Summertime — a time to get outside and enjoy the sights. It’s the best time of year for a people-watcher, like me. I watch so many women wearing shorts. Really, short shorts!

Personally, I haven’t worn shorts in decades. No need to push my bottom into a pair because, from the rear, it looks like two puppies struggling to get out. From that angle, it looks like my cheeks are chewing bubble gum.
I’m not putting myself down. I’m very grateful for the legs I have. They are decent, stocky, Irish peasant legs, meant to support me as I carry rocks up a famine hill. I’m fine with that.  I don’t care much for shorts, not because of the size of my legs, but their colour.

There is none. I don’t tan.

I am white The colour white has many iterations. You can call it French white or linen white but mine are white-white. I have zero pigments. When I sit by one of those SAD lights, they cure my depression but give me sunstroke.
Being this white means I could never be a nudist. Other nudists would go snow blind. And with this no short ban, it cuts me off from pursuing certain professions. For example, I could never be a postal worker. Dogs would take one look at my Bermuda shorts and immediately want to bite me. And I could never be a cop. Cops are forced to wear shorts. Was it not bad enough they put them on bikes? How humiliating it must be for them but then wearing Bermuda shorts and cycling like little demons, chasing bad guys driving souped-up, vibrating cars. They look like the Wicked Witch of the West, warning, “I’ll get you, my little drug dealer. You and your little pit bull, too.”
My self-imposed shorts ban started back in my childhood. As a teenager, I was the one at the beach always pretending I’d forgotten my bathing suit. “I’ll just wear my Levis.” No cut-offs. Full-length jeans. And boy, those suckers get heavy when they’re wet. It’s a wonder I wasn’t found at the bottom of the quarry.

Many a time I wore pantyhose under my bathing suit, and when people came up to me and said, “Hey, you’re wearing pantyhose,” I did what any self-respecting person would do. I denied it. “Uh, excuse me, I can’t help that my legs get darker at the top,” I lied. ”Ans you may wonder about my webbed toes? Well, duck feet run in the family.”

And so did bad taste in shorts.


Thinking of some of my relatives who wore shorts gives me bad dreams. I still have nightmares about Cousin Garney, bending over trying to start an outboard motor, a cigarette hanging from his mouth, gas leaking—and not necessarily from the motor. Garney was often decked out in black socks and penny loafers and short shorts (the kind with no net pouch) Outright commando, if you get my drift.

Old relatives wearing shorts still haunt me. I can be walking along a street in the dead of winter and suddenly get a flashback of Grandma Mary wearing her pink hot pants and blue pantyhose with white shoes. To church. She’d go up the aisle every Sunday flirting with the men who took up the collection. She always insisted on travelling to the beach in the same getup. For those road trips, she’d also sport her massive sunglasses and jam cotton balls in the side in case rays of sunshine tried to sneak in. In those days, there was no air conditioner in the car. So she would never let me roll down the window because she was afraid she might gulp wind. Apparently, if you gulp wind, you could blow up! That, and she didn’t want to get dirt in her hair. Okay, not her own hair, her wig. I don’t know if she had much hair of her own. She had a closet full of wig heads. I never went in there alone because it always seemed they were talking to you.
I don’t want to inflict those visuals on the younger generation.

So here I sit in my Mrs. Roper caftan, grooving to the sounds of Edgar Winter. For some reason, I feel a kinship to the man.


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