Galley Gossip: The Bachelor – airline employees, spouses & why Vienna is perfect for Jake

If you think long distance dating is difficult, try being married to an airline employee. It ain’t easy. Because working for an airline is not just a job, it’s a lifestyle, a very unusual one. Even now, seven years later, my husband, a man who travels more often than I do, doesn’t completely understand how things work in the aviation industry and will often times get frustrated whenever we’re discussing our travel schedules. That’s because my schedule, much like a pilot’s schedule, can change at a moments notice, making it difficult to create long term plans. I work holidays and weekends and I’m away from home for days at a time. Not many people can handle that.
Pilots, for the most part, are type A personalities. They’re logical thinkers who remain calm, cool, and in control as they command the aircraft. Think Captain Sullenberger. There’s no room for emotion when faced with ditching an airplane into the Hudson River. Flight attendants, on the other hand, tend to be caretakers. We can pretty much make do in just about any situation. There’s a reason why so many flight attendants end up on reality television shows like Survivor, Amazing Race, etc. Now they say opposites attract. I believe it. So is it any wonder that many pilots and flight attendants wind up having relationships with people who are completely different from themselves? Quite a few pilots tend to choose nurturing types like flight attendants, nurses and teachers, while a lot of flight attendants seem to get involved with pilots, police officers and firemen. Makes sense.
In my last post, The Bachelor – pilots, fashion & a few pilot fashion tips, I mentioned that I’m a fan of the reality television show The Bachelor. Well it just so happens that this season the man in command of the rose ceremony is a pilot named Jake. I truly believe that Vienna, one of the final four contestants, will be the last woman standing. What can I say, I always go for the underdog. Also, I admire strength in the face of adversity. Oh, sure, Vienna’s a little immature, sharing intimate details of her dates with Jake that would have been better left unsaid, but she’s young, thinks she’s in love, and excited about what the future may hold. No one is perfect. So why would I choose the wild child who rubs everyone the wrong way, the woman who snuck into bed with the captain of her dreams only to be turned away and sent back to where she came from? Two reasons: 1. She has the type of personality that can handle life as a pilot’s wife. 2. The psychological effect of fear.

In college I studied psychology and wound up taking a class on human sexuality. That’s where I learned all about the power of fear. It can paralyze a person. I can’t tell you how many passengers I’ve met over the years who are afraid to fly, who completely freak out at the mere hint of turbulence. Fear can also save a life. It’s called your sixth sense. One should always trust it. You may be surprised to learn that fear also has a lesser known, more interesting effect on humans. It has been shown that men find women more attractive when they’re scared.

Remember Jake’s one on one date with Vienna? More specifically, remember the bungee jump nervous breakdown? Jake, it turns out, is afraid of heights. But he’s a pilot! I know. How can a pilot who spends a majority of his time at 30,000 feet be afraid of heights? Simple. In an airplane Jake is in control. But jumping off the side of a bridge is a completely different story. So when Vienna, quite naturally, found herself comforting Jake as he tried to catch his breath before taking the giant leap, I thought to myself, perhaps she’s the one. Finally, hand in hand, Jake and Vienna took the plunge. That’s when I knew she had an edge over the other women in the house. Then, as the two of them bounced a few feet above the ground, face to face, embracing each other tightly and kissing passionately upside down, I felt like she might be the one to walk away with the final rose. I’m glad, because I think Vienna is perfect for Jake.

Early on in the show Vienna was scorned by the other women in the house. Basically she’s pretty much been on her own from the very beginning. It takes strength to put up with a house full of catty women, and Vienna handles it with a smile on her face. Whether or not you like the girl, you have to give her props for dealing with a difficult situation quite beautifully. I don’t think I would have been quite so nice. This tells me that Vienna is a survivor. I mean if she can handle Ali’s temper tantrum at the second to last rose ceremony, she can handle just about anything. Not to mention, she also seems like a lot of fun, capable of putting a smile on Jake’s face in any situation, even the awkward ones.

Jake should choose a woman who is not only nurturing, but also independent since she will spend half the month alone. Jake will be away at least twelve days a month. Because of this he needs someone strong, confident, and loyal, a woman who can deal with last minute changes and can also make spur of the moment decisions that include back up plans A, B, & C – just in case something goes wrong, because when you work for an airline, something is bound to go wrong. Take it from me, a flight attendant, this is not an easy combination to find in a partner. Here’s why the other women are all wrong for Jake…

  • GIA: Smart, sweet, and drop dead gorgeous, Gia has it going on. She’s the perfect woman. If I were a man, she would be the one. If Jake weren’t a pilot, I would root for her. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gia ends up one of the last two women standing at the alter. But because Gia admitted in the last episode that she doesn’t always feel secure, which is not a good thing when married to a person who isn’t always around to boost the ego, I don’t think she’s the perfect match for Jake.
  • ALI: No doubt about it, Ali is the most outspoken woman in the house. At times she comes off as a you-know-what. Instead of focusing on Jake, she’s chosen to put all her energy into hating the competition, Vienna. Not a good sign. Marriage is work. It’s not easy to remain focused on the positive, on what made you fall in love with your partner in the first place without life distracting you from what’s truly important. Can a person prone to jealousy and negativity handle a life with someone who is constantly surrounded by adoration from both men and women? I doubt it.
  • TENLEY: Sensitive and sweet, she’s a likeable girl with a big heart. I can see why Jake would be attracted to her. But in the long run, she might be too fragile for Jake’s lifestyle after being involved in a failed marriage to the one and only man she’s known intimately, a man who abandoned her for another woman. Jake’s a pilot. Each and every month he will have to leave her in order to go to work. Is Tenley strong enough to handle all those nights at home alone? I don’t think so.

Don’t forget to tune in tonight at 8pm on ABC for the exciting hometown date episode of The Bachelor.

Photos courtesy of The Bachelor web site.

Galley Gossip: The Bachelor – pilots, fashion & a few pilot fashion tips

Women love pilots. What’s not to like? Even men have a thing for pilots. Think Brad Pitt. He fell in love with one. The word itself conjures up images of Richard Gere (Officer and a Gentleman), Tom Cruise (Top Gun), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Aviator), Andy Garcia (When a Man Loves a Woman), John Travolta (pilots his own 707), and Jake Pavelka.

Jake Pavelka?

Jake Pavelka. Ya know, The Bachelor this season. Rumor has it he’s a Captain for ASA.

It’s true. I really do watch reality TV. I wish I could tell you the reason for this is because I’m a flight attendant and flight attendants have erratic schedules which makes it nearly impossible to keep up with regular sitcoms, but you’d probably mention something about TiVo and then I’d have to admit I already have it, which pretty much ruins that excuse. The simple fact is I enjoy bad TV. I crave drama, even though I refuse to work the New York – Miami route, and that’s why I hope Vienna and Ali continue to stay in the running.

I like Jake. He seems like a nice guy. This is why I’m afraid he may be in over his head. The women have been fawning all over him. I don’t blame them. He’s a handsome pilot who looks dreamy dressed in a tux! But that tuxedo got me thinking. Would they have given him a second glance if they’d seen him say passing through the lobby of a hotel – not dressed in his uniform, nor in a wardrobe chosen by a professional stylist for a popular television show, but in his (gasp) “layover clothes?” If you’re a flight attendant, you know exactly what I’m talking about!

Pilots and fashion. I’m not sure you can even use the two words in the same sentence since they go as well together as orange juice and toothpaste. Ask any flight attendant if they can easily spot a pilot in civilian “layover clothes” and they will emphatically say yes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m just saying…

Luckily not all pilots are created equal. Take for instance Bob, the singing pilot, whom I met in the travel section of Barnes and Nobles. There I stood flipping through a couple of books on Italy, Croatia, and Portugal, trying to figure out where I wanted to go to next, while he scanned the shelf looking for a place to sail his boat. Somehow, I don’t know how, we started talking, and soon Bob had me cracking up. He’s a funny guy. He’s also a very well-dressed guy. So imagine how shocked I was to learn that Bob actually worked for a major US carrier.

Me, too!” I exclaimed, clutching a copy of Frommer’s Italy to my chest. “I’m a flight attendant.”

“Pilot,” he said matter of fact.

I looked him up and down. I didn’t believe him. How could I? He wasn’t wearing acid washed jeans or khaki pants paired with a polo shirt, or even worse, a Member’s Only jacket. Nor did he wear Top Gun style Raybans with a brown leather bomber jacket. Bob was just a regular Joe who looked pretty darn good in dark fitted jeans.

I had to know, so I asked flat out, “Why are so many pilots such bad dressers?”

The problem, according to Bob, is that pilots spend too much time looking for tools in the Sears catalog and then accidentally stumble into its clothing section. “It’s not so much that being a pilot causes one to be fashionably challenged, it’s just we tend to be better at things like engineering, checking the car’s oil, fixing things around the house, and not asking for driving directions,” he explained. “This as opposed to fashion design.”
Made sense.
Truth be told, I like a man who can fix things around the house. I would really hate it if I had to fight with my husband, a T-shirt and jeans kind of guy, over hangers. Honestly, I wouldn’t joke about something as serious as closet space. That’s mine!

As I stood there in the bookstore with Bob, I thought maybe, just maybe, I might be on to something. What pilot wouldn’t appreciate a little fashion advice from a fellow pilot. I scribbled my email address on a piece of paper and asked Bob if he’d be willing to share a few tips. Two days later I received an email from him. It was three pages long! Like most pilots, Bob takes his job very seriously.

  • Wear anything black. If they invent a darker color than black wear that.
  • Dark blue-ish / grey-ish jeans in a boot or regular cut are best. (nothing tapered)
  • Linen is your friend. It’s cool, comfortable, and looks great…even if wrinkled.
  • Fitted shirts. If you can still pull them off. Otherwise stick to shirts in solid colors or subtle patterns.
  • Brown leather bomber jacket. It screams “look at me, I’m a pilot…on a layover…in a bar…drinking.” These are only fashionable in pilot lounges or near military installations
  • Tank tops. Keep America beautiful
  • Tube socks. Socks should never go above your ankles. Nor should they be worn with sandals.
  • Shorts. Especially in Latin countries where it’s considered effeminate. If you must, go with cargo or hiking styles
  • “Douche bag” shirts. Nothing screams midlife crisis, desperate for attention, I have a prescription for Viagra like a bold patterned, colorful dress shirt commonly seen worn at clubs or in Vegas.
  • Uniform items outside of work or on layovers. No thin belt. No black shoes. No black or blue pants. NO!
  • Pleats. Unless you have the physique of Lou Costello and it’s 1939 just don’t.
  • Khaki. Enough already! And for God’s sake, no pleated khaki.
  • Golf clothes. Not unless you’re on a golf course.
Photos courtesy of The Bachelor and Hoodrat