Immutable, indisputable, irrefutable truth: Men’s clothing has pockets. Inside and out. Deep pockets. Sturdy pockets. Pockets deep and sturdy enough to hold several phones, keys, pens, tablet, the puppy they can’t leave home alone, a laundromat, Wrigley Field, and the moons of Pluto. Women’s clothing has pockets that hold . . . oh wait, they’re “faux” pockets.



The thin spiral of steam you see rising from my head could form a sun-obliterating cloud when joined with similar spirals of steam from women the world over who every day live in pocketless frustration.

So you can imagine the loud-snort, cry-me-a-river reaction I had for the reporter who, over a hundred years ago, found himself traumatized by the realization that his costume for the dress ball had no pockets.

Here’s cuing up the world’s smallest violin to play the saddest song ever for the anonymous gentleman who suffered through this “defect,” had to “devise receptacles” for his numerous “necessaries,” and “All night long . . . felt lost.”

And, alas, an extra shot of steam for how little has changed since then.


Pine Island (MN) Record, October 1911

The pocket has to be lacked before it is properly appreciated, the London Chronicle says. This writer had taken his pockets as a matter of course until one evening he attended a fancy dress ball in a costume which, he discovered when too late to remedy the defect, was absolutely pocketless. The question at once arose what to do with pocket handkerchief, money, cloak room ticket, and so on. The handkerchief, of course, went up his sleeve, but it took some minutes to devise receptacles for coins and other necessaries in the lining of the cap, the heels of the shoes and the cuff of the coat. All night long, however, he felt lost through having no place to thrust his hands into. Since then he finds himself frequently putting his hands into his pockets to experience the sheer joy of knowing that they are there.

















Horse Sense and Nonsense from the Rabbit Hole is an occasional column of fun old stuff gleaned from Ellen’s 15+ years as a historical fiction and nonfiction researcher and writer.