by Liz Smith

Hooray for the good doctor, who yesterday got it right in her critique of the audience that attended Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen” at Lincoln Center wearing shorts and flip-flops, belittling the grandeur of the occasion.

This audience isn’t poor and uninformed. They’re rich or relatively well off, or they couldn’t afford the opera ticket. God knows it’s hard enough to get a ticket. Brava for berating those who won’t even put on a jacket or tie or wear something neat and trim.

Now to the subject of wearing short shorts. I did personally state recently how much I don’t like seeing them — no matter how young and sexy the person — at church, at the theater and in good restaurants. But I defend to the death the right to wear such clothes, even if I disapprove.

I think short shorts must be Western Civilization’s answer to the chador and the attire that hides second-class-citizen women of the Middle East and Muslim fundamentalism. Evidently the men have to be protected from seeing female flesh and even female hair. They will go sexually crazy if the women around them are not covered up.

So that’s my reason for embracing short shorts.

It’s a cri de coeur, the last gasp of the West, to establish that treating sexy women well and with respect is not a crime and that men need to be their own guardians of behavior. Some theorists believe the religious fanatics who commit suicide bombing and other atrocities are simply sex-starved guys who can’t get a date.

So, short shorts for the sexual revolution! But at least use a little sense and taste where you wear them.

Liz Smith is a columnist for the New York Post and author of “Natural Blonde” and “Dishing.”

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