On a ship of 3300 passengers, you’d probably think that some were gay. If you subscribe to the 1 in 10 theory then there should have been at least 300 gay people. Three hundred butch fems or flamboyant floaters should not be hard to find in two weeks of sailing.
As we were in line for embarkation in Bayonne, I scanned the crowd to see if any sisters were coming on board with us. PING went my Gaydar and I spied two gentlemen travelling together and wearing near identical jeans, t-shirts and male pattern baldness. Dead giveaway. As our line to the check in desk snaked by them a couple times I made three official efforts to catch their eye and smile, with the hopes of striking up a conversation.
All three times was met with them turning their back to us after a cautionary glance. Snubbed, but not let down I started to look around for more family. Fuck you, dudes, we’re not cruising, we’re being friendly!
Our first breakfast in the main dining room had us randomly seated with two women in their 70s on a bus/cruise tour who asked me outright if we were brothers. SharkBoy was not part of that conversation so I said “Yes,” and proceeded to let that lie fester in their heads a moment. I wondered if they wondered what the hell two brothers in their 40s were doing out on a cruise…
Two other occasions we were asked if we were brothers by passengers. I would say yes and hold onto SharkBoy’s arm in a confusing/awkward display of affection.
By day 7 I had given up looking through the crowd for possible homo contact and turned off my Gaydar. SharkBoy says there were at least two other couples on board that he could tell (I never saw them) and one lovely lad who was taking his mother on a trip (questionable at best but that just stank of a Tennessee Williams play). There was a bespectacled lesbian we sat with a couple times at breakfast (rainbow tattoos on her forearms!) but she refused to offer up anything other than “hello” and “see ya!”, but I expect she was painfully shy. The two guys spied at the top of the cruise still refused to make eye contact and I decided that they were on some sort of relationship rebuilding vacation after one of them admitted to a terrible admission to sex addiction.
Not that I wanted to be on a gay cruise. If I wanted to be surrounded by my own I would have booked an all exclusive vacation but to tell the truth, I have no desire to run with my own. Sorry StevieB, but I’m what The Advocate calls “Self Hating”. After years of working in a bar I can’t imagine an all gay vacation let alone being trapped on a boat for any amount of time with rainbow beaded, whistle blowing, Aussie Bum wearing party queens. Sure I’ve travelled en mass with other gays and have even done Gay Days twice at Disney World but, for me, to “travel gay” is like living in the gay village – ghetto gets you nowhere. You really need to get out there to experience other things. That being said, I was missing a bit of the old catty banter that comes with a fruity drink in your hand and a good gay by your side. Especially since we were in such a ripe environment for ridicule.
As we left Antigua (after the Prickly Pear Island) SharkBoy and I were up on the top deck watching the boat leave the island. SharkBoy says “This is a really good vacation, considering.” I know he means that despite the uncooth masses, he (we!) were having a good time. And I thought to myself “It is. A bit lacking in the gay companionship department…”
Suddenly a crew member came and stood beside us at the railing. We started to talk and within moments he revealed that he had a boyfriend on another ship within the fleet and that they were considering moving their home to Toronto. We spend a very long time talking as the ship sailed out and he told us a lot of stories which I will not repeat here to keep his anonymity. Not that he was shy about his status and his partner, he offered first, but I’m not one to leave trails of career shattering evidence all over the internet. He had us fascinated and laughing at the same time with stories of ship operations and shenanigans. It was a nice gay island in the vacation of gaylessness.