Daisy Dukes Versus Cargo Shorts

In preparation for a camping trip, I went shopping for some shorts. In both sports stores, I walked down the dividing aisle between men’s and women’s clothing. To the left, there were rugged, cargo shorts in every earth tone and print. To the right, low-rise, butt-cheek-skimming daisy dukes in garish colors. Apparently, men require comfort and practicality when camping or engaging in sports activities and women do not.

I still have the heart-shaped butt of my youth, except now it’s upside down.

I was frothing at the mouth by the time I made my way to the end of my department, with nothing suitable for camping in hand. In the end, I bought myself men’s cargo shorts. Admittedly, they make me look a bit like Man Mountain Dean. But I think anyone walking behind me will be grateful for the boxy cargo shorts when the alternative was an unrestricted view of butt cheeks that have endured the forces of gravity for forty-seven years.

Am I wrong?



  1. Jess Witkins said,

    July 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    I HATE shorts shopping! This is why I own several pairs of capris because when you wear short shorts, you walk around for hours with thigh prints of picnic chairs or grass blades after sitting down. And who really wants the campsite fossilized on their ass?


    • July 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      “…and who really wants the campsite fossilized on their ass?” 😀 Exactly!

      I hate any shopping. I was trying on gowns yesterday for a relative’s wedding. Nightmarish. For some comic relief, I tried on a gown a la Cher 1974. It had two huge cutouts that bared your waist and hips, or muffin top, whatever the case may be. 😉

      • Jess Witkins said,

        July 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm

        But I frickin LOVE CHER!!!!

      • July 29, 2012 at 5:51 pm

        Yeah, and I looked just like her as soon as I poked my tongue into my cheek. [Anyone born after the Sonny and Cher show is not going to understand that comment.]

  2. Richard said,

    July 29, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    That picture is going to keep me smiling for the rest of the week. 😀

    The fashion industry is an insidious, self-perpetuating mechanism designed to make us feel inadequate, needy and incomplete. Few industries can match it for the misery and doubt it sows in those of us who don’t happen to fall within their narrow definition of acceptability. Screw them and their lazy 80s throwback stylings. Wear your cross-gender statement with pride! 😀

    Still, ‘unrestricted view of butt cheeks’ does have a rather pleasing ring to it…

  3. July 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    No, you’re not wrong. I’ve had the same experience shopping for shorts. It used to be, you could find some that came just above mid-thigh. Now, it’s either the hot pants or clam diggers. There’s nothing in between.

    I always resort to shopping the Eddie Bauer catalog. It’s the only retailer who offers a variety of different lengths.

    Marg, we think alike!

    • July 29, 2012 at 5:48 pm

      Yeah, Eddie Bauer is good, but mail order is a pain if you have to return stuff. And since there aren’t any standard sizes for women, I always have problems. Why can’t women’s sizes be in inches like men’s?

  4. jro said,

    July 29, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Now you understand why I always sport the Peppermint Patty look all year round 😉

  5. Patti said,

    July 29, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    It is tough to find good camping shorts. Every season I search for something that might possibly be both comfortable and durable and attractive.

    • Patti said,

      July 29, 2012 at 7:58 pm

      Oops, I hit submit in mid thought – anyway, it’s rarely a satisfying experience. This past year was probably the best, when I found a getup that was a combination of leggings and skirt – cute and great for hiking (no chafing!)

  6. lulu said,

    July 29, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Hey, it’s comfort over looks when it comes to camping, hiking, etc. butt cheeks showing doesn’t always look that good though Walmart shoppers haven’t figured that out.

    • July 29, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      There are so many people walking around that could be “fashion don’t” models. They just need that black bar covering their eyes.

  7. July 29, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    There was constant warfare between administrators and school girls a while back . Parents and school officials both initiated uniforms. Hey this is Miami but school is not the beach or the mall.

  8. Joseph Hayes said,

    July 29, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    I just want to hear you say “Daisy Dook”.

  9. July 30, 2012 at 12:57 am

    It’s either one extreme or the other these days! I’m just glad I don’t have to make that kind of choice.

    It’s totally daisy dukes for me!

    • July 30, 2012 at 7:47 am

      That brings back frightening flashbacks about a programmer I used to work with, male, who wore the closest thing a man could get to daisy dukes on casual Fridays. Management was not impressed.

  10. NonnaLou said,

    July 30, 2012 at 4:34 am

    Thank you Margaret – You pictures made me smile — and smile — and then uncontrollably burst out laughing. You have really brightened my day !!!

    Here in Italy I don’t know how these beautiful slim, elegant young ladies keep looking so trim, after eating so much pasta everyday. I am just jealous !!!

    Ciao for now !!!

    My Blog about us moving to live in Italy:
    Avanti Sempre Avanti

    • July 30, 2012 at 7:51 am

      NonnaLou! So glad to see you again. The reason those Italian women are so slim is because their portion of pasta is a fraction of the amount Americans eat. And they get in their passeggiata every day, too. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your link.

  11. Cynthia said,

    July 30, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Good news: actually, the heart shape was always supposed to be upside down – narrow waist, nice cheeky cheeks… the distance was just supposed to be shorter than it is now… I use sun protection as an excuse to never wear shorts at all actually. And regarding male swimwear… I always liked the term budgie smuggler actually, once a friend explained it… poor birds.

    • July 30, 2012 at 6:28 pm

      That is good news! I always thought it was supposed to be right side up, equating the wider part of the heart with a firm, uplifted butt. Learn something new everyday.

      Budgie smuggler…lol…I haven’t heard that one before.

  12. July 31, 2012 at 4:57 am

    LOL, sexism is everywhere! I had the same problem, preparing for hiking in actual mountains which required more than some flower-print spandex stretchy numbers that showcased my glutes. Like actual weather resistance and comfort?? Very funny 🙂

    • July 31, 2012 at 7:12 am

      Thanks, Cakes. Just saw the Paleo Blueberry Muffin recipe on your blog. Definitely making those.

      • July 31, 2012 at 8:18 am

        Cool! Let me know how they turn out. I have some more recipe posts in that vein up my sleeves, too 🙂

  13. July 31, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    “I still have the heart-shaped butt of my youth, except now it’s upside down.”

    Gravity is this great thing when it holds me in place. It just does its job a little too well.

  14. Huffygirl said,

    July 31, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Oh Margaret, you’ve really hit with hot button with my frustration over the women’s clothing industry. Men get practical or dressy clothes in sizes that are consistent from store to store, while women get …well, don’t get me started. And the styles – There are clothes for teens and 20-somethings, and clothes for women over 70, and not much in between. I get infuriated every time I go to the mall – I have 3 times as much money as any 15 year old, yet the mall carries styles catering to her, not me. Guess they don’t want my money? As I said, you shouldn’t have gotten me started.

    • July 31, 2012 at 10:49 pm

      I’ve heard so many people complain about this that I’m surprised someone hasn’t taken on this neglected demographic. Seems like there’d be a lot of money to make. So what am I missing?

  15. Val said,

    August 1, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Eek! That sort of thing happens here too…
    Thanks for making me smile. Well, not making me. I mean makes me smile, I do it all by myself. 😉

  16. Val said,

    August 1, 2012 at 9:38 am

    What happened to the missing word? Where did it go? It’s should’ve been ‘nobody makes me’

  17. Ray Colon said,

    August 1, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Hi Dean, er, I mean Margaret,

    I understand your dismay, but your description was funny. The selections offered at that store may well have been sexist, but I had a similar experience when picking out my new set of glasses. Ageism reared its ugly head. I could select either old fashioned rims that were cheaply made or higher quality frames that looked like they were designed for young people. I even asked the salesperson, “Do these make me look like I’m trying to impersonate someone in their twenties?” I’ll have them in a week and then I’ll see if I start getting strange looks from strangers.


  18. bronxboy55 said,

    August 5, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I’ve noticed the same thing about shorts. The men’s version is about two inches shorter than regular pants, and the women’s version looks like underwear. I think clothing designers are just trying to see how ridiculous we’re willing to look.

    Great post, Margaret. But I’m sure that drawing isn’t accurate.

    • August 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm

      No, you’re right, Charles. It’s not accurate. I tried on the daisy dukes with the green polka dots, not the pink ones. 😉

  19. August 10, 2012 at 8:42 am

    […] Margaret Reyes Dempsey puts women’s shopping plights to page in her recount of shorts shopping for an upcoming camping trip, Daisy Dukes Versus Cargo Shorts. […]

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