Let’s get something straight. I like shorts. Basketball shorts are usually my go-to choice for bottoms each morning. I find them comfortable and I like how I look in them. I have never been completely confident in my own skin, so it is important for me to wear what makes me comfortable.

I wear shorts all year-round, even during the winter, which I have found drives people crazy. Each morning I get ready to walk to the gym. Unless there are sub-zero temperatures and blizzard conditions outside, I wear shorts. My rationale: it is a two-minute walk up to the gym, and I’m just going to change into shorts anyway. Seems reasonable, right?

Yet, every morning when I say “good morning” to someone, a common response I hear is “where are your pants?”

Oh wow! I’m not wearing pants. That was stupid of me. Thanks for pointing that out.

I am completely aware of what I am wearing. I am also completely aware it is winter. I know these things because I have eyes, I can feel the cold, and I have common sense. I am also aware that it is socially normal to wear jeans or even thicker pants during the winter. I exist as a deviant because I wear shorts most days instead of jeans.

But my question is: who cares? Who cares if I want to wear shorts to the gym or to my class in the building across campus? I’m literally going to be outside for one minute. I don’t see the point in bundling myself up in ten layers of clothing that I’m going to take off as soon as I get to class.

I am a bit overweight for someone my age, therefore I am well insulated. I do not get cold easily. If I ever utter the words “I’m cold” I am usually complaining about my face, hands, or torso. Never my legs.

I love the usual excuses people give me for why I need to bundle up more. “You are going to get sick!” Cold weather does allow your body to catch illness easier, but I don’t think one minute of exposure is going to put me in the hospital. If so, I understand the risk.

Another question I usually get is, “what if you get held up and you are outside longer than you think?” Believe it or not, I do have the ability to think ahead, just like I have the ability to competently dress myself.

People also love to tell me, “well, if you get cold, don’t complain to me!” Great! I didn’t even ask you anyway. If I do get cold, I’ll understand completely that it is my fault. Will I change how I get dressed each day? Probably not.

I also must acknowledge that I have it relatively easy. I’m a guy. Most people don’t care what I wear from day to day. Women on the other hand are under constant social pressure and scrutiny to wear the correct outfit for the given situation. When a woman deviates from the clothing norm, they are shunned. When a man deviates from the clothing norm, they are usually just given a quick scold and treated the same as before.

Relating to my shorts problem, I feel terrible for girls who want to wear shorts in the winter. You won’t see many girls in basketball shorts because apparently that is more of a guy thing. Girls will wear the shorter shorts, and when girls wear a larger coat to overcompensate for the lost coverage on her legs, they get comments like, “wow, is she even wearing anything? Does she have any self-respect? Cover up, young lady!”

The social gender norms surrounding clothing, and anything else that can be gendered, are almost upheld as strict laws in this country. Bottom line, we need to stop worrying about what other people are wearing and focus more on what makes us comfortable. That’s my thought process every morning. I could care less about what anyone else is wearing. I want to feel like myself.

If you are a friend or someone that has a ton of classes with me and have recently said something to me about my shorts, please understand that I am not mad at you. I’m just asking those around me to understand that I am a junior in college, almost 21, and have over a 3.9 G.P.A. I know how to dress myself. I know the dangers of going outside in shorts in the middle of winter. I can take care of myself, and it really is not anyone’s business what I wear around campus, to the mall, to the store, and wherever else I can freely go. Let’s just stop judging each other on what we wear.