Flying Above The Stereotypes

Flying Above The Stereotypes

I was recently interviewed by someone who asked, “Why are so many male flight attendants gay?” While I understand the significance of stereotypes, they’re often more harmful than they are helpful, so I felt that the question warranted a thoughtful response. The short answer is, being a flight attendant is the best job out there and gay men are obviously the most intelligent people on the planet. I’m mostly kidding, but all jokes aside, the job lends to a lifestyle that is both fun and glamorous. (Most days, anyway!) Flight attendants get to travel all over the world and get paid for it, jet off to different countries at the drop of a hat, and avoid those awkward holiday dinner conversations with family by blaming our absence on work. What’s not to love?

For gay men, being a flight attendant is all about identity – or rather, anonymity in this case. Imagine a flight that you’ve been on. Do you remember your flight attendant’s name? Rarely. Do you know anything about this person other than they seem to have fun at work? Nope. But you will always remember how your flight attendant made you feel. As crew members, we love putting on a show for the public, entertaining our guests, and then going on with our lives at the end of the day. We love to perform, and the airplane provides a perfect stage to express ourselves. We can transform into a character we might not otherwise get to play and sometimes our uniform even becomes a costume that can make us feel safe and protected. We are allowed to be unapologetically true to who we are with no threat of pushback from potentially unaccepting friends or family. Everybody adores a fun-loving flight attendant because it makes traveling more fun. But while often times even the most conservative person loves a sassy gay flight attendant, it’s still not necessarily the person they want their child bringing home to dinner. In the aviation world we are accepted for whatever bold personality we want to adopt. On the airplane, we are free to be whoever we want to be.

The flight attendant lifestyle has remained so appealing for gay men over the years because like gay men, flight attendants come from all walks of life and face similar issues of self-identity. Through all of the diverse cultures we get to experience every day at work, we realize a new piece of ourselves in each one, learning more and more about who we want to become. Rather than learning new ways to hide from our truth, we uncover new aspects of ourselves that we never knew were there before. Individually we may be quite different from one another, but we all have so much in common at our core. There’s an unspoken bond and mutual respect among flight attendants much like members of the LGBTQ+ community. That respect translates well into the flight attendant life because crew members around the world are united by the wings that each of us wear proudly when we fly. We have experienced a lot of the same situations and understand each other as a result. Each trip we fly with new crew members and are required to communicate effectively with them without ever having met before. We have to be able to form strong connections with sheer strangers. This allows us to create a space where everyone feels free to open up… sometimes maybe even too much! At the end of the day, flight attendants around the globe look out for each other, just as members of the gay community often do, too.

With the flight attendant lifestyle, the possibilities are endless. The job is flexible, relatively low-stress, and allows us to see places and meet people that we would’ve otherwise never imagined possible. Being a flight attendant allows a level of freedom to be exactly who you want to be, which often times we don’t get the privilege of doing while growing up gay. Whether you fly with your best friends or perfect strangers, you can open up and embrace your truth. So when someone asks why gay men become flight attendants, it’s because you can be anybody you want to be, but most importantly, you can just be yourself.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

And now, some wisdom from Nicole Byer:

You’re right, Nicole. We are too much for this world. We belong in the sky!

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12 Holiday Hosting Tips From Flight Attendants

12 Holiday Hosting Tips From Flight Attendants

Hosting holiday parties can be so much fun but it can also be quite stressful! But who knows about hosting tons of people at once better than flight attendants? That’s why we took the time to come up with twelve of our absolute best hosting tips to make your life easier this season. We hope you find each one of these tips was thoughtfully put together to assist you and yours. Happy Holidays from Two Guys On A Plane!

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To Tradition, or Not To Tradition?

To Tradition, or Not To Tradition?

…That is the question. When it came time to plan our wedding, there were a LOT of questions – both from ourselves and from society. You’ll find that the world somehow has a lot to say about YOUR wedding. When you first get engaged, you’re just full of excitement. Plus, you have a hundred Pinterst boards and you’re going to incorporate them ALL! (Spoiler alert: you won’t.) Then, when the initial high wears down a little, you realize that you now have to figure out how to plan a wedding without breaking the bank. You’ll browse through wedding checklists for things that just aren’t important to you. Plus, if you’re two guys getting married, you’ll be even more stressed because you’re trying to cut costs all while navigating where you fit in this very heterosexual wedding industry. A lot of traditional ideas and themes may not even apply to you, like a garter toss. Or, since it’s 2018, you boys out there may want a garter toss, and that’s totally cool because this wedding is about you so do whatever you want. The point is, don’t lose sight of who you are as a couple. It’s your day.

Given that we are Two Guys On A Plane, we will mainly be discussing issues facing LGBTQ couples in this article. With that being said, to all our lovely readers that do not happen to be gay, we promise a lot of this will apply to you, too! We had a lot of fun planning our wedding because we got to throw so many old ideas out the window and start fresh with what we really wanted.

The Proposal

Who asks who, you ask? Before we got engaged, we had several conversations about how we would go about the proposal. We both agreed that it would be fun to get proposed to but also just as fun to pop the question. Rather than deprive one of us the experience, we decided we would both propose to each other. At this point in our relationship, we obviously knew that the other would say yes, so each proposal was more about creating a romantic gesture for the other person. We both popped the question at different times in our own individual way and it made for a special experience for both of us. We jokingly refer to this as Proposal Wars.

Focal Expressions by NedEngagement at Centennial Park – Nashville, TN

The Rings

We didn’t see the need to have both engagement rings and wedding rings, so we decided to propose with something a little less traditional. When we first met, it was on an airplane. Andrew gave Rich his phone number on a boarding pass. When it came time for Rich to propose, it was with a boarding pass that said “Will you marry me?” When Andrew proposed, it was with a ring pop. We’re fun people who don’t take life too seriously and we highly recommend you do the same! Plus, it’s a really fun story to tell.

Focal Expressions by NedThe rings, save-the-date, invitation, and boutonnieres!

The Venue

In this day and age, this one isn’t so much of an issue anymore since nontraditional wedding venues are becoming increasingly popular. You don’t have to have a church wedding with a country club reception anymore if that’s not what you want. Find a place that really fits you as a couple and go with it. Whether it’s a library, a brewery, a coffeeshop, a bar, it doesn’t matter. If it has a story that you connect with, do it. It never hurts to think outside the box. While nontraditional may be fun, keep in mind there might be a little extra work involved with choosing a unique venue if weddings aren’t their norm. Our venue, for example, doesn’t typically do weddings so we had a few extra site visits to explain what we wanted to the venue and the caterer. Fortunately for us, they were very open to new ideas and helping us create the perfect day. We are both flight attendants who happened to meet on an airplane, so we couldn’t think of a better place to get married than in an airplane hangar! We had our ceremony by a DC-3 and the reception by the US Airways 1549 Airbus. It was cool, it was different, and most importantly – it was us.

Focal Expressions by NedCarolinas Aviation Museum – Charlotte, NC

Walking Down The Aisle

This is one thing that we struggled with the most and there is so little out there about how this is done at a gay wedding. The possibilities are endless… which is a good thing and a bad thing. Both of you can walk in together or you can walk in separately. One of you can stand up front while the other walks in. Since we had a small wedding party, we decided to have each person walk in by themselves. Then, each of us walked in separately, escorted by our mothers. It was a sweet moment and it made both of our mothers happy to be part of the day in such a special way!

Focal Expressions by NedRich and his mom, Judi (Left) – Andrew and his mom, Kelly (Right)

The Vows

For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, until death do us part… It’s not that we didn’t want to promise those things to each other, but we wanted to make it more personal and more fun. Our friends Brittney and Chris got married about six months before we did and they did something we haven’t seen before. They each wrote a personal letter to the other and then had alternating vows. They shared their letters with each other first. Then he vowed something, she vowed something, and they went back and forth in what felt like a heartfelt conversation. It was a touching way to include the wedding guests in their relationship and there wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd. When it came time to make this decision for our wedding, we decided to do the same and write personal letters and present alternating vows. We vowed everything from “I promise not to eat all the french fries” to “Making sure that you wake up every single day knowing how much you are loved.” 

Focal Expressions by NedThe end result when your vows are incredibly personal!

First Dance

You know how in middle school you have those awkward slow dances where you just stand on the dance floor swaying back and forth not knowing where to put your hands? Well, we still dance like that, so the idea of a first dance was terrifying. We decided to get creative. For our wedding song, we chose Say You Won’t Let Go by James Arthur. A friend of ours, Carl Michaels, is an amazing DJ in the Philadelphia area so we reached out to him to create a little remix of our song. We wanted the first portion of the song to be slow, so we could have our moment together, but then immediately turn into a dance track so that our friends and family could join in. This created minimal awkward dancing time for us as newly married husband and husband while also eliminating the uncomfortable task of getting people out on the dance floor.

Focal Expressions by NedFirst Dance

The Flowers

Flowers can be incredibly expensive. After trial and error with a few Pinterest ideas, we decided to go with paper flowers. We committed to a travel theme for our wedding since it was in an airplane hangar, so we made all of our flowers out of maps. They were all beautiful, but it took a lot of work! Andrew and his family spent countless hours on the paper flowers but the outcome was exactly what we wanted. We used these for the bouquets, centerpieces, corsages, and boutonnieres. There were a LOT of map flowers. When you DIY something for your wedding, think about the amount of work versus how much money you will save. It may or may not be worth the hassle to do it yourself! The flowers, in this instance, saved us a lot of money. Plus, we didn’t have to worry about the flowers dying so everything could be arranged ahead of time. 

Focal Expressions by NedMap Flowers!

The Cake

We all love cake, there is no question about it, but how much are you willing to spend on a cake for your wedding? When you add the word “wedding” to anything, the prices skyrocket. Wedding cakes cost anywhere from $400 to $2000+. We just couldn’t justify spending that much on a cake so we explored alternatives to fit our budget. We went to Public (a grocery store) the day before our wedding. We asked for one small white round cake – to put the wedding cake topper on. We never once mentioned the word wedding. Then, we bought a bunch of small round cakes from the fridge that were already made, ranging between $8-$10 per cake. At our wedding, we had our caterer – the incredible Samuel Futcher in Charlotte – put together a beautiful display of cakes for our guests. We placed a sign on the table that said “We went wedding cake tasting and couldn’t decide, so the choice is yours!” We left it up to our guests to decide what the wanted for dessert and they ate it up… literally and figuratively. In the end, we spent a total of $75 on something that we still to this day receive compliments on. This is one area where it is definitely worth looking past the age-old traditions.

Focal Expressions by NedThe Cake Table!

The Wedding Party

What do you call bridesmaids at a wedding with no bride? Whatever you want! A lot of LGBTQ couples refer to everybody as attendants, but that felt too formal for us. We opted for groomsmaids since brosmaids didn’t quite fit our personalities. We each chose one of our brothers and a female best friend to be in our wedding party and just called all four of them groomsmaids. They were all cool with it. You know you’ve chosen the right people for your wedding when they’re willing to go along with whatever fits you as a couple! We didn’t do it intentionally by gender, but the symmetry of it all was admittedly quite satisfying.

Focal Expressions by NedThe Grooms & The Groomsmaids!

Looking back on our wedding day, it was everything we wanted and more. We relied on our friends and family to use their talents and skills to help make our day perfect. Regardless of what gender you and your significant other identify with, throw away stuffy old traditions and create your own fairytale.

What did you do for your wedding? Let us know in the comments!

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