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I Brought A Balm On The Plane


Who says there's no profiling at the airport? It's just not terrorist profiling. I got searched twice -- once at the metal detectors and once right before the flight. I'm going to try looking like a hag on the way back, not like a girl who'd be carrying a handbag of contraband Chanel cosmetics!

I went through my purse and computer bag before I left home and cleaned out all the Anthelios XL 60 sunblock, Chanel lipgloss, and hand lotion. I could easily have dumped $60 worth of lotion and makeup in the trash without my home search. When I got to Nancy Rommelmann's house, I had to dig for my Ritalin in my purse and I, oops! found what they missed when they searched me twice at the airport -- Kiehl's LIP BALM #1.

Hmm, there's a good chance they missed it because it was at the bottom of my purse under a pair of thong underwear. Two guys missed it: One TSA guy and one army private doing a secondary search of select passengers (ie, girls not in Birkenstalks and no makeup).

So, in order to get stuff through the airport, all you have to do is carry something embarrassing to a guy at the bottom of your bag? Or is it that they're just THAT crappy at searching? It's my belief that they could have Osama Bin Laden himself come through and not catch him. Are we safer or just more annoyed?

And finally, just remember why we're being inconvenienced: Because people believe in god! (Of course, not the best point to make while some man's examining your lipsticks and missing the very dangerous tube of five-dollar lip balm at the bottom of your bag.)

Posted by aalkon at August 25, 2006 11:50 AM

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Lipsticks were removed from the banned list last week:

Keep in mind the restrictions are stiffer for transatlantic flights.

Posted by: bev at August 25, 2006 9:15 AM

I am well aware that lipsticks were allowed. I had a bunch of them in a little red makeup bag. This lip balm is a liquid...a gel even!...and they didn't even find it.

I looked at the CNN link from your comment:

Under the new rules, travelers can take up to four ounces of non-prescription medicine, glucose gel for diabetics, solid lipstick and baby food, the agency said.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 25, 2006 9:18 AM

The Army guy was playing pong on his phone before he searched Amy. I'm sure he didn't know lip balm from tunafish in a tube. He wanted to get back to his game.

Posted by: Gregg Sutter at August 25, 2006 9:22 AM

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 25, 2006 9:25 AM

If belief in God went away one morning at dawn, we wouldn't be safer. Some new set of freak beliefs would rush in to fill the space.

If modern life were spread around the world (capitalism, democracy, edumacation, sexual liberation/suffrage etc) then these airplane terrorists wouldn't be using Allah as a beard. They'd have some some other excuse, but it wouldn't be religion. A few days ago Pirate Jo or someone here was saying that these guys need to get laid. I think that's true. The footsoldiers in terrorism are appalled that modern women can lead Pam Anderson-style lives without cutting off a slice for them to enjoy.

Two weeks ago Hitchens had a good short piece about airline travel (link may rot soon)-

Posted by: Crid at August 25, 2006 10:49 AM

Isn't there an animal called a balm? Or did I dream it?

Posted by: Pirate Jo at August 25, 2006 1:04 PM

We wish we had the afternoon hallucinations you do. We just had an afternoon nap. The royal we, my apologies. I'm too groggy still to get ahold of myself.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 25, 2006 3:43 PM

I'm sorry I missed your balm, Miss. I was staring at your...

Is that a wire? (Oh, please, I hope so...!)

Just kidding. You know I'm not an airport guard. How does Pam Anderson travel?

Posted by: Radwaste at August 25, 2006 4:35 PM

I am to travel to Cali in December - if I happen to be on the rag will my tampons be confiscated because they could have been dipped in explosives and the pull string might be used as a fuse? Will pads be sliced with a razor to look for hidden explosives? I can't help if I retain water - will that be considered a liquid that must be left behind - they will have to siphon me.

Posted by: claudia at August 25, 2006 5:46 PM

Very funny, Claudia. Reminds me of one of my own war stories:

Coming back to LAX from Paris a while ago, I was searched thoroughly 3 times. The third time, the agent (a woman) interrogated me on why I was coming back with an unopened box of tampons. I explained I'd bought it in France but didn't need to use it before I returned. That wouldn't satisfy her. She had one of her colleagues escort me to a special interrogation room, put on surgical gloves, and ask me to open the box, and pick up a tampon. He told me to hand it over to him, and proceeded to carefully open/shred it; same with a second, and a third one. Even though I was totally jet-lagged, I had to pinch myself no to laugh. I knew what he and his colleagues were up to: to humiliate me until I exploded, so they could lock me up (they'd done that before, and the various consulates had warned us). They interrogated me at length about my life, my reasons for going to France, for coming back to the U.S. I remained cooperative and courteous all the way through, because I was *not* going to give them what they wanted. They eventually had to let me go -- my vindication.

This whole paranoïa BS all show, anyway. Remember we have an election coming, and fear is a powerful propaganda tool. The bottom line is: if terrorists want to strike us, they will -- gel/lipstick or not.

Posted by: LA Frog at August 25, 2006 6:55 PM

The UK has charged a dozen or so people with offences relating to planning explosions on a transatlantic flights. I look forward to whatever reliable information the trial will reveal. It is easy to mistake prevention for paranoia.

Of course, this is exactly how terrorism works. People saying we must do this or mustn't do that because then the terrorists will have "won" have completely missed the point. The fact that they are making such statements shows that terrorism is already effective, whether we like it or not. And the effect is, among other things, to cause election of leaders who (a) raise the fear level and (b) promise to lower it. It's great election material.

Posted by: Norman at August 25, 2006 11:51 PM

That's horrible, LA Frog. And on what grounds could they lock you up?

And Rad, how does Pam Anderson travel? Probably on a private jet!

My problem is almost nothing has been done in the way of "homeland security" -- except this stuff just for show. I think the way LA Frog was treated was pretty horrible -- and is not a way they'll catch any terrorists, but an obvious power play situation.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 26, 2006 12:31 AM

I said that these guys have got to get laid. If religion was eliminated, that would be step one. Then all these backward countries would have to start educating everyone to bring them out of the dark ages, and that would include comprehensive sex ed. Certain part of the US could sit in on that part of the course, because the American Taliban has unfortunately kept them in the dark ages too. If women were well educated and autonomous, everyone would be getting more, and there wouldn't be all these unwanted pregnancies either.
Oh well, maybe one day...

Posted by: Chris aka Canada at August 26, 2006 7:52 AM

I think we should air-drop Whitney Houston in first!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at August 26, 2006 8:29 AM

Thanks for your concern Amy, but it was not that bad -- just absurd. Some people go through much worse trials -- without reason. As you write, it was just a power play.

Posted by: LA Frog at August 26, 2006 8:37 AM

Fact is terrorism works, most of amercans are running around scared that someo is out to get them for no reason. And God forbids them to think about the policies our government enacts that piss so many people off

And let's not forget the that we closed the air bases in Sudia Arabia just as Osama demanded, so next time President Dipshit says we wont give in to terrorist threats, please remeber he doesnt care about you or your saftey and he is just posturing for votes to keep his political party in power so they can keep making money.

PS all the airport security in the world doesnt stop a guy in long term parking with a rocket launcher, or a bomb put inside an animal, or someone fanitical enough to swallow the liquid explosives themselves.

Posted by: lujlp at August 27, 2006 9:00 AM


Posted by: jane at September 1, 2006 9:20 AM

Ritalin what?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 1, 2006 10:19 AM

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