The Mile High Club
By Jamie Hazlett
Travel intimacy has been lauded – and frequently lamented – in song and story ever since humans decided that life on two legs was a considerable improvement over knuckle-walking. What started off as a quickie in the brush on the way to the mammoth fields has evolved and been cultivated by eager practitioners so that the modern traveler can now get their groove on at 36,000 feet. As anyone who has gotten down and dirty in an airplane can testify, there is a dearth of comfortable positions available when two grown people are crammed into a space so small that an energetic snail would be bored after a few hours. I imagine that our ancient ancestors would express the same complaints about the annoyances caused by prickly forest undergrowth, especially if they were somehow made aware of the existence of pillow-top mattresses. Even with roughly two million years of practice at the old game of wink-wink, nudge-nudge, meet me up the gazelle trail in five minutes, humanity has not managed to improve the facility of en route fornication. What is the amorous adventurer to do?
The first thing you have to do is face some of the basic facts. Regardless of whether or not you have a tryst in the toilet, while traveling you are going to encounter a huge variety of bugs that will be new and interesting challenges to your immune system. The odds are outstandingly in your favor that the worst you will experience will be a touch of flu or a nasty head cold. Just because you are in an unfamiliar place and have heard an urban legend or two doesn’t mean that you should try to stop being human. You are going to need and want to fulfill the basic drives of living organisms, and the exoticism of being away from home will most likely catapult your libido several rungs up the ladder of importance.
If the plane isn’t your ideal spot for a romantic interlude, then by all means, wait until you can hit the wall with the hotel’s headboard instead of with your actual head. Despite the “ick” factor associated with sky-high love-ins, the two locations are roughly equivalent when it comes to nastiness. A hotel room may require less complicated calisthenics than the in-flight lavatory, but have you seen the black-lighted exposés on Dateline? Yes, the airplane bathroom is cramped, far from private, and, well, a bathroom, but consider that the most realistic logistics for a mid-air fling require that you remove only minimal clothing, thus limiting your skin’s contact with whatever those who came before you left behind. Unless you have some sort of special fetish or an extremely clumsy partner, the bed sheets are infinitely more likely to come into repeated contact with delicate and easily breached areas than the exact spot on the sink where the smelly guy in row 14 put his fingers.
One of the few things that will be more intimate with you than your hotel sheets or the bathroom surfaces is whoever you choose to share the occasion with. If the body against yours is carrying something nasty, you’re just as likely to catch what they’ve got no matter where you choose to meet up. Your first concern when preparing for an assignation abroad shouldn’t be whether or not you’ll be joining the elite ranks of the Mile-High Club, but rather whether you’ll be doing so with someone who will leave you on the jetway carrying an unfriendly souvenir. As you consider a Valentine’s Day trip this year, whether it be with someone known or in the hopes of getting to know someone new, spend a little less time worrying about the where and a little more worrying about the who. Still in doubt? Any caveman will tell you that shacking up in unknown places with known partners is how we got this far in the first place. You might get poked in the back a time or two, but at least you’re doing your part to advance humanity.