorts"....

    Thanks for making monday not so horrible and for making me feel better about what I do with my weekends. BAAAAAHAHAGHAHAHAHAH!!

  24. i just found your blog. i'm so grateful i could cry. you're actually REFRESHING and FUNNY and not writing about your perfect children and the perfect meals you cook for them and photograph to show all of your blog readers (recipe included) how perfectly perfect your life is. bless you.

  25. You earn your 3530 followers!

  26. sported a pair of my Dad's jeans cut off to just below the pockets for the better part of my high school years...that's right I was "Rad"! ;0) LOL! I love this post, freaking funny!

  27. I'm at work. Reading this. In tears. I look like a crazy person. Hahaha.

  28. I want to see if my thighs are the same circumference as my head, too! Hahaha wow. You make me laugh. LOVE the ghost pic and the conversation it sparked between you and your husband.

  29. You rock the jean shorts, you just need to swap the running shoes for some heels and you'll be 3 to 4 inches closer to glamazon.

  30. This blog is dangerous to read at work. I started to laugh, realized someone was in my cloffice (closet-office), and I tried to cover it up. I ended up sounding like a horse with emphysema.
    Thank you. Thank you for the hilarity, horse death-whinny and all.

  31. Fantasy vs. Reality - frickin' hilarious - and so damn disappointing for all of us. I love the combined pictures.

    Ghost picture - thinking Back to the Future.

  32. I think it's important to note that men should also never wear jorts (that's jean shorts, ya'll).

    Is it bad that the legwarmers shot reminded me of my punk rock days? I'm pretty sure I rocked that look.

  33. not such a long time reader, first time comment. Very enjoyable! My attention span is short so I liked all the pictures :)

  34. Oh my god. I laughed so very hard,
    That brightened my day sooo much.

    Touch'e my friend.

  35. Oh my God. I interrupted a foot massage from my hubby to show him this post. I laughed so freakin' hard at your mullet shorts. You rock!

  36. I'm pretty sure I have variations on all those shorts in my closet at this time.

    And I'm totally with you on the pasty white munchkin thing. As an Irish girl in California, the only thing I hear more often than "what are those brown spots all over your face?" is "damn... your legs are so pasty white. You're brave to wear shorts."


  37. My cut-offs were cut (unscientifically) from my hubs's jeans - and they fit, Gah!!!! Verification word: undies - honest!

  38. sweet Jesus I laughed so hard my HOT coffee came out of my nose. disgusting but awesome (and kind of ouch) but so worth it.
    can you do a review of mandles next? (man sandles) or, "who wears jorts and mandles? while also rocking socks..."

  39. I think I love you now. Is that ron?

  40. Thank you for the laugh today. I really needed to smile at someone else's misfortunate jean cut-offs.

    My husband suffers from TTDT disease. He has loooong skinny legs. If he were a female model, he'd have HOT legs. Jealous? Me? His corduroys don't even make that great fwif-fwaf noise as he walks.

  41. You are hilarious! I am short and if the shorts are too long I look like I am wearing someone else's tiny pants. If they are too short I look like I am trying too hard to shove my big butt into some little girl's shorts. So hard to find shorts for short people. Kinda crazy!

  42. That is well funny! I have never seen a pair of jeans so well utilised before. And bloody hell, I am going to stick my head in my trousers to see if it is true that your thigh diameters is the same as your head!

  43. I've got this mental image of you stuffing your head in all of your pants and I can't stop laughing. I also think to myself "I wonder if mine is the same way, I sure hope my kids don't have that problem"

    See my blog about my bobble headed children

  44. That was timely. I just got done cutting. This is one of those things everyone does but is not worth mentioning....except by the SC!!!

  45. Oh my...I'd love to take a vacation in your brain sometime, ha ha!

    I love the old man knees. And you're RIGHT!

    Probably the only thing worse than DIY short shorts are skirts made from old jeans. They're like wearing a stff tent on your legs. :/

  46. I guess you have to be careful what you wear when your legs don't have two feet. ZIING! Two points for the metric system!

  47. HAHAHA, I'm so glad I clicked over here. That was hysterical. I do hope you are not stuck in Purgatory there, especially wearing the Fe(mur)dora. I don't think St. Peter is blind.


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