Back in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries when individuals more readily shared home spaces, sometimes the pocket was the only personal space people had. Thus, the pocket has historically been a keeper of secrets, lies, and desires along with an accounting of what people possessed. The pocket, if anyone managed to get their hands in it, was the portal to the soul. Ok. Maybe I am a bit dramatic. But the pocket was definitely a keeper of secrets. You can tell a lot about a person by what is in their pocket. Go ahead and empty yours out right now. What do you see about yourself? The pocket is such a small space, that what you fit in it must in some way be essential. No? Do you carry vanity objects? Do you carry a photo? Do you carry money? Do you carry nothing? How about a Q-tip or some kibble or cheerios? Yup, that’s my pocket. I will get back to that shortly.
Remember when men carried pocket watches? No, me either. But vintage posters and historical movies surely make it seem glamorous. There is something about a pocket watch that can make a person seem intelligent, thoughtful, and a “Jack of all Trades”. Apparently, the use of pocket watches became very stringently regulated for use by railroad officials back in the last half of the 19th century. If you visit a thrift shop you can possibly find three-piece suits from the 1970s and 1980s that had watch pockets. How chic! They tried to stage a comeback, but that didn’t quite happen.
Have you seen the Capitol One credit card commercials where Alec Baldwin cheekily asks what’s in your wallet? He is trying to sell you a credit card that is supposed to make your harrowing life situations be somehow easier. Sure, credit cards can definitely be useful. I, for one, however, do not carry my wallet in my pocket. Specifically, not ever since I was pickpocketed in a mall in Atlanta during a business trip. Luckily I had my passport with me in my backpack and was able to get through airport security. Of course, when the Atlanta police came to take my statement they basically blamed me for getting pickpocketed. Nice to know how the system works, eh? So, all this to say I don’t really put anything of any financial import in my coat pocket. Who does anymore?
A decade ago, Alanis Morrissette, sang about how she had one hand in her pocket
What it all comes down to
Is that everything is going to be quite alright
‘Cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is flicking a cigarette
Sometimes our pocket serves to keep us grounded by providing a safe haven for our hands. It provides a place where we can hide a part of our body if we are feeling emotionally insecure or vulnerable. Wow, pockets run really deep (pun intended). Noted Oscar winner Meryl Streep wore this past year at the Golden Globes an Alessandra Rich dress which surprisingly had pockets. According to fashionistas, the evening gown pockets were the best part about her dress. Why would Meryl Streep feel the need for a gown with pockets? What was she hiding? What did she feel the need to have on her person at all times? She couldn’t be nervous, could she? How many times has she been nominated for an award. At this point, it should all be rote for her. I actually think the pocket part of her gown was kind of cool. I would probably keep my cell phone and lipstick in there and would feel freer to dance at the after parties. I need to look into this gown-with-pocket thing.
Two weeks ago, I was invited to attend an evening gala event. I rushed over in my walking shoes with the intention of into more festive attire once I got to the event. Once I arrived, I found a corner where my colleagues were standing and I changed into my fabulous Betsy Johnson Pink pumps. Trust me they are fabulous! I then went to hand my coat to the coat check crew. But first, I decided to empty my pockets. I didn’t realize people were watching what I was doing. I started pulling out random things from various pockets. I have to pause here and note since I have not done so already that I love, love, love pockets. The coat I am currently wearing has eight pockets. I especially like the little pockets on the arms. Isn’t it the best when you go through your old jean or coat pockets and find a twenty dollar bill? I once found a total of near $100 in several old clothes. I guess my pockets serve as piggy banks with no real accruing interest. Hmm, sounds just like our current banking system.
Anyway, back to the gala. As I was emptying my pockets, I pulled out some q-tips. I then heard a snicker “why do you have q-tips in your pocket?” My immediate uncensored answer was “well, I’m a mom. I have all sorts of random stuff in here.” Also, I travel tons and tons and never check luggage. So seriously, I make use of every pocket to carry business travel essentials including q-tips, hairbrushes, bobby pins and so on. I mean, I wear two sweaters and a coat. It’s all about layers when I travel.
After finding the q-tips and sheepishly jamming them back into my pocket, I proceed to find cheerios (my son’s snack) and kibble (my dog’s pet food). Talk about kibble ‘n bits. Both the cheerios and the kibble were pretty old and crumbly. My dog has been dead now for 10 months. That kibble is really stale. I immediately asked myself if in some odd unconscious way, this was how I keep him close to me still? In that moment I was embarrassed but also very much saddened by what I had in my pocket. I missed my doggie companion. I still haven’t gotten over his death.
What also saddened me, was that I missed my son. I had been out on travel for large parts of the month and then when in town I had evening events to attend. The cheerios served to remind me that I do have a more important life task at hand. That of mommy. I made my way through a large part of the gala event and then went home before anyone else. I had a baby to feed and a wonderful dog to remember with great fondness.
Since that evening, I have yet to throw out the pocket kibble. So, when I place my hand in my pocket my great doggie is still with me. My pocket kept me grounded that night and it will continue to keep me grounded.
Now, if I could only find one of those evening gowns with pockets.