There's a time and place for everything...including shorts. I would not go so far as to say that gentlemen will never wear shorts in public. Anyone who has been to the West Indies has probably observed some of the traditional dress attire of a gentleman - "Bermuda" shorts, along with coat & tie. Likewise, in other parts of the world, shorts can be donned with equal aplomb. The gentleman, of course, will know the proper shirt and footwear to accompany the shorts, and will know the proper type of shorts. The gentleman will also know the times and places where shorts would be inappropriate.