I give fair warning that this post might be a bit more ranting than it will be an update on my life lately. I wanted to start out by wishing all the wonderful women out there a Happy International Women’s Day! I am so honoured to have so many kind, caring, and down right bad ass women in my life and I love them each to pieces in their own special way. I got home from a 4 day pairing late last night and posted a small rant on my Instagram page without realizing today was actually International Women’s Day. Let me give you a little recap: I had a woman tell me I looked like a floozy during one of my flights yesterday. She made a comment on the fact that my nails were painted red. Now, I can’t explain what happened to her during the span of her day to make her react to me the way she did, I can only explain the way it made me feel. I have quickly learned how to bite my tongue in this job and it really came to my rescue yesterday. I so badly wanted to grab her and shake some sense into her because she probably didn’t realize that I never full unpack my suitcase when I’m at home, I rarely sleep longer than 6 hours on most layovers, after my 3rd flight of the day you’re lucky if I know what city I’m in let alone what time zone, I eat 90% of my meals standing outside an airplane bathroom, I can evacuate this Boeing 737-800 aircraft in 90 seconds, and I rarely see my loved ones so you can safely see yours. So, the fact that I took the time to paint my nails red, put effort into that uncomfortable sock bun, and wing my damn liquid eyeliner is just icing on the cake in my world.
Some days at work I can sense the judgement that goes on as I walk down the aisle with my perfectly hairsprayed bun in my high heels. People either look at me and think “Wow! You’re a flight attendant?! That must be such a cool job!” or “Wow! Look at this young girl trying hard to impress the people on this plane!” And I let people think whatever they want because when I wake up at 2:30 in the morning in St. Johns and I start the process of making myself look presentable, I do it for me. I enjoy trying new things with my hair and occasionally putting on some red lip gloss. More importantly, I genuinely enjoy my job. I look forward to meeting a new crew every pairing and flying passengers to reunite them with their families that live miles and miles away.
Another thing I’ve learned on this job is that a lot of passengers tend to see the flight attendants and pilots as two completely different worlds – which it is most of the time. But, what I love about this company is that the crew bonds 90% of the time and the pilots don’t see us as simply being the ones in charge of the cabin while they fly the plane upfront. This next part is going to be a small tribute to the pilots, because us flight attendants really do appreciate the work that they do. My grandfather was a pilot in the military so maybe it’s in my blood to have a sweet spot for them. The profession of a pilot carries with it a certain stereotype and whether anyone likes it or not, stereotypes do exist for a reason, but before we judge, we should acknowledge the fact that not all pilots are bad news. Many of these men and women live a similar life to the flight attendants. I have been honoured to meet some of the women pilots who instantly inspire me. I wonder how many of these women feel being in such a male dominated industry. I’m also just as honoured to meet the men who instantly remind me of my grandfather or even my father. Those type of men are the pilots who instantly take you under their wing (no pun intended) and wouldn’t let a fly hurt you let alone a passenger speak rudely to you. Unfortunately people take pilots for granted very often and this could be because of the ones who the stereotype is built upon. We all have met them, but 90% of the time, we meet, know, and be friends with pilots who you can admire and trust. They actually understand us more than we realize.
This being said about pilots, when I started this job I told myself I would never date a pilot. Never. Ever. Ever. It’s sad to admit but I told myself I didn’t want to get involved with a stereotypical pilot and just be another flight attendant that got burned. And then as always, things changed. It was 4:00 am on January 3rd and I was stuck in the crew line going through security at the Montreal airport. I didn’t have my red pass yet so I wasn’t able to go through crew by pass so unfortunately (or so I thought) I was stuck going through the Nexus line. I had just had my morning coffee so I was ready to rock and roll for the day, but, this poor sleepy looking pilot ahead of me in line looked like he had had a negative amount of coffee. So, me being who I am started to talk and then proceeded not to shut up for a solid 5 minutes while this poor guy just stared at me and probably wondered if this strange chick would ever shut up. Eventually I let him contribute to the conversation and we talked for a good 20 minutes (Montreal security is the slowest of any airport in Canada… avoid it.) until we had reached the other end of the line and we were putting our bags back together again. He finally introduced himself and I introduced myself right back. At that moment I remember thinking “Damnit Jackie. This guy is cute. Look at that smile. The poor guy just listened to you ramble for 20 minutes at 4:00 am. Ask for his number!” But I chickened out because:
a) I’d been single for a year, I didn’t know how to ask for guys numbers!
b) He’s a pilot, there’s no way this is going to turn into anything!
Well, later that day after I had flown to Orlando and back I turned on my phone to a FaceBook message from a tired American pilot who’s Captain had tracked me down because he could tell we hit off so well. I know, I know, you’re thinking whoa, that’s kind of weird. But, we talked, and we talked, and we talked until eventually he flew from New York to Toronto just to come have lunch and coffee with me… Craziest first date I’ve ever had! Ever since then it’s been a battle of him hopping on flights to Toronto, me picking up New York overnights, and a constant love/hate relationship with hotel WiFi to make things work. And like I said earlier, he actually understands me more than I realize.
I guess the moral of my little ramble here is just to expect the unexpected and don’t put expectations on yourself about who you do or don’t want to end up dating, or where you want to end up living, or what job you want to end up doing for the rest of your life. Just got with the flow of things and choose whatever is going to make your heart and soul happy again.