Several things conspire against the male-to-female transsexual’s attempts to continue stuffing her wallet in her back pocket, her keys and coins in one of the front pockets, a checkbook and a comb in the other back pocket, and a watch and a little container of Carmex in the other front pocket — which is precisely what I used to carry around un-self-consciously. First, when you buy women’s jeans, you notice that the pockets have almost no depth, so it’s not longer practical to put all that stuff in your pockets. Second, even if I could stuff all that material into my pockets, it wouldn’t be comfortable anymore. About 4 months ago, after 4 months on hormones, I noticed that I really found my wallet uncomfortable, along with my keys and other stuff in my pockets. I began taking them all out when I sat down at my desk or in the car, and ended up forgetting them quite a bit.

I guess it’s really quite straightforward — as the fat redistributes and I acquire a butt, the way I used to wear my stuff is no longer comfortable. Probably the same reason you don’t see big deep pockets on women’s shirts — I used to put my eyeglasses case, several pens, and other sundry notebooks and pieces of paper in my left shirt pocket, but now that there’s that lump there, those items just aren’t welcome in my pocket any more.

So I moved all my stuff into one of Mary’s backpack purses a couple of days ago, and have been carrying it as a trial run.

So here’s my theory of stuff, bodies, and trust.

I think men tend to have a very close relationship with their stuff, so close that they wear it. Sitting on your wallet all the time is a lot closer than carrying it. It is true that key rings, tool belts, wallets, deep pockets all allow you to work with your hands free, and I’m content with this explanation at some sort of surface level, even though this would imply that women, who have to carry everything, don’t really need to have their hands free or carry tools around with them.

By putting everything I need in one bag, and by not wearing any of it, I find I feel a bit lost, or maybe it’s just confusion. Since my stuff is not on my person, I have to trust it’s in the bag, and there’s no way of really verifying it’s in the bag unless I rummage around in there to check. With a wallet in your back pocket, it’s a simple matter of feeling (with your hand or your butt) whether the wallet is there. Same with keys and other items. Maybe it’s that I don’t trust myself right now, that the wallet and the checkbook and my car keys, which I placed in the bag earlier, might somehow have vanished in the interim.

It seems to me that this runs counter to the idea from one branch of feminism that says that women live a more embodied experience than men. In the case of stuff, my observation is that men embody their stuff, while women do not. Maybe it’s simply a function of clothing and fashion, but these must also reflect society’s understanding of men and women. I suspect if I were a better-read feminist, I’d probably have a quotation for the occasion, something pithy like “women may wear their hearts on their sleeves, but the only thing men wear on their sleeves is their stuff” or “Having a body that’s in touch with the world and the people in it is a far cry from having a body that knows where its stuff is.” You might argue that materialism is patriarchal, so it’s not surprising that men care about stuff; but women care as much about stuff as men, as far as I can tell. You might argue that the concept of embodiment has to do with movement and relationship and interaction with other bodies, and that trying to graft the concept onto inanimate objects is invalid. Or you might say that men and women are equally embodied, but their relationships with other people, stuff, the moon, and their own bodies are enacted differently.

Maybe everyone already knows this about bodies, trust, and stuff, but I find it new and fascinating.