Thursday, 6 September 2012

Big, floppy shorts

As compensation for Britain's worst-in-a-century summer, September (so far) has been relatively warm and dry but, regardless of the Indian summer, it's still nearly time to pack my shorts away until next year. In truth, it's probably time to throw them away for good as, after a few years of wear, they've become so distressed that the kindest thing would be to have them quietly euthanized.

If I chuck them away, though, there's all the faff of finding an old or cheap pair of jeans-style of trousers and inexpertly chopping and hemming them (you wouldn't want to do this to an expensive pair), because the trouble with most ready-made men's shorts these days is that they're cut way too loose. This can be a real problem, as Andy Murray discovered this summer, when his balls dropped out of a particularly baggy pair.

What's true for balls on the tennis court is true for keys, wallets, loose change or mobiles off the court - big, floppy shorts with ridiculously loose, shallow pockets are good only for losing stuff. These inadequate pockets are often supplemented by those silly look-at-me-I'm-Bear Grylls adventurer-style cargo pockets, which are absolutely no help unless you like your keys, wallet, etc, swinging around somewhere just above knee level and don't mind having to duck down like a particularly downtrodden serf every time you want to get something out of your pocket (unless you've been blessed with gorilla-length arms).

Less baggy shorts aren't quite so well ventilated, but by the time you've got rid of the best part of the legs, a cut-off pair of regular fit jeans still provides sufficient airflow under most conditions, without the flappy risk of unintentional and embarrassing disarray.

The shortage of functionally well-cut men's shorts is a piffling first world problem if ever there was one, but it can be comforting to focus on such small, manageable inconveniences when the stark reality of more significant real-world problems seems just too depressing to contemplate.