Last week I was in a small American airport. Because I’m not a fan of the large MRI-looking scanner that’s found it’s way into the hearts of homeland security, I opted for the pat-down, where someone comes and assesses whether you’re dangerous manually. Sure, you have to wait for a female staff to come find you, and yes, you get the strange stares from the others in line—they think you’ve been caught. But what you actually get is less radiation and a potentially refreshing human interaction.
You see I’ve done this about five times (I don’t travel much these days) and each time, security presents a very cheerful, willing, and respectful woman ready to treat me as a sovereign being.
The same held true this week, as the man at security failed to convince me to go through the scanner. After calling for an “opt-out”, a cheerful, beautiful, and physically strong woman was summoned. She invited me to join her off to the side, away from the security line-ups, and began the required description of the pat-down. She complemented me on my skirt, joked about how nice it was standing close to the door for the fresh air, I empathized…it was a mutually supportive and relaxing scene.
Because I was late for my flight and the female guard was so relaxed, It took me a bit longer to notice it, but en route, one of the older guards, casually commented on the proceedings: “I guess I know what you’re going to get up to this weekend”—he snickered, speaking to the female guard. What he was saying was, you two women seem to be getting along, so it’s almost certain your conversation will eventually break out into a girl-on-girl sexual foray, and because I’m the first to call it, I get front-row seats. What sent a smoke screen between his mouth and my ear was her willingness to joke back with him, take it lightly. She shrugged him off with a smirk and stayed focused on what we were doing.
None of this came to consciousness for me until about ten minutes later when I heard an announcement over the loud-speaker that there was “a white cell-phone belonging to a female passenger at security, and could the owner please return there.” Sure enough, I had forgotten to look in the grey bins and as I ran back to get it, the same male guard lit up in delight, and continued goading his female colleague. She handed me my phone, leaning in to quietly show the joke was on him and shared. “He thinks you’ve come back because you want to ask me out.”
Why I did not respond is interesting in itself, it may have something to do with not wanting to “fuck” with the American borderland security, knowing what they can do, or that deep down, I too am desensitized to this type of passive pornographic fancy the American male is steadily fed, or I simply was enjoying my peaceful and cooperative time with a sister, and a weird little muttering like his inconsequentially landed outside my bubble like a fly on a windshield. Had I had the interest then though and had been paying more attention, I would have said something like this:
Is it the advent of North America’s steady diet of reality show and porn that makes for this weird expectation that males and females can distance themselves from the relics of intimate acts, and treat connections as feigned, soulless, and propped for entertainment? Is there a refusal to see intimacy? Is there an all too common affliction of male immaturity driving the mainstream eros, where it’s not female homosexuality that’s encouraged, but real feminine sexuality that is feared—”please, whatever you do, ladies, turn it on each other, we don’t have to chops to do justice to (or live through) what you’ve got!” Or worse, “We are afraid you can do better by each other than we can by you?” Further yet, is there there some subjugated all-out rage at having been denied female affection as far back as infancy so that dominating female sexuality in the form of being the converter-holding maestro assuages?
Brothers and sisters, I ask you, what will it take for men to cry out their truest fears and longings? How can we make this a world where men are treated with the same empathy and heartache that women are? Can we ask ourselves how they must have suffered in the eras that told parents not to soothe, pick-up, nurse, or hold their children? Can we imagine they needed the same touch, compassion, listening, and love that women do? Can we simultaneously hold empathy for the denied child in the porn-loving adult while still holding him accountable to grow up? Most importantly, can women not fall into the same amnesia of their womb wisdoms by believing they need to be what they think men want? Every time they enjoy their sisterhood and refuse to compete or be caddy, another light of remembering of how it all could be shines again.