March 11 - International Fanny Pack Day

Posted on March 11, 2017

Today is supposed to be a celebration of the "global phenomenon" of the fanny pack, a small fabric pouch or leather bag worn strapped around the waist or hips. Most have zippers.

One of the slang terms for "buttocks," in the U.S., is fanny. Since some people wear these bags on their back, just above the buttocks, they got the name fanny packs in America. A slang word for "buttocks" in the U.K. is bum, so in that country these bags are often called (you guessed it) bum bags

Actually, I don't see many people carrying the pouches on their backs, so I find this "where the name came from" explanation puzzling. I thought the best thing about fanny packs was that they were safer to carry valuables in BECAUSE THEY'RE IN THE FRONT, where we can keep our eye on them.

I had been warned about pickpockets in a particular place in Rome, Italy. And then - right before our eyes! - my husband and I saw a pickpocket almost get away with a tourist's wallet, which he was carrying in the usual place (back pocket of his pants). We shouted, and the pickpocket ran off, and the tourist picked up the wallet from the ground and thanked us heartily - but, needless to say, I remained on high alert.

Still, I wasn't that worried. All of OUR most important things - both wallets and both passports and our hotel key - were in my fanny pack, worn in front. I didn't see how anyone was going to get it. 

But when a little kid randomly ran into me from behind, hitting me on my left side, I grabbed my fanny pack with both hands and spun to my right. Sure enough, there was a pickpocket, ready to slash my fanny pack strap with a small knife. She veered off, and me and my stuff were just fine.

I really felt that we were just fine partly because of the fanny pack!

Many fanny packs are way unfashionable. (Some people might say that all of them are!) Many are unflattering, since these pouches make even slim people seem to pooch out. Some people think of fanny pouches as a sign of the "ugly American."

But I would say that fanny packs can be attractive and, especially when worn to the side, even flattering to the figure. So despite the mostly-negative reputation of the fanny pack, I think the safety and convenience of these pouches makes them great!


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