“A Don Doesn’t Wear Shorts”

First Family Vacations In Martha's VineyardOf course we all know that a Don doesn’t wear shorts, because they said so on The Sopranos, but a recent article and the resultant Twitter storm has raised the more general question of whether it is appropriate for any adult male to routinely wear shorts.

Actually, I had never really considered the idea that shorts are not generally appropriate adult male attire, until the episode of The Sopranos linked below. (This is likely one of many rules of propriety I hadn’t really considered until The Sopranos.) In the scene, old-school Don Carmine Lupertazzi takes Tony aside and informs him that since he is now a Don, it is no longer appropriate for him to wear shorts. He had been wearing shorts at a cookout in a previous scene. Thanks to the miracle of YouTube, the scene can be accessed here. (Please pardon the language.)

As traditionalist conservatives, it is appropriate for us to consider what is and is not proper attire, and to bemoan the general decline in standards, both fashion and otherwise. So, since a Don shouldn’t wear shorts, should any grown man wear shorts? Thankfully, Vox has provided us with a helpful and humorous flowchart courtesy of Andrew Exum. The answer is generally “no.”

For one, as the Vox article makes clear, shorts as routine adult male attire are generally an American thing. (For the record, this does not mean we should adopt the Speedo bathing suit to keep up with our Euro brethren.)

Shorts, widely considered outside of the United States to be ridiculous and unwearable, are a popular choice for American men in all sorts of social situations. But should you really be putting on shorts for that night out at dinner or business meeting or day at the museum?

As someone who was stationed for three years in Italy courtesy of the United States Air Force, I can attest that this is true. The American tourists in Venice stuck out like sore thumbs, shorts being one of several reasons. (More on those other reasons in a separate article.)

The flowchart is generally spot on. I would add to the flowchart “Are you at church?” to which the answer would then be “HELL NO!” I would also expand the “Are you at the beach?” element of the flowchart to include perhaps poolside in the daytime (since I’m not a Don) and on vacation in a tropical location. Some discretion and nuance here is probably warranted, but the general rule is still valid. Shorts should not be routine attire for adult men. It’s too bad it took mobsters and a hawkish Democrat (Andrew Exum) to lead the way.

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