TSA: Warning or Endorsement?

Sometimes I think I have had more wardrobe malfunctions than Janet Jackson! Many thicker leggings have zippers in the back. This sounds sort of sexy, but ends up being somewhat silly. For the sake of comfort, I prefer underwear with soft, lacy edges instead of hard elastic.

One day, while wearing my zipper-in-the-back leggings, I needed to use the ladies’ room at the hair salon. I was easily able to pull everything down, but was unable to pull it back up. It so happens that zippers devour lace. There I stood with pants & panties, now an inseparable unit, down by my knees. I had to call for my stylist’s help. She pulled and tugged to no avail, and finally took scissors and sort of disentangled the two items of clothing. I went home with a sweater tied around my waist. The hook and eye at the top of the zipper was missing the eye, so was also absolutely useless. Since I had recently gained a bit of weight, the zipper rushed down at my slightest move. Only “the power of positive thinking” and mincing Geisha steps got me to my car without further humiliating incident.

Not long thereafter, skin-tight leggings, requiring no belt & little imagination–underwear issues or not–seemed ideal airport wear. I couldn’t hide a credit card, not even a dollar bill, under those leggings. Wasn’t I surprised when I was selected for a TSA pat down! “Miss”–or was it the offensive ma’am?–“I am now going to firmly press your buttocks and thighs with my hands.” Huh? That was an extremely uncomfortable experience, and I am not disconcerted by human touch in the form of innocent, incidental contact in crowded spaces. The TSA officer’s unwanted touch brought back a confusing childhood groping experience, also by a complete stranger. In preparation for Zen airplane mode, and so as not to overreact, I tuned out what was happening to me. Guess I will go with my favorite muu-muu next time. My goal is never to end up in a private room with a TSA agent!

My daughter, who has short hair, a very athletic body type, and gender neutral look, had a unique experience on her latest trip: she was first patted down by a “dude,” who determined that there was some gender confusion on his part, and surrendered her to a female TSA agent for a second pat down. This agent was a bit more reserved than the one who patted her down the time before. That TSA agent asked whether she wanted to stay in New York and go to a party that night.

Ah, professionalism. Signs announce that one-third of Transportation Security Administration agents have served in the U.S. military. So has the Ft. Hood Army officer allegedly running a prostitution ring. This man was a member of the “Ft. Hood Sexual Assault Response Team.” The Air Force officer charged just last week with an alleged parking lot groping held a similar position, also created to prevent sexual assault. I now think I have been misreading a TSA warning as an endorsement.

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