Well, it happened again, for the first time since my post holiday incident in 2010. I’ve been through airport security several times since then, through the old-fashioned metal detectors and at least once through the newfangled body scanners with no extra attention, but I suppose my luck was due to run out at some point.
And so it did on my way to SFO to meet up with Roxy and go to Butch Voices. I was flying out on the last Virgin flight of the night and there weren’t many people in the airport at that hour. In fact, there was no line at security, I walked right up. This got me feeling pretty good, and I was chatty with the woman checking my ticket and identification, and she was relaxed and chatty right back. I was still feeling relaxed when I was waved into a biometric scanner.
But once I stepped out, things took a turn for the not-so-easy going. I was asked to step out of the flow and stand on the now familiar yellow shoe marks. The agent told me that there was something odd about my image, she was guessing it was blurry or something. I wanted to believe that, but in the back of my mind, I knew it wasn’t a blur that was causing them to see an anomaly in my scan.
I didn’t have my watch on — it was tucked into my carry-on — so I could track how much time it took for them to get a senior female agent to pair with the junior in order to conduct my special pat-down search. At first they just called for one agent, then someone came up and whispered to them and they called for a senior. I guess I’m just that special. I knew that the best way to get through this was to stay calm and pay attention. I took a deep breath and went along with each instruction, feeling a moment of panic when my stuff rolled down the security ramp unattended. And you know, they get nervous when you so much as lean away from those yellow shoe marks toward your stuff. Shoes and carry-on were gathered up and I was escorted to a small room.
If you’ve read the story of my last ‘interesting’ encounter with TSA, you’ll remember that the agents in charge of that drama didn’t communicate very well, were confused, without a clear plan, and downright surly. Without exception, the TSA agents I dealt with at Seatac on this night were polite, open about the process and apologetic about the delay.
So what happened? I was taken to a small room where they explained the pat-down process, which is basically back of hand every where but across the groin. They both put on gloves and had me assume the position: feet on the shoe marks, a little more than hip width apart, arms out to the sides at shoulder height. The senior agent conducted the pat-down, talking me through it as she did it, even though she’d explained it completely before beginning. It reminded me a bit of a gyno-exam: I’m going to touch you here, I’m touching you here now.. and so on.
Between the explanation and the search, I told them that I was pretty sure I knew what the issue was, that this had happened to me before. They both raised eyebrows which I took as encouragement to continue. I explained that I had a silicon prosthetic in my briefs and that was probably the ‘anomaly’ that had shown up on the screen. I told them this had happened to me before. The senior agent said that she still had to follow procedure, I nodded my assent and kept quiet as she ran her hands across my body. As expected, when she did the palm-side pass across my crotch, her face registered surprise.
I offered to get my cock out and show it to them, though I didn’t use the word cock, I just said ‘it’. Well, apparently, they’ve got a procedure for that now, instead of the hap-hazard series of embarrassments I endured at the hands of the TSA in SFO previously. Instead of staying to watch me partially disrobe to remove the mystery object, they would step out and I would take the object out and place it on the table. Then they’d come back in and inspect the object, after which I’d be able to take custody of it again (and put it back in my briefs). Then, since my carry on stuff was in the room with me, and I’d be unattended with my stuff for a few minutes, they’d have to reinspect my stuff before I could continue to my gate. All this time I didn’t know what time it was, but had given myself enough prior to security that I thought I’d still be OK. But that wasn’t the thing that was of most concern to me at that moment. I was still stuck on one point of the procedure she described.
I’m going to put my cock on the table?
It was a cheap plastic fold up conference table that probably hadn’t been wiped down in a while. But seriously, my cock was just going to be lying there, on a table, away from me? My cock? The senior agent must have noticed the change in my body language, breathing or facial expression. I was actually stuttering a little trying to articulate my concerns. I sort of seized up, where previously I’d been chatty and cooperative.
She must have had an inkling about what I was trying to say, and offered to put a paper towel down on the table for me. She asked if that would be better and I said yes. They were both pretty respectful about my situation. I tried to explain that it might be a bit uncomfortable for them to deal with my packy, as it had a realistic penis shape. They both smiled politely and left me with a paper towel and the promise of privacy for a moment.
I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to do this. It was repeating like a mantra through my head. But, of course, I did it anyway. Unbuttoned, reached in and pulled the velcro away from the waistband of my briefs. Placing my packy on the paper towel, I stepped back to the yellow marks and waited. It was so wrong to stand there with my cock on a table, exposed to the world and about to undergo some sort of inspection by people who, though polite, didn’t understand what it really was, what it signified to me.
A couple of long moments later, they returned, donned fresh blue gloves and grabbed what looked like a cotton cosmetic pad. I’m guessing they were swabbing for gunpowder residue, making sure I wasn’t packing a cock-bomb. I couldn’t help but wince a bit at them handling that piece of me, even if it was made of silicon and sitting on a table 3 feet away.
They completed the inspection and told me they would be leaving the room again, allowing me to put myself back together. I retrieved my packy quickly and made a mental note that I should wash it as soon as I could do so privately (not sure I want to pull my cock out in an airport restroom, besides, I assumed I’d need to hustle to my gate as soon as I got out of security). I called out that I was ready. As nice as these two ladies were, I was done with this and wanted desperately to get my things and make sure I could make my flight. And call Roxy if possible.
They took my carry-on bag, pulling each item out and doing the swipe/detector routine. I was standing where I could see the machine they were putting the pads into, and you know how even when you know you haven’t done anything wrong, you worry they’ll find something questionable? Yeah, that was me through those tense moments. Finally, the inspection was complete and I was given my bag and shoes and allowed to continue on my way.
All in all, a better experience than the first time, but still not great. I hustled to my gate, sending a quick text to Roxy and a quick Facebook status update and then I was boarding. Roxy and I continued to text as I got settled. She was wonderful: reassuring, outraged, gentle, encouraging and loving. Reminding me that she’d be waiting for me at the other end of the flight. And with a deep breath, I switched off my phone and sat back, very much looking forward to the hugs and kisses that awaited me.
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