Almost exactly seven years ago I wrote an important article about a Bumbag Man who drove me completely nuts. I still think about that Bumbag Man sometimes—no more than once a week—and I wonder what items he was carrying in his b-bag that day (probably a ticket to see a movie and one of those small packets of Maltesers [so that he wouldn’t have to buy the super expensive cinema Maltesers]). As much as I habitually love to ponder what men might be carrying around in their b-bags, I thought that was probably going to be my first and last bumbag blog post.

Today I had an experience that has caused bumbags (and the men who wear them) to resurface and take perhaps their rightful place at the front of my mind. It was quite a funny experience, although I think probably I didn’t actually laugh out loud. I was on my way home from the park when I saw a man standing near a wall with his hands in a very suspicious location while looking towards his groin. He was turned mostly away from me, and I thought he was about to pee on the wall. I even said to myself, “Ew! Don’t pee on the wall, you scoundrel!”

I was not impressed, because I think bodily fluids should stay in the body (especially in public).

But after taking a few more steps down the street, the angle between myself and the man changed by approximately 25 degrees, and I realised that this wasn’t just any man—this was a Bumbag Man. He actually had his hands in the main pocket of a bumbag and was fishing out a small green lighter, most likely in preparation to light a cigarette.

What a relief.

I'm not sure why my friend Albert Ingram (AI) chose this particular theme for this picture, but I'm sure those friends in the background are also wondering what's in his bumbag.

At first I couldn’t help wondering what else he had stashed away in there—perhaps some hand sanitiser, a Ferrero Rocher, a pack of smokes, and a small piece of platinum to the value of $1404.85—but my pondering was cut short when an extreme feeling of guilt came over me. I had just accused this man of a crime!

I immediately said, “I’m so sorry for thinking you were peeing on the wall and I’m sorry for calling you a scoundrel—I’m not usually that judgemental and you’re not a scoundrel but an innocent Bumbag Man who probably has loads of interesting things (like a pocket diary and several different-coloured Sharpies) I’d love to see in that bumbag.” But I said it in my head because in my experience that is pretty much as effective as talking but with a lot less embarrassment and awkwardness.

Sometimes you have to just say things though.

In this case, it was just a funny misunderstanding (that the BBM wasn’t even aware of, as far as I know). But it got me thinking about Bumbag Man Misunderstandings (BBMM) in general—how common are they? Of what nature are they? Are there Bumbag Men in prison because of people like me? How many men are accused each year of peeing on walls—or worse!—because they were rifling furiously through a bumbag in the wrong place and at the wrong moment?

I considered all the things that hunting vigorously through a bumbag could be mistaken for if witnessed from an unfortunate angle.

  • cleaning a stain on pants (least problematic)
  • peeing on a wall
  • unzipping pants
  • zipping up pants
  • indecent exposure
  • something I can’t say (most problematic)

The list is actually not as big as I was expecting, but most of the items are incriminating. I still feel guilty for jumping to conclusions, and I hope the Bumbag Man will forgive me. I hope if he has a girlfriend or a wife that he had at least a few (but preferably more than a few, haha) little chocolates in there for her and gave them to her when he got home. She would be so happy.

I hope this has helped clear up what happened today with the Bumbag Man standing near the wall at the wrong moment in time and space. If you see a BBM today or any day, give him a smile and say, “Don’t worry, Bumbag Man. I know you haven’t peed on any walls and you probably never will.” He will probably appreciate it and who knows—he might even pull something surprising and nice out of his b-bag for you, like a Snickers, a strawberry lip gloss, or $5. If I was a man with a bumbag, I would definitely carry a big Snickers in there to give to people, as well as lots of other fun and surprising things!