A book for women that most women travelers might recognize

When I read about Rachel Kauder Nalebuff’s intriguing book My Little Red Book yesterday, I thought about women travelers and the calculations many make when hitting the road as to not be surprised by “that time of the month.” Sorry guys.

Nalebuff has collected 92 short memoir type pieces from women of all ages around the world about their first period experience. As the book review in the New York Times indicates, each selection is presented as a slice of life. Each, though, is part of a whole and offers up an aspect of the lives of young women not often talked about. From the book review, the stories are a cultural journey into what ties half of the world’s population together.

Nalebuff, who is only eighteen years-old, thought of this book after her own horrifying first period experience and began to interview female family members to find out about theirs. In the process, she found out intriguing, but not normally talked about stories like that of her great aunt Nina who avoided being strip-searched by guards at the German border while she and her family were fleeing Poland for France during World War II because “HER FRIEND” made a just in time first visit.

Again, reading about this book reminded me of certain traveling moments and the number of times women who scale mountains, trek across deserts, scuba dive in waters where a shark might lurk and perch precariously on top of a cargo truck on an adventure down a narrow highway, might sigh with relief at the sight of a roll of toilet paper in the bathroom that they’ve just dashed into because, despite careful calculations, travel can bring about the unexpected.

At the book’s Web site, people can add their own stories.

JetBlue flight attendant accused of sexually harassing a passenger

Here’s a sordid, wacky tale, and one that’s hard to believe, except that the person who is accused of gross behavior has admitted to part of the accusation.

Here is the scoop from what I read in this CBStv.com story. A male JetBlue flight attendant has been accused by a female passenger of sexual harassment.

She said:

  • he said he would make sure no one sat next to her so she could be all his.
  • he said that he wanted her.
  • he said that she wanted him.
  • he kept grabbing himself.
  • he tossed his open cell phone on her tray to show her naked pictures of himself .
  • he made vulgar comments to her through the bathroom door when she fled there to escape his advances.
  • he grabbed her derriere when she was heading back to her seat.

He said that:

  • he DID show her naked pictures of himself on his cell phone.
  • he DID MAKE sexual advances,

He said he DID NOT

  • grab her butt.
  • act in a harassing manner.

As a result of the woman coming forward with her accusations, the flight attendant was arrested for “obscene and indecent exposure” and for making “lewd, obscene and indecent sexual proposal.” JetBlue is still involved in the investigation of the he said/she said situation.

Even though the incident happened seven months ago, the woman said she was too scared to say something to any officials at the time of the incident. In retrospect, she admits saying something at the time of the incident would have been the best tactic.

If such a thing ever happens to you on a plane, which I would hope is a rare occurrence indeed, here is one thing I’ve thought of to say to a flight attendant (or anyone else) who is making comments you think are inappropriate:

“Sir (or Mam) you are being inappropriate. I do not like the way you are talking and behaving. If you do not stop immediately, I will notify the appropriate authorities.”

If the behavior continues, stand up, walk down the aisle to the appropriate person, tell him or her immediately what occurred. If you do not feel safe after taking action, ask for an escort after the plane lands. The woman said she did not feel safe. I’m wondering if she wasworried that he may do something rash after the plane landed. That’s why I would ask for an escort. I don’t know if you can get one, but why not ask?

There is no need to take on any bad feelings from a person who is acting like an idiot towards you.

Other troublemakers in the sky

Oprah a hit with women in Saudi Arabia

Admittedly, I watched Oprah’s talk show when I lived in Singapore. Not often, but sometimes. The room with our TV was the only one with air-conditioning, so that had something to do with it. Still, there was a familiarity in all the advice.

Plus, since the shows were not aired in any particular order, some days Oprah would be thin, other days heavier, and along with her weight shifts were shifts in her hair style and clothing. Because Oprah was on every day, sometimes twice, I assumed it was because she was a big hit with the Singaporean audience.

In Saudi Arabia, women also watch Oprah, and with far more attention than I ever did. Oprah, according to this article in the New York Times, is a bit of a life-line for many Saudi females. The article starts by describing one woman who writes to Oprah Winfrey every month even though Oprah has yet to write back.

Nayla said that Oprah gives her hope and energy, and that Oprah is the only one who understands her. This feeling is echoed with Saudi women of all ages, but particularly with younger women. Part of what the women relate to is Oprah’s own struggles that she has overcome. As women in Saudi Arabia struggle to find their voice and use it, Oprah gives them a sense of how it is done.

The women also relate to Oprah because her style of dress fits Saudi Arabian women’s sensibility and taste. They would probably love Oprah’s closet, the store in Chicago where you can buy Oprah’s old clothes.

As I read the article, besides being interested in this particular Western influence on the Middle East, I wondered if Oprah has read the article yet and thought how terrific it would be if she would visit Nayla and Nayla’s friends–quietly and sincerely. It would not need to be a visit that showed up on TV, but one that would make a fairy tale ending to this story of a cultural mixing. I certainly hope Oprah has written Nayla back by now.

(About the photo: I couldn’t find a Creative Commons photo of a Saudi woman. This woman is from Iran. Yes, I know the difference. Please Don’t Smile, the photographer of this shot has several lovely photographs of women in Iran posted on Flickr.)

Women-Only Hotel Room Floor and a Poll

Martha recently wrote a post about women-only airplane bathrooms, but how about paying extra money for a “women-only floor” in a hotel? The hitch is that you have to be a woman and willing to spend $30 more head to this exclusive floor of X chromosome only slumber at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Bloomington, Minnesota. The extra money pays for more security and perks like flowers and chocolate.

Well, as you can imagine, the idea is not loved by everyone and is praised by others. The naysayers aren’t pleased with the segregation idea for a few reasons. If women want an all women floor, than why won’t men demand men-only floor? And since men are more often the decision makers in companies, women have yet another way to be left out of the loop while on a business trip. Others wonder if you could end up segregating people for other reasons too. (Think race)


Those that love the all-women floor idea say phewey on the race point–that’s nonsense–and that women feel safer and are more comfortable with business travel if they have a place to retreat from the male business traveler fray. This women-only floor sounds to me a bit like a women-only dorm on a college campus. I remember guys yelling outside of the windows of my female-only dorm when I was a freshman, “Throw down your panties.”

You can read more about the discussion in this article published in yesterday’s Columbus Dispatchalthough the link actually goes to the same article published in the Toldedo Blade earlier this summer. (As a note, the article has misinformation about the JW Marriot, unless the Marriot has since changed its mind. There had been a “women-only” floor planned for the JW Marriott opening this month in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The plan was tabled, however, according to this article on Fox New’s Web site.

(The photo of the all women floor hallway is from the candid shots section of the Crowne Plaza at Trip Advisor. There is also a thumbs up review of the floor.)

Women’s History Month: Susan B. Anthony’s House

March is National Women’s History Month. With this year’s theme, “Generation’s of Women Moving History Forward,” here’s a hooray to the house of the woman who gave the women’s rights movement its early momentum.

Even though the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin isn’t made anymore due to its lack of success, the Susan B. Anthony House in Rochester, N.Y. is a gem. Okay, I confess; I haven’t been there, but I am a proud dues paying member. Susan B. Anthony, civil rights leader, women’s rights activist and all around terrific gal was a close friend to Frederick Douglass. Between them, they helped change American history.

Anthony lived in this house when she was at her activist best. She was even arrested here after she voted. You have to love an upstart. Besides touring the house to see how she lived, there are exhibits that highlight her life and work. Each month there is a lecture and luncheon as well. If you don’t have time to hop on over to Rochester any time soon, you can tour the house on the website. It’s pretty nifty. Each room will come up and then the camera pans each.

In case you want a Susan B. Anthony dollar. Keep your eye out. The last 41,368,000 were minted in 1999, but they are still circulating.