A quick etiquette tip. Or, how to alienate fellow passengers.

On a recent trip, while going through airport security, I noticed a gentleman with writing on his t-shirt. Since security was taking a while, and I was bored, I tried to read what it said. All I could see was that it said NO MA’AM in capital letters, with words underneath. What the heck? I thought. What a weird dude. And forgot about it.

While arranging my stuff (phone, water, book, earbuds) on the plane, the weird dude appeared again. This time he was standing up in front of me, putting his bag in the overhead bin. I was able to see that the rest of his shirt said, National Organization Against Amazonian Motherhood. My first reaction, again, was What the heck? That’s rude! So that night when I got to the hotel I looked it up. Turns out it is something from Married With Children–a club that Al Bundy started. Okaaaaay. Whatever.

I get it–it’s a joke shirt. A really lame joke shirt. But it’s kinda mildly offensive. I mean, if you are in an airport, there is a good chance that you will be interacting with women. Maybe there will be a woman at the ticket counter, deciding where you sit on the plane. Maybe a woman flight attendant, serving you beverages and snacks in flight. Or even a woman TSA agent, deciding if you deserve a “special” pat down or not. Not to mention all those women passengers. Why would you purposefully wear something that is alienating and obnoxious, if not downright offensive, to half of the people you encounter in a day? Especially something that is a joke from close to twenty years ago, which most people don’t remember?

Friends, I’m not saying you need to censor yourself.  My assumption is that most of you are not obnoxious, and therefore concerned at least a little bit with being polite to your fellow passengers. But honestly, only an obnoxious person would think this is okay. So please, try not to be obnoxious, and maybe rethink your decision to wear something that others may consider offensive.

That is all.



  1. I would be more open to this post if it were consistent and less patronizingly preachy. It’s contrived to address your readers as “Friends”, especially when your remaining missive is contradictory.

    You say we needn’t censor ourselves, but then you imply that we’d be obnoxious if we didn’t. And, what make you think I’m obnoxious? You assume most of us are not obnoxious, but close by asking me to please not be obnoxious. Who exactly are you talking to?

    It would be more polite on your part to not assume your readers are less than you, obnoxiously so. If you’re readers are obnoxious, perhaps you ought to figure out what exactly it is that’s attracting them to read your blog.

    This post would be palatable had you simply pointed out the obvious: Not everyone thinks like you, and that immutable fact really drives you nuts.

    It’s a fact, people will wear and do things you dislike. When you encounter that fact and feel the need to lecture someone, try lecturing the person who offended you. Don’t turn around and scold the rest of us.

    That is all.

  2. You are strange… What the hell is the problem with a T-Shirt like that???

    America should finally come to terms with its crazy trend of political correctness. THAT is, what’s alienating most non US travelers, not a T-Shirt… if you ask me

  3. No matter what it says on people’s shirts, people should be aware of the consequences of people not getting the joke or being offended.

    Personally, I don’t get the joke but I have read a lot of redneck t-shirts.

  4. You set your self for this one- the answer to your blog is: No Maam!

    In this world there are people dying, people starving, women in some countries that still can not vote, battered women, orphaned children – and you choose to get upset about a man who probably had no other t-shirt to wear that day except this one. To you I say: There are much more worthwhile battles to fight.

    Lets turn the tables around – if he or a woman had a t-shirt that says, “no sir” as a Man I don’t care! Don’t let your buttons get pushed too easily.

  5. My personal view is that people who wear slogans on their clothing are infantile. Having said that, I can only really object to slogans, or pictures, which are indecent.

    This slogan, to the extent I understand it, is more political in nature. Are you suggesting all political expression is banned on clothing? Or at airports? Perhaps it would be a good idea, but I don’t really see the need.

  6. The consequences of not getting a joke? How about being a little more tolerant and willing to contend with others as they are. You and I don’t get the joke, but so what? Neither one of is so important that our feelings should dictate protocol.

    Freedom is sometimes offensive, big whoop. It’s a small price to pay for not having to think thrice before we speak.

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