I’m not a frequent flyer. Sometimes I forget the rules. As I approached the security checkpoint, I removed all items from my pockets, placed my carry-on items into a bin which I left on the conveyor belt, then waited my turn in line. When the Transportation Security Administration agent called me forward, I stood on the designated foot outlines and struck my pose, hands above my head, inside the imaging portal. The electromagnetic waves detected a potential threat.
“Ma’am,” the TSA officer addressed me, “I need you to see what we see on the screen.” She pointed to the digital image and a non-descript mass on my lower abdomen. “I’m going to have to pat you down. Would you prefer a private screening?” She gestured to a partitioned screening area.
“No, this is fine,” I responded, having never received an authoritative pat-down in my life.
She advised me of the procedure and then traced a gloved hand up each inner thigh ending quite intimately into my groin.
I exhaled a squeal of exaggerated delight, due I suppose, to not knowing what else to say or perhaps attempting to defuse the awkward situation or maybe just trying to be funny.
She held back her laugh as she held up her gloved hand. “Now I’m going to search the inside of your waistband,” and she proceeded with two fingers around my entire perimeter to find nothing.
“Whew! That’s the most lovin’ I’ve had in a while,” I said—fully acting, feeling on a roll.
My intuition told me the officer secretly appreciated my attempt to make light of the situation that most despise, or maybe it was her hand over her mouth concealing her laugh and smile. “Ma’am…”
I don’t remember her exact words, but I felt a slight admonishment for joking about airport security. I realized a little too late that the TEA is serious. More serious than me. And I appreciate the extra security measures. I really do. But sometimes I forget the rules.
As I walked away from my near incarceration somewhat perplexed, another realization dawned. My jeans, when I bought them, sold me with the phrase “miracle tummy tuck control.” My jeans, made with built-in flattening power, had transformed not only my tummy, but me—from the most non-threatening person on earth into a potential security risk. Note to self: Wear something else on my return and all subsequent flights. Note to the ladies: beware of body shaping garments. (You’re welcome!)