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The Pocket Veto

Phil Davidson

The old patriarchs of Anytown USA gather daily for their noon tea party, clucking their tongues in judgment upon the wardrobe choices of the younger, more attractive townsfolk.

Noted fashion historian James Laver famously opined that the first article of clothing was probably the pocket.

Some piece of leather, or whatever, that you tie around the body so that you can carry stuff.

So the obvious question becomes, “why are women being discriminated against in the pocket department if the pockets are the most important part of raiment?”

Many people have suggested to me that it has to do with vanity, and with the way a sagging, baggy pocket destroys the clean lines of a pretty outfit.

This theory coincides with Laver’s famous theory about erogenous zones and the idea that clothes are meant to emphasize and draw the eye to certain parts of the body.

Men ’s clothes are designed for their utility, whereas women’s clothes are designed to make men think of sex.

The only problem with this explanation is that it fails to blame the patriarchy for ruining everything.

And we all know that a real man, by definition, is somebody who takes the blame for everything.

It has always been the patriarch of the family who sewed all the clothes and thereby exercised iron-fisted control over what family members can and cannot wear.

How often have we all experienced that all too familiar “pocket veto” at the breakfast table?

“Young lady, you are NOT going to school in that DRESS! No daughter of mine is going to be seen in public wearing a dress that has POCKETS!!

You look like you’re wearing saddle bags.

Go back upstairs and change!”

Your great grandma probably rebelled against her parents by rolling things up in the tops of her stockings—thus creating a makeshift pocket substitute.

Sometimes things got stuffed into your mother’s bra.

You know, to avoid detection by her parents as she left for school.

Beyond the patriarch of the family, we have to consider other patriarchs, such as the dress code Gestapo of any town or village.

The old patriarchs of Anytown USA gather daily for their noon tea party, clucking their tongues in judgment upon the wardrobe choices of the younger, more attractive townsfolk.

Many a sartorial decision has been made through the ages to avoid the consternation of these fashion police.

Finally, we have to look at the Patriarchs who were responsible for these odious dress codes in the first place.

Nobody bears more of the blame for how women dress than Queen Victoria (preferred pronouns she/her/majesty).

Victoria codified into law a giant tome of rules about things like hemlines and hair length, and the height of the heel on a woman’s shoe.

If you can think of it, She probably had either a law or a rule for it.

In the years since Victoria’s reign, of terror, several notable patriarchs have continued to interpret Victoria’s innumerable rules of etiquette.

Marjorie Meriwether Post comes to mind.

Or Emily Post.

Or how about Ann Landers.

Abigail Van Buren.

Dr. Laura.

Little mention is made by these overlords about certain tricky aspects of pocket etiquette.

In the days of chivalry, men were expected to avail helpless women with their plenitude of pockets.

In essence, the ruling class of western society was reduced to the role of a pack animal, carrying around untold numbers of doo-dahs and whatevers for women, who have always ruled over the ruling class.

This male oppression led to the rebellion in 1978, with the charge being led by The Rolling Stones and their anthem, ''I'll never be your beast of burden'', designed to break the chains of St. George’s antiquated chivalric code.

Men who dotingly carried around a woman’s roll of butterscotch Lifesavers and her lemon Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers were known as pocket squares.

This men’s rights movement made matters much worse for the fair sex.

No pockets, no men to carry stuff for them, and they were expected to burn their bras on top of everything else!

In the face of such patriarchal oppression, it must be difficult for any woman to survive in the puritanical America of 2019.


No, you can’t have POCKETS!!!

Now go away and stop bothering me with such silly questions.”

There is a part of the great pocket debate that you probably haven’t considered.

My suit coats have two lower exterior pockets.

Then there’s an exterior breast pocket.

The one that should have a handkerchief or pocket square sticking out.

Then there are the interior breast pockets, and sometimes a lower interior ticket pocket.

My trousers usually have two back pockets and two side pockets.

And sometimes a watch pocket.

Add a trench coat, overcoat, topcoat, Chesterfield, British Warm coat, or navy bridge coat, and you add between two and five more pockets to the mix.

Add to all that the fact that men’s pockets are always deeper than the pockets you infrequently see on store-bought women’s clothes.

With all those deep pockets, it usually takes me ten minutes to find my keys, my glasses, my wallet, or my cell phone.


I reach down into the deep side pockets of my trousers, and my keys simply ARE NOT there.

After exhausting all other options, I try again, and the keys are in the cavernous pocket I checked ten minutes prior.

You ladies have no idea how hard it is just to get out the door and drive home from work.

I have honestly left the basting stitch in place on several of my jackets.

Not all of them, but at very least on my exterior lower left pocket.

Yes, I own a thread picker and a pocket knife, and it’s a trivial matter to open the pockets on a new coat.

But I’ll wait until that pocket becomes absolutely vital before unpicking that little thread.

That’s one less pocket for me to lose my keys in.

I tell you, the struggle is real.

Has woman sacrificed comfort for fashion?

Has woman sacrificed utility in an effort to be sexy?

In a word, no.

It’s not her place to decide these things.

The fashion industry has taken all control over these matters from the consumer class.

And society has demonized any school that offers sewing or home economics classes.

In the future, they will be coming for your sewing machine.

The views and opinions of this article are not necessarily those of Our Voices Magazine, or any subsidiary thereof. Nor do they reflect the official policy or position of any agency of the U.S. government. The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the author.

This article was originally written on Opposite Day, which obviously indemnifies all parties involved from any possible misunderstandings which will inevitably arise. Contrarianism and snark are categorically allowed on Opposite Day. Whereas the publication date of this article will obviously be some date other than Opposite Day, the reader is therefore notified that the initial draft was nevertheless written on Opposite Day, which shall be considered the date of authorship.

Inasmuch as this article is slated for publication in 2019, at a time when facts don’t matter, the author and publishers disclaim any representation in this article which might be misconstrued as factual. The reader is therefore encouraged to perform their own vetting process, viewing each supposed fact through the prism of how it makes them feel.

Finally, the phrase “make men think of sex” is intended to lampoon the term “sexy," which is the universal, canonical term of art, used to signify women’s clothing that isn’t “dumpy”.


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