As a woman grows older, the signs of maturity arrive quietly and settle in one by one for a period known as “the rest of your life.” She has a mortgage and it’s not such a struggle to get it paid each month. Her car is not flashy, but it is dependable. The number of times she leaves the house without makeup outnumber the times she does so with at a ratio of 25-to-1. Now that she finally knows how to walk reasonably gracefully in a pair of heels, she decides sneakers are better for 95% of her outfits, and sandals will cover the remainder.
The gray hairs become less errant and more apparent. She finds herself turning the car stereo down and the TV volume up. She voluntarily, nay, eagerly includes high-fiber foods in her diet. And one warm spring day, she puts on last summer’s very cute shorts, turns to the mirror, screams in horror, and faints dead away at the shock.
When she rouses herself from unconsciousness, she comes to the realization that the short-short swallows may no longer return to the Capistrano of her booty, and another season of her life has passed. She has now entered a season where she can no longer deny that the cellulite on her aging thighs not only could benefit from, but pretty much requires, the liberal application of considerably more fabric than has been her wont in past summers if she wants to leave the house without worrying that she is inducing lactose intolerance in all who witness the cottage cheese display. She has had her consciousness raised (as gravity lowers the rest of her), and sees now that Bermuda shorts are no longer merely a fashion option, but a really good idea.
And so she relegates those shorts of yore to the bag of clothes that she doesn’t really want to give to Goodwill, and doesn’t really want to admit she will never wear again in a flattering manner, and definitely doesn’t want sitting accusingly in the closet, a testament to both her loss of youth and overfondness for snacks, and puts it safely out in the garage. And on the hangers and shelves vacated by these has-beens she places brand-new Capri pants and knee-length shorts culled from the local retail offerings.
And when all is said and done, she realizes it’s not such a tragedy. At the very least, she will not stick to vinyl restaurant booths in the worst of a Tucson summer. The pockets of Bermudas are deep enough she can actually put her keys in them without in advertently impaling herself. And no longer will the pattern of whatever fabric, wood, or metal mesh she is sitting on carve itself into her flesh. Long shorts are no surrender, but rather an embracing of that mythical beast called “grown-up.” She has long contended that grown-ups are just tall children with bills.
And long shorts.