I did the unthinkable today. I wore shorts that exposed the white skin on my upper thighs.
It didn’t used to work this way. As a young runner, back when running short fashions were high, my legs were tan from toes to crotch. But with fashion changes came more modest casual clothing, and thighs are now largely hidden. It has also turned out that cycling shorts now nearly reach the knees. So my tan lines stop about eight inches above the bend in my legs.
Unfortunately, that leaves a section of white man thigh exposed when I wear the lone pair of New Balance running shorts that I own. Granted, my lack of tan on the upper thighs isn’t as obvious as that sported by women runners switching from running shorts to competitive bun huggers.
But the world is still a bit hypocritical about the social acceptability of exposed tan lines among men and women. I just watched a Disney show about Olympians in Greece, and the male athletes competed naked. Guys were considered the height of beauty along with women. So we’re still working on closing the gap on tan lines in the modern age. How far we haven’t come?
But it was hot this morning, and humid, so I wore my shortest shorts and arrived at the Great Western Trailhead at 7:30. That’s right when most of the high school kids were heading home from their summer workouts. So I felt fairly safe that packs of high school girls would not be forced to avert their eyes at the sight of my white thighs.
And I was correct. Recreational traffic on the trail was fairly light. And yet…
One still gets the feeling that people just don’t want to see white man thigh. So I purposely avoided eye contact during my, except to wave hello to the people I already knew.
So on the norm, I’ll go back to more modest shorts such runs, and save my short shorts for lonely country roads where it is unlikely to offend creatures such as the thirteen-lined ground squirrel. I do hate to scandalize thirty-something moms pushing strollers or mid-forties guys doing their morning 10k. EXCUSE my glaringly white thigh muscles please.
But I also figure…that if this is the worst way I scandalize the world when America’s soldiers are being bounty hunted and the President does nothing, and the number of Coronavirus cases continues to expand, and the President does nothing, and selfish zealots refuse to wear masks in a fit of political spite, then I’ve got nothing to worry about. My scandal will pass. The lives of people lost to greater scandals than mine are what I’m truly concerned about.