Sunday, August 13, 2017

Get Your Hands Out of Those Pockets If You Want to Engage With This World

I’m beginning to grow suspicious of the harmful effects of wearing pocketed clothing items.
It started with hoodies. They’re so darn comfy, right? But I noticed that when I wear a hoodie, I feel like I’m in my own little cocoon, and I have no particular desire to let anyone else into my cocoon. I become more withdrawn, cuz hey, I’m happy in my cocoon. Everyone else can go away.
So I stopped wearing hoodies in social situations.
Then there were pocketed dresses. Designers finally figured out that women want pockets in their dresses (equality with pants!), so more dresses come with pockets these days. I started wearing pocketed dresses to teaching gigs, thinking how nifty it’d be to keep a whiteboard marker in my pocket. It was indeed nifty, but again, I noticed something: I used way less body language when explaining concepts. See, once my hands made their ways into my pockets, they really had to want to come out. They didn’t deem it worth it most of the time, as they highly value warmth. My teaching got worse as a result.
So I stopped wearing pocketed dresses for teaching gigs.
Then there are jackets. I taught improv to a bunch of high schoolers yesterday, and it was their very first time doing improv, so they were understandably shy and resistant. The hardest cases? The teens in bomber jackets. Their hands were clearly very accustomed to resting inside those pockets, and it was a matter of great will to get those hands out in order to pass a clap or catch a sound ball. I injected new games on the spot designed specifically to get their hands out of their pockets, to remind their hands that indeed, the world outside the pockets is a fine place indeed. See, even if the mind and majority-body of those teens wanted to improv, their hands had to overcome an awful lot of inertia to get them fully engaged in it.
I don’t get to tell other people what to wear, of course, but if I was any sort of strict improv teacher, I’d institute a no-pockets rule, AKA a hands-out-and-ready-to-engage-at-all-times rule.
So: pockets. Lovely inventions for storing things, absolutely. Surprisingly effective at decreasing our desire to engage with our whole body in the world though.
And thus concludes a blog post about pockets. 😀

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