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Jewish World Review
What's good for the goose is good for the scanner
There's been a lot of worry about those full-body scanners in airports that can see underneath your clothes.
"I'm used to it," said Sue, "but for some poor fool just trying to do his job to have to see you naked for the first time … well, if they don't quit in disgust outright, it will probably spoil their appetite for days." Please. I have the body of an 18-year-old a big, fat, out-of-shape 18-year-old with Benjamin Button disease.
Here's a thought experiment: Imagine there was a rule that all airline passengers had to wear skin-tight Spandex to fly, similar to the rule for superheroes. Now think about your last trip to the airport and imagine everyone you saw, in Spandex. Finished puking yet?
If a Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover is a ten, the average body scan must be somewhere around a minus 20. Face it, there is no amount of diet and exercise that is going to make Nana and Poppy flying to Florida look sexy. It makes their driver's license photos look like glossies from Glamour Shots.
My cousin Maxine says she would never even think of submitting to a full-body scan.
"I'd be so embarrassed for some stranger to see me in my birthday suit." She told me this while we were on vacation in Virginia Beach. She was wearing two pieces of string and a large straw hat. The hat was 50 times bigger than her bathing suit. There are pole dancers that wear more clothes. We were sunning on the deck as all manner of people walked by on their way to the beach, all of them complete strangers.
When I was young, people used to dress up to fly. You'd wear your best clothes to the airport. You'd put on sophisticated airs and act as if you'd been on a plane many times before, even if this was your first flight. There was a time when seatbelts were a novelty and yes, you did have to pay attention to find out how they worked. The stewardess ("flight attendants" had yet to hit the scene) would ask you if you had flown before.
"All the time," I would say as I lit up a non-filtered Camel. The ashtray in the armrest was so clean, it seemed a shame to crush out my smoke in it. Stewardesses were famous for being young and glamorous. For years it was considered one of the best jobs a woman could have. The apartments where they lived, when they weren't off to Swingin' London or Paris and Rome, were called "stew zoos," and every single man in town knew to hang out in the nearby bars.
Now when I take a flight I expect to see a sign at the check-in counter that says "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service."
People dress like they are going to the gym to get on a plane. Fashionable sweat pants, check. Sleeveless T-shirt, check. Cross-trainers, check. So is going through the body scanner any more intrusive than going to the locker room at your local gym? Than going to the bathroom in a rest stop? Is it anymore revealing than watching Olympic volleyball or swimming?
Still, a full-body scan is way past many people's comfort level. But there may be a solution. Get the TSA employees at the gate to wear Speedos and bikinis. What's good for the goose is good for the scanner.
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Jim Mullen is the author of "It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life" and "Baby's First Tattoo."
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