These Are the Best Men’s Shorts I’ve Ever Worn

They feel like pants that got cut short; not underwear that got arrogant.

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Shorts are the quicksand men stumble into in warmer weather. It seems strange that less fabric actually presents more hazards but that’s the way it is. Pants are easy; shorts are hard. The flaws of shorts come in two flavors: weight and height, or to be more precise, inseam. (The inseam is the measurement from the crotch to the hem.)

When it comes to weight — which is usually expressed in ounces per square yard — you want something that isn’t so light that your penile bulge is salient. No one wants to see that shit. You don’t want to be the dad with his dick always poking people. It’s not a good look. That’s my main objection to seersucker which tends to hover around the 2.5 oz weight. On the other hand, you don’t want a fabric so heavy, that it feels like a sauna around your jewels. That’s not good for you or your family. It also undermines the very reason for wearing shorts.

The middle way is also what to look for in terms of inseam. Knees are not salacious. Once a pair of shorts crosses that kneecap Rubicon, they have become Capri pants. Capri pants are no man’s friend. On the other hand, and I speak from experience here, very short shorts will likely get you mocked and, all things considered, are pretty uncomfortable. For a guy like me who has big thighs, too-short shorts means constant readjustment as the hems cling to my well-developed quadriceps. So, anything less than a 5″ inseam is too short; anything over a 9″ inseam is too long. You want a confident 2″ – 3″ of thigh peeking out above your knees.

So let’s get to the shorts themselves. What shorts will you be wearing all summer? These, the Roughneck Short from American Giant, the company that also makes —according to those annoying “From our Partner” modules at the bottom of most websites I go to — “the best hoodie in the world.” Whatever. I do like their hoodie but I’m not here to talk about sweats. No, I’m here to talk about shorts. The reason these shorts are the only shorts I’ll wear is because they are soberly weighted and flatteringly cut. At 9.7 oz, the 2-by-2 basketweave canvas — made in America by Patriot Fabrics because Fuck Yeah, America! — enshrouds my junk and my thighs with substantial weight. They feel like pants that got cut short; not underwear that got arrogant. There are a few nice stylistic touches too, like belt loops — although only tools wear belts with shorts — and pockets sewn so that they don’t look like your hips grew ears.

As for the inseam, it’s 8.75″ which leaves just enough space for the quadricep (the vastus lateralis and vastus medialis to be exact) to present itself like a muscle-y curtain above the patella. Additionally, at 8.75″, the shorts don’t ride so high up on the thigh when one sits down or otherwise places the leg in flexion, that one must do that weird wiggle to get the legs to fall back to their proper place.

Look, I just did a deep dive into one pair of shorts. You don’t need really to know any of this. You just need to wear them.

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