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News & Features » March 2020 » “May Even Your Faux Pockets Be Empty of Fucks” by Jenna B. Morgan

“May Even Your Faux Pockets Be Empty of Fucks” by Jenna B. Morgan

Are you a parent going through the Terrible Twos? Did you live through them and survive? Terrible Twosdays is a place to commiserate over the unending shenanigans of your Darling Children (as the online parenting communities say). Nonfiction stories will be considered, so long as names have been changed to protect the guilty. Inspired by our best-selling gift book for parents, Go the Fuck to Sleep, Terrible Twosdays joins the roster of our other online short fiction series. Unlike Mondays Are Murder and Thursdaze, we’re looking for stories with a light and mischievous feel, all about the day-to-day challenges of parenting. As with our other flash fiction series, stories must not exceed 750 words.

This week, a feminist message lies deep inside a faux pocket . . .  

May Even Your Faux Pockets Be Empty of Fucks

by Jenna B. Morgan 
Three-year-old and six-month-old

At just the tender age of three you joined a century-long conversation about the shortcomings of women’s fashion. 

In 1905, feminist writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote in The New York Times: “One supremacy there is in men’s clothing . . . its adaptation to pockets.” 

In 2019 you added your contribution: “MOMMY HELP! MOMMY HELP! MOOOOOOOMMMMMMYYYYYY HEEEEEEEEEEEELP!” 

It was not yet 7:00 am. I had already accompanied you to the potty, supervised your attempts at dressing yourself, dished up your Cheerios, brushed your tightly clenched teeth, wrestled your hair into something resembling a ponytail, and coated you in sunscreen.

The emergency? You couldn’t get one of your Little People into your pocket. 

With your sleepy brother slung over my shoulder, I crouched and tried to shove the damn doll in.

And I couldn’t.

Because someone, somewhere, had designed faux pockets onto a pair of 3T pink bubble shorts.

Were they worried that mashed dandelions or balled up pipe cleaners would ruin your silhouette? That stray hairbows and broken crayons would make your hips look lumpy?

“But I want real pockets!” you wailed, channeling every woman who has awkwardly tucked her phone into her bra or wedged a Chapstick halfway into an inch-deep welt pocket.

So I added yet another item to the how-to-raise-a-tiny-feminist list: while scouring the pillaged children’s separates racks at Kohl’s, verify authenticity of pockets.

As your daddy tracked down your Minnie Mouse backpack to hold your doll, I changed your brother’s diaper. And while I was holding his pacifier in my teeth—because I didn’t have any goddamn pockets either—I discovered a stunning injustice. Your baby brother’s $3 Walmart gym shorts (designed for an infant who couldn’t yet find his own feet) had real, generously proportioned pockets.

Part of me was relieved you didn’t see—we never would’ve made it out the door.

But part of me wishes you had seen. Seen and screamed BUT IT’S NOT FAIR at the top of your lungs and flailed your arms and legs with impotent fury.

In 1954, Christian Dior said: “Men have pockets to keep things in, women for decoration.”

Daughter of mine—your pockets should not be decorative, because you are not decorative. 

Daughter of mine—don’t ever let anyone else (except your mother) tell you what you need and what you don’t. 

Daughter of mine—take what would’ve been your pint-sized rage and stoke that fire until it burns bright and hot and true.

You’re going to need it to face down pocket-sized chauvinisms and inequities on a staggering scale. You’re going to need it to carve out not only the pockets, but the place you deserve in this world. 

In 2017, stylist and activist Stacy London said, with regard to the gendered expectations of others: “I’m finding my trouser pockets are filled with fewer and fewer fucks.” 

I know you’re going to set the world on fire, my incendiary girl. And while you do it, may even your faux pockets be empty of fucks.

Love,
Mommy

***

JENNA B. MORGAN is a native of New Jersey and, as such, can confidently use fuck as a verb, noun, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjuction, and interjection. Now that she has two small children, she says Fudgesicles with much greater frequency than any normal human being should. She writes and teaches just outside Nashville, Tennessee. Her work has previously appeared in Soundings East, Floodwall, Kestrel, and Wild Violet and she has an M.F.A. in Fiction from George Mason University. Find her on Twitter @byjennabmorgan.

***

Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Terrible Twosdays flash fiction series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines:

—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should focus on the challenges of parenting. Ideally, stories should be about children aged 0 to 5, but any age (up to early teens) is acceptable. Stories may be fiction or nonfiction.
—Include the child’s age at the time of the story next to your byline.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission to info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Mar 10, 2020

Category: Original Fiction, Terrible Twosdays | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



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