OKAY! TAKE YOUR CLOTHES OFF AND LET IT ALL HANG OUT
Anyone flying IN or OUT of the USA for the foreseeable future is liable to be strip searched by very aggressive security agents. I counted up the U.S. Immigration stamps in my U.K. Passports, there were fifty˗ one round trips, on fifty of them I was flying knees-under-the-chin Toilet Seat Economy at the back of a Boeing 747, but was strip searched only four times.
One time I was upgraded to First Class on a Virgin Atlantic flight to San Francisco which was half empty, so I had a steward to myself. He stood by with a champagne bottle BEFORE we had even left the ground, keeping me well topped up, consequently by the time we were flying over Scotland via the “Polar Route” to the West Coast, I was on Cloud Nine and felt like opening the door and going for a stroll , but fell asleep instead. The next thing I remember was the steward politely requesting me to bring my seat into the upright position because were about to land in San Francisco…
…but all was not lost…
I had missed all the goodies, the gourmet food, expensive wine, the camaraderie at the open bar and a chance to watch a preview showing of the latest Hollywood movie on my own private TV. ( Virgin Atlantic always brags ̶ NOBODY EVER WALKS OUT ON ONE OF OUR IN-FLIGHT MOVIES ̶ but they do fall asleep.) Surprisingly there was a very unexpected and erotic greeting when I landed and went to the Immigration desk, they showed me to a little room where two young security guards told me to get undressed ˗˗ I was going to be strip- searched. “But I’m already here, why search me now?”
“Because you’re taking an onward flight to Palm Springs,” I was told by the guy in charge. “…and you know what they’re like.” This was when they had the scare about toothpaste and fizzy drinks in a bottle, none of which I had secreted on my body. After a look here and there ̶ especially there, I was told I could get dressed. As I was leaving the little room, I jokingly told the guy in charge that was the first time I had gotten undressed in public without getting paid for it. He grinned and gave me a dollar .
I wonder how the Security at SFO dealt with the dozen or more Drag Queens sashaying onto the flight to LAX mentioned in my book That’s Hollywood? They were for real, I didn’t make them up. The gay nightclub where they worked in SFO mysteriously burned to the ground and before the insurance had kicked in, the “gals” were flying down to Tinseltown to film the stage show. So, how did the SFO security deal with a dozen screaming drag queens in their furs and feathers, rubber girdles, that kept it all in, and their cowboy bras that headed them all out? The “gals” had plenty of places to stash a tube of toothpaste and even a bottle of hair gel, but a quart bottle Big Daddies Ginger Ale? I don’t think so. I’ll bet the guy in charge of Security really got a big charge, and paid them a lot more than a measly dollar.
The English Lord Soames, who pops up in the book SELBY, had a penchant for dressing up like Marie Antoinette when visiting his friend, disgraced Member of Parliament, Sir Henry Asquith in Spain. Fortunately there were no headaches for the Spanish Security having to explore the interior confines of his billowing crinoline and all the adjacent accoutrement, because he flew there in his own Lear Jet
On arrival at Sir Henry’s continental den of iniquity, he soon threw away all his inhibitions and emerged as Lady Gertrude who, not only knew where it was at, but invited his friends to have a look and make sure it was still there! Sir Henry Asquith was the owner of a large vineyard and produced the best Chardonnay in that part of Spain. He rarely flew back to London, not because he feared being strip searched, but because there was a warrant out for his arrest for deeds unbecoming a Member of Parliament. Yeah, Sir Henry had been a naughty boy. Perhaps not so naughty as Queenie, a few chapters on, who boarded his flight in LAX as a well-dressed American business man, but deplaned in Malaga looking like a Miami Drag Queen in a turquoise Moo-Moo covering his twiddley bits and a cheap lacy bra, which didn’t! Apparently the Spanish Inquisition were too doubled up with laughter to check her out and she sashayed into Spain like the Queen of Sheba,Virgo Intact.
My young niece, who has been a long haul stewardess on Scottish Airways for over fifteen years, says that security in some of the African airports was very frightening because there was a soldier with a machine gun at the end of each hotel corridor ̶ she never found out if he was there to keep the trolley dollies from going out shopping, or to stop the curious natives from surreptitiously snooping. She also confided that she and other attractive female stewardii had often been “patted down” by officious security guards AFTER they had arrived in the USA and many of them were not too fussy where they put their hands.
So, is all this searching really necessary? Plundering hands searching into your hand luggage; removing your shoes and switching on your IPAD and Laptop? Aggressive “pat downs” and embarrassing body searches, letting it all hang out? If you’re about to board a plane to Timbuctoo and beyond, the answer is YES. Conversely if you’re waving goodbye to your sexy squeeze, then your answer will be NO. Long before airport security got so modernised and sniffer dogs were still in love with lamp posts, some nervous pilots would secretly look over the passengers about to board his flight; if he thought any of them looked in any way suspicious, they were discreetly “bumped”.
As Bette Davis so vehemently warned us…Fasten your seat belts, folks it’s gonna be a bumpy ride .
Well y’all know That’s Hollywood