Midwesterners: Word’s Out-Hide Your Fanny Packs Now!

Quick!  Before you read this post.  Run and hide your fanny packs—for the sake of all Midwesterners.  Apparently, folks on the east coast got wind that fanny packs could still be had in the Midwest and they might be casting aspersions on us for this—stop me if you already know about this propensity of theirs. 

I have no intention whatsoever of outing anyone for this interesting choice of handbag/purse/backpack/wallet/carry-all/carry-on.  (Wow, I guess they are so versatile as to be in a category all their own–they seem to defy easy classification.)  I simply want to issue fair warning that you might be judged by some people outside of the Midwest for your selection of said accessory.

This whole awareness of anti-fanny-packism started for me last week when I went to comment on a favorite blog and read the most recent comment posted.   The commenter, who claimed to live in the Washington, D.C. area, somewhat snarkily told the blogger that fanny packs were probably still available in the Midwest.  Ouch!

I recoiled from the screen and started flipping through the steel trap that is my brain, trying to conduct a mental inventory of any fanny packs I might know of anywhere in my house or currently in use.  None seen in at least a decade and none in use that I could think of—whew! 

But then I remembered there was one on the floor of my front hall closet which I accidentally-on-purpose deposited there after receiving it quite unsuspectingly from my sister’s gift graveyard when she tucked it in a sack of “things my sister might want that I don’t” once it was turned down by local charity thrift stores.  This one, in all its faux denim glory (faux denim, by the way, not a good look even for fanny packs), was a corporate giveaway from Sprint long before their pin-dropping campaign.

So, I went ahead and put up a good front, posting this comment: “But just for the record, and I don’t mean to sound defensive about this, I HAVE NOT SEEN ANY FANNY PACKS FOR SALE OR SPORTED BY PASSERSBY IN THE MIDWEST SINCE 1995.”

I think this might have thrown them off momentarily.  But later, I stood corrected when I told my husband of this exchange and he casually blurted out, “Bass Pro Shop.  You can get them there.”  Just great, like east coasters even need to know about our allegiance to Bass Pro Shops.  Then he reveals that he has one from there

Are you kidding me?  You HAVE a fanny pack–but why?  Did someone give it to you as a gift?  No, I bought it for camera equipment, he says. 

Either to prove its supreme utility or because he might actually have needed it, it is important to note that I did see him with it the very next day at our daughter’s track meet.  Thankfully, he didn’t go so far as to wear it; he just slung it over his shoulder, its Bass Pro Shops logo patch catching the brilliant spring sun and blazing like a yellow and red beacon from the front of its curved black nylon pouch.

Why am I so bothered by fanny packs?  Well, maybe because I never wore one or because I couldn’t wear one.  Honestly, they held no more appeal for me than those Chiclet-sized wristlets everyone is so fond of now.  I am a big purse person, always have been, always will be, that is unless I have to face down rotator cuff surgery.  I was trained up in accessorizing by my stylish grandmother who was a teacher and toted papers in a carpet bag rather than a brief case.  

Fanny packs came into being somewhere around the time of my pregnancies, so I wasn’t even tempted, though I recall that they were a trend everywhere for a brief time.  And after my pregnancies, well, there was no belt-wearing for me, period. 

What I think is really at the heart of this, though, is what’s implicit in the snarkiness about fanny packs: that only Midwestern rubes are still wearing them.  So what if we are?  I honestly don’t care if anyone or everyone sports a fanny pack in these parts.  To each, his or her own, I say. 

What I do care about is the fact that the Garmin headquarters is nearby and between GPS tracking systems and the satellites everywhere (Did you SEE Will Smith in Enemy of the State?), it wouldn’t be too hard to ferret out the remaining fanny packs in this country.  And you know that’s an I-Phone app on its way to happen.

So what might ensue were they to start hunting for fanny packs?  My point exactly:  you know all those folks on each coast sleeping through the perfunctory flyovers every day?  They might actually wake up and smell the Folgers coffee aroma billowing skyward from the plant downtown, see where we live, and realize what we’ve got going here.

Right now they’ve pegged us as some giant wheatfield in the heart of flyover country, or, if they are flying over Iowa, a giant cornfield.  Cornfield, wheatfield, fine, whatever they want to think is filling up the space in what they perceive as the giant gap between the two coasts. 

If they see all that is really here, they might want to move here, and, well, that would just ruin everything.  And so help me, if anyone tips them off about the cost of living, they’ll be descending on us like a horde of June bugs. 

So get after it:  hide the fanny packs and go on about your life as usual.  If you are traveling near the D.C. area, just stash in it your hotel room so as not to arouse suspicion that you might hail from the Midwest.  Oh, and pretend we never had this conversation. 

Huh? Fanny packs?  Gosh, haven’t thought about those crazy things in years.


7 thoughts on “Midwesterners: Word’s Out-Hide Your Fanny Packs Now!

  1. Loved this entire post, but especially this –

    “I was trained up in accessorizing by my stylish grandmother who was a teacher and toted papers in a carpet bag rather than a brief case.”

    I never got into the fanny pack craze because I didn’t want anything hanging off my lovely but more than ample waistline.

    I live a couple hours from D.C., and I was there last weekend. I didn’t even think about checking out the fanny pack lobby.

  2. Oddly enough, I DO have a fanny pack which holds a miniature wooden bowling set that I bought for my grandkids a couple of years ago. Ironically, the fanny pack was acquired as a thank you gift when I made one of many donations to The Nature Conservancy a few years back…..the irony is The Nature Conservancy is headquartered in Arlington, VA. That was pretty darn close to Washington, D.C. when I last checked. 😉

    Great post, Mary!

    • Susan-
      Ha! I knew they probably had some legitimate uses like the one you describe. They must be featured prominently in those catalogs corporations scour to find giveaway items. But thanks for outing the east coast on this–I think there just may be a double standard in place here!

  3. Oh, too funny!

    I’m a midwesterner through and through, and if fanny packs keep the D.C. snarks away, I’m all for them. I don’t have any, but if it’ll help the cause, I’ll drop everything and head to Bass Pro. I wonder if they have them in pink?

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