Avoiding the the airport XXX-ray so I can fly solo.
October 29, 2009 7:53 PM   Subscribe

I'm going out of town soon. I will be packing some naughty items, that I would be embarrased if they show up on a baggage X-ray. How do I gain access to a lead apron?

I will be staying with relatives for about two weeks, in northern Nevada. It had just occured to me that that will be two weeks without pleasure! I thought about just buying new sexually explicit media and tools, but I won't have transportation to get to such places that sell them. Well, I will have my relatives to transport me, but that is not something I want to buy when they are around.

Whenever you send your luggage through that X-ray machine, everything inside shows up, right? I do not want my personal products showing up on the scan, so I came up with the idea of wrapping the products in a lead apron. You know, that heavy mat dentists throw over your torso whenever you get mouth X-rays?

The issue is...I have no idea how to gain access of one of these things. It's not something I can just buy at Target. So, is there some sort of special store I can pick one of these up? Can I stop buy a dentist office and rent one? If the latter is possible, what excuse should I give them so I can rent an apron?
posted by Eleutherios to Grab Bag (31 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

If the X-ray machine operator sees a section of your bag that is protected against X-rays, then they'll open the bag and search it by hand to see what's inside the lead apron.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:55 PM on October 29, 2009 [17 favorites]

When the TSA folks see a bunch of stuff wrapped in a lead apron, they might want to search your bags.
posted by box at 7:55 PM on October 29, 2009

In short: It won't do you any good. They'll check your bag twice as hard (Ugh, innuendo unintended). You might be better off, uh, 'roughing' it. I'm sure there are porn shops in Nevada.
posted by GilloD at 7:56 PM on October 29, 2009

There is a very good chance that if your bags are impenetrable to the x-ray [which only the TSA people will see and they've seen everything] that you may need to have your bag subjected to a manual search which will likely be more in public. While I like your idea very much, I'd suggest that you either 1) check your bag 2) bring items that don't have metal and will be mostly transparent to the TSA person 3) bring something in an interesting and adorable non-penis shape.

That said, you can get lead aprons at leadapron.com.
posted by jessamyn at 7:57 PM on October 29, 2009

I recommend the gonad shield.
posted by jessamyn at 7:58 PM on October 29, 2009 [4 favorites]

So ... imagine if I wanted to bring a bomb on a plane in my suitcase, I'd just get a lead apron, right?

What would happen is that they'd see their view was obstructed, they'd open the luggage and, and rather than seeing the outline of whatever fun stuff you've got, they get to see it in vibrant full color.

If you still want to go through with it, they're on sale all over the net. Looks like you'll get them as cheaply as $120.
posted by adipocere at 7:58 PM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]

Put the items in a checked bag instead of a carryon, and go happily with the knowledge that airport x-rayers have probably seen all kinds of kinkier stuff than you likely even have in there.
posted by so_gracefully at 7:58 PM on October 29, 2009 [3 favorites]

Just put it in your checked bags. Unless you get chosen for a random search when you check them in (a phenomenon that seems to finally be slowing down), you'll have no face-to-face interaction whatsoever with anyone who sees your toys.

Plus, I'm sure TSA agents are like doctors in that no matter how weird you are being, they've already seen a million people way weirder.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:59 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

You could check the bag. It'll still be x-rayed but you won't be around, which makes it a bit less personal.

Alternatively, since you're staying for 2 weeks, send it to the post office in Nevada marked general delivery and then pick it up yourself. If your relatives have to take you to the post office, just claim it turned out to be cheaper to mail it than check a bag. Alternatively, a cab to the post office shouldn't be too expensive. Downside: you'll have to mail it back to yourself.
posted by jedicus at 8:01 PM on October 29, 2009

TSA has seen a lot worse than stroke mags and dildoes. Let them do their job sans apron and you'll likely get through the queue with no attention called to your tools of the trade.

Your proposed attempt to avoid embarrassment would likely cause a bigger red face then the one you initially imagined.

Have fun!
posted by inturnaround at 8:02 PM on October 29, 2009

How soon are you traveling? Can you mail yourself these items? Because anything you would do to hide your embarrassing items from TSA is something a dangerous person might also do, and dangerous people are why your bags get x-rayed. So, I wouldn't even worry about it. They've seen everything. But if you're reeeeeeeeeeally squeamish, try mailing it to yourself. You could even do signature-required so that only you can pick it up from the post office and your relatives won't pry.
posted by katillathehun at 8:04 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

You might think about picking up some more physically discreet items for travelling, like a vibrating finger massager or a silver bullet.
posted by Billegible at 8:12 PM on October 29, 2009

Just suck it up and walk through security. Yes, they'll see the sex toys, but they don't care. They see them all the time. They won't open your bag for sex toys unless they don't look like sex toys.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 8:13 PM on October 29, 2009 [4 favorites]

May as well reference the cock ring anecdote again.
posted by dhartung at 8:35 PM on October 29, 2009

Nthing the advice to get something plastic and cute and avoid having your bag inspected by trying to hide your toys.

The other thing I came in here to say was if your toys are battery-operated, take the batteries out before you put the toys in the luggage. A friend of mine tells a hilarious, if embarrassing, story about a battery-operated vibrator in her luggage that started humming at some kind of inspection checkpoint while she was travelling in Europe. Everyone in the area got to find out exactly what her pleasure was. If you don't want to be that person, pack batteries separately (and appropriately under TSA regs, which are probably stricter now than they were back in the day when my friend got caught).
posted by immlass at 9:16 PM on October 29, 2009

Definitely take those batteries out, even if you're checking your luggage :)
posted by chez shoes at 9:28 PM on October 29, 2009

Your question is essentially: how do I hide something in my luggage from TSA.
posted by whiskeyspider at 9:32 PM on October 29, 2009

Sheet lead is available at decent hardware stores and (metal) roofing suppliers and installers. It's used for tricky flashings. Be a lot cheaper than lead blankets. Put it in a garbage bag to avoid getting lead residue all over.

Keep in mind that your carry ons are mass limited to something ridiculously inadequate like 10kg. I end up having to secrete camera equipment all over my body about half the time I fly because my carry on is too heavy. 1 square metre of lead weighs 12 kg per millimetre of thickness.

Another alternative, assuming you aren't transporting several Junior Patricks, is lead film bags.

However neither of those things are going to prevent viewing; the TSA will just crank the juice up on the machine until they can see it or they'll hand inspect. Last trip I made with my daughter I made the mistake of letting pack a metal hot wheel car which apparently looks like nothing the TSA has ever seen before on X-Ray. We got hand inspected at practically every check point.

Also there are numerous vibes out now that aren't really phallic. This one is a practically a piece of art. Of concern if there is any chance your relatives might be exposed to the contents of your bags.

However that makes the assumption conventional toys are your concern. Going to be hard to discretely pack a bull whip or case of aerosol whip cream. Both of which by the way you can not carry on. If media means printed material they aren't going to see anything other than it's printed material in the X-Ray.
posted by Mitheral at 9:45 PM on October 29, 2009

I once had to fly with a small leaded crystal picture frame in my carry-on bag. When it showed up as impenetrable on the xray screen, they opened the bag to see what it was. I assume you would experience something similar.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 10:48 PM on October 29, 2009

I asked an ex-TSA agent. His advice:

Put it in your checked luggage. They'll see it, they won't care (they've seen it thousands of times before), and they won't know who you are.

Trying to hide it from the X-ray will just make someone's day worse because of the paperwork.
posted by clorox at 12:07 AM on October 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

Definitely just pack it and go through normally. They're looking for the real weirdos. You are hardly the first person to be going home for the holidays and bringing a toy or entertainment along in lieu of companionship. The absolute worst you'll get is a raised eyebrow or a smirk from the operator, but more likely than not, absolutely no reaction.

If you go the lead shielding route, they'll definitely open your bag and hand-search, and then give you a much harder time about the whole thing because you forced them to actually do work.
posted by explosion at 7:02 AM on October 30, 2009

Man, the stuff I've carried in a suitcase would make all of you blush. NO ONE CARES. Seriously, I have taken a carryon entirely filled with naughty things (my clothes were checked). Including handcuffs and leg irons. This was post 9/11, too. No one batted an eye. Unless you are traveling with your grandmother, I wouldn't give this a second thought.
posted by desjardins at 7:32 AM on October 30, 2009

Going to be hard to discretely pack a bull whip or case of aerosol whip cream. Both of which by the way you can not carry on.

I don't know about the whipped cream, but you definitely could pack whips and floggers in 2004 without getting in trouble.
posted by desjardins at 7:34 AM on October 30, 2009

If you're that worried about it, why not just skip bringing it? It's not like 2 weeks is really that long of a time.
posted by reddot at 7:41 AM on October 30, 2009

For awhile I was flagged or on some list somehow that got me searched at every airport for about a year. Once, a woman at the next table in customs screening was asked what was in that small zippered bag...

"Sex toys."
"Okay..... and what are these?" (picks something up)
"More sex toys."
"And I guess these..."
"Yup, more sex toys."
"OK. What is the purpose of your trip again?"
"I love my boyfriend."

Her "so what?" attitude made her my hero. Maybe you can lean on that.

As some folks above have said, they've seen it all before.
posted by rokusan at 7:44 AM on October 30, 2009

desjardins i writes "I don't know about the whipped cream, but you definitely could pack whips and floggers in 2004 without getting in trouble."

A case of aerosol whip cream is contraindicated both for being over the size limit for carry on food and because it's an aerosol. You can't even put it in your carry on.

I can't find a listing for bullwhips though a friend was forced to check his. Though the justification might have been either martial arts weapons or sporting goods.
posted by Mitheral at 9:25 AM on October 30, 2009

check your luggage if privacy is your concern. they will still likely search your bag (and leave a note behind indicating they have) but the moment you do anything like try to obscure things with a lead apron, you're simply asking to be pulled aside for secondary screening, either publically or privately, and I'm sure this is not what you wish.

you aren't alone in traveling with sex toys. you'd probably be amazed at how many people do each day. wanting to keep your privacy is ok, but subjecting yourself to scrutiny by trying to hide something is not a wise decision.

really, honestly, check your luggage and either it will pass through or if the bag does get screened, it will not be in front of you.

and lastly, please take out or cover with those little plastic inserts any battery-operated toy. a buzzing or vibrating bag will get attention, pronto, in an airport!
posted by kuppajava at 10:05 AM on October 30, 2009

This is why god invented Fedex.
posted by Muirwylde at 3:35 PM on October 30, 2009

Muirwylde writes "This is why god invented Fedex."

I can see it now:

(Ding Dong)
(Door Opens)
Eleutherios Cousin: Hello FedEx Man.
FedEx Man: I have a package for Eleutherios I need them to sign for.
EC: Really? OK. (loudly) Eleutherios, its FedEx for you.
Eleutherios: Oh Hi.
FEM: I need you to sign for this.
Eleutherios: Uh, OK.
FEM: Have a nice day.
(Door closes)
EC: So what'd you get?
Eleutherios: Uh, nothing. Just some, uh, tolietries.
EC: We could have taken you to the mall. No need to order them in.
Eleutherios: These are special.
EC: Is it for your (semi personal skin condition)?
Eleutherios: Uh. No. Got to go.
posted by Mitheral at 10:50 PM on October 30, 2009

Ditto to "just pack your toys in your checked luggage and forget about it." I've traveled with, erh, accessories, in my bags and never had a problem. Advice on. It's not a bad idea to put everything into a clear, one gallon zip lock bag and place it near the top. Some toys do seem to throw a shadow. It's just going to make the inspector's job a lot easier of they don't have to fish around looking for the item. Advice off. (Plus, it does make for a tidier bag.)

At my local airport, one used to have to wait while ones bag was x-rayed. I did actually have to stand and watch the inspector go through my bag. She found what she was looking for, didn't react and told me to enjoy my trip.

Bottom line, you've got nothing to hide or be ashamed of.
posted by robabroad at 6:55 AM on November 2, 2009

I am related to a TSA screener, so I get firsthand accounts. Believe me, they see that stuff all the time, and they don't give a rat's ass. They are not going to be giving you the eye.

Your best bet is not to have anything in your luggage that will cause them to open it up in front of everyone else. You know, like bottles of shampoo over 3 oz. or your leatherman tool.

Or you can just mail the goodies to yourself from the local post office.
posted by Knowyournuts at 12:19 PM on November 2, 2009

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