As promised, I watched Yesterday Channel’s “I Was a Jet Set Stewardess” and now I know why I was so skeptical…because it’s just so hard to believe that the job I do now could possibly have conceptually devolved from that.
The stewardesses they interviewed for this documentary told stories of partying with oil sheiks and receiving gifts of cash, pearls and, for one lady, a pink convertible Jaguar. Wow!
There are a few similarities. We’ve all met celebrities, sure. I just rarely ever speak to them myself. And I’ve gotten a few gifts. But my freebies have been things like free shoes from Bjorn and an expensive (albeit hideous) sweater from Arden B. I’ll tell myself that it’s because I never even let boyfriends buy me jewelry. Yeah. Sure. That’s why I never got a free car from any Saudi princes up there. Well, that, and the fact that these days the “jet set” wouldn’t be caught dead on a “public” airplane. Today those types have their own.
Of course, not everything has gotten worse. It no longer takes 17.5 hours to cross the Atlantic, thank goodness. And although every girl would like the part where being a stewardess was the equivalent of being an actress or a model, I am glad not to have to be an expert in fine cheeses or to carve Chateaubriand in the aisle. I am also quite grateful not to have to put up with the “hands up [my] skirt”.
Things aren’t the same for the cockpit either. These ladies testified that there was “a lot of chemistry, shall we say, between stewardesses and the flight deck.” And with five-day layovers, there was plenty of time for that sort of thing. I think a five-day layover sounds great – once. But after the first time (ok, maybe two), I just want to do my job and get back home. I certainly don’t see the excitement in being stuck with pilots for five days.
And although many in the public still believe those ideas, most F/As would agree with me. Don’t get me wrong: Pilots are fine people. Some are friends. But very few Flight Attendants are still categorically hot for them. Most pilots have families (or an ex-wife. Or two.) and talk mostly about the military and politics. Not really my idea of a great dating pool. And although I certainly wouldn’t accuse all pilots of bad behavior, I have personally learned a few lessons about letting your guard down. Across the flying community, sure there is occasional hanky-panky, but no more than you’d find in the average land-locked office. And, I dare suspect, perhaps even less.
Mostly, I finished the show thinking that old school Stewardesses sound a lot like geishas. And, just the same, I feel pretty sure that the idea of these historical ladies is much more romantic than the reality of that life. I hear a lot about how great it was, but rarely does one hear about the work hours or other hardships they had. And there had to have been quite a few. With as badly treated as we feel nowadays, there’s no way management treated them with more respect when they were…flying geishas. (Is there?)
But I also came to learn that my job has fallen a lot further than I could have imagined…so I admit it! Stewardess really were something else and, for better or for worse, it would have been fun to see. I don’t think anyone will watch documentaries about us 40 years on. Consider my Margherita salted, au naturel.
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