So… I was sitting there in my pajamas (aka day outfit) snacking on chocolate and brushing some fallen bits off the computer, when I read Véronique’s tongue-in-cheek suggestion. To do a blog post about the time I wasn’t glamorous enough.
This was just too delicious a topic not to bite, I chuckled to myself. I took another bite of chocolate.
As someone who recently realized she has been going outside, in public, in sports leggings with no intention of doing any sports, and also without any makeup or recollection of the last time she brushed her hair, the youthful days when I actually did care about my appearance feel like a fun movie I once saw but forgot the plot of.
So distant, that I could almost shuffle the details around in my mind a bit, re-arrange them to my liking, since it was obvious I couldn’t remember them exactly right anyway.
Back in the day, I would have cringed. Indeed, I didn’t always rock the mommy look like I do now.
Still, there were always girls with a louder presence than mine, screaming for attention with their long, fake lashes and long, fake hair. There is one particular event that comes to mind.
The time I wasn’t glamorous enough. (As if it was just one time.)
I was spending the summer in Nice (a story for another day) and decided to apply for work at a large airline that had come to town with a big recruitment day. They were looking for flight attendants and the list of requirements was long. Loooooooong.
I filled them all. I could swim, I had no tattoos, I was willing to travel, I was tall enough to reach the overhead bins, I spoke several languages, I was healthy, I had good eye sight, I was good at customer service, I had a degree. I even had previous airline experience.
The application form was very detailed and filling it took forever. My personal history, health, education, professional life. Everything. As an attachment, you had to include a photo. A real photo (this was before the Age of Instagram). You attached it with a paper clip.
I passed the first round and was invited to the recruitment event, along with my application form. The invitation specified very clearly what you needed to wear for the event. For ladies, a black pencil skirt and blazer, a white shirt, and skin-colored pantyhose. Sheer tights, if you’re British.
I shrugged at the quite bizarre level of detail regarding the outfit, thinking, oh well that solves my what-to-wear problem and started collecting the items well in advance.
The recruiting event day arrived.
It was a hot day. Did I mention it was summer in Nice?
I was standing in front of the mirror ready to go… and felt absolutely ridiculous wearing those pantyhose in hot summer weather. Beyond ridiculous. Also quite sweaty. I decided to take them off. It wouldn’t matter, would it?
As I walked towards the venue (let’s say it was a hotel, I honestly can’t remember but a nice hotel sounds good), I started seeing other people going to the same event. The were coming in left and right. It was easy to spot them because they were all wearing the same outfit. Just like me.
But nearly no one was by themselves like me. Who knew recruiting events could be attended with your best pals?
There they were walking, flicking their hair in the breeze (How did they find some breeze? Maybe this is where my memories get colored) and generally just skipping along confidently and happily. They were terribly good-looking, all made up from head to toe like they’d been dipped into a glitter pot. Maybe the same one Obelix fell into as a child except it had been filled with glitter instead.
Nails done – mine were done too, but mine were natural. Hair done – my simple ponytail paled in comparison. Whitened teeth, dark skin, heavy perfume, incredibly high heels.
Some of the girls had completed their flight attendant look for the interview with a real live suitcase (I’m hoping they just arrived from a flight) and they stood there constantly posing in a cute and professional manner, as if waiting for someone to invent Instagram.
A suitcase was hard to beat as an accessory, it really did add a touch of authenticity. I was cursing myself for not having thought of that. Really, the thought would never in a million years have crossed my mind.
And then… I watched with slowly increasing nausea as I realized that every single one of those girls was wearing pantyhose.
That one… yep!
The loud one in the middle… yep!
Those damn tights again!
Well, it was too late now, I didn’t have them with me (Or maybe I did, and I tried to put them on in the bathroom but it was difficult and I thought screw it)… Whatever the case, when my name was called, I walked up to the judges, sorry, interviewers, in front of everyone else, sans pantyhose and sans suitcase, the complete incomplete flight attendant look.
I handed them my application, they said merci, and only had a look at my photo. That was all they did. After presenting them with all of my details, life experiences and the ability to swim, all they were interested in at the end was my photo. And they weren’t impressed.
I was dismissed and didn’t make it to the next round. That was it!
I simply wasn’t glamorous enough.
This story has a happy ending though. I later returned to Finland and got a flight attendant job at an airline that valued skills above fake lashes, the ability to handle emergencies above the ability to strike a pose.
But… even they had specific requirements: the color of your hair band had to be blue or the same color as your hair, your earrings should not be larger than 1 cm, and your shoes had to be black leather.
You needed to be groomed but classic.
And… you always had to wear pantyhose. Always.