That mysterious small pocket

small pocketEvery pair of jeans has it: a small pocket inside the normal-sized one, as a rule on the right hand side.

 

Did you ever wonder what the purpose of this itsy bitsy, teeny weeny detail is?

 

To be very precise, the small pocket has been a standard part of men’s trousers since the 19th century. In the beginning, it was called a fob pocket, because it housed a pocket watch, attached to a fob chain.

 

So far, all seems logical. But… today, no one wears a pocket watch. Still, the little pocket lives on. It’s actually bigger than ever (in prevalence, not size). Even some types of jeggings that do away with normal-sized front pockets feature the small pocket!

 

I’ll talk more about that fascinating item of ladies’ wardrobe (the jeggings) in one of my future posts. For the time being, let’s concentrate on trying to explain the persistence of the small pocket, long after it has lost its raison d’être.

 

jeans pocketsMany people have put forward many reasons for sticking with the unnecessary, so called fifth-pocket. The small pocket, they say, is perfect for holding coins… which are forgotten there, only to come out with angry clanging inside the washing machine on laundry day. It can also be used for storing tickets, matches, shopping lists, guitar picks, gym tags, memory sticks, plasters, floss…

 

Well, perhaps….  Personally, I used it once or twice, when I tried to put my hand in the normal-sized pocket, but missed (and consequently suffered a short, but intense panic attack). I also don’t know anyone who uses the fifth pocket on their jeans for anything. All in all, from where I stand, that fifth pocket is about as useful as a fifth wheel on a car (and I’m not talking about the spare tyre).

 

And yet… I wouldn’t have my jeans without the small pocket. Call it nostalgia. Call it clinging onto the well-known, familiar things even after they’ve outlived their purpose.

 

I just like the way that small pocket looks. Do you?

 

jeans