You cannot truly consider yourself a citizen of the first world until you have gone on a cruise. It is the ultimate experience in decadence, from the never-ending supply of food, to the never-ceasing flow of liquor, to the never-stopping consumption of diesel fuel. Even the staff members act as if their jobs are fulfilling, and maybe they are – one likes to think they get to fit in a round of mini-golf every so often. For some people, a cruise is one of the rare times in their lives when they do not have to work and can truly enjoy themselves. The world seems to stop as you sail on the floating hotel.
There usually is a pool deck at the almost-tip-top of the ship, just below that area where a strong wind can shoo you right overboard. On the first day, before embarking on the voyage, hopefully your muster station is located on that deck so you can sidle over to the hot tub after being sorted into orderly lifeboat lines – lines that will not exist when the ship actually sinks. The sun gently sets on the horizon, the ship slips out of port, and you glide onto a lounge chair towards relaxing, soothing bliss.
But wait, what is that noise? In the now-darkness, you peer through the deck windows and spot, sailing parallel to you, a sister ship. However, this is not just any ship: lights shooting from it are streaming into the sky and across the water, music is insistently pulsing through the night, and the sounds of cheering crowds echo into the sea. The ship itself is bouncing up and down on the water in time to the bass beat. This monstrosity, my friends, is a party boat.
That’s right: The Manly Men Cruise is in full swing, and the extravaganza has exploded across all decks. The band members – Michael, Andy, Sandy, and Luke – continue to satisfy their fans’ every wish by standing closer to them than they ever would in normal circumstances. They do not even need to sing their own songs at this point: they can get away with karaoke as tunes are shuffled by a D.J. The screams of the crowd take care of the rest.
Another way they have driven the audience wild is their choice of costume – for this show, they arrived on the deck’s stage dressed as mermen. This becomes somewhat awkward as they spend an hour hopping around on their tails, but no one cares.
The crowd around the stage has formed an impromptu mosh pit, the better for all to swarm in comfort. An intrepid, tiny fan manages to crawl on the floor and squeeze between people’s legs, reaching the empty front section that was semi-barricaded in some semblance of crowd control. She runs from left to right, holding her professional camera at stage level and keeping the shutter open to create an almost-video, straight into the arms of one of The Men's bodyguards, who picks her up and tosses her into the waving arms of the audience. She is then crowd-surfed to the nearest waiter, who is all too ready to take her drink order.
In another section of the jumping crowd, a tall girl with long curly hair cheers with the others and sings along with The Men. She also surreptitiously lifts cell phones, wallets, and cruise cards from her neighbors as she is crushed against them, tucking each item into her bra straps under her shirt. She starts to pull a phone out of the jeans pocket of the girl next to her when the intended victim instinctively puts her hand on the same spot. Looking at the tall girl, she reaches up and pulls off the long, curly wig, revealing the tall girl to be an average-height boy who had discovered a perfect opportunity to obtain others’ possessions. The other victims, huddled together when they realized that they had been left bereft, see this interchange and mosh their fellow moshers to reach the thief. The almost-victim beats the boy with his own hair, the others surge upon him, and he succumbs to justice.
The Men sing on, having been blinded by the constant flashes of camera lights and deafened by the music and screams of adoration years ago.
THE PARTY SAILS ONWARD….