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Saturday, 8 May 2021

Short Shorts

In 1958, The Royal Teens had a hit in America with Short Shorts (in the U.K. we might be more familiar with the Freddie and the Dreamers version). The words repeat three times [YouTube link]:

Who wears short shorts?
We wear short shorts
They’re such short shorts
We like short shorts
Who wears short shorts?
We wear short shorts


Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Yip Harburg must have wondered why they needed to try so hard. But some people are not as daft as they would have you believe. The Royal Teens’ pianist later founded The Four Seasons and wrote many of their songs, and another member of the band founded Blood Sweat & Tears.

It seems there were times when lots of us wore short shorts, such as AC/DC guitarist Angus Young and Everton footballer Gary Lineker.


So why do I feel the need to curl up and hide under the bedclothes at the sight my shorts in the French High Cantal in 1978? 

I get a cringe attack just from the rest of the outfit alone.  

And if that’s embarrassing, take a look at this, not a pair of shorts in sight.

 Dare I scan in any more old colour slides?

44 comments:

  1. Surely shum mistake? Oor Tasker in Daisy Dukes?
    We all make mistakes, paisano.
    Frank Sinatra's on YouTube wearing a lady's blouse and necklace that looks like its strung with tiger's teeth.
    I hated wearing short trousers at the age of five and never wore them again after the age of 12 not even in a heatwave in Italy.
    The Cezanne beard suits you.
    I wish men and women could go back to dressing like the Edwardians.
    Men are slovenly now. Those old guys with ponytails, quel horreur !
    Haggerty

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    1. Even a Catherine Bach fan such as yourself wouldn't want to wear them in Glasgow. You seem to be assuming I am not now bald with a ponytail.

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    2. I never watched The Dukes of Hazard: I remember a Jane Birkin.
      Saint Augustine said it was sinful to weep over the grave of his mother so I shall not mourn my lost youth.

      Naw, I don't see you in a ponytail or follicly challenged.
      Old men of my generation don't do themselves any favours sporting black T-shirts and clothes you wear for doing the garden.

      And why have dark shirts gone viral? Even men in orchestras wear them: black, purple, dark blue. Horrible.
      I really meant to say that the Fifties was the golden age of dress for men and women. What better than a man in a sky-blue shirt without a tie on Saturday and a sports jacket?
      As a kid I remember seeing old Edwardian survivors sometimes in Derby hats and stand-up collars.
      Maybe I read too much H.G. Wells, Arnold Bennett and Virginia Woolf.
      Haggerty

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    3. I have the three volume hardback biography of George Bernard Shaw by Michael Holroyd: GBS the Fabian was a snappy dresser.
      There is a photo of Jean Jaures the great French socialist speaking outside; he is wearing a bowler hat and three-piece suit
      August Bebel the German Marxist dressed like a country squire.

      My mother's father had a bowler hat for funerals and he worked in heavy engineering. An atheist with doubts. Died at 64 in 1950.
      Haggerty

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  2. I have not worn shorts since entering secondary school. I have, however, worn brief underpants on the beach. With my legs, the shorter the shorts the less ridiculous it looks. Think Spike Milligan drawing.

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    1. I knew you'd somehow manage to turn the discussion to underpants.

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    2. Just delving a little deeper.

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  3. When I went to primary school. My short trousers reached to my knees. I think my parents believed in value for money.

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  4. What a cheeky little derriere in that second photo of you.

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    1. And so it still is JayCee (according to Mrs D).

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  5. These shorts only look short because fashions have changed since then, and now everyone wears shorts almost to the knee. But in the '70s and '80s, everyone's shorts looked like those!

    In the states, that song was made into a series of commercials for a hair-removal product called Nair. That's what I think of when I see those lyrics -- the Nair commercials. (Which are probably on YouTube.)

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    1. It's the same with swimming trunks. There's a guy who goes to the same swimming session as us (well, did before they stopped) who wore the old style minimal trunks. Mrs D tells me that the women in their changing room say how revolting it looks (may have something to do with his large stomach too).

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  6. You look the image of a man I used to work with. It was obviously a look of the time. I remember Jeff Banks on the Clothes Show in the '80s featuring men in shorts and we sat and said it would never catch on (at the time men really did not wear shorts at all unless on holiday abroad). I would never have believed how wrong I was. Now it is difficult to go a day without seeing men in shorts and the postmen always wear them.

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    1. Yes but as Steve says above they wear long shorts now. So do I in warm weather or on holiday. It would take nerve to wear ones like that now. I wouldn't.

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    2. Yes agreed but the very idea of shorts of any size as an everyday item of clothing in Britain was unthinkable at the time but in a few years it did come to pass

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  7. Hey, you had shapely thighs and a cute ass -- why not show them off? You should be proud, not ashamed, of that "short shorts" photo, Mr. Hot Pants Booty Shorts, you.

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    1. Are you harrassing me? Oooh! Do it again.

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  8. Thanks for sharing those three pictures of your good self. Most interesting. You clearly had a sense of style in those bygone years. The hat you sported in the first two photos must have been like the icing on the proverbial cake - a barm cake.

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  9. You know it's funny but I don't remember The Royal Teens, however I do remember Freddie and the Dreamers. In fact I saw them in concert when I was a kid.

    Yes, do scan more slides, I love seeing past pictures! You look great in shorts and very much in style with the times. Just about everyone wears shorts here in the summer, but maybe not short-shorts. ; )

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    1. There's a video of Freddie doing this song on Youtube, although it is when he was older. He goes round the band pulling their trousers down to reveal their shorts underneath, and he is wearing multiple pairs of shorts himself which he takes off one at a time. His act was based on comedy antics rather than music, although they did extremely well in America.

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  10. Another blogger I follow could not believe her father's short shorts on the high school basketball court in the fifties. The undershirt style tops didn't bother her, though. It's what we wore. I always thought that song pretty dumb, though it seems to have been good practice.

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    1. There have been tv programmes here tracing how musicians moved from one band to another through the years, but looking at this lot you'd never believe they's later be in the Four Seasons and BST. Mind you, the Four Seasons songs had simple words - Sherry Baby etc.

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  11. Oh please do! All joking apart you shouldn't cringe at all because that is what everyone was wearing. We have photos of my husband in football shorts we cry with laughter at now, but at the time I thought he looked great! When ever we come across a photo now I sing that song to him!

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    1. You could get used to it but I bet he still cringes too.

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  12. I don't know what to say!! Everyone has said it, but basically I don't like shorts, whether long or short but I like music and you look exceedingly fashionable ;)

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    1. I have never thought of myself as fashionable or tried to be so, but maybe everyone is in their mid-twenties.

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  13. Brits have got nothing on southern hemisphere colonials when it comes to shorts (any length). In my youth men wore them for quite dressed-up attire (with long socks and brogues - a bit like wearing a kilt). In my job we wore them over our long thermal underwear (mind you the fashion of the time was for the thermals to be stripy and very colourful, I guess they'd just be called leggings now instead of long-johns). Anyone wearing what are now called cargo pants (knee length with loads of pockets and preferably khaki colour) was said to be wearing 'empire builders'.... and don't get me started on builders...

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    1. I have never seen a cat wearing thermals or cargo pants, although I heard that my niece dressed hers up in dolls clothes.

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  14. You certainly had the legs for them shorts - nothing wrong with your outfits in these pictures.

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    1. I might have looked better in Lederhosen. I do look rather continental in those two pictures.

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  15. I can definitely say that no one has a picture of me wearing short shorts - thank heaven.

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    1. If I understand you correctly, you are not saying that you have never worn them.

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    2. For once I wasn't being obtuse. I have never worn them which is why I know that no one can possible have a picture of me. I wore shorts during my life in New Zealand despite the fact that I am undeniably bandy however they were never shorter than just above my knees.

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  16. I must say I rather fancy you in that last but one picture. Somewhere I have a picture of me in very short shorts in 1957- luckily I can't find it

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    1. What did you look like in your mid-twenties? I bet we would want to return the compliment.

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  17. What was that saying...if you've got it, flaunt it? You did, so why not? :) Actually, you were just a man of the (fashion) times back then.

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    1. Perhaps "you don't know what you've got till it's gone". In those days I didn't like how I looked.

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  18. I shouldn't have made the effort to look at the clip but I loved short shorts, on others. Bring 'em back I say. I haven't worn shorts since I was a teen.

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    1. You will have to start the trend yourself. From the comments it seems mine make quite an impression.

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  19. I am of an age where this song was used in a jingle to advertise leg shaving cream.

    I like being able to hear the song in its entirety here.

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    1. It probably provides quite a good pension for the composer. Who needs sophistication when you can get away with this?

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