I have spent the last few weeks polarising people with my soapbox. I’ve been accused of widening the divide by addressing it. A friend has said ‘I’m disappointed in you’, knowing that’s a classic mum sledge that cuts deep. There’s some poor bloke who is so obsessed with hating me, he can’t stop reading everything I write. Others just enjoy a little trolling with nasty comments. I think, if you have a good argument you don’t need to get personal. That’s on the negative.
On the positive however, I get stopped in the street, I get personal emails and thank yous, and I have to say, it’s an overwhelming majority who barrack for my position. But regardless of the responses, it’s exhausting.
And today I am sick. I am sick of talking about COVID, sick of it dominating everything I read or listen to. Sick of seeing people get angry in the post office. Sick of seeing angry guys punch people for freedom. I am sick of staying at home. Sick of listening to conspiracies, and politicians. Sick of covid conversation.
So I’ve reflected on one major personal positive that has come out of this lockdown that I can share, and it would have to be my new love. My big supporter. My quiet achiever… my bum bag.
Since 26 June when we first went into restrictions, I haven’t taken it off. It’s like my life is in two parts now – before bum bag and after bum bag. I can’t believe there was a time when I didn’t carry all my priority possessions in a handy zip up sack that hovers above my genitals.
Which brings me to ask the question? Why a ‘bum’ bag? It’s more of a twat bag. Or nutsack bag. It’s tendency to gravitate toward my genitals has made reaching for a rogue $2 coin give me the appearance – to some who may be serving me – that I’ve suddenly decided to self-stimulate in the bakery. I noticed the expression on the face of a young girl serving me and I went ‘Oh! It’s not what it looks like, I have a bum bag!’ She looks relieved. ‘Oh cool’. See, young people get it. Apparently bum bags are back in. Although I’m the only person I’ve seen walking the beach wearing one.
It’s long been a joke. But now the bum bag is the height of fashion. It’s not just Kel from Kath and Kim; ALL the cool people are wearing them. My expensive Italian leather handbag hangs lonely on a hook glaring at my polyvinyl strap-on monstrosity.
I’m sorry, but I’m hands free now. I can walk the beach and know where my keys are. I’ve got my licence in there. My coffee loyalty card. My phone. My credit card. This, my deluded freedom fighters, is true freedom. Fight for the bum bag. I have the kind of two-hands-in-the-world freedom that handbags have previously denied me. I’m taking on the world like a man now.
Here’s a bum bag fact: the design of the modern bum bag was by Australian woman, Melba Stone. She invented the prototype in 1962, based on the kangaroo’s pouch, but it didn’t take off until the ’80s! What a visionary! And the ’80s was all about the bum bag. You had shoulder pads, and a big perm, and fringed jackets; so much shit to adjust, and besides, you needed something to keep your coke in while you were on the dancefloor.
So, I invite you all to consider the bum bag. You can keep your mask in there. You can keep your favourite conspiracy theory in there. You can keep your reminder for your vax booster or for your freedom rally. The bum bag is bipartisan. It’s gender inclusive. We may not agree on vaccination. But we can agree on the bum bag.
Because everybody, no matter what they believe, or how they identify, has a bum.