Frankenstein-ing My Dream Shorts

'Tis the season to fantasize about shorts that don't ruin my life.

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Frankenstein-ing My Dream Shorts
Please scroll down for a detailed description of exactly what I’ve created. Art: Kady Ruth Ashcraft

As the days get longer, the inseams on our pants get shorter, meaning we are knee-deep (and pants dry!) in shorts season. In the sanctity of my imagination, shorts season is unassailable, holy, and perfect. It’s a time when my legs are one with the elements; my worries lighter than linen. But in reality, I’ve never found shorts that live up to the zenith of my fantasy. With every pair of shorts I own, either my thighs chafe, my crotch is too encroached upon, or I look like a school administrator gave me something to change into after wearing too short a skirt to class.

Despite my lived experiences of these summertime bottoms (my college nickname) bringing me deep agony, I beat on, shorts against the current. There must be a perfect pair of shorts. Or at least, there must be a perfect pair of shorts for me. But since I’ve yet to find them, I will take the best aspects of different types of shorts and play God by combining them together like some sort of Frankenstein’s monster. But first, an assessment: 

Denim shorts

Denim shorts exist in revered form within the American imagination: well-paying middle-class jobs, toned butts, and ample vacation time. But denim is not a forgiving material and the American dream is dead. They are simply not very comfortable and often form harsh ridges around the labia in ways that I am sure would worry my OBGYN. More critically, they either come in size Baby Slut or Recreational Urban Birdwatcher, and all I’m asking is that an in-between for Slutty Ornithologist is considered. 

Soffe Shorts

I fear that slipping my ass into a pair of cotton Soffe shorts would cause me to slip into a time-travel-induced psychosis and start bullying girls who haven’t gotten their period yet. That being said, they are comfortable and you can customize what they say on the butt. 

Paper Bag Waist

This is a chic short in theory and one that feels very Seventeen Magazine Day-to-Night aspirational. Paper bag waist shorts are worn by women who have a strong relationship with their tailor and freely drink espresso without worrying about shitting themselves. But when I put on a pair of paper bag waist shorts I look like I’m donning a tradwife workaround for Depends. 

Bermuda Shorts

Bermuda shorts are absolutely perfect if you want to look like you’re chaperoning your kid’s school field trip to a historical re-enactment site. What they might provide in comfort and coverage they lack in looking cool. I understand there’s a youth counter-movement in gentrifying warehouse districts across this nation that has reintroduced the Bermuda short in a semi-ironic way, but I can’t endorse that. 

Linen Shorts

Nothing beats a linen short in terms of comfort and style. When you’re sitting or standing perfectly still, the linen short is immaculate and captures the essence of summer: breezy and crisp. The problems arise when you start moving. And I mean literally ARISE. The lightness of the fabric is no match against the power of my thighs and the inner panels of the shorts to ride up into my crotch. All breeziness is blown out the damn window when I am constantly monitoring camel toe and having to walk like I put in a tampon sideways.

Bike Shorts

In an ideal world, I’d be Princess Diana-ing it all day—that is, of course, when you seek revenge against those who’ve wronged you by looking effortlessly cool wearing a big t-shirt and spandex biker shorts. Created to lounge in and fight the good fight against chub rub, biker shorts are a strong contender for perfect shorts…within their lane.  There’s really no dressing-up biker shorts and, for me at least, the ways to style them feel limited.


Now for the difficult part… parsing through my own shorts-hate to assemble a dream team of shorts’ features, an X-men of briefs, if you will. Here’s what I’m thinking:

[Deep breath…] I want to converge the nostalgia of denim shorts (at a reasonable length) with a sturdier linen that won’t ride up my ass, and a thigh panel made of spandex, then add the high-waisted sophisticate nature of paper bag shorts without the extra fabric billowed at my navel all while having a phrase plastered across my derriere per the style of Soffe shorts, as a fun conversation starter.

I imagine my dream shorts look something like this:

If you’re a burgeoning fashion designer reading this, I would say get in touch but rather, just go ahead and make these gorgeous shorts. Dream big.

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