As Featured on News Cult: Travel Tips

Since I am well-versed in experiencing travel with a side of raft de shit, allow me to bestow upon you some advice for making it easier. 

1. Pack light

In other words, think, “what would a Real Housewife do (WWARHD)”? And then do the opposite. 

2. Forget your makeup 

You’re not going to have time or energy to spend hours painting your face until it’s socially acceptable. And you won’t be seeing anyone you know amongst the masses of other travelers anyways. Although knowing our luck, your ex will show up with his model girlfriend and you’ll be sporting the wet rat look. But whatever—her looks will fade soon enough and then you’ll rejoice in her misery. Plus, no makeup equals less to carry. #winwinwinning

3. Similarly, wear exclusively sweatpants 

You’ll want to be comfortable in transit. Traveling is no time to try to impress anyone. Actually, no time is time to impress anyone. But travel involves lots of uncomfortable seating, so sweatpants are especially justified here. Although I would say this is really the number one rule to live by generally in life. 

4. Follow someone from your flight to locate baggage claim

Why is it that it’s always impossible to find your baggage claim carousel? And that everyone else knows their carousel number except you? This is why you need to stalk your fellow passengers when you deplane. In order to do this, you’ll need to make an effort to memorize the appearance of at least five people on your flight before you land. If that means walking up and down the aisle, scanning the rows of passengers and stopping to stare at and evaluate a desirable or at least sufficient candidate for five minutes, then so be it. How else are you going to remember who was on your plane when you’re frantically searching the crowds at baggage claim, trying to figure out where you’re supposed to be and where you fit in and why you’re alone in life and have no purpose?

5. Don’t 

How about you just stay at home and refrain from cluttering the world with your presence? There are enough of us trying to get places—we don’t need you clogging up the thoroughfares. You want to see the world? Sorry, couldn’t hear you over the sound of me not giving a fuck. You need to go to Europe for your cousin’s wedding? Let me save you a trip—he only invited you out of a sense of obligation. He doesn’t really want you there, tainting the beautiful, perfectly put-together occasion with your chubby figure. You need to visit your grandma before she dies? No you don’t—she’ll manage. 

6. Pretend to be someone else

There will be no shortage of pests asking you where you’re going, why you’re going there, where you came from, why you came from there, blah blah blah blah blah. They don’t understand that your presence is not an invitation to conversation. So just make up an alter ego—one that doesn’t engage in conversation with strangers. And, better yet, one that makes strangers not want to engage in conversation. E.g. You could be Marla from Tennessee, who’s on the lam after having kidnapped her ex-husband’s new wife, rolled her in a tub of sprayable Easy Cheese, locked her in a remote shed and thrown away the key. Or you could be Carl, a man who believes he can sniff out virgins based on the stage of their menses, and that they should be sacrificed if they’re redheads [of course for this one, you’ll say all this while sniffing the person you’re saying it to, who ideally will be a redheaded female]. Another alternative is Shaqounita, a missionary from Texas, whose life purpose is to pair Russian mail-order brides with their future husbands. #OrdainedMatchmaker 

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As Featured on News Cult: How to Get Through Airport Security

It’s no secret that TSA officers are the least qualified people to do their jobs. Thus, it takes a special kind of witchcraft to be able to get through their security hoops. But I’ve got it down to a science, so fear not—here’s how you make it through airport security.

1. Pray to the gods of TSA Pre√

Pre√ is like Nutella—Heaven sent. It means you get to keep your shoes on, your laptops in your bags,  you get to skip the line of losers who didn’t make the cut—the world is your oyster with Pre√. Unfortunately, it’s up to a random iPad to assign it (I think there are also other ways you can get it permanently, like if you travel often enough, or pay a fee or some bullshit like when you get to use the HOV lane without carpooling as long as you buy a transponder), so your prayers may only be as effective as those who pray to end gun violence.

2. Do whatever the fuck you want with your liquids of 3-oz. or less

Unfortunately the equal to or less than 3-oz. rule is still in effect, but I’ve found that it is no longer necessary to fit all 3-oz. or less liquids into a quart-sized plastic bag. How did I learn this? By just ceasing to follow the quart-sized plastic bag rule a couple years ago, and getting away with it every time, with no mention of protest by any TSA dipshit agent.

3. Request the metal detector instead of the full-body scanner

Maybe because you don’t want your organs to be zapped by x-rays, or for the security agents to be able to see right through you, or you just want to fuck with them. But insist, for whatever reason you make up, that they let you go through the metal detector, and see how flustered they get. It will be sufficiently amusing. Please note: this may/probably will entail a pat down. During which, you come on to the person patting you down. Male or female—it doesn’t matter. Turn the tables on them—they get to molest you? You get to sexually harass them, verbally. Some suggested lines to use on them:

•”Oh boy, I haven’t been touched like that since last night. When I touched myself. But I much prefer this. Keep going, please. Almost there..” [of course escalate your volume and heavy breathing as the sentence progresses]

•”Are you single? Because I’m visiting my family and they’re going to be severely disappointed that I haven’t found a mate yet. How do you feel about kids? Which holidays are you required to spend with your family? What are your thoughts on buying a home? Jenn or Angelina? Miranda or Gwen? Bernie or Hillary?”

•”Where would I even hide a bomb? You, on the other hand—is that an explosive device in your pants or are you just happy to see me?”

4. Use a tray for every item you have

Even Kanye has to do it. #thereisaGod

Nothing pisses them off more than when you put everything you have in individual trays. Your shoes go in one, your laptop goes in another, your coat in a third, your purse in a fourth, your roller bag jams into a fifth, and so on. And insist on waiting to proceed until you’ve watched each and every one of your trays go a safe distance onto the conveyor belt. If they urge you forward, insisting you abandon your trays, tell them you don’t trust them not to steal something out of one of your bags while it’s still stuck on the metal rolly things, before it gets on the belt, and while you’re waiting in line to be violated. This will piss them off even more, and then you’ll say, “Why are you so upset? You know, people usually don’t react so adversely to criticism unless it touches on some insecurity in them. So, what I’m getting from this interaction is that you, yourself, don’t trust that you won’t steal one of my valuables,  and you simultaneously hate and get some elicit pleasure from that aspect of your personality. Did I get it right? Hmm? What do you have to hide, Fred??”

5. Pack embarrassing things at the top of your carry-on

I’m talking hemorrhoid wipes, XS condoms, underwear that says “#squadgoals,” and a self-help book entitled Coping with Everyone Else’s Inferiority. So that when they pull your bag aside to search it by hand, you can make unwavering, confident eye contact with them as little bits of their soul die off, one by one, for each personal item of yours they grope. Feel free to narrate each item as they pull it out, too, for added effect.

6. Wear shoes that are easy to take off

All kidding aside, having to untie elaborate laces or pull off knee-high boots is just not what we want to be spending our time doing, so I say strap on those Uggs and get it over with. MAKE SURE to wear socks. We don’t need to be contracting any foot fungi from the thousands of disgusting people we are forced to accompany through the same carpet space. To balance out the unfairness of the shoe game, wear a hoodie with nothing under it. Then, when they insist you take it off, you’ll get to flash everyone, and when they freak out about it, you’ll get to say, “Well you told me to take it off—I’m getting mixed signals here. I’m just following the rules you told me, Fred. It seems like you’re the one who’s lacking an understanding of the proper procedures here, Fred, not me. Fred, if I may be so bold, how did you get your job? Did you have to do any training at all, or were you simply let in because you have a proclivity for blindly following orders without so much as a thought to question what you’re taught, like, for example, a Nazi would’ve done?”

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When the airline gate agent takes your ticket

and your friend jokingly says, “I think he wants to marry you,” and then immediately after you board the plane you receive a Facebook friend request from him.

Commemorative photo of me and said gate agent’s Facebook friend request taken and sent to me by said friend. #husbandmaterialobviously #howdidyou2meet? #ohIlookedathernameonherboardingpassandthenfoundheronFacebook

Tips for Interacting with TSA

TSA is the WORST, amirite?! The ultimate power trippers–right up there with librarians, flight attendants, and mall cops. Arguably, all TSA employees are the least equipped and qualified people to hold their positions. I don’t think anyone has ever encountered a TSA agent and thought, “this person is smart.” So the fact that they’re given power is that much more frustrating, because their stupidity ensures that they’ll abuse it. Thusly, interacting with them is like tiptoeing across a tightrope over a minefield laced with eggshells. But with their incompetence also comes an opportunity for us to have fun. Here are some ways we can effectively navigate the delicate interaction with TSA while also entertaining ourselves.

Point out your belongings as TSA goes through your bags and gropes them.

E.g. “Oh, those are my tampons right there,” or, “Yep, those are my hemorrhoid wipes ,” or, “Uh huh, those are my mood stabilizers.”

Point out your body parts as TSA gropes them.

E.g. “Yep, those are my love handles you’ve got a nice, firm grasp on,” or, “Those were my boobs–not much there, I know.” Or, “HEY-O, this is the most action I’ve gotten in a long time.”

Ask them for clarification.

There’s usually one of them repeatedly yelling out instructions like, “Remove your shoes, all laptops must be out of their carriers in their own trays, and nothing should be in your pockets.” So your job is to say, “So I can keep my shoes on, my laptop in its bag, and my bus money in my pockets, right?” And when they correct you, go, “So take my shoes off?” and when they say “Yes,” just keep repeating the question: “OK so just so we’re clear, my shoes need to be off? Just so I’m understanding you correctly, I need to take my shoes off? Shoes off?”

When you have to raise your arms in the body scanner, flip your birds.

I dare them to call you out on it.

Engage them in a meaningful discussion about pop culture.

For example, say something like, “Kim Kardashian’s butt cannot be real–right? You’ve felt a lot of butts in your life, so you tell me.” Or, “Is it just me or did Robin Thicke completely not pull off that jail uniform during his 2013 VMA’s performance with Miley Cyrus?” Or, “Do you feel that John Travolta and Tom Cruise are gay lovers?”

Whisper “Don’t mention bombs!” loudly to everyone near you in line.

Ask them how often they racially profile people.

“Like, is it every brown person you see or just the ones with turbans?”

Ask them to explain the logic behind pre-check and other exceptions to TSA rules.

E.g. “I mean, it all seems pretty arbitrary to me. Like, one day, I get to go in the pre-check line because your iPad told you I could, but what if that’s the day I decide to hide explosives in my shoes? And also why are children under 12 and senior citizens exempt from the shoes rule? If anything, they wear the shoes that are going to be the most helpful in a terrorist attack–the kids’ shoes that light up would be a great cover for a blinking detonator, for example, and old people shoes have like miles-thick soles, so they could fit A LOT of heroin in there.”

Unload your personal problems on them.

For example, “My husband Jerry just left me for our daughter’s slut-of-a-preschool teacher, and right after that my Irritable Bowel Syndrome flared up, as it often does under stress, so I went to get a massage but the masseuse took one look at my soft, shitty body and said, ‘PASS,’ so here I am, about to get on a flight to meet Ashwin, the man I met online who I wired $50,000 to because he needed a route canal, but I haven’t heard from him since, so I figured I’d pay him a surprise visit. Romance is all about spontaneity, right?!”

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How to Kill Time at the Airport

If you’re like me, you somehow always get to the airport obnoxiously early, despite all your attempts not to. On the one hand, having extra time at the airport is kind of nice–it’s like a little bubble where you’re forced to just chill out and relax (because we obviously aren’t going to use our time there productively and do work or anything absurd like that). But it can also get BO-RING. So here are some ways you can kill that time and entertain yourself.

Obviously, people watch

Which really just means judge people. Judge them ’til the cows come home. Judge what they’re wearing (cargo pants? really?), their haircuts (why did you curl your hair for a 6 AM flight? Why?), their choice of food/drink (head shake at the 9 AM McDonald’s eaters, thumbs up at the 9 AM beer drinkers), their reading material (let’s hope you’re lucky enough to catch a Danielle Steel person), their family members (obnoxious, unlovable kids? Unwanted, tag-along grandparents? Unhappily married spouses?), pets (cute but reasonable dogs, or THOSE people who actually travel with cats, and, worse yet, have leashes for them), luggage (designer but they’re still flying Southwest? That’s sad for them), and the list goes on.

Visit the different terminals

Don’t limit yourself to your shitty gate area that only has one “Crews” or “Hudson News” and some off-brand French bakery where a yogurt parfait costs $12. Instead, go find the terminal that has MULTIPLE Starbucks, at least one place that serves ice cream in a soft form (frozen yogurt, milkshake, soft serve, etc.), a bathroom with more than 3 stalls and paper towels instead of hand dryers, and where the yogurt parfaits only cost $7.50. You know no bounds! Spread your wings and fly the coop, little birdie! The rest of the airport is your oyster, so see what it has to offer.

Sit at the bar and pretend to be someone else

No matter what time of day it is–the airport is a vacuum where normal societal rules don’t apply. Order a drink and make conversation with the other sad people there. But don’t tell them one single true thing about yourself–make up every little detail, from your name to your occupation to your medical history. For example, you could be Thelma from North Dakota who’s headed to a Tupperware convention. Or Kayte, spelled “K-a-Y-t-e,” and you were born in New York but your mother is Huguenot and your father is Prussian so you don’t really consider yourself American, more a citizen of the world, because you’ve always lived abroad besides your boarding school stint in Hartford and speak 7 languages and have a British-ish accent that somehow fluctuates sentence to sentence and really prefer Lanvin if you’re going to wear ballet flats, but your go-to handbag is an Hermes.

Try to sneak into the first class lounges

Just play it cool, and if you can’t get in subtly, make a huge fuss–when they say you’re not on the list, or you need an access card to open the door, or a special ticket, insist that there has been a grave error, and you absolutely definitely should be on the list, you’re a platinum member of ALL airlines and this is an injustice and is it because you’re black (even if you’re not black) or because you’re a woman (even if you’re not a woman) or because you’re a senior citizen (even if you’re not a senior citizen)? And then stage a sit-in.

See how many people you can get to watch your bags

Say something along the lines of, “Would you mind watching these while I use the restroom?” And if they agree to, then yell out, “THAT WAS A TEST AND YOU FAILED. What if there had been a bomb in my bag?? Or anthrax? Or Ebola? You, sir, are basically a terrorist.”

Pretend to be an airline employee

Walk around telling people you’re the “designated safety officer” for their flight and ask them to please listen up while you demonstrate safety procedures. And then just make a bunch of random arm movements that look more like an interpretive dance routine.

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