The Time I Wasn’t Glamorous Enough

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 to do 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 felt 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 the girls was wearing pantyhose.

Her… yep!

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, however. 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.

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64 responses to “The Time I Wasn’t Glamorous Enough

  1. I read this post with great interest. Appearance goes matter more in certain countries than others, it seems. Women can still make conscious choices on the basis of their values and beliefs I think. Skills v.s appearance. A great read!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I remember my eyes nearly popping out of my head in Finland when I asked my boss if I could wear my cowboy boots to work, and she told me that I could wear anything I liked.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Btw, I was posting something similar yesterday, but it didn’t load properly. I think. In Hungary that’s normal for any job. They’re always looking for “young girl with education and smiley.”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What’s the deal with pantyhose in the summer? I don’t get it.. My friend also has to wear them, different job but in a hot climate too. the sight of bare legs is offensive or what? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Such an interesting read. Now I have an idea about the tremendous pressure in applying for a flight attendant job. I’m trying to remember when was the last time I’ve worn pantyhose in my previous job in the bank, hahah probably 9 or 10 years ago. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m not surprised at the list of requirements, though it sounds more 1960’s than anything more moderately recent. Glad you found a job with a more reasonable and conscientious airline – you deserved that!
    Great storytelling. Your being honest with yourself about the pantyhose led you in the end to the right job for you. Love the line about waiting for instagram lol.
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ahh, what a well told story. You’d score points sans panty hose where it matters: where they value common sense. 🙂

    And I never thought flight attendants must be tall in order to reach something. 😮 Maybe it goes the same for models… 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  8. One of those incidents that’s funny to look back on, but probably not at the time. I have a certain pride that the weakest area in all my jobs was my appearance. Never could make a tie look right.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean. Also, I’ve often thought how funny men’s suits are. It’s like a costume or uniform. Put it on and you play a certain part. Though anyone can put on those clothes, for some absurd reason it’s considered to your benefit, like it was a personal trait. No, they are just clothes.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Men’s suits are a little strange. They’re basically all the same but a quarter inch in the lapel or a hint of a stripe is considered very out there. My favorite part of the Oscars (which I don’t actually watch) is how the women are expected to show up in one-off exotic outfits for which they’ll likely be ridiculed and men show up in the same suits year after year and get the same plaudits for doing so. Weird.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes we live in a world where somehow we are what we look like, especially in some fields… But, maybe there’s also another lesson in there. What we wanted was not what was good for you…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love your story and your way of telling it! A movie-like experience, the hair flying in non-existent breeze, your back getting colder in the heat when seeing all those girls in tights… Very nice story-telling :)) And I am glad it turned out well for you, anyway!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. What an interesting read! I noticed that in Finland too – that people just wore whatever they liked, like attending college in tracksuits. That would never happen here in Poland or in Nepal. I’ve noticed that women do take care of their appearance a lot more in southern Europe and Slavic countries.
    Having to be so made-up and polished all the time for your job would be kind of stressful for me as I am used to very lax dress code(or lack thereof) at my job. Yikes, those sheer tights! I hate them as they’re so uncomfortable + all of them tear! No matter what company I buy it from. I just go for a thicker one suitable for colder weather in colder months, and go without them in warmer months. I am glad at the end it all worked out for you! I am not surprised at all that the company in Finland valued your skills and experience over the glamour. I have a feeling that glamour is a huge factor even more so in Asian airliners.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve definitely seen lots of varying degrees of glamour during my air travels! Over here it’s a job you retire from but in some airlines you never see anyone over 40. Maybe they get fired when they reach a certain age? 😂
      I’m usually a jeans girl (jeggings!) so these problems with tights seemed especially nerve-wracking! And I agree, they all tear! 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I am so glad that pantyhose seem to have lost the “requirement” portion of an outfit. I spend way too many very hot days in Florida counting down the time until I could take them off! lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pantyhose… Hmmm. Trying to remember whether the stewardesses on my last Air France flight wore them. I think they did. And I think I thought: “Pantyhose? In this day and age?”.
    One of the largest department stores here has a policy that all female employees must wear skirts AND pantyhose at all time, regardless of whether or not they are in contact with the public. It’s what I call “rétrograde”. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  14. On that train, you met such a typical stereotype of the business man from Milan! Elegantly and excessively dressed, “doing some business”, talking about Naples in a negative way. Maybe things have slightly changed for the better in the past few years, but it’s so true that people of Milan have a bad opinion on Naples!

    My family from my mother’s side is from Naples and despite I was born and raised in other Italian cities, I’m currently completing my university studies there. To be completely fair, especially after having traveled other parts of the world, I can’t deny that Naples can’t be considered absolutely safe. It is a problematic cities under myriads of different aspects, but visitors and travellers are definitely NOT in danger. Mafia, or better, Camorra (is the name of the criminal organizations in Naples) operates in the residential areas and don’t directly affect the tourists, never. The chance to be bag-snatched definitely exists, but it is something ordinary for every big and touristic city in Europe I may say (should I mention Barcelona on the matter? Or Rome? Or Paris?). Unfortunately that is a risk you take in Europe in general, and you have to keep an eye on your belongings wherever you go. But, differently from any other reality, Naples has the best pizza in the world and that is what truly counts when you are a visitor 😍🍕 So nobody should ever miss the chance to visit Naples, their stomach would never forgive it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy to hear from a true local! 🤗 Yes, you can get robbed anywhere, South America is even more dangerous for travelers than Europe. I’ve witnessed bag snatching in Paris, Barcelona, Malaga and Rimini.
      As a solo traveler, so many Italians always started a converstion with me; everyone was very friendly! What I found interesting in Italy was that people always loved their home town and felt very suspicious or critical about other towns and regions, in an almost competitive way. But how lovely that most people I chatted with seemed to love their home town and be happy in their lives: that’s what’s most important, isn’t it? 😊
      Thanks for checking out my blog! (Do come again!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll tell you something more: last January I needed to go to Milan for some bureaucratic matters and, while I was walking around the Duomo area, I witnessed a man walking behind a woman and trying to pickpocket her. And then again, I’m not denying that criminality doesn’t exist in Naples, but just that it’s so unfair to stigmatize this beautiful city, hence that is a problem that many other cities (as you have also proved) have to face ^-^’

        Your experience and impression is very interesting and so true at the same time! I feel the same: the old generations exactly behave this way: nothing is better than their hometown or the culture of their region, they are extremely proud of it! 🙂 But, in my opinion, things are now changing with the newest generations: all people of my age already are proud of Italy in general when it comes to our food culture, beaches and tourist sights. They don’t fear to badly criticize the unquestionable flaws of their region or hometown, they praize and admire the specialities of other areas. And I love this change, because having being myself a child who was born in one city, raised in two different towns and whose parents came from the South, I had to face quite a few problems at my very start, being subjected to some stupid stereotypes 😦 But now things are fortunately different!

        Thank you for the good talk and sure, I’ll visit your blog way more often~ ^-^

        Liked by 1 person

  15. That makes me think of a session I attended for a recruitment day for HIPPOPOTAMUS restaurants. Do you remember that steak house chain from where you lived in France?
    During the day we’d been explained the policy of “Hippo”. Ladies had to be stylish, elegant and had to read the paper to be able to discuss politics or football while making the customers wait for their table. With the uniform (very similar to an air hostess) came a red lip stick and a red nail varnish. They were the official red shade. You could not wear any red! Jewelery was compulsory. Earrings and necklaces! It went on and on and the more I found it ridiculous, the more I looked at the intervenor, an ex waitress (called “table hostess”!!!) which was as stylish as a drag queen with little make-up and a lazy Sunday outfit. She was very tall, not real thin or toned, her hair was too long and her blond color not really blond anymore. Her clothes were without style. Now that I think about it, she could have belonged to a reality tv show – although she was dressed!

    I got the job and stayed two days!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahah! It doesn’t sound like your cup of tea! Glad you left!
      I vaguely feel that chain sounds familiar but I’m not sure. Never visited it for sure!
      Quite a long list of requirements for a waitress… at least they were trying to keep their brand image coherent 😂

      Like

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