In my first year in college, when I was traveling home by plane to New Orleans every three months for holidays and semester breaks, I decided I would be SUPER cool and attach a pair of ballet pointe shoes to my carry-on bag.

I wasn’t a ballerina. 
I just wanted people to think I was.

“Oh, yea, I’m just going to another…uh, recital,” I would have said, had anyone had asked me about the tattered shoes that originally came from my friend from middle school.

It was amusing, fantasizing about my second-life where I was this beautiful ballerina and everyone in the airport knew it as I floated from terminal to terminal to…the Nathan’s Hot Dog line. 

No one ever asked me about my formal training during those trips, though, haha, so I don’t know how I would have reacted. 

Would I have pretended my old life as a college student didn’t exist and replace it with tales of international ballet auditions? 

“I go around the country to observe swans. I’m actually going to Brussels right now!”

That’s the thing about traveling alone: it’s the easiest way to deceive someone.  

No one knows who you are, where you’re from or where you’re going. They can’t even peek at your phone because it’s (supposed to be) in “airplane mode.” 

The only real known of a stranger is what seat they’re in and, if they’ve made it through security, they don’t have a bomb up their butt. 

Yet, many people take WAY more advantage of this anonymity than affixing scuffed ballet shoes on their bag pretending to be disciplined.

I think some of these “business travelers” have a wiring glitch, where they completely forget their old lives when they’re on the road.

Or, you know, they just want to get laid. 

Steve, this guy my friend Mary met on an airplane last year had it all figured out. He was no ballerina, but he was a business traveller, a successful realtor and wore a suit and tie. 

He was traveling to the expensive beaches off Florida to do an appraisal for something, he said. Everything about him was attractive. 

Mary was flying home from visiting her parents back to Florida where she lived and she and Steve started flirting and MILE-HIGH KISSING and pretty soon they had a date to grab drinks after he was done with his “real estate” business.

(She should have asked for a card.)

Steve waxed on for hours about his job and his life in New York City over drinks. He was this perfect bachelor who seemed to have it all. Mary was completely head over heels for him. She wanted to go to New York.

So, she slept with him. She woke up refreshed in his hotel room.

Nothing about Steve screamed phony (as would a simple plié had I been called out for my ballet skills), and Mary got his number and looked forward to the next time he was down in the area for “business.”

But he never returned her calls or texts. Mary was confused. 

He had said nothing but syrupy sweet things to her all night! Suddenly he leaves and forgets her completely?

She was convinced there was a connection; that she’d break him of his bachelor-hood and he’d be with her forever. 


Her visions of visiting him in New York and telling everyone the cute story about how they met on a plane – serendipity! – quickly turned to a frown and furrowed brow after days of no response. 

So she took to internet stalking him.

Funny, Steve didn’t show up as a major real estate agent when she Googled him. Or…any…real estate agent for that matter. 


His name was not attached to anything online. A search of his name only turned up random articles from

Hmm. Odd.

Steve said he didn’t have a Facebook page (of course he said that) but she decided to look anyway.

And that’s where she found him. STEVE, the traveling paper salesman….posing all over his profile with his WIFE and daughters (plural).


Mary then texted him something furious about his house of lies and Steve actually responded, saying he’d “explain everything” when he “traveled” back there next month. 

Which he didn’t do because he’s NOT AN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TRAVELER.


What deranged person goes through all that trouble to lie about a very specific second-life??? 

I mean, Steve talked for HOURS about his (supposed) business dealings, BEING A BACHELOR and painted a very clear picture of his glamorous, diaper-free life in New York.


Sure, Steve. And I just got accepted into the American Ballet Theatre.


It’s people like this that are the real terrorists.


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