When was the decree handed down that all men's shorts needed to have gaping, tenting side pockets that make me look like I'm toting around a couple of grapefruits? And, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the point of shorts that they be significantly shorter than pants? I've been looking for a pair of shorts for about three months now and I've learned a couple things: First of all, ALL shorts now have the side pockets. The only exception to this rule are "golf shorts." But since "golf shorts" just look like you took a pair of suit pants and cut off the legs, they're not much help. They also make you racist.
The second thing I've learned is that the entire men's shorts category consists of variations on three styles:
1. Cargo shorts: Ridiculously long and baggy shorts which have saddlebags hanging off them and end just above the ankle. They represent about 80% of the market and weigh 30 pounds. I rocked these all last summer before I realized, "Hey, these suck." Hence my current quest.
2. "Golf shorts:" Again, these are just suit pants with the legs cut off and as soon as you put them on, you vote for McCain and stop noticing Mexicans.
3. Ironic Plaid Grandpa Shorts: The rebel's choice. These are cargo shorts in wild, but not too wild, prints. You can only wear these if you also have a frayed cloth belt (often included.) You should also accent these with some kind of rope bracelet that symbolizes friendship and can't be taken off, like, for the whole summer.
There is also one other option: Performance shorts. These are made by companies like Columbia, and while they meet government side pocket standards, the pockets lie kind of flat against the legs which are not tooooo long. These are actually the shorts I went with, but even they're a little annoying. They're festooned with little cardboard placards depicting "me," the purchaser, doing shit like white water rafting and jumping over a little chasm in the facade of the mountain "I'm" climbing. I actually like these shorts. I bought 'em in two colors. But those placards bother me. I like the fact that they're attached with those deliciously chewable little plastic things, but the placards leave me with lingering regrets about how the makers of my shorts see me. When I put the shorts on, I found a little brochure in the pocket boasting that the shorts I was wearing offered a high degree of sun protection, so I needn't abbreviate my rafting/mountain climbing activities. Um, are they not made of cloth? Isn't cloth 100% SPF? Shorts industry: Why are you bent on alienating us?
PS: In an early-summer attempt to solve my shorts problems, I went on eBay and bought a couple vintage pairs of the best shorts of all time: Jamsworld Original Jams. These are awesome, and I wear them all the time, but the deal is, they're pretty distinctive and if you wear them every day, people know you're trying to sneak though the whole summer with just two pairs of shorts. That's why I had to augment with some new joints. If I had all the money in the world, I'd get me some of the new school Jams, which are still the hotness, or, perhaps even better yet, I'd get me some Bonobos, which, although they're mad expensive, are possibly the world's best-ever way to cover your legs.
As always, Vice Magazine nails this whole idea in the DOs and DON'Ts