The Snarkivist

Lessons From a Fanny Pack

The scourge of the bag community, the fanny pack has been mocked and maligned, but it's also very, very convenient.

By Javier Garza October 13, 2015

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Image: Shutterstock

My iPhone is getting larger and its battery life is getting crappier. It’s been my chief complaint in life over the last few years.  A normal person could cope with a dying phone, but I panic whenever my battery life dips below 65 percent. As a precaution, I usually have my phone, a lightning adapter, and a spare charger. The combination of my phone equipment (in addition to keys and wallet) and my slim-to-skinny jeans have led to several unfortunate pelvic bulges that no gay man wants to be seen with.

I could have tried either a messenger bag or a backpack, but by your 30s the only time you should have a backpack is when you're on a bike.  Also, if I walk into a restaurant or bar carrying a messenger bag, I will inevitably forget and walk out without it. My solution? The preferred storage method of '90s dads, the fanny pack. The scourge of the bag community, it’s been mocked and maligned, but it's also very, very convenient. As an experiment, I decided to see if I could wear a “manny” pack for a few days. This is my story.

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Like a purse, I tried to find one that I could coordinate with my outfits.

Because this was going to be seen in public, I wanted to find something that would at least look like I tried to be fashion-conscious. I settled on a black fanny pack that’s described on its Amazon listing as “Convenient to carry when you go outdoor to have a travel.” Pretty good description because one does have to go outdoor to travel. And in the daylight, so I wanted to make sure it at least wasn’t an eyesore.

It may get confused for a colostomy bag.

Stylish or not, a fanny pack does add a lot of bulk to your waistline. It’s great if you forget a belt and need something to divide your torso from your legs. However, I work in the Texas Medical Center and I got the distinct impression that people were eyeing it like it was hiding some medical equipment like a catheter or a colostomy bag. Luckily Houstonians are a polite bunch, so I didn’t have to make up an excuse about a tragic boating accident or my blood sugar levels.

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It’s pretty convenient when you’re at Southern Decadence.

If you ever go to Southern Decadence (or any gay-themed parade), people are going to throw things at you. I’m probably not allowed to say what types of things are being handed out, but suffice to say it’s pretty handy to store all of them in once place without having to put down your Separator to hold them all.

There's no(t much) shame in dressing like a tourist.

While traveling, a fanny pack is actually pretty handy. Whether you're buying tchotchkes for your hairdresser or holding all your theater tickets, it’s nice to have a spare pocket or three to handle all of them. The only downside is that you’re definitely going to be labeled a tourist if you’re seen in one. But it’s a great opportunity to practice an accent and pretend to be European.

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A fanny pack makes you more aware of people and your surroundings.

It’s easy to keep track of your personal effects when they’re almost attached to you. But when they’re in a fanny pack, they’re a bit more exposed. I never was more aware that my wallet, phone, and keys are out for the taking. Almost everyone on the subway was a potential thief of my iPhone and its valuable library of Kardashian dubsmashes. Oh, and all my credit cards...

It’s really easy to fill up with more stuff.

With more room comes more stuff. Sure, it fits the holy trinity: phone, keys, wallet. But once you add in some hand sanitizer, lightning cable, charger, chapstick, pens and scrap paper, you’ve pretty turned yourself into a walking utility belt. Plus if you’re with other people, then they basically see you as a pack mule. It defeats the convenience if you can’t get to your phone fast enough because you’re bogged down by bottles of concealer and dental floss.

You will always look stupid when you wear one.

After a several days of trying to make it work, I realized I had to make a stark choice: being inconvenienced or looking stupid. I think for regular day-to-day wear, I’ll just switch from skinny pants to slim fit to keep my pockets from looking too bulky. But hey, at least I have a spare fanny pack if I ever make it to Seoul—or Free Press Summer Fest.

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