Shallow pockets, stiriking price disparities, not-so-subtle sexism

Cartoon by Amber Li

Today I wore my pants with the actual pockets. What a privilege; usually I’d be standing here in my $45 jeans with my thumbs tracing an almost-pocket’s seams. But alas, here I am with most of each thumb crammed into the space. Most, but not all, of my thumbs covered. Most, but not all, of my small-pocketed opportunities equating to large-pocketed ones. Most, but not all of my paycheck lining up with my male coworkers’.

My thumbs are more delicate than the ones that settle in larger pockets, anyway.

With parts of my thumbs in my pockets and my feet planted on the grocery store floor, I ponder at the spread of deodorants.

I just ran out of my backpack deodorant and my home deodorant is running low. God forbid I go a second without smelling like rainbows and roses.

My thumbs grow uncomfortable and beg me to transfer them to the roomier back pockets. I draw attention to myself with the transition and am chased by a suggestive whistle, a gift from someone with larger pockets. If only my pockets were bigger.

Years of societal conditioning guide my eyes away from the darkly colored products to the pretty and pink, from $4.39 per stick to $6.79 per stick. Sure, it costs a little more but I get to smell like a “Coconut Splash” or “Romance” instead of “Iced Musk” or “Champion.”

A couple sticks of feminine deodorant in hand, I make my way to the line. While reaching for the candy bars, my unpocketed thumb brushes past that magazine about sculpting my body into whatever it is that men like these days. It makes its way onto the conveyor belt.

The cashier gives me a sharp look as I shuffle my fingers through my pockets. I can only find most, but not all, of the change I need to cover the cost of my items on the counter. Today I had chosen to leave the house without a purse. What was I even thinking? I can only fit so much in these tiny pockets.

The man next to me offers me the excess change I need. After paying and smiling a “thank you,” I roll up the magazine and stick it in my pocket.

The night begins to drift toward me as I leave the store with the razor pages of the magazine pinching the excess stomach on my body. Those darn pockets.

Inherently afraid of what could occur here, the grasp of the darkness or something within it, I become increasingly aware of what’s underneath my pockets and speed up the process of rushing away.

Now, to unlock the car. Too many things and not enough hands, everything starts to fall, a receipt flying away into the abyss like Cecilia Payne’s discovery of what elements compose stars, and two sticks of deodorant cracking and dissolving on the ground like the hope of millions of girls who have been ignored or shamed when reporting sexual assault.

If only my pockets were big enough to have fit the overpriced deodorant in them in the first place, I wouldn’t have this big mess. It’s not my fault that my pockets are too small and that everything’s on the ground and that it’s my body’s  responsibility to pick it up.

But here I am, picking it up. Following my bending over, I am again chased by the suggestive whistle of someone with larger pockets.

I can’t fit a rock to throw at him in my own damn pockets but I can hurl my words his way: “What makes you think I want to talk to you?”

My voice is drowned out in the thick sludge of misogyny.

Was it the pants that hold my pockets that made him think my body was there for him?

I wish I could change the size and frequency of the compartments on my clothes, of what I put on my body, but not everyone acknowledges what I want for my body, anyway.

It seems I should consider myself very fortunate for even having these damn pockets at all.