I’ve been searching for a classic double zipped, adjustable strap, patchwork leather number for a while.
I mean, if you’re going to wear a bum bag, it’s gotta look authentic. Forget those little nylon excuses for a practical waist pack and why use a backpack when everything you need is sitting right above your groin?
It’s been almost 10 months, my name is listed next to every op shop till within a 5km radius of my home: Ali – call ASAP at the first sighting of a patchwork leather bum bag or any Ken Done.
Every week I would step into my local Salvos and be greeted with a sad head shake from the volunteer at the counter, “maybe next week Ali, next week”.
I put a call out on Inner West Buy Swap sell and still nothing. It was uncanny. For something so mass produced in the 1980s and 1990s, I couldn’t find one anywhere except on bloody eBay where someone was asking $50 for a fanny pack listed as ‘vintage 1990s dork bag’.
I’m no dork. I’m just a super practical parent who wants a suitably ace looking bag near my fanny which contains all the right things: phone, purse, wipes, pineapple lollies, keys, superball, stickers and a box of sultanas. Let’s just call it a Mum Bag.
The thing is, I totally found one last weekend in an op shop in Beechworth. The brown leather patchwork bag was hanging amongst a crowded hat rack jam packed with bags from all decades. I grabbed it with both my hands and held it close to my chest. I could smell the leather tan as I crumpled it between my palms. The zips were worked in, it had been loved and now it was mine, all for $1.99.
I pulled the bright yellow and red price tag off as soon as I purchased it, adjusted the waist band and clipped it around my tummy. I took my purse and phone out of my tote bag and popped them into the main zipped compartment and walked out of the store with pride.
My next stop was the greengrocers. I chose some fruit and easily reached into my bum bag, found my purse instantly and paid the grocer without the nervous fear of fumbling around for wallet and money.
It was too easy. Way too easy. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
It wasn’t even five minutes into my first leather bum bag outing that a stranger walked past and said ‘BUM BAG’ out loud, eyebrows raised.
I was in Beechworth, so I didn’t think anything of it.
A day later I returned to Yarraville and while out with my pooch – carrying poo bags and dog treats in my handy new zippered front bum pack – not one, but two people commented on my bum bag within a minute of turning off my street:
“My grandma has one of those. She also wears parachute.”
“Are you going to a costume party?”
It was hurtful. I’m sure these strangers were trying too hard to be nice and were just using the bum bag as an excuse to talk to me. But I started to feel self-conscious. Perhaps the Mum Bag craze wasn’t going to take off. Perhaps my practical solution for carrying heaps of shit in front of me just wasn’t going to work.
Or perhaps I’m just way ahead of the times, using a radical invention of the past to fulfil my needs of the future (you can even wee while wearing these things).
So I’m gonna keep bumming on and wearing my fanny pack in the hood. I’d like to see you wear one too. Trust me, they’re excellent. They’re practical. And they’re downright sensible, so-much-so that my bum bag is probably the most grown up thing I own (apart from a kid and a house and an original koala velcro wrist purse).
Long live the bum bag fanny pack!