AA Gill On... Shorts

Dear Uncle,

It's spring-ish. Please, what's the definitive rule on shorts?

Edgar, Soho

I'm so pleased you asked me, Ed. It's never after 12. Years, not o'clock.

No 13-year-old or over should ever be seen in trousers that finish above the ankle. It doesn't matter how good your legs are, or if you're on a beach in Bermuda where they invented the things.

This isn't about tan or temperature. This is about dignity. It is impossible to be taken seriously in shorts. No one has ever cared about anything said by a man in shorts.

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You can propose marriage naked or in handcuffs, but no one is going to agree to forsake all others for a man in shorts. You can't declare war in shorts or deliver a eulogy in shorts.

Shorts are silly. Men in shorts are silly men. And silly is the very worst thing a man can be.