The Cult Of The Former Flight Attendant
Next month, in September, a new show on ABC will be airing titled "Pan Am". It is going to center around flight crew, mainly the female flight attendant of the sixties.
There is an upsurge of interest in the 1960s, due no doubt, to the popularity of the show 'Mad Men', a show depicting advertising men of the '60s, their wives, and their sexy secretaries. All the hoopla over the Pan Am show has engendered much fantasizing on the part of the younger male demographic about the 'good old days' of the gorgeous flight attendant, and the opportunities men supposedly had with them while they got away from the 'little woman' for a few days. Flight attendants were fondly imagined to be solely dedicated to the pleasure and comfort of their male passengers, both during, and after, a flight.
It will be fun to see this show. I say 'fun', not enthralling, or a manual for the way my life or job used to be when I was a flight attendant for Pan Am. For starters, there have been male flight attendants from the very beginning of commercial flight. They were known as stewards, or pursers, after the cruise ship equivalent, and they probably made more money than the 'stewardesses'.
As the country moved into the fifties and sixties, and further away from 'Rosie the Riveter', women were depicted as being sexy arbiters of service for the male airline passenger. Yet, when you watch old episodes of shows like 'I Love Lucy' where the two couples were flying back from Europe, or that great action flick 'Bullitt', with all the final scenes that featured Pan Am airplanes on the tarmac of the San Francisco airport, or the terminal and it's passengers, I see as many female passengers as male passengers.
I was recently banned from a Pan Am flight attendant group on Facebook. I had made a comment relating a memory I had, and an older flight attendant didn't like it. The administrator of this group could not have done me a bigger favor by banning me if she had stood over me in leather gear and a riding crop, slapping her thigh and saying 'You veel write'. I took all my great memories and wrote about them on my blog, where I now have twenty posts about my former employer. So, I didn't care one way or the other whether I was a member of her group.Continued on the next page