Noga Martin

Pigtail pat-down

Ever since 9/11 convinced Americans that an illusion of safety is more important than civil liberties (something I’d call a resounding victory for terrorism), stories of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA, or “This Sucks, Actually”) incompetence and ineffectuality have kept the public amused and concerned.

The latest example of TSA idiocy? They’ve started checking hairdos.

Yesterday, I left Los Angeles International Airport to return to Tel Aviv. After presenting my photo ID and boarding pass to the TSA rep, removing my shoes and putting all my belongings through the screener, walking through the metal detector – WITHOUT setting it off – AND being body-scanned, a TSA agent called me over and gave my pigtails a cursory pat-down.

You might ask why a grown woman is wearing pigtails in public at all, and it’s a valid question, but let’s leave style out of it. What, exactly, were they afraid they’d find woven through one or both of my braids that wasn’t picked up by the metal detector or the full body scan? Some kind of high-tech explosive wire? And if so, wouldn’t the proper course of action be to ask me to unbraid my hair rather than pawing my plaits?

Just how far are they going to take things? The TSA is always preparing for the threat before last. I don’t know if and when anyone tried to slip something dangerous onto a flight in their hair, but really – is a new regulation stipulating that all passengers submit to a fine-tooth combing on the way?

If so, let’s just hope everyone washes their hair before heading to the airport.





About the Author
Noga Martin has worked for The Jerusalem Post,, and Ynetnews and is now an editor at a publishing company. She lives in south Tel Aviv and has been blogging for the Times of Israel on a myriad of topics since July 2012.