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Who likes short shorts? Not this guy.
June 29, 2011 10:40 PM   Subscribe

Help my boyfriend overcome his fear of shorts.

Okay, so he's not really afraid of shorts, per se. But my boyfriend is of the opinion that any guy who wears shorts looks like he's come straight from the beach (insert disgusted face here). Thing is, it gets really, really hot where we live, and sometimes jeans are just silly.

So, what I'm looking for are pictures of guys wearing shorts in a non-beachy way. No thongs (flip-flops) or sandals. Bonus points if the guy in the picture is wearing Converse, since he already has those. Extra mega bonus points if the guy in the picture is wearing a geeky t-shirt, or looks somewhat like a comic book nerd.

Also, if you're a guy who also dislikes shorts, why? Why keep your steaming hot legs trapped in jeans all summer long?
posted by lovedbymarylane to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (102 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Also, if you're a guy who also dislikes shorts, why?

Feeling undressed.
Sunburn.
The sheer infantilism of them.

(sorry... you'll be unsurprised to learn of my lack of blokes-in-shorts pics...)
posted by pompomtom at 10:49 PM on June 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


If your boyfriend is a geek, he needs a pair of cargo shorts - the kind that reach to about knee-length. Comfy, sylish and with plenty of room for your PDA / smartphone / multitool / multi-sided dice and other crucial equipment. Wear them with a nice geek-themed t-shirt and nobody will mistake you for ever having been near a beach.

Later on he will see the light and realize the only true summer footwear is hiking sandals.
posted by Dr Dracator at 10:52 PM on June 29, 2011 [7 favorites]


Bonus points if the guy in the picture is wearing Converse, since he already has those. Extra mega bonus points if the guy in the picture is wearing a geeky t-shirt, or looks somewhat like a comic book nerd.

For the Converse side, I've bought two pairs of black pin-striped shorts that I wear to summer music festivals.
For the nerdy side, my ex made me a pair of Batman shorts of out of Batman curtain material. They don't fit anymore, but they're still awesome.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:04 PM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Leave the man alone.

I avoid shorts, hoodies, sweats, baseball caps, sneakers, graphic T's, etc., because I feel dressed down and sloppy; like I do when I have a flu and wearing proper clothes is pointless and uncomfortable.

I could only think of utilitarian reasons to wear them; being knee deep in water, for one. I guess if I were on the edge of heatstroke regularly, I'd consider investing in them.

So, sabotage the AC and try to lure him into water.

Or let it be.
posted by evil holiday magic at 11:04 PM on June 29, 2011 [13 favorites]


...wearing shorts in a non-beachy way...
posted by salvia at 11:07 PM on June 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I used to be like your boyfriend. He may have been teased for his skinny and/or white legs in school, or he may simply not feel that attractive/that legs-attractive. The tipping point for me was as I got older, I just plain gave less of a shit about what people thought of me based on how I looked, I was cycling regular and long pants weren't very practical for that, and it was hot, you know?

There are many long pants that are not jeans, that are much cooler etc. Maybe some baby steps here. Also, do his friends wear shorts? If a guy hangs out with a lot of guys, it can put a surprising influence on his wardrobe.
posted by smoke at 11:13 PM on June 29, 2011


I was just thinking about this the other day when I asked my SO why he never wears a particular pair of olive green shorts that have been languishing in his drawer for years.* He was also adamant about not wearing shorts until I converted him a few years ago during a particularly warm summer without air conditioning. He's very particular about appearance and had a lot of difficulty finding wearable shorts.

For what it's worth, he is incredibly geeky, and he refuses to wear cargo shorts, declaring them "toolish" and "like something (Toolish Mutual Acquaintance) would wear in the summer." Shorts that are too long, viz. any that hit below the knee, are treated similarly. Those that are shorter than the ideal knee-length are summarily rejected as "feminine." Anything plaid or non-neutral in color is described as "garish" or "undergrad." Also, he needs a 28 waist, so his options are very limited.

Basically, he's tried shorts at every major clothing retailer in the U.S. and will wear only the classic flat front short with 10" inseam from the Gap. Only in navy or khaki, please! Your SO may be more adventurous about color, and there are several neat-looking choices.

Note that in the photo provided on the website, the model is wearing his shorts with Converse-type shoes. Make sure that your boy has appropriately no-show socks if he plans to do the same. Mine has recently decided that flip flops are okay to wear with shorts sometimes, but NEVER hiking-type sandals or Tevas, which look "like something my mother would have picked for me when I was in third grade."

I realize that all of this makes him sound like an unbearable fashion-plate sort, and I wish to assure you that you'd never guess by looking at him that he's so...fastidious. I just don't shop for clothing with him anymore.

*In case you're wondering, their inseam is one inch too long.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 11:15 PM on June 29, 2011 [10 favorites]


I am a man and I only wear shorts to or near the beach. Shorts look terrible on men always. If it's hot, wear lighter fabric pants. Jeans are not the only non-shorts option and men should almost never wear shorts.
posted by The World Famous at 11:15 PM on June 29, 2011 [10 favorites]


No geeky t-shirts, but show him the J. Crew men's shorts section. Here. Impress upon him that this is actually the way sophisticated guys dress when it's a thousand degrees out.
posted by Gilbert at 11:15 PM on June 29, 2011


I never used to wear them because I thought they looked stupid, basically. I'm not very fashionable, but I know its hard to mess up jeans and t-shirt. Shorts are a bit iffier. I eventually bowed to necessity.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:18 PM on June 29, 2011


Also, if you're a guy who also dislikes shorts, why?

To me, there are three occasions when one might wear shorts. At the beach or other nautical type event, when playing sports, or when it is at least 85 degrees and you are outside (and not in a city) for an extended length of time. All Other Occasions Need Not Apply. Why? Because they're like flip-flops. Pseudoclothes. Okay, they're nothing like as bad as flipflops which belong only at the beach and nowhere else, but they're still pseudoclothing.

So I don't think you need to or should help your boyfriend overcome his dislike of shorts. If anything I encourage you to join him!
posted by Justinian at 11:20 PM on June 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


How long has your boyfriend lived where you live?

Because this has been my experience: if you live in a place that has a particular weather condition for about 5 months out of the year straight, and you live there for more than 3 or 4 years, you will break and start wearing whatever goofy-looking shit the locals wear to deal with it. Shorts, big galoshes, raincoats, whatever. Doesn't matter. You gotta adapt.

If he's lived there for a long time, and hasn't changed his mind about this, he's the exception. Let him be.

You're going to get a million provincial fuckin' New Yorkers and Californians chiming in to defend your boyfriend. Ignore them, they're morons.
posted by furiousthought at 11:25 PM on June 29, 2011 [22 favorites]


You can find lots of photos of fashionable men in shorts by browsing The Sartorialist and STREETFSN.
posted by neushoorn at 11:25 PM on June 29, 2011


for me, nothing looks better with converse than Dickies work pants (the ones without all the extra pockets and tool loops...just the one extra pocket on the rt. leg), black, cut off just below the knee. very punk, but in a chic way. bonus: they look dynamite in the ass area...
posted by sexyrobot at 11:28 PM on June 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


Here are some guys looking put-together in shorts, as well as an article in support of the look.
posted by illenion at 11:29 PM on June 29, 2011


Also, if you're a guy who also dislikes shorts, why? Why keep your steaming hot legs trapped in jeans all summer long?

I will speak for my SO here. Uh, 'cause they look juvenile unless you're actually doing something Officially Outdoorsy.

But there's no need to cook yourself in jeans. He should go pick up some khakis (in any color, choose from price points ranging from Old Navy Sale Rack to Brooks Brothers) and summer-weight slacks (thrift stores + your local drycleaner for basic tailoring.)
posted by desuetude at 11:30 PM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know what? The links above to the Gap and J. Crew shorts... those shorts are too short, and they look ridiculous. Patagonia has some good ones that go to the knee, like these All-Wear Cargo Shorts. My boyfriend and his friends would wear these. Every day. Until they were worn to shreds and no longer appropriate to wear in public.
posted by so_gracefully at 11:31 PM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I dislike shorts because someone once completely disregarded my own personal agency and made me wear them because they figured they knew what was best for me. It left me with a bad taste in my mouth and I vowed and declared that in future, I would wear what I wanted to wear.

Your guy has the right to decide what he wears too. How hot his legs are is his own affair.
posted by Solomon at 11:31 PM on June 29, 2011 [15 favorites]


I think I married your boyfriend. I have dealt with this with some very minor success by a) taking him to indonesia. So humid. So in need of shorts. And b) buying him some very nice shorts that were not board-short-like nor board-room-like. I am so not favouring cargos. There are good shorts out there. Not within reach of pics, but don't give up hope. If they fit him REALLY well and it's REALLY hot and you strike while he's in a good mood, you might get lucky and get him to become enthused about the purchase.

Also: he says that wearing shorts was what people used to have little boys do (in England, and my Dad said the same in the Netherlands) before they graduated to long pants. I think this was in, like, the 1920s. But these men are VERY CONCERNED about not looking like little boys. Fair enough, I suppose!
posted by jojobobo at 11:44 PM on June 29, 2011


Well, this will probably not help, but you did ask for pictures of shorts outside of a beach context, and beachy this ain't.
posted by KathrynT at 11:55 PM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


How about 3/4 length? I think they're a better match for most men's body type, and often outdoorsy or sporty rather than overly beachy. And they have a better chance of looking good with shoes, not just sandals. I like these (also seen here). But maybe your guy would prefer these, these or even these.
posted by sively at 12:03 AM on June 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Spent all my summers in Texas from middle school through university in jeans, as did a decent amount of others without complaints. Just my $.02.
posted by SollosQ at 12:09 AM on June 30, 2011


Weddings and funerals are the only times I don't wear shorts. I transitioned from Dickies pants to Dickies shorts about 25 years ago, and more or less do the same to this very day. Though I would never say the way I dressed was very fashionable, except maybe in a slight vato/punk/machine shop kind of way. Hems always below the knee. I mean, what is this, summer of 1976?

Around here, nobody gives any thought to this supposed fashion faux pas year round. Even my St. Louis years, I wore the same style year round unless there was actual snow on the ground. I might have come across as a don't-give-a-fuck neither-black-nor-white crazy foreigner who drove that nutty painted car, but if anyone ever disapproved of the way I dressed, they never had the balls to let it be known within earshot.

Point is, if this guy wants to wear pants, let him. I'll admit some guys just don't do shorts very well, and your beau may feel this applies to him. Or it might just be an irrational hangup. Whatever the reason, let him be.
posted by 2N2222 at 12:10 AM on June 30, 2011


I'm a guy who doesn't wear shorts, so I sympathize. I can't really pin down why - I just don't like wearing them. Even lounging about the house, I have a light pair or pajama bottoms or something like that. The only time I'll wear shorts is if there's some kind of outdoor physical activity where I know I'll be less comfortable in jeans or pants, and where I really don't care how i look. Hiking, for example. But if I'm relaxing at home or out on the town, you will not find me in shorts.

Let the guy make his own fashion choices. If he doesn't mind wearing jeans in hot weather, that's his business, not yours.
posted by MShades at 12:14 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Steve Jobs in shorts. Linus Torvalds in shorts (and socks'n'sandals).

Look, if he's seriously nerdy, he needs to invest in a Utilikilt anyway. (Cory Doctorow in same.)
posted by gingerest at 12:15 AM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


I lived in Arizona for four and a half years and did not break. Shorts are for boys (and the retired). There are plenty of cool, light-weight pants for men that survive just fine in temperatures up to and including 48 degrees Celsius. If it can't potentially be worn with a tie and jacket, it's not clothing.

Yes, I am aware that I'm abnormal.
posted by yeolcoatl at 12:15 AM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


He thinks men look stupid in shorts. Why? Because he's right. Let him wear what he want, he's not seven.
posted by joannemullen at 12:30 AM on June 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


As a woman, I applaud your boyfriend's move only on the basis that most men who wear shorts away from the beach (or, indeed, sports) *can* often look silly and/or creepy.

Alternative to jeans - lightweight pants.

Exhibit A - note how smooth Coop looks in comparison to the others.
posted by mleigh at 12:36 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Co-signing 2N2222 and several others in that the shorts perspective likely depends on where you're from. Those that reject shorts mid-day, mid-summer here in San Diego are a rare breed. Perhaps shorts appear juvenile to Esquire-devotee northeasterners, but you don't typically hear many of them complaining when they're here on vacation.

That said, maybe the guy is just not a shorts guy. If he looks tolerable and doesn't complain about the heat, it may not be worth the confrontation.
posted by BestiaDeAmor at 12:37 AM on June 30, 2011


seconding the kilt (especially the utilikilt) - way cooler in both senses of the word.
posted by missmagenta at 12:42 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The sheer infantilism of them...
Shorts look terrible on men always...
Because they're like flip-flops. Pseudoclothes...
I never used to wear them because I thought they looked stupid...

Really guys?

The judgement in this thread hurts. Just to set the record straight, shorts are functional, totally normal clothing worn by millions of people, adults included. They do not look terrible on all men always, which is either an absurd thing to say or a pretentious thing to say.

I wear shorts all the time and enjoy shorts. I am a mature, grown man, and continue to be one when wearing shorts. Shorts have led me to great success in both love and life. I look good in shorts. Other men look good in shorts. Now, I live in Los Angeles, so maybe things are different here. I grew up in Washington DC...and realize many men my age there do not wear shorts. Unfortunately it is often the case that the oppressed are unaware of their bondage.

There are some totally fine shorts / converse outfits here. You're beau won't win any points from sartorial blogs, but the people who matter won't mind, and the people that mind don't matter.

Haters gonna hate.
posted by jnnla at 12:56 AM on June 30, 2011 [47 favorites]


Really guys?
Haters gonna hate.


Non-short-wearing blokes were asked to provide their reasoning. You aren't being asked to concur.
posted by pompomtom at 1:02 AM on June 30, 2011 [9 favorites]


Donal Logue as Raymond McGillycuddy in Comic Book Villains (2002) wears shorts, hawaiian shirts, geeky t-shirts, and owns a comic book store.

The president wears shorts on the basketball court, and even has a controversial childhood statue in Jakarta wearing shorts.
posted by plokent at 1:23 AM on June 30, 2011


There does seem to be this weird thing with some straight guys where they are convinced that male legs and feet are disgusting and unaesthetic, and should never be shown to anyone ever. This helps fuel the hate-on for shorts and sandals. Selfishly, I'm glad these people don't rule the world, since that would be a criminal waste of good calves -- vive la différence, I guess.

Anyway, recently I've seen a lot of guys rocking shorts that read more like shortened trousers -- non-denim fabric, no cargo pockets and no loud patterns. I think that's a good, clean look that doesn't scream "beach bum," "femme," or "frat bro" (not to cast aspersions on any of those). Here's an example. Could go either with dressier shoes or Converse hi-tops.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:30 AM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pretend this is a flowchart.

- Are you mommy's handsome little sailor? Oh yes!
Answer: Shorts it is!

- Do you want to look like the summer male equivalent of sweatpants with words on the ass? Yes!
Answer: Cargo shorts it is!

- Do you have "unconventional" ideas about facial hair? Sure do!
Answer: Utilikilt for you!

- Is it over 80 degrees outside? Yes.
- Are you over the age of 12? Yes.
- Are you currently engaged in a boat race? No.
- Are you a reasonable person? Yes!
Answer: 3/4 pants in linen.
posted by danny the boy at 1:32 AM on June 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


I wear shorts for easily 8 months out of the year and if I didn't get crazy looks from people walking around with shorts on when there is snow on the ground it would probably be more like 10 months out of the year. Of course I wear shorts that are like khikis but come to just above the knee.

I do also get very hot, like sometimes at a formal function I need to go outside and umm well I call it exotherm. If I were forced to wear pants in the summer it would actually be rather difficult for me because I would want the airconditioning to be set to about 65 and then people would complain that it is too cold. This excess heat causes me no end of troubles, except it is nice in the winter when I can just go outside in shorts and a tshirt barefoot to get the mail to store up some cold for the rest of the day.
posted by koolkat at 1:37 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here are some guys looking put-together in shorts

See, I think those three guys look ridiculous. If the OP's boyfriend is anything like me this whole endeavor is probably a lost cause. Just say no.
posted by Justinian at 1:38 AM on June 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


Wow, it seems shorts for men are a lot more controversial than I thought. If your guy is as vehement as some of the men in this thread, OP, you're going to have a hard time convincing him to start wearing them, but I wish you luck nonetheless!

Mr. daisyk favours light-coloured linen shorts like these ones in the summer (below-the-knee variant here) -- I haven't seen them mentioned in the thread so far, so I'm presenting them as another option. They seem to be cool, comfortable and unfussy and look fine with geeky or plain t-shirts, cotton or linen shirts, sandals and low-top Converse.

You can also get full-length trousers in the same material, which are a great route to go down if shorts are absolutely not an option. Much more comfortable than jeans or heavy trousers when it's hot.
posted by daisyk at 1:46 AM on June 30, 2011


Do men his age wear shorts often where you live? How do they usually wear them? Really, I think it depends on this. There's a big difference between, say, a college campus in a humid Southern town and a large metropolitan area in a cooler coastal city.
posted by cp311 at 2:00 AM on June 30, 2011


The only time I wear shorts is when I'm working out in the Summer. One reason I hate shorts is because if I fall my legs will take the punishment instead of my jeans. I used to live in Florida, and wore jeans all summer, so don't think the "BUT IT'S HOOOT!" argument will ever work.

I have dealt with this with some very minor success by a) taking him to indonesia. So humid. So in need of shorts.

I've been to Indonesia. I wore khakis. Most of the local (adult) males I encountered also wore long pants. Know why? Because only children and Germans wear shorts. Every other country seems to have this figured out.

And the more men hate shorts, the more women love guys to be in shorts. They might claim it's because they "love" hairy legs or "love" leg muscles but the real reason is because women love to see men doing things that men traditionally hate to do. This is true for more than just shorts.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:01 AM on June 30, 2011 [12 favorites]


Thing is, it gets really, really hot where we live, and sometimes jeans are just silly.

So, your only reason for wanting to change him is because you think it's silly? What if he decided that you wearing X was silly, and asked a random group of strangers to help him change you?

He's not your Ken doll. Respect the man's choices.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:06 AM on June 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


And the more men hate shorts, the more women love guys to be in shorts. They might claim it's because they "love" hairy legs or "love" leg muscles but the real reason is because women love to see men doing things that men traditionally hate to do. This is true for more than just shorts.

One way to deal with this is to not get so hung up about wearing shorts when appropriate. You will both be cooler and have fewer issues.

Another good tactic is to not give a fuck about how people think you look if you like it yourself and are not in gross violation of some established social norm.
posted by Dr Dracator at 3:07 AM on June 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I live in Dubai, and I rarely wear shorts even in the summer. Mostly when I'm going to the beach. I also never wear jeans in the summer.

I can imagine not wanting him to wear jeans (even thinking of wearing jeans in the summer outside my safe A/C bubble makes me uncomfortable) but that is not the only non-short option.
Linen is the answer, light linen trousers are barely any hotter than shorts and it's not like we can lose much heat through our lower legs anyway.
posted by atrazine at 3:31 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


this reminds me of a recent thread about someone who wanted to change their partner's clothing choices
posted by mrmarley at 3:37 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I used to unilaterally hate shorts, but as I've become more comfortable with my body, I'm happier about wearing them.

The main factor in making me more comfortable was finding nice simple shorts. I used to think that you either had overly tasseled cargo shorts or ridiculous board shorts. But there are relatively subtle shorts out there. Uniqlo have/had some nice examples.

I bought a pair there last summer - I don't think they still sell the precise style, but they're a good example: http://i.imgur.com/VsKyD.jpg. I generally feel pretty comfortable in them. They're especially good when paired with a tasteful short-sleeve shirt.
posted by Magnakai at 4:09 AM on June 30, 2011


Have either of you checked out Put this On? It's the Jesse Thorn (MeFi's own YoungAmerican)/Adam Lisagor (aka lonelysandwich) vlog about men's style. It's been on the blue before, so maybe you've already stopped there, but if not, this entry on shorts (maybe there have been others since this was posted) is informative and pretty much says all you need to know on the topic.
posted by Rudy Gerner at 4:13 AM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Imagine your boyfriend getting on Metafilter and asked, "How can I get my girlfriend to wear boy shorts to bed? We live in a hot climate and she wears these long, comfy PJs. It's silly."

I am a guy who has no problem with shorts, but I will defend any person's right to dress themselves as they see fit. This is weird and controlling, and if I was being told to wear shorts I'd probably develop a distaste for them pretty quickly.
posted by PCup at 4:37 AM on June 30, 2011


sometimes jeans are just silly
Make that "some places". You'd be surprised how many men pass their European summers without any shorts in sight.
I like all sorts of leisure wear around the house, but when I go out: no shorts. When I'm in the US in the summer: shorts. Why? Because people sort of expect it. Note: not for the heat. It matters substantially less than one would think. Temperature balance is individual and adjusts itself according to one's clothing customs. I remember walking summers through Southern France with a long-sleeved sweat shirt because of sunburn issues, and being just fine. Sure, people looked, but what the heck.
posted by Namlit at 4:52 AM on June 30, 2011


I like shorts because they're comfy and easy to wear (I'm a woman), but it's really common for both men and women not to like wearing shorts. And it's really common for people to think they look silly; there is probably someone waiting in the AskMe wings with a "how do I convince my boyfriend to stop wearing shorts?" question.

And it's easy to avoid shorts altogether and still have a functional, stylish, comfortable, appropriate-for-most-situations wardrobe. And most people do not react well to being told what to wear.

Additionally, it's not clear from your question whether he's actually uncomfortable wearing jeans in hot weather. He might not be. They're not optimal, but plenty of people wear jeans in 90-degree weather without keeling over. (Really, jeans aren't good for either extreme of the thermometer. They provide very little insulation in winter, but people wear them.)

Let him have this one.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:54 AM on June 30, 2011


Wow, thanks for all your responses and links, everyone! I'll definitely look into the lightweight summer pants option - he used to have a great pair of drill cotton pants but never replaced them when they eventually fell apart. Perhaps now is the time.

As for shorts being unfashionable or sloppy, I think tailored shorts (particularly the cuffed ones) can be pretty sharp. A few years ago, I would have thought the same thing (for women's shorts too!) but there are lots of designers making nice shorts now, for both genders.

How long has your boyfriend lived where you live?
Pretty much all his life. We live in Australia, in a city on the coast. It's a hot and sweaty place come summer.

Do men his age wear shorts often where you live? How do they usually wear them?
A lot of guys in our city wear board shorts throughout summer, which I guess might be putting him off - perhaps he thinks that shorts-wearers are generally arrogant surfer dudes. He does have friends that wear shorts of all kinds - cargo shorts, tailored shorts, checked shorts, denim shorts - but he's not one to just copy whatever other people are doing (he didn't wear jeans at all until last year when a few friends bought him a pair and convinced him how comfy and easy and good-looking they are. Now he has three pairs and wears them every day).

He's not your Ken doll.
Whoa - I'm not going to tell him what to wear, nor will I buy him shorts and somehow guilt him into wearing them. But he hates the heat with a passion, and sweats a lot, and doesn't like to go anywhere unairconditioned in the summer because of that - so all I want to do is convince him that shorts are an option. Sure, there's no point wearing shorts to the movies, but to a picnic or shooting hoops or going to an outdoor cafe when it's 35 degrees outside? They're functional and can look great, so why not at least give them a try?

Totally want to make him a pair of Batman shorts now, by the way.
posted by lovedbymarylane at 4:54 AM on June 30, 2011


My husband grew up in a Southern beach town, so wearing shorts to him is a non-issue. He wears plain, to-the-knee khaki or faded army green shorts. The shoe issue is an interesting one. Hiking boots with socks can be a look, or Converse and no-show socks, or sandals if he is the sandal-wearing type. My husband isn't, but my dad was.

(then again, my late dad wore short sleeved, terry-lined bathing-suit-and- jacket 'sets' that totally wouldn't fly today but on him they were awesome.)

My husband would never wear 3/4 length pants, or linen pants. Too capri-ish, too wrinkly.

(on the plus side, if you *don't* wear shorts, you won't sunburn your legs. Or get as many bug bites!)
posted by pinky at 5:29 AM on June 30, 2011


I was unaware that changing into shorts after work when it is 90F out was such a horrible faux-pas. That said, if your guy is uncomfortable wearing them, for whatever reason, then you should probably just leave him be.

danny the boy: "Answer: 3/4 pants in linen."

And shorts or no, please for the love of all that is good and wholesome, do NOT follow this advice. Not only does he suggest linen pants, which are an abomination, he also suggests capri-pants! That is a double abomination!
posted by Grither at 5:33 AM on June 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


I am a man who has no problem with shorts. I do have a problem with anyone older than 16 in below-the-knee shorts. To me, THAT is what looks infantile.

One of my favorite summer ways to wear shorts is this: khaki, just above the knee, in navy or tan, with a washed cotton button-down with rolled up-cuffs. (Long-sleeve makes it a little more classy. Short-sleeve button-down screams IT nerd but I sometimes do that too.) Boat shoes with no-show socks for me, but Chucks would make it a little more casual. As always, slightly tailored is what makes it look put-together.

No to manpris. Yes to lightweight cotton pants over jeans. No to forcing him into anything.
posted by supercres at 5:47 AM on June 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


The rule i've been given by ex-girlfriend and several women who know about fashion is the following:

- Pleated shorts only (flat fronts are the way to go for trousers, but they look like shit in short form). In general, any other type of shorts looks like crap, maybe you can pull off cargo shorts, but beyond that it's pretty hard to pull off. YMMV of course.

- Length should be slightly above the knees, otherwise it looks baggy and bad.

- Stick to blue, olive, beige and the such, they're the easiest to match with pretty much everything (except black, nothing goes with black beyond jeans).

- Boat shoes, flip flops, alpargatas, chuck taylors, it's hard to go wrong with shoes as long as socks are not involved (maybe with the exception of below-the-ankle ones, the less noticeable, the better). Sandals... you need very good sandals, again, hard to pull off, i don't like them much myself.

- Shirts, polos, t-shirts, pretty much anything goes.

In all honesty, i've gone to job interviews in shorts (in the very hot summer, admitedly). If you do it right and sober, you look good. It's only childish if you dress like a child, pretty much every adult i've met dresses in shorts in the summer.
posted by palbo at 5:48 AM on June 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


Also, as you age you're supposed to tone down on t-shirts and sneakers in favor of shirts/polos and loafers/sandals/boat shoes. That is, if you see 30+ year old people dressed as "young" people as silly, otherwise, carry on.
posted by palbo at 5:56 AM on June 30, 2011


Everyone has given great examples of how-to-look-good-in-shorts. Here's the thing: you can't go wrong by not wearing shorts, but you can go very wrong wearing shorts. Your boyfriend is just erring on the side of caution.

my boyfriend is of the opinion that any guy who wears shorts looks like he's come straight from the beach

Shorts are inherently outdoorsy. You wear shorts because you're hanging out in town by the beach, maybe taking a long walk through a city, or participating in a summer BBQ. If your bf isn't an outdoors kind of person, then shorts aren't going to make a lot of sense.
posted by deanc at 6:02 AM on June 30, 2011


I must admit that I'm in the "Say No to Shorts" gang. If you are not at the beach or in the midst of playing sport / jogging then there is no reason to resort to shorts.

I'll take the lightweight cotton trousers (Flat-front of course) over shorts any day.

Especially avoid cargo shorts unless you like looking like a crass American tourist.
posted by mary8nne at 6:20 AM on June 30, 2011


I have been wrestling with this very problem myself, since I am built like a pudgy tank and have giant bicyclist muscle legs too, thus tend to go with modest clothes.

Seersucker pants are the answer. They truly are. If you don't like the typical pale colors, you can overdye them with any basic fabric dye to make them navy, olive, tan, etc. here is an example of seersucker pants in a contemporary-ish cut, but of course they also come in more formal cuts. Seriously, seersucker is an opaque, structured fabric that feels very much like wearing horrible loose gauze pants.
posted by Frowner at 6:22 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Count me as part of the no-shorts brigade. Shorts were what all the boys wore as part of our Catholic School uniform. I wish I could convince Mr. Stardust not to wear lumpen, baggy cargo shorts with button-down shirts. We live in a place where it is damn hot most of the time. I've survived all these years by wearing lighter weight pants/jeans.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 6:27 AM on June 30, 2011


If he ever does anything moderately athletic, and it doesn't sound like he does if he just wears jeans all the time, then he'd want to wear shorts.
posted by zombieApoc at 6:33 AM on June 30, 2011


I wonder if he's perhaps a bit self-conscious. When I moved from a cold climate to a hot climate (Chicago to Austin), I had never really worn shorts, and resisted wearing them for a while. I broke down pretty quickly though. Of course, my legs were pasty white. For, like, three days. However, I'm not exactly Mr Fashionable.

When I visited Brisbane, I was a bit surprised to see shorts as a part of uniforms for grown men. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I was wearing shorts myself, and one of the locals told me I looked like a regular Queenslander. Maybe you and he can take a trip there in the summer.

All that said, if he doesn't want to wear shorts, that's his decision. I've got some trousers that are cut like jeans but from lighter cloth (from Banana Republic).
posted by adamrice at 6:41 AM on June 30, 2011


I didn't wear shorts until I was 27 years old. Why? Because all my life, people teased me about my super skinny legs. Then I started cycling (up to 40 miles per day, four days a week), and then there was nothing left to tease me about.

Now I wear shorts any time there isn't snow on the ground. I don't think it looks dumb, tacky, or dressed down at all.

The opinions expressed in this thread surprise me, but to each their own. I also don't get why women try so hard to change the way their mess dress. Women should focus on their selves if they care about fashion that much.
posted by TinWhistle at 6:52 AM on June 30, 2011


I was just about to hit post with a comment about chicken legs but tinwhistle beat me to it.

If your boyfriend has chicken legs don't try to make him wear shorts or keep pestering him for reasons why he won't wear them.
posted by zephyr_words at 7:00 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I must admit, there aren't many pictures of males in shorts that look good.

On the other hand, what's wrong with looking like you just came from a beach?
posted by gjc at 7:02 AM on June 30, 2011


So, what I'm looking for are pictures of guys wearing shorts in a non-beachy way.

If you're really dead-set on this, try looking for pictures of businessmen in Bermuda -- not "businessmen on vacation in Bermuda," but "Bermuda residents who happen to be businessmen." The reason "Bermuda shorts" are ostensibly called that is because it's a style of shorts developed by people who live in Bermuda who wanted some kind of decent-looking shorts to wear to work because it's damn hot.

But that said: presumably your boyfriend is an adult of voting age. This therefore means that he has the intellectual ability to think for himself about whether or not his aversion to shorts outweighs his desire for comfort, and the ability to choose which is more important to him. It appears he has decided that his discomfort in long pants is mild enough for him to bear. So unless he's complaining to you at length about how hot it is and you want to show him pictures of guys in shorts to just get him to back off, I'd leave him alone.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:02 AM on June 30, 2011


lovedbymarylane: "shooting hoops"

He *shoots hoops* in pants? Fo reals?

Perhaps come to him from this angle: you know he hates the heat, and it limits his options to flat-out refuse to wear shorts. In 1925, boys wore shorts and men wore pants. My grandpa, who threatened to disown me if I grew out my hair, got over this convention and wears shorts where thermatically appropriate. So can others get over this convention.
posted by notsnot at 7:04 AM on June 30, 2011


(It is interesting to me that most women think guys look fine (or even good!) in shorts; this seems to be a rare instance where men are policing men about a fashion choice that is neutral to women (as opposed to things like bow ties or pink shirts, where some women also police men). I've definitely heard guys insult each others' legs, and not in a nice way.)
posted by Frowner at 7:05 AM on June 30, 2011


No pleated shorts! Those are for paunchy dads only!

I live in Tucson - it's been over 105 every day this week. I also work with geologists on a large college campus. Shorts are so completely unremarkable in my everyday life that going back over yesterday at work, I really couldn't tell you who was wearing shorts and who wasn't.

I personally am most opposed to the long, shiny, synthetic basketball shorts that are huge with the jock types on my campus, but I can't imagine your boyfriend would be looking into those at all.

My husband is tall, with skinny legs, and he rocks flat-front, knee-length cotton shorts, usually with a Fred Perry type polo shirt, and a pair of Cons or other sneaks. I think he looks great and I appreciate a chance to admire his legs.
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:11 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wear shorts all the time and enjoy shorts. I am a mature, grown man, and continue to be one when wearing shorts. Shorts have led me to great success in both love and life. I look good in shorts. Other men look good in shorts. Now, I live in Los Angeles, so maybe things are different here. I grew up in Washington DC...and realize many men my age there do not wear shorts. Unfortunately it is often the case that the oppressed are unaware of their bondage.

I assure you that men on the East Coast are fully aware that they have the option to wear shorts if they please. To suggest that they are enslaved is either an absurd thing to say or a pretentious thing to say.
posted by desuetude at 7:13 AM on June 30, 2011


> I assure you that men on the East Coast are fully aware that they have the option to wear shorts if they please. To suggest that they are enslaved is either an absurd thing to say or a pretentious thing to say.

Yeah, what she said. I do not wear shorts (except for swimming trunks when I go swimming), and my wife (who, like most women, apparently, can't understand why some men won't wear such a comfortable item of clothing) has long since come to terms with my apparently irrational stubbornness. I wear long pants in the summer, I don't mind, and I don't see why anyone else should mind. To me, shorts look stupid on grown men, end of story. I don't want to discourage you from trying to change your boyfriend's mind up to a point, but I hope that once you realize you've reached that point (if he's one of us stubborn non-shorts-wearers), you will know how to back off gracefully and leave it alone from then on.
posted by languagehat at 7:20 AM on June 30, 2011


My husband is another non-shorts wearer; he thinks they're very frat-boy, and says they don't actually keep you cooler because your entire leg is now being roasted by the sun. When pressed he will start to talk about the clothing choices of Saharan dwellers But he doesn't wear jeans when it's roasting outside, either--he has a few pairs of linen and thin, light-colored cotton pants that keep him relatively cool and comfotable, and he's definitely wearing them with geek shirts and things.
posted by tchemgrrl at 7:26 AM on June 30, 2011


Also, if you're a guy who also dislikes shorts, why? Why keep your steaming hot legs trapped in jeans all summer long?

Because wearing shorts does very little to make me less hot, and I say this as someone who lives in Austin (where we've already had several days over 100 degrees this summer). To me, what's going to determine how how I am is how tight my shirt is, and what my shirt is made of.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:31 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tell him his legs look good, and will look good in shorts. I see lots of guys who look pretty hot, in the good way, in medium to longer shorts.
posted by theora55 at 7:33 AM on June 30, 2011


- Is it over 80 degrees outside? Yes.
- Are you over the age of 12? Yes.
- Are you currently engaged in a boat race? No.
- Are you a reasonable person? Yes!
Answer: 3/4 pants in linen.


There is nothing worse than manpris. Please don't even put this idea in your boyfriend's head.

I recently learned that a lot of men don't like to wear shorts because in some Eastern cultures, shorts are only worn by prepubescent boys and pants are worn only by men (most commonly in the case of school/work uniforms). Thus shorts are seen as infantile and inappropriate when worn by a man. I think this is silly, but I'm also from South Carolina where pretty much everyone wears shorts.
posted by Mrs.Spiffy at 7:34 AM on June 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


I've always lived where men wearing shorts is perfectly acceptable. If I hadn't had jury duty in January, I'd probably could count the times I wasn't wearing shorts on one hand this year. I feel comfortable and am a little peeved that some people find my mode of dress to be boyish or "To me, shorts look stupid on grown men, end of story."

If the guy doesn't want to wear shorts, fine. If he does decide to wear shorts, the knee length cotton variety is best. Jean shorts should be avoided at all costs.

And capri pants or kilts as an alternative? Are you fucking kidding me?
posted by birdherder at 7:37 AM on June 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


He doesn't like shorts. You believe he should like them. This will not go well.

The gender reversed role of this is *not* a guy telling a girl you that she should wear boyshorts or miniskirts or whatever, it would be a guy telling a girl that she'd be so much more comfortable and healthy if she just lost a few pounds. Can you imagine what happens when someone gets on mefi asking for pictures of skinny girls so he can get his girlfriend to diet or exercise?

Guys have a thing about being controlled, it just raises all these emotional ALERT ALERT alarms that make it impossible for us to actually consider the suggestion being offered.
posted by jasper411 at 7:40 AM on June 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Take him to try some shorts on in a store, have him try on a different couple of types of shorts. If he doesn't like them than that's fine there's nothing you can really do about it. Hes an adult if hes not comfortable in them then let it go. As for the "men shouldn't wear shorts" judging men on whether they wear shorts or not seems much more childish than a growing man wearing shorts IMO.
posted by lilkeith07 at 7:42 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I never knew there was this much shorts bias. Its remarkable and scary. It would make me stop wearing shorts but it's too hot. Seriously - in the middle of summer, I will wear shorts without regret. Cargo shorts. The cargo-est shorts you can find. In 75 degree weather I'll probably wear shorts. I also think I'd look ridiculous in 3/4 pants. Maybe some men don't, but if there was anything that never suited anyone, it's 3/4 pants and me.

But bold judgements like ALL CARGO SHORTS OR SHORTS UNLIKE MINE LOOK INFANTILE AND STUPID are ridiculous. Go to a summer music festival or a block party or just outside and see how many people are wearing different types of shorts and not being ostracized from the community.

I guess my point is there are a thousand different types of shorts and odds are he'll look good and feel comfortable in at least one of them, if he wants. And if he does decide yes to shorts, just keep him away from the shorts police here.
posted by MPnonot3 at 7:44 AM on June 30, 2011


Just popping in to say, my spouse did not like his cargo shorts, though he wears them for working on things due to convenience (set building). He otherwise feels stupid wearing baggy pant-like things. This year at Kohl's we found several pairs of solid and plaid (fun!) shorts that are flat fronted (a must), above the knee (just), and fit more like the trousers he prefers. A few of them were Vans brand, aimed I'm sure at a younger demo, but he liked them best for fit. He wears them with converse and pumas. I don't have photos, because usually HE is taking the photos, but they look nice and he's pleased.

So - suggestions are to take him someplace to see if you and he can find shorts he wants, if he wants to wear shorts. I personally have sworn off jeans for the summer, so I'm wearing dresses and skirts, and I have this one pair of seersucker trousers I will deign to wear. To each his own.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:05 AM on June 30, 2011


I'm also not a fan of shorts, at least on me. I just don't have the legs for them. On the other hand, the choice of shorts vs. jeans is quite a false dichotomy. The cut of a piece of clothing is only part of its heat-retention qualities, and fabric is usually a bigger concern.

Y'know, like many other people have said in this thread. I just wanted to jump on the bandwagon.
posted by cardioid at 8:25 AM on June 30, 2011


I have never liked shorts, and I think that the identikit southern fratboy summer costume tipped me over into outright revulsion. As such, I pretty much avoid them when in public settings, even when it's "shorts weather", though I can be tempted to wear them at home as long as they're not khaki, cargo or of that ilk.

If your bf is of that mindset, you are going to have difficulty persuading him otherwise.

Here's a photo, though it's not really what you're looking for, and I'm with those who think that seersucker, linen and other fibres suit the summer well -- at full-length.
posted by holgate at 8:35 AM on June 30, 2011


I don't usually like shorts on guys. But broken in shorts in cargoey/neutral heavyweight cotton with converses or work boots can look pretty great. Legs can't be lily white, though.

(but only wear workboots if you actually know how to build stuff and can handle your tools. If not, you do kinda become a tool...)
posted by Vaike at 8:47 AM on June 30, 2011


I'm not a guy but I guess my main reason for not liking shorts might apply to your bf as well: They are not as comfortable as long pants made from a light, lose fabric (linen, seersucker cotton) when it's really hot. That's because my legs get sweaty/sticky when it's really hot, and the back of my knees then sticks to seating surfaces (naugahyde, yuck!) and to each other when I cross them. Sun shining on my legs makes me feel really hot. Look at how people in traditional cultures in really hot countries usually dress: they don't wear tank tops and shorts, but long, loose clothing - because it works.
posted by The Toad at 9:05 AM on June 30, 2011


How about 3/4 length?

Good Lord, no. Never! No high-water pants! To borrow some of the great jargon from upthread, calf-link trousers are toolish pseudo-clothes.
posted by Rash at 9:07 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here are more ideas and choices somewhat in between The Sartorialist (runway) and the Gap (the suburbs).
posted by kcm at 9:25 AM on June 30, 2011


"- Is it over 80 degrees outside? Yes.
- Are you over the age of 12? Yes.
- Are you currently engaged in a boat race? No.
- Are you a reasonable person? Yes!
Answer: 3/4 pants in linen.
"

…if you want to look like a fixie hipster or Laura Petrie, maybe.

Maybe I'm jaded from living in the land of hipster runoff, but when men's capris started to be a thing a couple years ago here, I thought (and still kinda think) they look ridiculous.

I wear shorts pretty often, in part because my main transport is a bike. Otherwise, I tend toward jeans. (Obviously, this is all casual stuff — I'd never wear either to an office job.)

I've looked for linen and lightweight pants for years, and never found any that fit and flatter me, but y'know, I got pretty good legs (little bit skinny, but whatevs).

The next things coming up, just from what I see around LA from people taking informality seriously, are loose plaid shorts and tight denim shorts. Either can look good, depending on the cut and the person, but the plaid ones seem to give more options, especially since most of the plaids are earth tone.

Really, pulling off shorts just requires that you look like you chose them intentionally and are aware of the cut.

(Oh, and having a girlfriend that points out that with your green shorts and khaki button-down shirt, you look like a zoo keeper.)
posted by klangklangston at 9:28 AM on June 30, 2011


Here are some guys looking put-together in shorts, as well as an article in support of the look.
posted by illenion

Those are three of the most ridiculous-looking men I've ever seen.


Yeah, seriously :P

This is how i look on any given shorts day, fwiw.

In the end i just find it comfortable, and i'm from a hot+humid place, so ventilation is key. But light long pants or the other things that have been suggested work just as well.

As to whether he's being forced, women have tried to convince me to wear things that i was reluctant to wear many times in my life and i mostly ended up caving in; either because i ended up liking it as well when they explained the rationale and showed me cool examples, or because it ended up being more comfortable than i expected or plainly because girls liked it, if i look better in the eyes of girls, who am i to complain!

That said, if it's going to cause friction there's no point in pushing, imo.
posted by palbo at 9:37 AM on June 30, 2011


[bunch of comments removed over the past day or so. Please fewer judgeme answers and more answering the question. Civilly questions assumptions is okay, spleen venting not okay. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 9:43 AM on June 30, 2011


>Because only children and Germans wear shorts

Amen. And in Asia (unless at a resort) clueless tourists and sexpats. Locals and regular expats manage just fine in linen trousers, and it is HOT in SE Asia.

Your bf is none of these, buy him some nice lightweight full-length trousers.
posted by cyndigo at 10:07 AM on June 30, 2011


OP, here's somebody wearing shorts in non-beachy sort of way.

For those of you in the US who say shorts should only be worn by children (and, presumably, women)-- why do you say that? I see children wearing t-shirts, pants, shorts, button downs, socks, etc. Why are shorts not allowed to make the jump to adulthood? I can't believe this sentiment exists merely because that was the custom 100+ years ago.
posted by BurntHombre at 10:58 AM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


For the record (which is already clear, but whatever), I did not say shorts should never be worn, but just that they look terrible. I wear shorts sometimes. But they look terrible, so I rarely wear them in any public setting that is not at or near the beach. Board shorts at or near the beach look fine if you're built like Kelly Slater. But even he looks terrible in shorts unless he's at the beach with no shirt.

As for those above who have said that they regularly wear shorts and nobody seems to mind, I would point out that the fact that nobody points and laughs at you or even the fact that some people think you don't look terrible is not a rebuttal to my assertion that shorts look terrible on men. We disagree, obviously. But the fact that you and others disagree with my opinion does not make my opinion wrong.
posted by The World Famous at 11:33 AM on June 30, 2011


One more thought. I know I don't like wearing shorts myself (I'm a girl), but if I have to having both socks and shoes on makes me feel much more 'dressed' and secure (not feeling all nakedy and self conscious). That might help him with his psychological comfort level.
posted by Vaike at 12:40 PM on June 30, 2011


birdherder wrote: And capri pants or kilts as an alternative? Are you fucking kidding me?

Better a kilt than a pair of capris. I say this as person who used to be adamantly opposed to shorts. Then I got the F over it. They are definitely cooler than any of my other pants, including light cotton.

I will happily go to the bank in shorts and a nice breathable athletic shirt. I'll also wear jeans. Or khakis. I'm like honey badger that way. I even wear that shit when I'm out of the country looking like some boorish American. Nobody cares. It's the loafers that upset them, not the shorts.
posted by wierdo at 2:18 PM on June 30, 2011


Those are three of the most ridiculous-looking men I've ever seen.

Agreed. And it's not because of their shorts -- it's their lack of socks, which make their legs look entirely too feminine.
posted by Rash at 3:03 PM on June 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


cyndigo: Amen. And in Asia (unless at a resort) clueless tourists and sexpats.

Maybe for SE Asia, but not for China, and possibly including HK and Taiwan. I remember specifically in Beijing the amount of locals that wore shorts and walked around with exposed bellies on humid summer afternoons.
posted by FJT at 9:13 PM on June 30, 2011


^The gender reversed role of this is *not* a guy telling a girl you that she should wear boyshorts or miniskirts or whatever, it would be a guy telling a girl that she'd be so much more comfortable and healthy if she just lost a few pounds.

Just to point out that in her second post, OP said "But he hates the heat with a passion, and sweats a lot, and doesn't like to go anywhere unairconditioned in the summer because of that - so all I want to do is convince him that shorts are an option...They're functional and can look great, so why not at least give them a try?" (Emphasis mine.)

So it's more like if a girl refused to leave the house in the summer because she thought she was fat, and the guy suggested she lose a few pounds. And you might well be right - either way, presenting alternatives might not produce the desired result.

Also I suggested the kilt tongue-in-cheek, but a dude who resists shorts ain't goin' for linen manpris. (Besides, linen needs pressing, and who wants to *iron* when it's hot and humid?)
posted by gingerest at 9:39 PM on June 30, 2011


Again, I thought like the OPs boyfriend. Then I realized I lived in a hot place, and would have to go outside to do what I enjoy. Just find black shorts. They don't look beachy, and they keep you cool.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:43 PM on June 30, 2011


Just be careful with some of the advice in this thread, the following items are currently deeply unfashionable and read as "old":
- Thee quarter length
- Cargo pockets
- Pleated front
- Linen
posted by dave99 at 5:49 AM on July 1, 2011


Men wearing shorts, another example: this guy illustrates why many Americans shouldn't, IMO.
posted by Rash at 4:56 PM on July 2, 2011


The shirt is worse than the shorts, IMO.
posted by wierdo at 5:38 PM on July 2, 2011


I am generally inclined toward the "shorts are for children and Germans" philosophy, but they are definitely better than 3/4 manpris. Don't do that.
posted by naoko at 10:29 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


What about convertible pants? You know, the kind where the legs zip off near the knee? That way he can experiment with wearing shorts without committing to going a full day in them. Plus convertible pants are usually made of very lightweight fabric. You can usually find them in sporting goods stores and camping supply stores.
posted by shponglespore at 1:32 PM on July 12, 2011


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