This past summer I flew a number of times. On one international flight, as I boarded I was met by a friendly, female flight attendant. As I passed by her to go to my seat, in my mind I did a double take. I realized that the attendant was not a woman, but a man dressed as one. It was pretty obvious.
His face was broad and his voice was husky. Those qualities could easily have been attributed to genetics or a cold. But as I took my seat in the row closest to first class (love the legroom there), other things stood out that made it clear this attendant indeed was a man.
He served the first class passengers warmly and played the part of a hostess quite well. Yet he could not overcome certain things. His thick Adam’s apple protruded. When he walked, he swung his hips just like a man might do imitating a woman, sadly painful to witness. When talking with a seated passenger, he would lean over them with too much intensity and eye-batting. He would then respond to something they said by flipping his long hair back over his shoulder like a teenage girl might do. Observing this behavior was like watching an actor, yet not the more subtle, gritty ones of today’s screen. More like the overly-exaggerated acting in a 70’s sitcom.
Two other factors confirmed these observations. Most obvious was the fact that an airline executive, being seated just a few rows away from me, complimented the attendant quite openly on his change and “new looks. ” He expressed how happy he was that “you can now be yourself.”
Yet the most telling indicator that gave him away was his large hands. As Andrew Walker at The Gospel Coalition recently pointed out, the now famous picture of Bruce aka Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair in 2015 does not show his hands. They would have compromised the feminine look the whole photoshopped shoot was seeking to portray. The flight attendant’s hands certainly did.
Why share this? Afterall, some may accuse me of being unkind or even a bit obsessed in giving the above details of this experience. To that I would say that I, perhaps like you, find it fascinating watching people in airports. And this scene was playing out so close to me that I, as a pastor given to observing and caring for people. could not but help notice and pray about it. So is my purpose then to turn the heat up and point out that God’s Word still says, no matter what this generation may declare, that it is an abomination for a man to dress in a woman’s clothing?
No, though it is a legitimate point. It’s just not the one of this post. For what struck me sitting there was that the flight attendant looked familiar to me. No, I do not mean that I actually knew this person. But his acting, pretending, and exaggerated behaviors I know. No, I do not struggle with his particular sin. But when as a Christian I live hypocritically, drawing attention to outer acts such as mercy and prayer to portray godliness rather than quietly living in godliness as Jesus taught (Matt. 6:1-16), I see in my heart the same seeds of acting and pretension. Indeed, all of Adam’s children qualify for lifetime acting awards.
I saw that I was “onboard” in more than one way with this attendant. And I was reminded again that only the grace of God can save us from ourselves.