CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hampshire Life today CLICK HERE

Chris van Schaick: My legs are one of my best features

PUBLISHED: 11:26 01 July 2016 | UPDATED: 11:26 01 July 2016

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto


What a gentleman wears below the belt in summer is causing great arguments in the van Schaick household

“That,” announced Mrs. v.S. emphatically, “is a stylistic disaster.” We were on the forecourt of Meringtons, our local garage and convenience store. She’d just seen a man go inside the shop wearing mustard coloured shorts.

It was a few weeks ago and yet I realised, even then, that with a Hampshire high summer just around the corner, the first shots had been fired in an annual conflict that sunders man and woman round here – The Shorts Wars.

During more than 20 summers in the Meon Valley, I have yet to meet a woman who approves of her husband’s choice of shorts. In fact, some of the sisters hereabouts can get quite vitriolic in their condemnation of what their partners wear below the belt in the warmer months.

Yet if we men never expose our legs to the sunlight, we are likewise condemned for lower limbs that, to borrow a phrase from Greg Dyke, are hideously white.

I firmly believe that my legs are one of my best features. They’ve been reasonably well toned by fifty years of football and cycling. I like to get them out. It’s liberating for a man to enjoy moments without trouser bottoms flapping round his ankles. But as summer advances, it’s not just the temperatures that hot up. It’s the heat of the arguments too.

Length is one of the most bitterly fought points. Mrs. v. S. has advanced the theory that the minimum length of a man’s shorts must be in proportion to his waistline. That’s reasonable, I think. A paunch in close proximity to very short shorts creates the look that in other contexts would be known as a muffin top. It’s just not right. We can all agree there.

But after that, the question of length becomes a source of heated argument. Should it be above or below the knee for a gentleman? I’ve been chastised for both choices and for intermediate compromises.

My mate Jeremy has tried to avoid this bone of contention altogether by sporting shorts which hardly even merit the description. They’re those low slung numbers that carry on down until they’re in touching distance of Jezza’s ankles.

In any future truth and reconciliation commission on men’s shorts in the Meon Valley, I’d be prepared to offer this as common ground: patterns, logos and other instances of cluttered garishness on a pair of shorts are wrong. All reasonable men and women can agree on that, I think.

But colour is another matter. We already know of Mrs. v.S.’s antipathy towards the mustard. Yet her response to blue has been lukewarm at best. White? Out of the question. Red? I don’t think so. You see I’m struggling to identify a colour which would gain acceptability.

Many of the world’s conflicts have persisted for centuries and there’s no reason to think that The War of the Shorts will be any shorter. I may just have to accept that, when it comes to the female view of men’s shorts, I am simply destined always to wear the wrong trousers. 

More from Chris…

Chris van Schaick: Village fetes - This month, Chris is spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing which local garden party he should attend

Chris van Schaick: Children becoming caregivers - This month, Chris ponders the time when roles will be reversed, and his children will become the caregivers


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampshire visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampshire staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampshire account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Yesterday, 11:46

Right at Home, with offices in Southampton, Winchester, Portsmouth, Farnham and the surrounding areas; offer home care for adults of all ages and the elderly

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

What does Christmas mean to you? Not everyone celebrates it of course but for those who do it is often simply a time for festive fun and creating new memories. We asked Craig David, Elizabeth Hurley, Colin Firth, Amanda Holden and more of Hampshire’s stars on what Christmas means to them

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Graphic artist Chris Gibson is bringing Hampshire’s landmarks in to people’s homes with his nostalgic posters

Read more
Monday, October 29, 2018

Some of Hampshire’s best known personalities have revealed what they most love about the county. Here, we compile some quotes from our interviews over the years

Read more
Monday, October 8, 2018

Something Wicked this way comes… the hit musical follows the yellow brick road to Southampton this month. Leading ladies Amy Ross and Helen Woolf share tales from behind the emerald curtain

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Turning 40 kick started a career change for Claire Fuller that took even her by suprise. She talks to Rebecca Fletcher about becoming a best-selling author, and what to expect from her latest novel

Read more
Monday, September 10, 2018

You can take the lady out of Hampshire but you can’t take Hampshire out the lady. Yes, it’s a corny expression but it is true in the case of actress, singer, dancer and TV presenter Amanda Holden, who has never forgotten her roots in the county

Read more
Monday, August 20, 2018

With her bold, graphic designs, New Forest artist Evelyn Bartlett captures the magnificent scenery on her doorstep

Read more
Monday, August 13, 2018

From food and drink to fashion and furnishings, Wickham is home to businesses that are pushing the boundaries. Viv Micklefield meets some of those proud to be different

Read more
Monday, August 13, 2018

A surf club… on the Isle of Wight? Surely not! 50 years on, Faith Eckersall meets those that say their little island is the surfing community’s best kept secret

Read more
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Tinnitus affects around 10% of the UK population and often goes untreated. Leightons Opticians and Hearing Care told us everything you need to know about tinnitus

Read more
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Sir Ben Ainslie’s sights are set on bringing home the 36th America’s Cup in 2021 and hoping to join the battle are the sailors currently in his youth squad. Viv Micklefield catches-up with some of the young guns already taking the world by storm

Read more
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

You can’t keep Mary Berry out of the kitchen and the same goes for Hampshire. Bernard Bale hears about her favourite places to visit

Read more
Monday, July 16, 2018

We are a nation of shopkeepers, but is the shop dying? We head to Winchester’s High Street

Read more
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search