How Short Shorts Is Too Short Shorts?

Milo Ventimiglia tests the limits of a fundamental menswear theorem

Could there ever be too much thigh?
Could there ever be too much thigh?
On Running / Pixabay

Historically, trees and flowers in bloom have indicated the start of the spring season. But I abide a different barometer: I know that warm weather has officially arrived when the male upper thigh comes out of its sweatpanted hibernation.

This Is Us star (and for us Gilmore Girls veterans, the guy who played a brooding, swoon-worthy Jess Mariano) Milo Ventimiglia made headlines a few days ago after he stepped out of the gym in a pair of teeny weeny gym shorts. Milo’s very bare and very toned calves and quads made me very happy, and not solely because I’m a thirsty bitch: this proud display of barely-there gym shorts also gives me hope that, like the warm-weather, short shorts are here to stay.

Last summer, you may recall the 5-inch inseam short revolution. Users on TikTok were urging men to ditch their 7” and 9” inseam shorts in favor of the 5” inseam shorty shorts with the hashtag #5inchinseam. Months prior to the TikTok trend, we encouraged you to start sporting shorter swim shorts, taking a page from the lads on Love Island who are notorious for donning a cheeky swim trunk. We recommended you heed some style advice from the short short king himself and even tested various thigh-baring running shorts out ourselves. In every case, we arrived at the same conclusion: the shorter, the better.

What’s causing the sudden outpouring of love for men wearing shorter shorts? The obvious sex appeal, certainly. But for many women, seeing a man sport the unconventional style is also a point of attraction because short shorts (like the once-popular male crop top, an article of clothing Milo also has no trouble wearing) have been sneered at for decades thanks to homophobia and dumb ideas perpetuated by toxic masculinity. Unabashedly sporting a look some deem to be too “feminine” is a show of confidence and comfort with your own masculinity that flouts outdated gender norms. Simply put, that’s a turn-on.

But Milo has brought us into newfound territory with his latest fit, sporting a pair of gym shorts that definitely measure below (well, above, technically) our 5-inch inseam benchmark. While I (unfortunately) don’t have the exact measurement, I’m going to say these babies clock in at around 3 inches. I mean, they’re basically briefs.

This might beg a question: How short shorts is too short shorts? Could there ever be an instance where we see a male short so short we shun our eyes away in disgust? Could it ever become too unseemly, like the age-old “should men wear open-toed shoes” debate?

I say absolutely not, so long as you’re not bordering on a public indecency charge. Ultimately, what the short shorts movement is about is encouraging men to embrace styles that have long been deemed “unmasculine.” Yes, it’s also about the fact that they’re revealing some skin, but whether you’re rocking a 6- or 2.5-inch short, what we really want is for you to feel sexy, confident and comfortable. So I declare that for this hot vax summer, you should hike those shorts up to whatever length feels right, and then let the rest of us gorge on those toasted, meaty upper thighs.

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