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Who Wears Short Shorts? Not Enough Men These Days

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L-R: Tom Selleck as Magnum P.I.; Sean Connery as James Bond; John Travolta in 'Perfect'.

You know what we don't see enough of in 2018? Men's thighs. Proof of this presented itself this past summer when Armie Hammer hit the Live with Kelly and Ryan set wearing a pair of above-the-knee shorts, and the entire country promptly lost its damn mind.

For the last 20 years, America has been needlessly starving itself of men in short shorts, presumably because of some fashion industry conspiracy designed to impose rules on guys' upper-leg areas. History, though, is full of examples of men proudly wearing booty shorts, so let's take a look back at these hallowed times of yore and the men that ruled them.

Tom Selleck in Magnum P.I. 

Tom Selleck and his thighs, starring in 'Magnum P.I.'

Starting in 1980, Tom Selleck rocked short-shorts, short-shorts and then, um, some more short-shorts, while filming Hawaii-based T.V. hit, Magnum P.I. Do a Google Image search (we dare you); Selleck's casual ease with maximum thigh exposure, week after week, is truly an inspiring thing to behold. There's a new version of Magnum P.I. starting soon, but it looks like there aren't any men in short-shorts in it. What's the point, CBS?!

Kevin Kline in The Big Chill

Tom Berenger and Kevin Kline having a relaxing stroll in 1983's 'The Big Chill'.

The Big Chill was an Oscar-nominated musing on lost youth, mid-life crisis and the battle between dreams and responsibility. Mostly what we remember about it though is Kevin Kline wandering around in short-shorts being awesome. At the end of the movie, his wife, played by Glenn Close, asks him to have sex with a friend of theirs so that she might have a baby of her own. See? Proof that short-shorts are basically shorthand for virility and selflessness!


Fonzie in Happy Days

Fonzie literally jumping the shark, in 'Happy Days'.

Fonzie was definitely the coolest thing in Happy Days. He said "Aaaaay" a lot; he started jukeboxes by hitting them; he always got the girls; and, in the most infamous episode of all time, he even wore short-shorts while literally jumping the shark. "I had really good legs at that time," Henry Winkler has noted with hindsight. That you did, Hank. That you did.

Pre-White House Bill Clinton and Al Gore

Bill Clinton taking a jog with Al Gore, 10 July 1992. (Photo by TIM CLARY/ AFP/ Getty Images)

Bill wasn't President yet and Al wasn't yet stuck with the unenviable task of explaining how close to climate-change-related death we all are. No, back in 1992, they were just two handsome fellas taking a jog in Arkansas in front of the nation's press to prove to America that they were up to the task of running the country. Oooh, what a metaphor! You know what though? It worked. Thanks in no small part to those shiny bottoms.

Old School John Travolta

L-R: John Travolta in 'Grease' (1978), 'Perfect' (1985), and what appears to be a lovely catalog.

Before he was a mysterious Scientologist, John Travolta was a sexy, sexually ambiguous dancing machine who had no qualms about showing us his... talent. Short-shorts were practically his signature throughout the '70s and '80s, and no one was mad about it.

'80s Rockers

L-R: Lemmy, David Lee Roth, Jon Bon Jovi, Axl Rose. Wow.

In 2015, a study that "examined [377] 1980s heavy metal groupies, musicians, and fans at middle age" found they were "significantly happier in their youth and better adjusted currently than either middle-aged or current college-age youth comparison groups." What was the difference between then and now? Short shorts, of course! Even Lemmy was doing it, for crying out loud! LEMMY!

Caitlyn Jenner in Can't Stop The Music

Jenner (far right) in 'Can't Stop The Music' (1980).

Back before Caitlyn came out as trans, she appeared in Can't Stop The Music, The Village People's 1980 movie that was part homage to New York City, part tribute to the YMCA and part-excuse to see Jenner running around showing off those beautiful, gold-medal winning legs. Wowzers.

1970s Basketball Players

Basketball 1970s vs. now. Oh, the humanity. (Photo on right by: Ronald Martinez/ Getty Images)

These days, when basketball players hit the court, there is so much swish-swashing of damn clothing going on, it's hard to focus on anything else. By contrast, 1970s basketball was a simpler game, where men threw caution to the wind, hit the court wearing everything high and tight, and still had the confidence to jump. (I wouldn't be sad to see Draymond Green in a similar get-up. Just throwin' it out there...)

John Ritter in Three's Company

'Three's Company' enjoying short shorts to the fullest extent possible.

Everyone wore short shorts in Three's Company, and they did it a lot. So much so, in fact, that there is an infamous episode (161, if you care to look it up) when Jack Tripper (John Ritter) sits down on a bed and accidentally, for a split second, flashes the camera. And no one working on the show even noticed. 1983 was just a more exciting time.

Sean Connery as James Bond

Yes. Sean Connery used to own a romper.

Ask any James Bond fan in the world who the spy was best played by, and chances are you'll hear: "Sean Connery." James Bond is peak masculinity and Sean Connery is peak James Bond. Not only did Connery spend his seven Bond films displaying a minor addiction to wearing hot pants, at one point in Goldfinger, he wore a romper—an actual, baby blue, belted, terrycloth romper. If 1964 007 can do it, so can 2018 dudes.

It's time to get on board, fellas.

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