This weekend the kids were scheduled to fly in from a long summer visit at dad’s. The excitement was in the air from the minute I woke up.
I put on a sundress and remembered the last time I tried to get past security in a comfortably fashionable covering.
It wasn’t a good idea.
Apparently a long flowing maxi dress makes you look like you might have strapped explosives to your thighs. Not that I have much room … you know with all that thigh gap I don’t have. I could start a fire with the way these thighs rub. No flammable substance down there – I promise.
Let’s just say I attributed my outfit choice to it not going over well last summer with airport sercurity.
So this year I decided to keep it super simple. A simple Folly Beach Tee and short cotton shorts. Sporty pull on style bottoms with no belts or buttons or zippers or anything that could set off alarm bells or blinking lights … or cause anyone to pull on some blue latex gloves for a pat down.
I left my untamed curls loose, no bun, no hat, no chance for weapons hidden in there. I was thinking of all the ways I could have gone wrong last time.
I’m usually a flip flop or sandal girl in summer but bare feet in an international airport is down right frightening. I paired my simple outfit with some no show socks and a pair of Nikes. I made a joke to the wife I looked like the typical lesbian stereotype, totally not my style.
I was slightly uncomfortable in this outfit of choice. I looked like a different person but not a psycho hell bent on distruction.
Or so I thought.
Even though I generally wouldn’t be seen outside the gym or lounging at home like this I figured I was covered just enough while still being transparent. Or enough to not be stopped in security for suspect I’m about to do something terrible with my clearance pass. The one I was provided to pick up my unaccompanied minors.
I get to the security line, remove my shoes, put my belongings in the bin. No pockets, no purse, no flowing outfit, no bare feet. I’m good. Right?
The nice TSA agent waves me into the time machine looking thing. It reminds me of the banking drive thru things that suck the capsules into the building and back. The agent tells me to step into the giant capsule and spread my legs to put my feet on the outside the yellow shoe prints painted on the flooring area. No problem. I do as I’m told and put my hands up in front of me just like the directions show.
I may have even smiled for my virtual strip search picture session.
I’m waved out and asked to stand to the side. I didn’t realize what was happening. I’m still smiling. Then the body image shows up on the screen with a yellow box on my groin area in the back. What the hell. The lady agent informs me she will have to ask me to turn around and she will need to pat down my “bottom” … seriously? She tells me what she’s doing while I stand there to be frisked for whatever they think they picked up in my naked x-ray.
To be clear there was NO reason for abnormalities in my groin area .. or any area. No reason for yellow boxes or pat downs. I am certainly not the next lady panty bomber.
To make things worse after the friendly grope session I had to be further checked for terroristic tendencies.
Lady agent advised me to turn to face her, palms up so she could wipe this small white strip all over my palms and fingers. They plugged it into a machine and I was told to wait. Once it came back all clear the agents smiled at me and told me I could go.
I was slightly terrified at this point. Mostly because I wasn’t sure why I needed to be patted and what was wrong with my hands.
Let’s be honest … I just really wanted to know what kind abnormalities are going on in my shorts.
I grabbed my belongings and put my shoes on. Totally bewildered and feeling equally embarrassed and violated I headed to find a beer. I ordered and connected to the wifi for a little research while I waited for the kids plane to land.
I read horror stories about other people having the same things happen. Not at the same time, but nobody could be that lucky. It seems the abnormality in my shorts could have been anything. Or nothing. The hand wipe situation was likely checking for traces of explosives.
Good thing I wasn’t recently blowing up mines in the backyard.
All in all I learned it probably doesn’t matter what you wear.
It doesn’t matter that your lady bits aren’t boarding a plane and you’re just trying to pick up your kids.
It probably doesn’t matter how you style your hair or what shoes you have to put in the bin.
It doesn’t matter if you look like you might be on a murderous rampage or if you just want to see your kids get safely off a plane.
The agents have a job to do and no amount of time spent on trying to look innocent makes you any less a threat to the friendly skies. If nothing else I feel a little safer putting my babies on a plane next summer because of all the security. Also I know to arrive early and bring extra cash for the drink I will need once I make it past the pat down and swab.
I’m convinced at this rate my next trip past security will involve walking to a private room and dropping pants for a personal show and tell.
I’m a little concerned about my relationship with TSA but it appears it is all in an effort for my kids to safely fly across the country 2x a year. It’s worth it.