The single most dreaded clothes shopping experience for most women is buying a bathing suit. Usually we first venture out in Spring, when we are still pasty and wan. Regardless of what shape we are in, the undeniable fact is that we are one year older than last summer and gravity, oh, evil gravity, has in its inevitable march of time, wielded its nasty power. Of course all of this gawking and self-depreciation takes place under florescent lights. We have all been there, done that and then left the store determined to eat more carrots but only after we seek comfort in a Crispy Crème Donut.

So, a few weeks go by and we decide some cute shorts might just cheer us up while simultaneously camouflaging those donut enhanced thighs. We dust off the crumbs and head back to the mall. After all, we have been using a self -tanning product on our legs and now sport a cute pedicure: how bad can this be?

Now let’s talk about short shopping- particularly this year. Is it just me or are all the options either Daisy Duke Shorts ( too young to know what this is? Click here) with a little butt cheek peek or knee length walking shorts which scream retirement community in Ft. Lauderdale?

These are awful choices.  I simply can’t reconcile my thighs and butt in a pair of Daisy Dukes, which start below the navel and end far above my panty line. These would require thongs which, let’s face it, aren’t high in the comfort department. Anything refered to “butt floss” sounds masochistic to me.

This shorts shopping expediiton triggers flashbacks of shopping trips for bathing suits and I begin mentally to retrace my footsteps for the nearest Mrs. Field’s.  I am panicked; I beginning to wonder if shorts are no longer an alternative to bathing suits. What’s next? A Mu-Mu? So, I take a deep breath and I try on a few more pairs, shorter than what I am used to. How bad could it be? I am horrified; my stuff no longs peeks out alluringly. Nope. It simply hangs out. These shorty shorts also have cuffs! Really! CUFFS! A cuff on a short is like a magic marker on your thigh underlining “Hey, lookit this!”

So, I go out to the racks, grab a handful and try again. My criteria for buying shorts take them through a lengthy quality test procedure. I try sitting in them before I buy them as there is a whole lot of stuff going on when you reposition yourself: notice how they climb up and bind in the front. How about that bit of fat that hangs over the top when you sit, which we try to discreetly tuck back in? Then in the posterior area there is the wedging action which will require a definite yank on each leg upon standing. So attractive. Both sitting and standing while wearing shorts require more constant rearrangement than any other garment since the training bra. (And don’t get me started on that. What was it that I was training, anyway?)

I am also not crazy about the idea of sitting on plastic chairs, wood chairs or anything else in shorts that doesn’t cover at least part of my leg. It is not the farty sounds one makes when arising from plastic chair; I can actually get past that. I simply cannot endure putting skin to plastic in Amazonian like temperatures. Truly the gift that keeps on giving: The combo of heat and cellulite will leave an imprint on your rear end for the entire day. Try sitting on a bench for a while and then take a backward peek.  Is there anything more unflattering the dents on your butt and legs keeping a visual log of your whereabouts (abutts) during the day?

How about lycra bike shorts that when worn in this weather resemble sausages simmering on the grill? No way. Gym shorts-comfy comfy, comfy, but they should come with a usage warning label. Bending over offers an intimate view of your tonsils and when you sit, remember to keep those knees together or risk much too much attention.

We could opt for those knee length walking shorts but unless you are, as I already mentioned, a member of the snow bird club of Boca (and male), these are not flattering.  However, if they are hiking shorts with all those pockets, and paired with boots and a tee shirt you can pull off the earthy, athletic look. But I do not want to always look like I am about to hike the Appalachian trail when I am going to- say a picnic, or the movies or to dine al fresco (fancy talk for flies in your food).

Is it too much to ask for a decent pair of shorts? Perhaps women over forty need to campaign, to let manufacturers know we yearn for something somewhere between raunch and retirement, neither Playboy or little boy, a pair of shorts that offers comfort and coverage and still looks good.

Really, is this too much to ask for?


© 2013 Donna F. Ferber, LPC, LADC is a psychotherapist in private practice in Farmington, CT since 1986. She is the author of the award winning From Ex-Wife to Exceptional Life: A Woman’s Journey through Divorce now available in Kindle format for $9.99 as well as in paperback. As of this writing, she owns three pairs of shorts.



  1. cj golden on the 07. Jul, 2013 remarked #

    Donna, I am in a Starbucks right now watching the customers watching me as I sit here laughing out loud and, hopefully, not having my grande soy cappuccino dripping out of my snorting with laughter nose. Oh, and hiding my donut legs which are barely covered with shorts that spots hems!

    • Donna Ferber on the 07. Jul, 2013 remarked #

      A good place to watch women “adjust” and yank. It is an epidemic!

  2. Wendy on the 07. Jul, 2013 remarked #

    This is why I go for Capris. I cannot muster the courage to shop for shorts never mind wear shorts. Oh,and I concur with CJGolden – laugh out loud! Thanks.

  3. Sharon on the 08. Jul, 2013 remarked #

    This was too funny I was laughing out loud at work reading this! Thanks for making my Monday a little easier to get in the swing of things at work. 🙂

  4. Rose on the 08. Jul, 2013 remarked #

    OMG Donna, this blog was hysterical!!! Sadly though, I can relate to the whole shorts thing. That’s why like Wendy, I only wear capris. No can do shorts – LOL! Thanks for the laugh!

  5. Ann on the 14. Jul, 2013 remarked #

    A bit late reading this. I felt you wrote the words that were in my head! So true! The shorts now-a-days are not made for us! I found one pair! Most of the time I wear capris!

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