Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The High Seas with High Homos: Part 1

Cleopatra was the ultimate drag queen. As I often quote, gay men play the role of powerful enchantress, regal beauty. Her "queen of all queens" attractiveness, however, remains not on the Elizabeth Taylor level but more roundly on the Ernest Borgnine level. I recognize these things because I like to reside abreast of current events, and I also happen to be reading Cleopatra, A Life. So far, two tidbits have mesmerized me: catty historians deem her a mild butter-face, and the deified diva knew how to travel. Her cruising along the Mediterranean evokes quite the scene, as "she herself reclined beneath a gold-spangled canopy, dressed as Venus in a painting, while beautiful young boys, like painted Cupids, stood at her sides and fanned her. Her fairest maids were likewise dressed as sea nymphs and graces, some steering the rudder, some working the ropes. Wondrous odors from countless incense-offerings diffused themselves along the banks." Fuck me silly running sideways with a tiara, but this excerpt screams "gay cruise" in a muted, nasal soprano. One could surmise my experience on the MS Oosterdam in October as an exact repeat of Egyptian-Ptolemaic nautical history, except with Boy Butter lube gently frothing about the ship decks, spreading a sheen so splendid that queers walked on the sun at dusk.

Before the sojourn on my big gay cruise, I harbored a sneaking suspicion that the usual homosexual debauchery and livery would ensue amongst the guests, bringing to mind a Fire Island meets Poseidon Adventure aura. Who would play Shelley Winters bore the fatter question. Shockingly, I initially said "no" when asked to go by my usual cohorts, Tommy and Chuck. The nay-saying lasted about thirty-seven seconds before I became all gung-ho and rah-rah-let's-raise-some-stiff-sails-and-or-masts.

Atlantis Events, a gay vacation promoter and purveyor, sponsored this particular cruise (ironically on the sister ship of my sailing last spring in the Mediterranean…the one where I stumbled down a flight of stairs in Cannes with gelato in my hand and French teenagers doing absolutely nothing to help a walking-impaired American and my friend, Lauren, laughing hysterically). Atlantis basically rents out boats and resorts, gays up the joints, and forces the already in-debt GT population to pay to stay, but not the LBs. Glossy advertisements with picture-perfect men in festive banana hammocks sporting a stunning array of neon colors with the backdrop of the Caribbean sparkling slightly less than those men's teeth completely entice people to buy this shit. Men are stupid. Even the bottoms. Most guests arrive, strutting across the gangplank with their latest bronzer, Victoria Secret Angel wings and boxes of Fleet enemas expecting to get some sort of attractive, Atlantis Shangri-La experience hosted by Ryan Gosling. Most guests leave with rug burn summoned by an aggressive, aging bear and a half-eaten Ecstasy pill attached to a newly sprouted hemorrhoid.

Once we reserved our tiny, interior stateroom on the Oosterdam, Atlantis mailed us the party itinerary. While I thought skimpy bathing suits would be the uniforms of choice for brunch, sunbathing and oceanic circuit parties, I was baffled by the costumes necessitated for The White Party, The Disco Ball, The Wild Things Party, The Into the Blue Dance, The Glitter Gala and The Eighties Party, among others. First, where would I find the stamina to attend these events and would they demand an RSVP? Second, I had to pack body glitter, loincloths and a mermaid tail into my suitcase? I also needed to ensure I packed my hazmat suit, for I'd heard that Atlantis cruises possess a slutty reputation – sex in rooms with open-door policies, saunas, pools and public toilets. God forbid I saunter past a doorway or jacuzzi jet and get squirted in the face.

With the inside of my luggage mocking the stylistic virtues of a Labelle concert, I ventured out to conquer high-sea homosexuality. Once onboard Holland America's finest, we did a quick survey of the vessel before dinner, scouting places to be seen, decks to circumnavigate, dicks to circumvent and ranking men based on BMI and how butchered their eyebrows were from over-grooming, ranging from Joey Lawrence, circa Blossom, to Joey Lawrence, circa obscurity.

Tommy, Chuck and I decided to partake in the Vista Dining Lounge's "open seating," meaning the Filipino maître d' would place us at a larger table with random strangers. As it so happened, midway through my first bite of buttered bread, Tommy nudged me excitedly. "You're sitting next to (some guy's name I cannot recall presently)!" he insisted. "Who?" I muffled, my mouth full of yeast and carbs. "He's a porn star, a huge power bottom!" Tommy answered. I'm not an avid watcher of porn and maintain terrible insight into the industry's stars, and I can say my collection goes as deep as my collection of lesbian friends. "Then why the hell does he look like Popeye?" I pondered briefly what I would look like dressed as Olive Oyl, quivered and then engaged Popeye the Power Bottom in a side conversation.
Me: So, how do gay men eat on an Atlantis cruise with such vast quantities of 2-Star delectables? I mean, where do the bottoms put it?
Popeye: Oh, well I’m sure some go to the gym, and others really stick to portion control.
Me: So bulimia is out of the question? And what about onboard douching? Does Puerto Vallarta have a CVS?
Popeye: Ummm…
Silence. I could discern at this point Popeye had the personality of a calculator button and that a piece of toast could outmaneuver him verbally, but on I tried.
Me: So, I've been thinking about getting into porn. I've actually uploaded a few videos to xxxxxxgaytube.com/skinnywhiteboys, or something like that. Do you have any suggestions? I’m dying to get into the brown-eyed business.
Popeye: Oh, well I guess it's not too hard. It depends on how you want to use the industry. Amateur videos are always a way to make a following, but that's a long road to any kind of livable wage. But, if you really want to get into the business, even the gay business nowadays, it's getting tougher and tougher. I'd recommend…
My apathy and annoyance increased, as I started to chew my bread louder to drown out the noise. Really, like I'm going to make a business case for porn? After I swallowed, I interrupted him to change the subject.
Me: Did you hear about Muammar Gaddafi? CNN just announced that he was killed.
Popeye: Oh no. He was so good in his Men of Israel scenes.
To be continued…

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