Since I’m paranoid of body scanners and their long-term effects, I opt for the pat-down. Millimeter wave scanner or backscatter machine… if they want to touch my junk for free, in front of “little Billy and Emily” going to Disney, let ’em. Okay… maybe people think I’m a terrorist because I’m standing off to the side. I don’t care.
I did not see any signage that says you can opt out… so people will follow one another though the scanner. I realize the cosmic radiation I’m receiving in-flight or having my mobile phone next to my leg is most likely far worse, but this is something I CAN control. Besides… who doesn’t want to see a TSA worker look at you like “you’re that guy” who makes their job that much more miserable. Hmm… at least I’m hoping they’re not enjoying the pat-down. It’s not like the guy was all fingers when he checked my crotch.
Speaking of the process, I find it quite amusing. For anyone who has not had this done, I’ll explain. When they’re waving you through the machine, you stop and tell them you want a pat-down. They’ll look at you like you just asked them for $100 in change, in pennies. After the eye roll and the you’re a piece of shit stare, they yell out to another security officer with the gender of the person to be patted down. You will wait for someone to become available. In my experience thus far, it does not take long. While you wait, you stand outside the machine watching people go through. Finally, security will wave you over to the side. Before the fondling commences, they assure you that your items, that went through the conveyor belt scanner, are safe and visible to you.
You empty your pockets, you take off your shoes and take off your belt. You will literally face the public, standing like Davinci’s Vitruvian Man, with your arms out and legs slightly apart. The best part is the disclaimer the agent has to give you. The seriousness of the dialog makes it sound like they’re going to tug on your penis and finger your hole. They don’t.
Now this next part, I can only tell you what they do for men. The agent will feel the perimeter of your belt line along your pants. Obviously, the back of their hands are facing towards you and your underwear. My pants have about an inch clearance, so they don’t touch me when they’re performing this particular task. The only other intimate thing they will do, is graze your penis with the back of their hand, on the outside of your pants. There’s not much “hang time”. They will then, remove their gloves and place them in a machine that, I’m assuming, detects bomb making material. I feel like it should also be able to tell you if you have a venereal disease. Anyway, it’s not a big deal people.
From what I hear, there have been cases of harassment by the TSA, but still… I suppose the TSA has a thankless job. I can’t imagine running my hands around some strangers waist who may not have any clearance around the belt line. Or maybe they’re not wearing underwear and the back of your glove is touching pubes and upper crack sweat. Or maybe they’re a dribbler and have moist underwear. Or maybe they do have clearance around the belt line… and when you open that waist line up… the smell… it’s like cracking open a can of salt & vinegar Pringles.
Anyway… I don’t do body scanners.