Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Emerald Princesses

Aboard the Emerald Princess there was a nightly event on the schedule called the "LGBT get-together" to help gay singles and couples meet the others aboard.  Overall there were something like sixteen of us that showed up, out of a couple thousand passengers.  The event itself wasn't anything other than a place to meet where there would be free champagne, but it was interesting to meet up with other couples, and it was reassuring to have a group of people to keep coming back to each night to contrast with the fleeting meetings with random people throughout the week.  We ate dinner several times with the group in addition to the get-togethers, so we got to know each other well.

The group was pretty diverse, with men and women ranging from retirees to businesspeople to students (though strongly tending to the former), from connoisseurs of five hundred dollar shirts to connoisseurs of random anonymous sex.  It made for an interesting base for conversation, even if it did drift into the predictable gay stereotypes a little too often (fashion, shopping, sex).  I nicknamed our team the Emerald Princesses.

I had pretty low expectations about those LGBT get-togethers.  I'm often annoyed by gay people; flamboyance gets on my nerves, vapid and fake people drive me nuts, and I really don't have any interest in talking about shoes.  Maybe the experience helped improve my tolerance for gay people, which I realize sounds absurd.  After the first get-together I was wondering if I wanted to go to the next one, but by the end I wasn't even considering skipping.  After wearing down those obnoxious stereotype fa├žades I got to know the people behind them, and it was fun and gave me some interesting perspectives that I otherwise wouldn't have had.  Now I've met someone who's been to the home of Michael Jackson.  I'd hardly talked to any retired couples outside my family at length before, let alone any gay retired couples who might have insight into what things might be like for me in several decades.  And now I've had the experience of meeting someone who would one moment tell me about the orgies that occur on gay-only cruises with the excitement of a sixteen-year-old boy, only to tell us all how important family and monogamy were to him minutes later.

The fact that he had a very obvious crush on me is not particularly relevant, I think.

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