- Gender and Relationships
The Gay, Gay, Gayer Than Gay Flight Attendant
I know that I myself have been deemed effeminate and I've been made fun of most of my life because of it so in general I try to stay away from topics that concern specific people but on a recent Southwest flight I encountered the Gay, Gay, Gayer Than Gay flight attendant and just couldn't resist writing about him.
I knew from the minute he appeared from the door to the walkway to the plane while we were all being herded as cattle into our groups that there was no mistaking this man...for he was the gayest flight attendant I've ever encountered. He stood about 5'2" and was in his fifties. (He was the height and sounded like Leslie Jordan - Emmy award winning actor for his role on Will And Grace for his portrayal of the character Beverley Leslie - I saw his one man show in LA...he is an amazing actor) The flight attendant (who we'll just call Louis) had white hair and glasses with pants that were a little too tight (especially due to the fact that his belly was so large and he was so lively and quick I knew in an instant he could be Mini-me St. Nick). His arms were in the upright Tyrannosaurus Rex position. (I don't think that they ever left that position to be honest with you) and each finger had a golden ring that made me unsure whether every old aunt of his had left him a piece of jewelry he had admired when they were alive or if he was going for the "most likely to look like Liberace's hands" award - that no doubt they give out somewhere...they must...right?)
I had hoped that Louis was just the gate attendant but as we boarded, so did he and although it was only an hour long trip, knowing all of the Southwest spiels that the flight attendants do (I know these because I travel on this airline a lot and not because my uncle who used to be a rabbi is now a flight attendant for Southwest - long story) that this was going to seem like an eternity. The minute he got on the mic it occurred to me that this was what I had always dreaded my life would become. I would have loved to have been a flight attendant but at certain points in my life I could unfortunately see myself using the cabin of a 727 as my stage with an audience of captive air travelers. Thinking I'm slaying them in the aisles when really all anyone wants are the peanuts and to kill me for making them check their oversized carry-on luggage that wouldn't have fit down the aisles or in the overhead bin! And so he began introducing the crew and went right into having your "seat backs and tray tables in their upright position." There are only four "Ss" in those words but it sounded like there were thirty of them the way Louis said them. By the time he got to the announcement that our "seat cushion could be used as a floatation device" everyone started looking around to see if their seat cushion had sprung a leak from the sound of leaking air coming across the microphone from his lisp.
God love him, he had so much energy and wanted to please (like a Pekinese that had been left outside for two days until its owner returned) but the more he tried to please, the more energetic he became and the more lispy he became. The good news is that most of the time the passengers from Burbank to Las Vegas are spending the flight seeing how drunk they can get and it's usually a pretty loud rowdy flight. So I worried that I would have to become Super Gay and defend this guy if the crowd got ugly. But everyone was so well behaved and much to my relief there was not even so much as a snicker as he asked the passengers if they wanted "peanuts" and it sounded like "penis." I must say I was pretty impressed with the group on the whole for their sense of decorum and respect.
As the plane landed he was on the mic again, "Hey ya'll, welcome to fabulouth Lath Vegath! Ya'll been tho thweet, I mean it ya'll. You go out there and just have the beth time ever!" I think everyone was so sweet because he was so sweet, so genuine and you could tell that he loved what he did. There was no "act" here, this was just who he was and he was able to find his niche where he could talk, talk, talk and everyone had to listen. As we all got off the plane he was there in his rubber gloves (to clean the plane after we de-planed) and although they were short, his Tyrannosaurus arms made them seem like opera length gloves or that he was going into surgery at any moment. "Bye, bye...have a great time y'all..." He seemed to customize his farewell line for each passenger.
If someone wrote Louis as a character on a sitcom or something the gays would be in an uproar over the fact that we were depicted in this stereotypical fashion but the point of the matter is that there are some gays out there who (for better or worse) are the stereotype and instead of being repulsed by them or trying to act as if they don't exist, what we need to do is give them the same acceptance we're all looking for ourselves. Just because you have bulked yourself out and are an underwear model doesn't make you a "better" gay than someone like Louis. It just makes you a different gay than him or any number of gays.
With more gays being "out" I think that sometimes we can all have a pretty narrow view of what we want the gays to look and sound like (and I'm talking about from inside the community as well as out). We want the underwear models, the football and soccer players to come out because just by their appearance and profession they seem to personify that gays aren't swishy and that's important to the gay community (whether they admit it or not). It's like when light skinned black people tried to "pass" for white as their darker skinned peers would call it. For some reason a lot of gays hold the gays that can pass as straight as somehow better and the image they want seen and heard. (And I can only imagine how much self-loathing comes if you don't meet that criteria yourself.)
But I don't think Louis has any self-loathing, if anything I think he found his place in this world and is making the most of it. However there's just no denying he is the gay, gay, gayer than gay flight attendant!
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An acquired taste, like Tab cola, Some Like It Scott is one gay man's experiences with love, life and things that make him crazy, all done to a musical theatre soundtrack.