I am sitting in the library. The library of a cruise ship. The library of a cruise ship in Barbados. Yeah, my life sucks. But don’t be jealous—it’s slightly overcast today. Of course, that isn’t stopping all the gay men from every nook and cranny of our great country (and quite a few from various big cities in Europe) from packing their beloved meat and potatoes into brightly colored Speedos and/or thongs the approximate size of postage stamps so they can sip tropical drinks while lounging around the pool. I had to walk past them all to get here to the library. The library on the cruise ship. The library on the cruise ship in Barbados.
Gay men on vacation cannot live on tropical drinks alone. Oh no! They must also have big-boned man-ladies in kabuki-adjacent makeup who belt out song parodies about drugs, alcohol, sex, pedophilia and poop. Good times. And that’s where I come in. I am just one of the many heaping helpings of free entertainment offered on this floating Petri dish. And thank God! Homosexuals scrimp and save and sacrifice—buying Trèseme instead of Pantene, eating at Taco Bell instead of Chipotle, watching new releases on Netflix instead of heading out to their local multiplex on opening night—just so they can enjoy a week at sea aboard a luxury liner being waited on, manicured hand and hot-stone-massaged foot, by hardworking people from less-fortunate parts of the world.
As usual, I was stressing out about this trip. Packing for a cruise can be daunting, especially for a drag queen who is contractually obligated to do one comedy showcase, three solo shows and host bingo. “B-9! Always a good thing to hear from your doctor …
B-9!” It ain’t rocket surgery. And along with all the makeup, wigs, outfits, jewelry, accessories, undergarments—not to mention the boxes of CDs I hope to sell—I also have to remember to pack toiletries, underwear and at least a few articles of male clothing for when I’m off the clock and can compete in the slots tournament, attend a fellow entertainer’s show or eat in the fancy-schmancy dining room. When you’re on a glamorous ship feeling like an extra in a scene from Titanic or The Poseidon Adventure, you don’t worry about things like the morality (or lack thereof) surrounding the raising of veal—you just scarf down the thinly pounded, succulent scaloppini. Hell, bring me a side of baby panda heart sprinkled with blood diamond dust! Burp.
Yes, I am in the library. The library of a cruise ship. The library of a cruise ship in Barbados. And there is no one else here. I mean, why spend time with Gore Vidal and Sylvia Plath (OK, who am I kidding, more like Stephen King and Jackie Collins—after all this is a Celebrity cruise, not the Algonquin) when you can twirl your glow sticks at the ‘90s diva party? “She’s homeless, she’s homeless!”
I suppose I should really finish writing this column and get off the ship. I mean, I’m in Barbados for crying out loud! Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t Oprah have a house here? Isn’t this where Rihanna was born and raised? If nothing else, I should buy some useless touristy knick-knacks to bring home to my land-locked friends and try the local cuisine. But all that costs money, and the food on the ship is free. After cruising to Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Haiti, Mexico and elsewhere, I have learned to charge as
little to my Sea Pass card as possible, avoid the casino at all costs (I fail everytime!) and that no one really wants a primitively hand-painted ashtray or an abalone ring. No, I ain’t going anywhere. I am going to stay right here, thank you very much.
In the library. The library of a cruise ship. The library of a cruise ship in Barbados.