When the winter snows retreat and the spring gives way to the warming rays of the summer sun, urban gentlemen customarily carry an extra handkerchief to dab the sweat that accumulates within their long trousers. But in this modern age, it seems, some fashion-forward men are turning to an odd form of above-the-knee abbreviated breeches, casually referred to as "shorts." The New York Observer kindly explores the world of the daring striders who are unafraid to expose their lower legs on the streets of our metropolis:

While the rabble may have padded about in cut-off rags in days past, respectable members of society are only now dipping a toe into the short-waters:

A growing number of style-conscious men are becoming more comfortable with the idea of showing some leg during the hot summer months. No longer does it seem remarkable to see men-straight men-dressed in slim-fitting shorts that hang well above the knee, from conservatively dressed 9-to-5 Manhattan types, to Williamsburg hipsters who wear their cutoffs so high, it evokes the lyrics to the 1993 R&B hit "Dazzey Duks" (or The Dukes of Hazzard, depending on one's age).

Moneyed gentlemen including Ed Westwick, Devendra Banhart, Sean Avery, and even Graydon Carter have donned short-pants at one time or another, the intrepid news-paper reports. The news-man queries several of his close personal friends to determine how this trend is going over within the media:

Michael B. Dougherty, a research editor at Gotham magazine, [says] that there's "something really defeatist" about shorts, kind of like wearing sweatpants when you get to the point of not caring how you look[.]

But the practice is deemed more acceptable within the devil-may-care confines of Green-Point:

And if you ask John McSwain, who works as an assistant editor for Vice magazine's online television network, VBS.tv, he'll tell you that four to seven inches above the knee (or perhaps even higher!) is about right.

Mr. McSwain, 27, of Greenpoint, is a shorts enthusiast who loves all styles, from Fred Perry tennis shorts to those little cutoff jeans that, when worn by women, are sometimes referred to as "boom-booms." (Mr. McSwain alternately calls them his "redneck cutoffs.")

"Shorts" fit for public prancing may be purchased at Barney's for $160, the story notes. But those with proletarian urges can find versions fit for slumming at the "American Apparel" millinery:

Mathew Swenson, a spokesman for the company, said the male audience for short shorts, once exclusively the attire of trend-setting hipsters, has widened to include more mainstream types of guys who'd previously limited themselves to the baggier cargos and board shorts dominating the market-these days considered, perhaps, a bit dorky. "Now you prove your masculinity by wearing short shorts or pink underwear," he said.

What a gay time we'll have in our "shorts!"