...claudine ko

This Job is For the Birds
Jane, November 2002

And the drunks, whores and loners. Never one to miss out on a good time, Claudine Ko heads to stewardess school and gets the dirt on being a sky waitress.

It's happy hour at the Slug and Lettuce pub in London, and the topic of conversation is flight attendants. "I shagged one once," says Rob, a tall Brit sitting next to me. Seated around my table drinking pints are his mates, a gaggle of Englishmen that includes the "lucky" photographer Ewen, who they're congratulating for having spent the day shooting stewardesses. As it happens, these guys are all linked to what they call "glorified waitresses," in some way or another. Andy's girlfriend is one for Monarch, a British airline. So are Neil's older twin sisters. Ray "used to know" one from another airline, who told him about a prostiution ring the attendants had going on with first-class passengers. And, of course, there's Rob.

"Hair, nails, clothes," he reminisces between sips. "They're always immaculately turned out, even if they're just sitting at home scratching their ass."

Objectification aside, I could never really be one. All that makeup, the oxygen mask demo, my personal fear of flying, chicken or beef, chicken or beef, chicken or...At the same time, I'm fascinated by the idea of modern-day career women who excel in the seemingly sexist world of the friendly skies. I mean, can a person really maintain a pleasant disposition trapped in a metal can amid screaming babies and dickhead passengers, all the while incurring a yeast infection from her pantyhose? (more...)