Back off, Presumptuous Denim! You Are So Not My Boyfriend!

When can you call them boyfriend shorts? Only when you steal them from an actual boy, duh.
Publish date:
May 18, 2011
clothes, jeans, denim

I must have made one too many online purchases one dark and dreary February, because my home mailbox is lousy with catalogs. And the more you buy, the more they breed: Delias! Alloy! UO! J Crew! LL Bean! Places from which I have never, and do not plan ever to make a purchase, including this weird witchy catalog from three downstairs neighbors ago! Rockler Tools!

And every last one of them is trying to shill me a pair of boyfriend shorts (OK, maybe not that tool catalog, but the dudes in it look like someone must be borrowing their jeans). Something about the name “boyfriend shorts,” and their best bro extended version, “boyfriend jeans” just sticks in my craw. I mean, really ladies, do we need to be saddled down with presumed heterosexuality and enforced monogamy every time we put on a damn pair of jeans that contain less than 50 percent Spandex?

Is the only possible explanation for a woman choosing a little extra denim around her hips and thighs because she just swiped them from some dude? What’s wrong with Guy I Thought Looked Cute After Three Vodka Tonic jeans? Or My Six Foot Tall Platonic Female Friend jeans? Does anyone on Madison Avenue consider the LGBT lobby?

Is there no woman with longer legs and/or a more generous waist circumference than her male companion? Is there such a shortage of slouchy denim in the world that we must pledge fidelity to a man before we get our designated allotment, like some ‘50s schoolgirl lusting after a man-size class ring?

Ask yourself this: Would any smart ass try to sell guys on “girlfriend” jeans? Oh, hell no. That would be so gay! Also, check out how this Web site differentiates between the truncated denim sold to each gender. Notice how the actual boyfriends get downright demure shorts, all the way down to their knees. The girls? Full-on Daisy Dukes. Everyone knows showing your inner thigh is only for chicks.

Please God of summer 2011, bring us back Thomas Magnum.

Wait, what was I talking about? Hawaii? Mustaches? The best damn theme song ever? Sorry, once I start, it takes me at least a half dozen cycles to get out of the Magnum loop.

Moving on: Why do all these purveyors of deceptive denim products insist on packaging fictitious historical pedigrees along with their gender essentialism? I don’t know what “whiskering” is, but I’m pretty sure I don’t want it near my crotch. And if I want a pair of jeans that look 30 years old, I know where I will look first: Goodwill. But I digress.

If you want a genuine pair of boyfriend shorts or jeans or other denim-based fashions, here is your only linguistically pure option:

1) Find a boy. If he already belongs to you, he probably won’t care if you steal his jeans. Even if he does care, if you hang out long enough for him to become your boyfriend, he’ll probably take them off in your presence and forget about them long enough for you to snatch them.

2) Steal his jeans.

3) Try on the jeans. If they are too loose, cinch them with a belt. If they are too tight, congratulate yourself on bravely defying the expected normative gender paradigm.

4) Cut the legs off the jeans. Scissors are the most conventional choice, but pruning shears are probably OK too. (Remove the jeans before approaching them with sharp objects.)

5) Continue to try on the jeans, then trim, until they are the desired length. If you like, roll them up. Once you have the shorts, you can break up with the boy (assuming you are cool with wearing “ex-boyfriend shorts”).

But do not be deceived: No matter what fancy language they use, Gap Inc., is not and will never be your boyfriend. At least we hope not. Now where can I find a life-size mural of Tom Selleck?