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In Defense of Jorts

I can still remember my first time. I was scared and sweaty — but also incredibly excited. It was kind of awkward and I wasn’t sure what to do, but then it was all over. What I’m talking about is my first time wearing jorts. (Get your head out of the gutter!)

I was a freshman at Westfall. It was sometime in the spring of 2010, and I’m thinking it was a Friday. I had decided that I would no longer be wearing my old jeans. I grabbed my scissors and started to cut away at the denim when my cowboy friend came in and told me to stop. “This is how you make jorts,” he told me as he pulled his pocketknife out and gutted my jeans like a fish.


When I put on my jorts that day something beautiful happened. The planets aligned, and I fell in love. I was a little scared of the social retribution I might face for wearing them, but I knew I was onto something when half my hall mates decided to make jorts that same afternoon.

Later that night, my friends and I (all clad in jorts) somehow managed to enter a party. On the dance floor I found that my range of motion had vastly improved, although maybe not my moves. Even though we were asked to leave shortly after arriving, it didn’t faze us — we were untouchable underneath all that denim.

As my posse and I were walking back to Qdoba, we took part in some tomfoolery that bordered dangerously close to vandalism. However, when you are wearing jorts, most acts that are frowned upon by society can be justified in some way. For example, it’s totally fine to have a sweet mullet or mustache as long as a pair of jorts compliment them. Or say you find yourself picking your nose and scratching your butt while on the big screen at Moby — I doubt anyone would think less of you.

As awesome as they are, I think they sometimes get a bad rap. Sure, you can find somebody getting arrested in a pair of jorts from almost any episode of COPS in the 1990s, but isn’t it time to stop the hate? Can’t we give these fashionable, practical shorts a second chance? I say yes.

A common misconception about jorts is that you’re a hipster if you wear them. I’ll admit, they are pretty hip, but as long as you’re not riding a fixed-gear with them, you’re probably okay. Besides, I see all sorts of kids on campus, from jocks to bro’s to total morons like myself sporting them. Better yet, I see more people wearing them every single year, helping to validate their position in the snobbish world of fashion.

The first thing to know about jorts is that there is a difference between them and jean shorts. Jean shorts are mass-produced by clothing companies, whereas jorts are made at home and from the heart. The most important part about them is that you craft them yourself. It doesn’t matter if they are short or long, faded or worn, just as long as you are the one who makes them.

The best way to distinguish true jorts from half-hearted imitations is by looking at the fray (no, not the band from Denver). Little to no fray on the bottom of the pant-leg means that they were freshly cut, while long, spindly frizzle-frazzles of denim indicate a serious jort-wearing heavyweight.

A key element of wearing jorts is engaging in activities with them. As I said before, the range of motion allowed is breathtaking, and the support provided is unmatchable (perhaps our football team should start wearing them during games). While sporting them you will likely find yourself dancing, biking, climbing on roofs, running, drinking, cooking, etc. The list goes on forever. The thing is, jorts don’t like to sit around. Whenever you find yourself wearing them you are bound to be doing something fantastic.

As autumn and winter rapidly approach, I just want to take the time to appreciate my jorts while I still can. Pretty soon, long pants will smother my pasty-white upper thighs, and my jorts will hibernate after a long spring and summer. I can never express the amount of love I have for my jorts, nor repay the debt I owe to them, but by recognizing them for what they are, maybe I can begin to.


Quinn Scahill is a senior English major. His columns appear Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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