You’re a stripper and don’t know it
I have to be.
It’s what they say to do in these sort of situations.
If you want to make it in this “biz” ya gotta be ready. Otherwise you look like a fool.
I check in with the appropriate people, flash my ID , put my belongings aside and make my way to the stage.
Women have it easier in this realm, I think. Maybe it’s because they are used to it.
Maybe it’s because I’m not.
It’s a smaller niche to be in for a guy, anyway.
I’m not nervous. I’m anxious.
I’ve done this before, so I know what to expect. Yet there is this undercover feeling of being rushed that I can’t shake.
I never could.
Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s because a woman in my life doesn’t know I’m doing this.
I want to surprise her. Right now though, this has to work first.
I start with my shoes. It can be more difficult for guys. Lucky for me my size 12 Timberland boots have elastic on the sides.
Easy on. Easy off.
I used to ware them the whole time. It added to my “performance”.
People didn’t mind back then.
I put the toe of my right shoe agains the heal of my left and and raise my foot up. My left foot slides out easily. I repeat for my right till I’m standing shoeless on the ground.
It’s always a tad uncomfortable and gross. Standing without shoes on a floor where who knows what has been dropped, dragged or spilled upon.
Grimy. Various bits of whatever clinging to my soles.
They have to wipe up, or at least vacuum around here, don’t they?
I exhale through my nose, trying to remain calm. This is the last time I go through with this.
There are many people here. Many bodies are around me. All here for the same reason. I know I am not the only center of attention but I feel lots of eyeballs poking at me. Judging me. Staring.
Are they excited? Will they want more of me? Or am I just another Joe?
I breathe in and out again. Slowly. I just want to get this over with.
I continue taking off my clothes. Preparing.
I start with my brown leather belt. An integral accessory often forgotten. A fashion statement with definite purpose. Completely useful.
Mine is thin and has a small gold buckle which always seems to stand out. If it were not for this strap of leather my 501’s would collapse around my ankles. I have forgotten to take it off before in my rush to get prepared. Now people like it off. Removing it is a habit.
I suppose there are a few ways to take off a belt. Different techniques for different people. FOR different people.
It’s hard not to look like a performer while removing one. Since that’s what I’m doing now I don’t make an exception.
I start with my right hand.
I untuck the end of my belt from loop on the left side of my Levi’s.
I grab ahold of this bitter end firmly and pull up and to the right as if I’m at the local gym doing a dumbbell curl. The brown leather strap tightens around my waist.
The thin middle finger of the buckle plops out of its hole. I take out the remaining part of the belt from the buckle and stand there, pants undone.
I grab the golden buckle with my right hand again.
Quickly, I again pull up and to the right, extending my whole arm out to get the belt removed in one fluid motion. One swoop. The leather end of the belt makes a loud slapping noise against my waist as I pull.
“Fap! Fap! Fap! Fap!”
Thats the good part. The sound.
Out of the sides of my eyes I see a few heads turn. Good.
I stand there holding my brown leather belt in my right hand like a slain desert snake. It’s golden buckled head at the top of my fist. Leathery body dangling lifeless blow. My left hand is grabbing the top of my jeans to make sure they don’t drop.
A few of the turning heads do not turn back. They continue to stare.
I can hear purses and bags being opened behind me. A high pitched ting of metal on metal as change, keys and personal items are moved about.
Payday already. Good.
One of these purses belongs to a woman directly at my back.
She must be watching me. She has to be. I noticed her on my way into this place. Other men did as well. She’s got short brown hair at her shoulders, waring a conservative dress with vivid blue colors and a bold gold necklace.
Well dressed for a place like this.
No point of turning around to make eye contact. This pre ritual bull is something I rather not prolong.
I’m standing there minus two of the most fashionable and functions pieces of clothing ever made.
Gotta protect your feet. Gotta keep your pants on.
Maybe this is why the real pros in similar situations make such a performance of removing them.
I’m not a pro. I’m a part time Joe. And I wanna be done with this.
My anxiety starts to rise. I exhale deeply through my nose again.
A nobody individual motions in my direction, directing me to the stage.
It’s my turn.
I walk forward. One foot in front of the other along the filthily floor. I’m almost to the threshold. Once I’m through, it’s easy. Just me and my routine.
Have to make it past this part though. The stage. The un-doing of myself and my focus. I’m ready and I start to cross.
“Stooop sir!” a uniformed individual announces. A woman walks in front of my path arm raised, palm facing toward me like a traffic cop. “You have to remove your coat.”
“Wah?” I say.
I look and see a badge. “TSA”. I blink a few times. My subconscious wakes up. “Hey man, get with it!” it yells. “You got a plane to NOT miss!”.
I shake my head and open my eyes wide. I bring myself back to the now and begin to take off my light weight Patagonia wind breaker. I forgot I even had it on.
I stuff it in the ugly gray container holding my wallet, change, iPhone and brown leather belt with gold buckle.
But I’m still three cotton garments away from being naked.
I resume my walk to the stage. The metal detector.
I pass through. No buzz or bell of a alarm. Another person with a TSA badge motions with his hand to the right as if welcoming me to a new land past security.
A commonwealth of overpriced beer and paperbacks.
I pass him and look for the tote holding my belongings. I find it next to another at the end of a conveyer belt. I put my wallet and phone back in my jeans and start to get dressed for the second time today.
I start with my shoes, again.
Sooner off these nasty floors the better. They go on easy.
I snatch my belt and begin to sew it back through the belt loops of my denim. I do this standing still.
Putting on my belt while walking in loose fitting denim is a skill I don’t have. Putting it back around my waste takes about 18 times as long as it does to remove it.
I finally finish threading it around my waist and begin to buckle myself back up when I hear a audible exhale of air. Behind me.
The lady in the blue dress.
She staring right at me.
So were a few others.
I realize quickly I’m in the way and begin to scoot forward.
“My bad.” I said to the blue dress. I start to push the grey container holding my crap further down the long conveyer of silver rollers.
“No no, it’s ok.” A very small smirk replaced the straight line of her lips “I’m just not fan of this whole process. It’s frustrating”
I look up and smile in agreement. “I feel the same.”
“Yep, this should be the last time for me.” she says, and nods in the direction of another faster moving security line. Folks moving past the stage quickly. Fully clothed. Some are even smiling.
They get to skip their performance.
The woman in the blue dress bends down slightly to slip on her tan colored pumps. I regain my focus and finish the last part of buckling myself up.
“Though I did get a kick out of watching you remove your belt back there.” she announces, standing back up.
I look back at her.
Instantly she she is 4 inches taller.
Her eyes are level with mine.
“Wah?” I say, again.
“Ah yep, sure. Last time for too me sure, also.” I mumble.
“Is that riiight.” “Well, you seem to have enjoyed yourself back there.” she says.
I stand there for a few seconds, not knowing what to say.
This did not make me look any smarter.
“Just trying to have fun with the whole thing is all. Last time for me too, I hope”.
“Well I got a kick out of it.” she says. “Have a good flight, I gotta be somewhere in about 20 minuets.”
She smiles and moves past. Her steps are swift as she moves away from the screening area, and me, quickly.
That was the end of that.
As she walks toward the corridors directing passengers to their gates her blue dress moves back and forth with her steps. The heals of her pumps make a audible clap as they hit the hard tiled floor.
She makes it to a row of arrival and departure screens and does not stop. Maybe she has made this trip before and know’s where to go. She takes a right and heads down toward the D gates.
The sound of her heals fades as she moves further and further away. Moments later all senses of her are gone.
I’m still standing with my pants undone.
People have begun to move around me gathering their things. Making their own way toward their final destination.
I open my eyes wide and bring myself back. Again.
I surely wasn’t helping myself daydreaming of a woman in a blue dress. I wonder if I’ll see her again. This little encounter will give me much to think about during my 3 hour leg to surprise my sister for her birthday.
Maybe I DON’T want Global Entry!
Is it worth it? To avoid all what just happened? Avoid the crowd and hassle? To miss another encounter with a blue dress again?
Though, I needed it to work this time. Checking in and passing through security. I’ve been screwed before. I needed it to work and it did. I was late and didn’t want to miss my flight.
I get my shit and move.
I make it to the same departure screens and stop. I glance to the right to try and spot the blue dress. To hear the sound of her heals.
I glance up at the screens to look for my flight. For my departure gate. For the direction I need to go.
I find it. Gate D34. Boarding in 20 minuets.
I take a right and head down the long hall.
I glance up at the gate numbers, looking for mine.
But I’m really keeping an eye out for something else.
I wonder who I’ll sit next to on the plane?
Had a interesting encounter when flying or at the airport? Let us hear it!
Want to keep your belt, pants and pumps on?…Check out Global Entry.