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Please don't call it a fanny pack!

On tonight's episode of RS here in northern CA, Rick did the Scottish Highlands,
and it occurs to me that a great way to avoid the distaste that so many people have for fanny packs is
to simply call it a Sporran, the pouch that goes with wearing a kilt.
https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofScotland/The-Secret-of-Scotsmans-Sporran/

Whether you think modern-day sporrans are cutting-edge fashion or embarrassing don't-dos,
by thinking of them as part of the proud Highlander tradition carried through to today's travelers,
we flip the script and place them into a long and distinguished line of personal travel items.
https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-purpose-of-a-sporran-little-bag-on-a-kilt

Instead of carrying oatmeal and cheese in them as the Scots did, today's sporran holds your key fob and mobile phone :-)

Posted by
2643 posts

Avi in the last few years fanny packs have become “hip” so to speak with a crowd of a younger age than many of us on the forum. At least they seem to be able to carry the style better than the traditional older traveler. Here are some recent examples of men’s fannypacks... https://www.asos.com/us/men/bags/bum-bags/cat/?cid=19787

Posted by
1395 posts

@Mona -- yes, the 'Heschel' trend among boys is almost as silly as the 'Hollister' trend was among girls these past couple of years. But if we try to pick up the thread about having names and logos or not having names and logos on your clothes and bags and accessories then I'm afraid some people here on the forum will pop a vein.
If I continue to suggest/insinuate that people's choices in this area aren't solely based on utility, I might have to hire security.
Which makes me wonder how many sporrans are toting around mace :-)

Posted by
610 posts

It is a very funny to us when you call them fanny pack! Childish giggles and smirks!!
Just call it by its British name, a bum bag.

Posted by
4119 posts

The Scots are likely to think that you are ignorant as to what a sporran is if you call a bum bag a sporran! They are now back in fashion (bum bags, not sporrans).

People on this forum always seem to want to blend in with the locals, so don’t use the phrase fanny pack whilst in the UK. It’s a bum bag. In polite conversation, you can get away with the term bum, but not fanny.

Posted by
418 posts

Hopefully some sense of normalcy will return to European travel and agonizing over a Sporran or Fanny Pack will be consigned to the dust bin of forum history.

Posted by
3212 posts

I refer to it as a waist bag to avoid mentioning body parts no one wants to draw attention to.

Posted by
2476 posts

the use of the world fanny will always cause a few smirks, in Scotland it means a ladies front bottom.

Posted by
477 posts
Posted by
2860 posts

Well, in the US a bum, at least to me, is a rough sleeper, so "bum bag" doesn't really work.

Posted by
1711 posts

I love my waist pouch or belt bag. I use one when out and about at home and abroad. Keeps my hands free, I don’t have to worry about leaving it behind, and only necessaties are carried. When I carried a crossbody I would stuff just-in-case items, because there was room, which just weighed it down. After a day of sightseeing and walking, I would have pains in my shoulders and back. I have also discovered wristlets which are also great. My daughter and SIL each used one when we were in Croatia during the summer of 2018. He wore it slung across his torso or around his waist. I really don’t care what people think, I use what works for me.

Posted by
31 posts

What would Mrs Slocombe have called it?

She would have called it a "Posterior Pouch" and I am unanimous in that.

Posted by
1711 posts

Good one Worldtraveler. I knew the reference but couldn’t think of anything clever to write.

Posted by
1395 posts

"Fanny" means what??

For those playing from home, if you know the terms faux, naïf, and faux-naïf,
what would the result of the term [faux (faux-naïf)] be?
Or we could put it more literarily - what would be the antonym of 'faux-naïf' ?

I am glad to have learned so much about sporrans from the links added above, many thanks.

Posted by
10339 posts

Seems likely that they really will laugh at you if you call it a fanny pack in the UK, because the term has genuine shock value there. Not laughing with you, but laughing at you.

Posted by
6668 posts

Perhaps it is time for a new name to avoid any linguistic/cultural blunders

I nominate BOB

(Bag On Belt)

Posted by
5956 posts

Out of curiosity I google the history of UK/US usage.
Apparently the British English meaning dates from the 1830s whilst the US meaning is from the 1910s, probably WW1.
“Fanny pack” first recorded in 1971 but “bum bag” was recorded in 1951.

So now we now....

Posted by
2860 posts

In North American English "fanny" is a polite-company word, similar to derrière.

So is the British use of "fanny" a polite word like "privates" or rather (or extremely) vulgar?

Posted by
477 posts

You all are probably reading way too much into this. There's Fannie Mae, Fanny Farmer, Fanny Brice, Fanny Crosby, Fanny Hill, and, of course, Fanny from Sesame Street.

From wiki:
Fanny is a given name. A diminutive of the French name Frances meaning “free one”, and of the name “Estefany”, the Spanish version of Stephanie meaning “crown”. The meaning of the name Fanny is different in several countries, languages and cultures, meaning “free” or “one who is free” in some countries, and “crowned” or “crowned in victory” in others.[citation needed] Sometimes the name Fanny (פאני/פני) derived from Yiddish, as an anglicized Feigel, Feigele, or Feiga, Fejga.

Posted by
24193 posts

So is the British use of "fanny" a polite word like "privates" or rather (or extremely) vulgar?

Vulgar. Quite vulgar.

Despite some people over the years having had the name.

Posted by
1674 posts

Which reminds me that indeed I did have a Yiddishe Aunt Fanny. Now, where I’m from “My Aunt Fanny!” Is a derisive exclamation, akin to “Yeah, right” or “Baloney!” Is this a widespread American usage, or Midwest? Just curious. Be healthy all.

Posted by
5298 posts

Denny, I haven't heard that expression for years so maybe its just old '60s usage - like saying "swell!" to mean great or fine.

Posted by
1674 posts

Stan, I haven’t heard that expression for eons either. Today’s retorts are a bit more direct and sadly not quite as evocative. But it got me wondering nonetheless. Take care.

Posted by
1352 posts

The fanny is your behind and you carry stuff in a pack that extends around your backside. Plus, it's in a song by The Band, so "fanny" is legit, my friends. Is someone being victimized by the term?

How about "butt bag."

Posted by
123 posts

This is a right royal storm in a teacup.

To the best of my recollection this bag has been known to me as a bum bag since mid-1970’s. Still is. The Perth summer weather was only interrupted briefly by 3 cool months to transition from one summer to the next. As the max temperature for at around 8 months, was normally above 30C, the preferred clothing for my contemporaries and I was bikinis for the girls and budgie smugglers for the boys. Nowhere for keys, monies, sunglasses etc. Spent lots of time at the beach. Paying the piper now, we have the highest skin cancer rates in the world. Who knew? Not us. The girls did not want to have to carry a bag around. The bumbag was right for these items, sat nicely on one’s bum and looked great on the girls as they moved. Running, jogging, walking, cycling and at the beach storing items whilst one enjoyed surfing.

Probably because of our warm weather and not having to hide under thick and heavy clothing, most of us were not prudish about our bodies. (We are now, as gravity and bad diets have sent things pear shaped). The girls referred to our speedos as budgie smugglers rather than speedos. Is the accepted description for speedos today. Among my male peer group, bikini bottoms were known as fanny packs as a compliment to the girl’s form. I cannot remember any of the girls objecting, rather they thought it as funny. Referred to the same part of the girl’s anatomy but did not carry the crude or vulgar connotation as in the UK. Cannot remember clearly, but we may have had John Cleland’s novel Fanny Hill, with its euphemisms, as suggested reading for English Lit. Checked with my wife, and she broke up laughing.

Those were the days my friend

We thought they'd never end

We'd sing and dance forever and a day

We'd live the life we choose

We'd fight and never lose

For we were young and sure to have our way

(Gene Raskin and Boris Fomin. Apple)

Perhaps we need to be thankful for having variations on Her Majesty’s Oxford English and the development of North American and Southern Antipodes dialects with an open mind. And accept them?

@A Viros, too late to acquiesce to your request, but many thanks for helping me reminisce.
Regards Ron

Posted by
1395 posts

Very interesting, devilish Ron, and I'm not a tall surprised to hear that one man's meat is another man's poison when it comes to holding one's junk in hot weather.

Posted by
1352 posts

"Bum bag," Tassie? When I think of "bum" it reminds me of a hobo with a bag at the end of some stick, hitching rides on trains through late 1930s Nebraska.

I think your post might be politically incorrect or offensive.

Posted by
28 posts

Tassie, I loved your post! I learned a lot! Now, where I live guys who wore the Speedo's would get a second look and a bit of a snicker because NO ONE from here (the Midwest) would be caught dead in them. In fact, and I hope this isn't too crude, if it offends anyone, my apologies in advance, we called them ball bags.

In regards as to what to call fanny packs, bum bags, whatever, I suggest "back of the lap bags". My sister had a friend who grew up in a very prudish household and the rear end on people was referred to as "back of the lap"!!!

Posted by
1352 posts

C'mon, guys wearing Speedos look hilarious unless they're Olympic swimmers. Nothing like a gut hanging over a pair of Speedos.

Hey, if you can pull it off, go for it. It's like cycling attire or yoga pants. Doesn't work for everyone.

Posted by
2548 posts

I really don’t care what people think, I use what works for me.

I'm with Barbara on this one. Also, I also don't care what it is called. One of the nice things of no longer being age 20 or so is the ability to no longer think about how something looks to other people. ;)

Posted by
610 posts

Oh that clip is brilliant, i hadnt seen it before.
And yes that is exactly the reaction you will get if you call a bum bag (which is worn over your bum) a fanny pack in Britain. We will corpse😆

Posted by
123 posts

Well more like a storm in a bikini bottom.

I was trying to say that perhaps we should accept the variations in language development in our countries by fleshing out my experiences from an earlier age with a little humour. Try not to take one’s self too seriously. Once again, I appear to have failed.

A Viros A great piece of prose, I am still chuckling. Thanks for the memories. (Sir Leslie Townes (Bob) Hope KBE.) My maternal grandfather was a Black Watch man, (at the Somme 1916,) he was proud of his sporrans. Passed on through the male line to my cousins.

Lisa, glad to have put a little humour in your day, yes am aware of the alternative name for budgie smugglers. Think I will stick with the local one.

BigMike, our version of hobo/bum is “a jolly swagman” as in the opening verse of Waltzing Matilda and your second comment is right on the money. Not a pretty sight.

Unclegus, most definitely owe you a few beers for that clip. Will share it around. I am probably going to burst out laughing at the most inopportune time.

Tricky language English and its dialects.

Stay safe.
Regards Ron

Posted by
1352 posts

The Bee Gees have a lovely song: "(Fanny) Be Tender with My Love." Give it a listen and tell me it's not good, my friends.

Nothing wrong with "Fanny". I had an aunt with that name. I'm offended others are offended by it. Or victimized. Or something.

Posted by
24193 posts

Fair enough, Big Mike, call it what you want, and revere your family member.

Ages ago this thread was created to create sensitivity when travelling...

You won't offend the English - they will just think you are a birk. If that's ok, bring your strange American ways over. Just don't be surprised if you hear people laughing behind your back.

I've tried to keep the level of discussion from descending but it appears that I have to be blunt.

A nickname for Richard is used for a rude name of the male genitalia. I'd be surprised if you referred, at least in public, for one of these small bags worn on the front as a Dick Bag. Would you?

Fanny is British slang for the corresponding female external genitalia. Maybe not elsewhere in the world, but in the British Isles it is. It would be just as popular as calling it a dick bag in West Virginia.

So choose what you want to say and think, and how you want to be seen on your travels. Feel free to be as sensitive or crass as you wish, now that you know.

Posted by
5956 posts

If it helps I can think of an example that causes offence in the other direction.

The word “fag”, a perfectly acceptable slang word for a cigarette in the U.K., something completely different in the US.

The English language is a wonderful thing!

I had a British professor for a biology class. He remarked, "England and the USA, two countries divided by the same language." That was his humorous way of describing the differences in language use.

I think the name Fanny has been ruined for me forever. That's not an uncommon woman's name here in the USA. (Example - Fannie Mae chocolates). Bogiesan gave many examples.

Posted by
6668 posts

You won't offend the English - they will just think you are a birk

Took a bit of digging to find that 'birk' is an alternative spelling of 'berk', meaning a fool or stupid person.

My initial findings for 'birk' was as a reference to a birch tree or small bird.

I suppose someone moving form the UK to the US and while looking for a home loan would be horrified ( or wildly amused) that they would be referred to this organization.

https://www.fanniemae.com/
(The Federal National Mortgage Association, commonly known as Fannie Mae, is a United States government-sponsored enterprise and, since 1968, a publicly traded company)

Truly amazing how our 'common' language, has many unique quirks.

Brings up a question, Do the RS travel books for England/UK have a section for 'translations'. ??

Posted by
1395 posts

@Sun-Baked Flo -- I wonder if your biology prof also knew Winston Churchill, because Churchill also liked to use that quote of George Bernard Shaw's about two countries divided by a common language. Oscar Wilde was another rakish speaker who used Shaw's line, so that prof of yours was in a distinguished company.

Posted by
1150 posts

Denny. Yes
That Christmas confectionery must have been named by a couple of 7th grade boys. Only boys.

The role of 7th grade girls is to stare in disgust at their peers s while occasionally staring dreamily at the 8th graders