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September 22, 2021

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: What Unites Us

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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.

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.


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13 COMMENTS

  1. Good on yer Mandy! I don’t think you’re divisive, rather you tackle topics that others euphemise or even ignore. And yes bum bags are great, though I wonder why the bum got so much attention – was it the influence of north American cultures?
    Keep up the good work!

  2. In America its called a Fanny pack.
    Rather cute name I reckon…probably more accurate than a bum bag considering where its sits
    for Blokes it could be called a Cock block?

    Thanks for lightening the mood Mandy.

  3. Anyone who rejects multi pronged solutions for multi faceted people and variable DNA in myriad bodies is being divisive. Especially now that the idea of vaxing to save others is fast proving completely eroneous.
    There has never been a need to be divisive as there were always going to be solutions, preventions and cures for everybody.
    And, don’t worry, where I live in covid infested Europe we have a loose community of friends , up to 70 odd, who meet regularly, mostly outdoors, about 75% unvaxed, about 25% vaxed and we still love each other regardless.

  4. I remember around 30 years ago, my bumbag was a must to carry all my essentials in. This was before mobile phones, and before I needed to walk around carrying my sets of specs, this seems like the olden days now. It was a different world before COVID, before the flood of investors rushed to Byron Shire to purchase their air B&B lets, and before mobile phones. Anyway the story goes on, one day I was walking along the streets of Mullum. When a caring local pulled me aside with a quiet demure care, who was concerned that “the bum bag perhaps a tad too sexual” and not demure. I came home and scratched my head “wondering HUM! what was that all about”. Then the penny dropped. This woman was one of the local soccer mums, a good faithful Christian and was concerned for my welfare. She thought it was not proper to wear a bag hanging near my crutch. Go figure! The moral of this story is that we all hold different opinions. But since COVID where has community care and understanding gone. Fear breeds a polarised community.

  5. First time ever disagree with you , Mandy. No need for a bum bag , fanny pack or whatever you want to call it. I carry keys , wallet and phone in cargo pants pockets. Hands free , no dangling bag and no suspicious hand movements when retrieving items from their carrying place. Cargo pants don’t suit everyone but handy for people not concerned with fashion or hip appearance.

  6. You are much loved Mandy.
    I remember you kindly helping me find a Spanish onion in the old Byron Bay Foodland. I didn’t have a clue what a Spanish onion was.
    Keep it real!

  7. In the midst of all the crap we face each day the ‘bum bag’s’ return
    is a miracle. Wear it proudly, Mandy. You’ve earned it.

  8. Always a great thought provoker. Who would have thought….a bum bag discussion.
    Keep it up Mandy. You’re much more loved than not. Much more.
    Steve.

  9. In my opinion, bum bags are good for: carrying the bottle of milk while riding my bicycle, bum bags with discrete zip pockets for carrying passport and wallet and while wearing shorts without pockets. I agree about holding a coke on the dance floor. Thanks Mandy.

  10. Women in Afghanistan will suffer beyond belief at the hands of the Taliban!!
    Hundreds of thousands of feminist
    march in the streets to protest against
    Trump .. were are they NOW ?

  11. Barrow. I ask myself the same question when it comes to :
    Bigamy
    Forced marriage
    Child marriage
    Honor killings
    FGM.
    The feminists are mute.

  12. Well Vincent correct !!
    You as much as look at a feminist
    the wrong way …misogynist !!!
    yes the double standards is
    Overwhelming… sharia law is
    Going to in place in Afghanistan
    which will be horrifying for
    all women…FGM and child brides
    are happening in the country
    Has been for decades.. maybe
    The article owner could do
    a Article on sharia law and what that
    Means?? for the loyal followers ..
    Wont hold my breath Vincent…

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