Two years ago today, I was working as a glassblower on the Solstice in the Mediterranean; it was Phillipines Independence Day, and since something like 20 percent of the crew is Filipino, the ship had closed off one of the guest lounges, Sky Lounge on Deck 14, for an after hours party. I put on my skinny jeans and heels and went up to have a look. At one point, I was sitting by the wall watching the dancing when a boy sat next to me. I paid not the slightest attention.
As I’ve said before, there’s a nine-to-one male to female gender ratio among the crew of cruise ships, so you learn quickly that, to avoid being misunderstood, it’s best not to throw out misconstrued signs of interest. I’ve seriously had men on cruise ships get angry at me and tell me off for “sending mixed signals” when, after saying hello and smiling every day to certain coworkers I’d see frequently in crew areas, they found out I wasn’t at all interested. What I considered as being polite and greeting, they saw as me sending out “interested” signals. Making a joke, continuing to sit at a table after I was joined by a male crew member, and making a piece of glass as a thank you for my room cleaner all ultimately got interpreted wrongly, and there was anger and hurt feelings. There are people from a lot of different cultures and countries on board, and I think, too, that sometimes behavior just gets interpreted differently in different places.
And then remember, once all THAT drama goes down, you then have to CONTINUE to see the person multiple times every day, off work and on, for the remaining months of your contract. There is NO getting away. So to avoid this, I learned to be more careful about making eye contact, talking to, or being alone with male crew members on the ship, at least those that were outside my smaller Entertainment department. It worked fine if you kept people at arm’s length…unfortunate, in that you then got accused of being “cold” or “bitchy”, or “thinking you’re better”… but better than being accused of misleading people.
I did wind up talking to this guy, though, and found out he was on the cruise director’s staff, helping to lead activities on board. He went and got a couple of the weak crappy beers they were giving away for free, and we stood on the furniture to see over the crowd when they started doing traditional dancing. I barely looked at him, to be honest. I was tired, and grumpy…not in a party mood… and left fairly early, leaving him sitting with the beers unopened on the table. I asked my friend as we took the elevator down who he was.
“His name is Mathieu. He’s French,” she replied.
The ship photographer, a guy from Vancouver named Peter (though we called him Scorcese) apparently snapped a photo of us standing on the furniture. I don’t remember it being taken, but it stands as the only photo from the night I met the guy I was going to marry. 🙂
Kind of an anniversary! So happy Phillipines Independence Day to all of you! It’s been an incredible two years with the most wonderful man, and it’s crazy to think – it was a kind of nothing night, with just another person, and yet, looking at this photo, I didn’t even know that my life was about to irrevocably change.
I’m glad that I’m giving two thumbs up, though.