East Central Illinois, it's time I let you in on a little secret.
Earlier this summer, after a period of intense deliberation, I quietly and carefully made a huge decision that has impacted my life going forward on a daily basis. I made this decision without pronouncement, in large part because I wasn't sure you would accept me, or that I could trust you to understand.
What I am about to tell you may come as a shock. It may rattle you to the very core of your being. You are on the verge of a paradigm-shifting discovery. So hold onto your butts, because everything you thought you knew about me is about to be turned on its head.
Earlier this summer, I made the decision to transition the default outerwear on the lower half of my body from shorts to swim trunks. Permanently.
Outrageous, you say. No grown adult wears swim trunks in place of pants while going about their daily business. Tut tut!
Believe me, I understand your resistance. I was once like you, I could not see past my own societally induced bias. I know this is not an easy truth to accept, but I am wearing swim trunks right now, as I type these very words.
But before you pass the judgment I have long feared, hear me out. Not only may you find yourself enlightened to the benefits of recognizing swim trunks as an everyday fashion accessory, you may find that by the end of this column you are questioning the basic tenets of your own long-held fashion sense.
Summer is a naturally damp season, of this we can all agree. Between the high temps, overbearing humidity and the rogue sprinklers blocking your path on the sidewalk, seasonal elements conspire to make you perspire.
As far as I'm concerned, there isn't a physical sensation more maddening than a pair of sloshy wet socks trapped in a pair of steamy wet shoes. Second on that list of creature discomforts would be the act of peeling a wet shirt off of your sweaty, clinging back flesh. But somewhere beyond that, within the top 10 list of physical annoyances, I would rank the sensation of wearing wet shorts.
What if I told you that you could eliminate the whole concept of the wet shorts from your life? That you could vanquish one of the top 10 most uncomfortable physical sensations (as we proved above) from your life with one simple change?
Well, you can, friend. If you are bold enough to answer the call. If you are fearless enough to don the trunks.
Instead of defending my trailblazing fashion trend, I pose the question to you: Why not swim shorts?
In addition to alleviating swampy conditions from your nether regions through the use of a superior ventilation system of mesh netting, swim trunks have plenty of practical applications. Spill your coffee on your lap? No big deal, your pants are in their natural element.
Get caught in the middle of water balloon fight? Get in there, pal!
Have a few minutes left on lunch before you have to go back to the office? Take five in the kiddie pool in your back yard. No worries, your pants are versatile!
I know what you're saying to yourself:
But Ryan, shorts can dry themselves in the summer heat, too. Swimming trunks still get wet. This doesn't alleviate any of my problems.
To which I would answer: Yes, but swim trunks are designed to dry faster than the average pair of shorts, and can be steam cleaned by pressing your buttocks against the door of a car that has been baking in an unshaded parking spot all afternoon.
But not just any pair of trunks will do.
It's vitally important that you find a print and style of trunks that can discreetly double as non-aquatic short pants. I am not courageous enough to Speedo thong my way through the entire summer, and I'm not suggesting that you should be either. My swim trunks look like a pair of khaki shorts to the naked eye (provided I conceal the drawstring and velcro crotch), and as such it pairs with any variety of tops.
I have been discreetly wearing swim trunks for over a month, and no one has been any the wiser (at least to my face). There always exists the possibility that someone has noticed and gossiped without my knowledge — but whether or not it has happened is irrelevant, I am here, now, before you, a grown man running errands in his pool shorts.
Judge me if you will, but know this:
With swim trunks, I am prepared for all situations. Warm weather. Wet weather. Heat waves. Flash floods. Dunk tanks.
Join me. Cast aside your antiquated notions of dry-only pants in favor of a more amphibious option. A good pair of swim trunks are down for anything. Enjoy the ride-or-die clothing option that you deserve, one that will be equally as comfortable sitting in a movie theater as it is spearfishing in the lake.
Ryan Jackson tries not to swish too much when he walks, because it's a dead giveaway. He can be reached at email@example.com.