Sailing away from marriage


4 February 2018

It’s day five of the cruise and it has rained almost without pause. We had a brief window of blue sky and sunshine during which hundreds of pale bodies emerged from below to sun themselves in neat rows on the pool deck. Most ended up burnt and drunk. I escaped the sun’s scalding kiss but can’t deny I epitomised the latter.

I found myself up five cocktails and my friends had retreated inside for lunch. Alone, I wandered in search of food until my friend got phone service and managed to call me on my mobile. She said my drunken giggles were hardly intelligible but she determined I was eating bacon by the indoor pool. Not sure how I got there let alone order food, or why bacon, but that’s where I was found.

While by the pool I had attempted some innocent flirtation with two men, obviously younger than myself, by asking if they were gay, brothers or mates. There was something of a resemblance but they say couples look alike so I didn’t want to assume. They were brothers as it turned out and singularly uninterested in me. I retreated to my sun lounge. I was too drunk to be offended.

After I had eaten, we drank more, in a different bar where trivia was about to start. The boys were off smoking so my friend and I decide to play alone, using Google as our third and fourth player. That being said, we still got one wrong, but managed to take the game. In my drunken state I didn’t realise it was the height of poor trivia etiquette to claim the win after googling the answers. I felt so bad I insisted we gift our win (vouchers for coffee and cake) to a foursome of oldies sitting nearby.

I was a very happy bundle of heatstroke and cocktails when I hastened to the spa for my first cellulite-busting treatment. There I was made to lay on a bed of clay and algae, covered in more of the same and then hooked up to some electricity so they could zap my wobbles away. I watched, fascinated, as my thighs, stomach and bum shook rhythmically, deep spasms that were apparently making my skin tighter, and more youthful. The poor therapist remarked several times about my enthusiasm as I giggled and stared in wonder.

They had been running behind so they had already dosed me up with two glasses of bubbles before I entered the treatment room. It also meant I was late for dinner. Racing along the length of the ship to the restaurant, I passed dozens of guests wearing white for “bianco night”. I was excited to put on my own white party dress but first I needed to eat.

I found the boys waiting in the restaurant but my friend was nowhere to be found. Her husband told me she had showered and put on her party dress but had fallen asleep. He’d tried twice to wake her but she refused to get out of bed. But we were hungry and didn’t want to wait so we ate without her.

After dinner, which was delicious, I returned to my cabin to shower and change. Wearing only a baby pink lacy body suit, I stood in front of the mirror applying my make up. My cabin mate and sometimes fuck buddy watched me from the bed.

“Your arse looks so hot in that,” he said. “I’ve never seen an arse like yours. It’s so unique.”

“Unique? Is that a compliment?”

“I mean it’s like perky but curvy and it’s just different to most girls.”

“I’m not sure this is a good thing.”

“I’m not explaining it very well.”

“No, you’re really not,” but I was laughing,

He came up behind me and placed his hands around my waist, kissing the back of my neck.

“Don’t bump me now – I’m putting on mascara.”

He ran his hands down and over my arse, caressing the lace of my suit.

“You look fucking sexy,” he said.

“You have to say that since you’re fucking me.”

“It’s true.”

Feeling good, both from his compliments and the booze, I pulled on my pretty white party dress and strapped on my four inch heels. I felt hot and N was making me feel sexy so dammit, I decided it felt good.

We went upstairs to the Dome bar, sitting high at the front of the ship but being night there was nothing to see except the dragons outside on deck, puffing on their cigarettes.

It had been a long time since I danced and I took to the floor like a baby panda discovering the joys of tumbling. I swayed, I ground my hips, I slut-dropped here and there, dancing in small groups of girls that would form circles that somehow provided a protective barrier between ourselves and the sleazy older men lurking on the periphery. But always searching, my head swivelling, my eyes keen, hunting for an attractive man to satisfy my drunk self that I was as attractive as I felt in that moment.

It came in the most unlikely form, a woman, wearing a dress that was too tight with the wrong underwear. She side-stepped her way over to me on the dance floor and yelled into my ear.

“You have the fucking best legs on this ship!”

“Oh. Thanks!”

It wasn’t what I’d been expecting but in that moment it worked. She had earlier been dancing with the women we had nicknamed none too creatively “The Lesbians”. She was either also gay or just hoping to be hot by association. And they were incredibly attractive if tattoos and fake boobs are your thing. Later I would dance with one of the lesbians, dropping to the floor together, legs apart, grinding provocatively to the audience of men we knew were watching from the edge of the dance space.

She was too skinny for my taste and it was obvious she was doing it for attention rather than a genuine interest in me. I was happy to oblige because at least it meant I wasn’t dancing in one of those asexual circles of awkward women.

The men wouldn’t come near me and on this I have two theories:

1. I looked nothing like the piece of arse I thought I did. Probably the result of the excessive booze and my fuck buddy’s obligatory compliments.

2. They were intimidated. Laugh if you will, but I’m often told by men who know me well that I can be, on first meeting, intimidating. Certainly not because of my stature (I’m lucky to be 5″2′), but that my confidence can be a bit scary for/put off men. So as I was strutting my stuff around that bar, I wondered if it was my confidence keeping them away.

Either that or I just looked messy and no one wants to take the risk on a messy, drunk girl on a boat where the chances of vomiting are more than doubled. So I returned to my cabin alone, my fuck buddy still smoking and drinking with the boys on deck. As far as divorce cruises go, I was striking out on deck and below.

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