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Men of Australia, join the short pants rebellion

Office working men of Australia, the heat’s blasting off the city concrete and you feel it, don’t you? The time has come for a new climate movement: the Short Pants Rebellion.

Lawyers Jamieson Doyle-Taylor, left, and Robert Scutella wore shorts to work to fundraise for beyondblue.

Lawyers Jamieson Doyle-Taylor, left, and Robert Scutella wore shorts to work to fundraise for beyondblue.CREDIT:LOUIE DOUVIS

You’re watching, aren’t you, as summer rears its shiny head and office-bound women are searching their wardrobes for skirts, sandals and sleeveless tops. As the mercury rises, they’re stashing away their suit pants, dress shoes and long-sleeve tops, and intelligently choosing work attire that fits the driest climate on earth. And men, of course, are following suit ... well, we’re donning slightly lighter-weight suits – and the same hotbox shoes and socks.

But this summer dress code division wasn’t always so clear cut, was it? There was a time, our fathers’ and grandfathers’ time, when none other than a bank manager could check the hall barometer, see the temperature on the wall and realise, “Bewdy, Newk. Summer’s here – and it’s time to pull out my short-sleeved shirt, patterned shorts and leather sandals.” Broad paisley tie was mandatory, long walk socks were optional.

This look, of course, became a poster child for '70s fashion faux pas. But, regardless of its aesthetic offensiveness, we know it had a faux pas-less dimension: it allowed office working men to give appropriate credence to the stinking hot weather.

I can hear the protesters, those who want Short Pants Rebellion extinction on birth: they don’t want men, especially the middle-aged variety, flipping on shorts, sandals and short sleeve shirts for the office, exposing everyone to pale, scrawny arms and knobbly knees. There are an army of air-conditioners in town, they cry – and, for God’s sake, it’s the 21st century of gender fluidity! You baking hot men can wear skirts, you don’t have to subject us to hairy legs and tight rumps in shorts.

Minus the air conditioners – which may not last too much longer without renewable energy – these are all fair and reasonable arguments to ensure the quick extinction of our Short Pants Rebellion.

But, beware, we’re out there at our desks, we sons and grandsons of shorty '70s icons. We’re boiling mad and sweaty in our pants, long sleeve shirts, socks and shoes, jealous of women and any gender responding honestly to the Australian summer, that one incontestable annual climate change.

It only took one Swedish schoolgirl to start a global movement. And it’s only going to take one overheated male office worker to show his calves and thighs before the Short Pants Rebellion starts its million-man, bare-legged march through the streets. Walk socks optional.

Paul Mitchell is a freelance writer.

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