I’m not sure what to make of this scene, which I witnessed at Washington’s Reagan National airport as I waited to be scanned prior to my flight to Miami. I have some thoughts, though.
The young, zaftig, fascinatingly-shaped African American woman in front of me was wearing one of tightest, most revealing, shape-hugging, leaving-nothing-to-the-imagination knit dresses I or anyone has ever seen, especially in an airport. The garb was obviously chosen to highlight, as in broadcast world-wide, her most prominent and unusual asset: an awe-inspiring derriere, which appeared to be fit, toned, and suitable for showing a drive-in movie. She was attracting side-glances and open-mouths from all around her, male, female, and probably the machinery too, and obviously reveled in the attention.
When she stepped into the imager and was told to raise her hands over her head, she giggled and did a spontaneous bump and grind move, threatening the integrity of the structure. That did it. The young African-American male TSA agent was launched into smiles, winks, and a stream of comments on the women’s super-structure, along the lines of, “Damn, girl! Don’t go distracting me like that! How am I supposed to do my job? And man, I am distracted! Why, some big old terrorist could walk right by me while I’m taking you in, and then where would we be?” Laughs all around from the other agents, giggles and more gyrations from the woman, more banter from her admirer.
- How professional. I feel so safe.
- Is the screening process serious and necessary, or not? We are told that jokes about bombs will get us arrested and interrogated, but a T.S.A. agent’s testosterone overflow provoked by a screenee’s bodacious bedonkadonk justifies turning a security procedure into a mini-“Pootie Tang” sequel. If screening is serious enough to spend billions of dollars and inconvenience millions of air travelers, then it is serious enough to require 1) passengers to avoid making gratuitous scenes and 2) T.S.A. agents to avoid acting like Greg Kelly.
- This wasn’t a mere flirtation. Many fliers are uncomfortable with the idea that their bodies are being scrutinized, electronically and otherwise, and this display of “Whoa, mamma! Look at the back on you!” nonsense from the scrutinizers is stressful and irresponsible.
- This battle is lost, so it will be filed, I’m sure, with my other “get off my lawn!” protests, but autonomy in personal dress in public places still should be tempered by modesty, common sense, taste and most of all, respect for fellow passengers. The plane to Miami had to have the most slovenly, willfully outrageously dressed group of fliers I have ever seen: the fact that I am not blind now may lead me to believe in miracles. Why should I have to be pressed into a seat between some hairy, 270 pound man in a tank top and a 13-year-old girl dressed like a hooker? Forced close quarters with no escape should demand consideration; the U.S. has accepted a chaotic and rude standards where there is none, and the attitude is “My comforts matters, and I don’t give a damn about you or anyone else.”
- Such developments are microcosms of our culture, and soon coalesce to have larger, serious, negative effects with larger significance.
As I have to periodically, I recently dealt with a commenter who sneered at the fact that I “judge” conduct here. This is why conduct has to be judged, because if anti-social, selfish and uncivil conduct is not identified, explained and condemned, human society and life itself becomes nastier, uglier, less productive and less enjoyable. The conduct of these inconsiderate slobs, like the behavior of exhibitionists like the gyrating screenee, should not have been shrugged off or ignored when it first became obvious. We all shirk our mutual duties to society by not doing all we can to keep standards from slipping into the gutter.