The fanny pack trend was all the rage in the 80’s. Neon leggings, big hair, wrist bands, leotards and fanny packs were the ‘must wear’ items of the early to mid 1980’s. . I will admit that the fanny pack was practical as well as fashionable. I mean how useful is a purse that you can wear around your waist?! Whenever I go shopping, I hate that I’m always hiking my bag back onto my shoulder or that it gives me a weird boob look because the strap sits firmly between my breasts. Worst of all is the big bag conundrum when you smack into people in a crowd because your purse is just that big.
So, I think the fanny pack was one of the more useful things to come out of the fashion industry. And I wasn’t hating it when the fanny pack briefly became a trend again in 2016/2017. I personally never bought one, but my hips don’t need the extra emphasis a fanny pack would add. Keep in mind that while the fanny pack was recently on the runways, it never went out of style with the cautious tourist. A fanny pack is the best travel accessory because it can hold your $$, passport, ID and is basically theft proof. It would take a bold thief to try and steal out of bag that was basically strapped down by the crotch of the wearer.
It wasn’t until recently that I learned a fanny pack and a fanny can mean 2 different things. I was raised to believe that the fanny pack was basically a butt pack that went around your waist and could rest on your butt or in front of you. Mom’s would say ‘You sit on your fanny right now!’ and they would mean our bottoms. It all makes total sense.
Then I came to the UK. One day during a chat at work, someone mentioned being confused about Americans and their ‘fanny packs’. Why were they called that they asked. Well, it was obvious I thought. Fanny means butt. You wear the purse near your butt. A look of comprehension donned one their faces. They then explained why they were bewildered.
You see in the UK, the ‘fanny‘ does not refer to a bottom. In fact, a fanny is a ladies vagina. It’s slang, not widely used today, but was quite popular ten years ago. Naturally, hearing American refer to a fanny pack in that way would seem confusing. The fanny pack doesn’t go down by the fanny, so the name doesn’t seem appropriate in the UK. When my colleagues told me this I turned bright red. I had been walking around occasionally mentioning fanny packs and people thought I was talking about some sort of vagina bag. Fashion for your lady bits 😉 It the UK they call this style of purse a ‘bum bag’ which sounds just as weird to me as ‘fanny pack’ does to them.
So, now you know that fanny has two different meanings. Don’t misuse them in either country, because you could get some alarming results.