NKOTB Cruise X – The Photo-Op (Part 9)

When I left off, I had abandoned Megan on the bathroom floor in the cabin, pants around her ankles, to go to bed. And I didn’t feel bad. You can read about that (and everything else you may have missed) by scrolling to the bottom of this link’s page.

It was photo day. The simultaneously dreaded and revered day when a couple thousand women (and a handful of dutiful dudes) wait in line for hours to quickly file by a tired and irritated Danny, Donnie, Jordan, Joe and Jon (always in that order) before the split-second snap of a photo we won’t see for almost a month. It’s…nerve-wracking. This particular morning was rough because we were both pretty hungover. And, there was an awkward tension in the cabin since Megan knew she had blacked out, and since I was being oddly silent. I just didn’t really know what to say. I didn’t wake her up until we absolutely had to go find our photo group. I mean, until I thought we should probably go find them. Since our photo group had made zero plans to meet up, aside from After-Party-Melissa very drunkenly telling me to get up early and get in line to save a spot. I literally laughed in her face and said that I don’t hold spots. Because I am perpetually late for everything. Not because I’m too good. But kinda that, too.

Megan was being very agreeable and way too nice, to make up for her antics the night before. It was uncomfortable. We’re not typically overtly nice to each other. We like each other. We’re friends. But we’re not sugary sweet. She was wearing sunglasses indoors because she physically couldn’t be without them. I suspect that’s why Donnie is always wearing his. Bloodshot eyes are sexy in fluorescent lighting. We made our way up to deck 5, through the noise and lights of the casino and scanned the line for a cluster of white and denim, which had been deemed the wardrobe theme of our group. Megan’s answer to the theme was to look a lot like Justin Bieber. Well, like Kate McKinnon as Justin Bieber. Mine was to begrudgingly wear a t-shirt and jeans. Which is a little blue-collar for my taste. Because I’m blue-collar at my roots, and I’ve been fighting against it my whole life. By lying, mostly. Because I’m certainly still poor. But I prefer black so I can pretend my curves are more Kardashian than Michelin Man. We didn’t see anyone from our group anywhere, so we decided to sit down at the quarter-push machines in the casino, and watch the line snake by. To be honest, it was all we could handle at the moment.

He’s beautiful in his own way.

Meg went to buy some drinks, another thing she was doing in an effort to apologize. I kept telling her it wasn’t that bad, but I also wasn’t going to say no to drinks. I needed to get my bloodstream back to baseline, after all. She came back with mimosas, maybe. I honestly can’t remember. It was a month ago, basically. We did notice that when you sit down at the quarter-push machines, every once in awhile, the boat will rock, and knock quarters down so you can play for free. This was delightful news. And is exactly what we did for the next couple of hours as we waited for our group to materialize. We also poached two Danny girls from someone else’s group after hearing that ours had defected. (Shout out, ladies!) Once we found our group and got in line, we were almost at the entrance to the club. There wasn’t a ton of time to primp, which was fine because my face was a lost cause at that point, anyway. My hungover eye kept watering (just one) and I was pretty sure lipstick wasn’t allowed with that casual outfit, but I did it anyway. The other ladies in the group are tall, blonde and beautiful. Megan and I ruined their aesthetic. A lot.

So much denim.

I’m going to be honest and tell you that I have no idea what I said or did to any of the guys when we finally approached them for our photo. I blacked out. Not in a drunk way, but in a panic way. As you can probably tell by now, I’m very cool. But I lose that cool the second I’m faced with these fellas. I do remember saying, “At least you won’t be in the blog this year” to Q as I passed him, prompting him to nod, relieved. I mean, technically he is in it, now. But not in the same, supposedly slanderous way as last year. Since I don’t remember interacting with the guys, let’s play a fun game and roast them, instead. Sound good? Good.

Danny

Danny looked like he had just sold these two a non-refundable gym membership. He was standing so far away from the rest of the group, I’m pretty sure he was low-key promoting Solo Wood. Danny looked like if my actual dad went back in time and started lifting every weight. The only thing his outfit is missing is mid-calf black socks and a flat-bill hat. Danny looked like he had just slammed a protein smoothie and was mentally calculating how long he would be able to clench his butt cheeks to avoid squeaking out some noxious gas. Danny’s shins looked like he might have oiled up before the photo marathon. Might. Danny looked like black clothing only, floating on a green screen of hardwood floor. Get it? Callback to the hardwood floor joke!

Donnie

Donnie looked like he had just been fired from that strip club all the Magic Mike guys are excited about opening in Miami. Donnie looked like his own security guard. He looked like the personification of waking up at 2pm in Vegas on a Tuesday. Donnie looked like those women’s Uncle Brett, who always touches them a little too far down on their backs when he hugs them. He looked like somewhere, hidden on his body, is a Monster Energy Drink tattoo and inner regret about never becoming a Motocross star. Donnie looked like there might be cocaine residue on his abs, but that he probably didn’t know how it got there.

Jordan

Jordan looked like an actual murderer. Like a masseuse who offered up his services for free in a Hungarian hostel, but instead of massages, he just gave out stabbings. Jordan looked like he was just remembering something mean he said to a bully in 1978. He looked like a substitute teacher at the school all the kids from that movie Kids went to. Jordan looked like he slammed their two heads together 30 seconds after this picture was taken. He looked like he was actively pinching Amber and Melissa.

Joey Joe

Joe looked like his mom had Kohl’s Cash. He looked like the first day of 8th grade. Joe looked like his favorite song is anything by Ariana Grande. His hair looked like Dwight Schrute went through the Stephon Urkel transformation and became suddenly attractive. Joe looked like he might have just placed a Craigslist Casual Encounters ad for diaper play. He looked like a prom photo background. Joe looked like he would smell like Curve for Men and skating rinks.

Jon

Jon looked like a perfect angel who I would never roast because he’s too pure. But Megan looked like she was about to get arrested for throwing Faberge Eggs at someone’s house and driving 115 mph down Los Angeles streets.

I know you are all smart, my dear readers, and you know I love these men with all of my cold, dead heart. But I love roasting and I never get to do it so I thought I’d combine a few of my loves for your pleasure. But by all means, if you’re mad. Let me know. I love hate mail.

 

 

 

NKOTB Cruise X – After Party Ridiculousness (Part 8)

Ok. Many of you who bore witness to my array of annoyed facial expressions on Saturday night have been waiting for this blog. I’m not a mom, but I will need to try super hard to not let my “mom” come out in this writing. Not my actual mom. She’s lovely. She sees me tweet horrific things, and say even more horrific things into microphones all the time and she still manages to love me despite her relationship with the lord.

I was getting a little irritated with drunk Megan at the deck party, but was trying to just get on her level instead of being a wet blanket. It’s just that drunk Megan is all over the place. And I found myself, well, by myself a lot that night. I wanted us to remain near each other, because we together are a brand. And as Sonny & Cher, we looked hilarious. So yes, I was hoping Donnie would spot us and invite us up on stage. And guess what? He did. He made eye contact with me, pointed at me and mouthed, “you two, come on” while holding up two fingers. But where was Megan? She was about three people behind me, dancing in circles around Kala and Amanda, and not paying attention. So by the time I got her attention, Donnie threw his hands up and literally mouthed, “Ok, whatever!” Because we didn’t go. We had waited too long. And I was butthurt. I was butthurt about not getting on the main stage (ever) and Megan was butthurt literally because she had a hemorrhoid. And I guess those are painful when you’re dancing and sliding your butt cheeks around constantly.

Me.

I suggested we take a quick breather back in the cabin before we tore it up at the after-party. Because. This was the last after-party of the cruise and we had spent the other one calmly bopping near a bunch of cigarette smoke at the previous one. But Megan was working through some personal stuff, and her reaction to that was to drink through it. I can relate to that. Hard. That’s basically how I live my life. But I come by it honestly. Just ask most members of my family, and their livers. As a result of that, it’s extremely difficult for me to get to an unmanageable level of drunkenness. Unfortunately. Megan had changed out of her Sonny outfit about an hour after we arrived at the deck party, because she was worried she didn’t look hot as Sonny. I kept my Cher jumpsuit on, and my obscenely giant butt swinging around until the end of the deck party. I gave up on looking hot about ten years ago. That’s why I’m funny now. But we both changed before the after-party. We wanted to be fresh for dancing well into the early morning. Megan had since picked up some Preparation H for her butthole, so she was feeling a lot better. (Don’t worry, all you Megan-lovers, she gave me permission to talk about her butthole bump.)

We both got into our requisite all-black outfits, but I can’t remember what specifically I was wearing. I do know that I was determined to have some damn fun. We were fairly early, so there was actually visible space on the dance floor. We made a beeline for that space, and ended up directly in front of the tiny stage. I absolutely live for early 2000s rap music. And that is primarily what is played at the after parties. Stuff I heard at school dances and 18+ clubs when I was younger. So I revert back to this person who was fit and knew how to dance. But the thing is. I no longer possess those qualities. But tipsy Kaira believes she does. I was up front, dancing with Kala and crew and had no idea what happened to Megan on the walk there. Upon closer inspection, I realized she was making her way through the dance floor crowd, Donnie-style. As in, she was approaching clusters of women and dancing with/on them as if it was the answer to their prayers. Her facial expression told me that part. As you can imagine, some of these women had no clue who she was or what was happening. It was a lot. Once she finally made her way through the crowd, she made it to us. I was equal parts relieved and annoyed. It’s just that she’s not an actual Blockhead, and she doesn’t know the etiquette.

A lot of this.

When Donnie arrived, everyone commenced the usual stance. It’s basically just a whole performance of acting like you’re not DYING for him to come dance near you. He came right to the stage, because that’s what he does at the beginning of after-parties, and he once again made eye contact with me. But it was to tell me to get Megan for him. So. That was an ego blow. I grabbed her by physically turning her head from her adoring public, to face Donnie. And then he brought her up to the stage with him. They both motioned for me to come up, once Meg was situated, but there was only a three-inch triangle of space available and that just wasn’t going to physically happen. So I stayed down rather than embarrass myself by falling off the stage, into the giant pile of CRUMBS they threw me. I kid, I kid. At least they tried, right? But. She. Was. In. Her. Element. (I have the same element, and it’s taking everything I have to even sound this level of bitter instead of going full force crazy person). She was also wasted. She said something to him, then grabbed toward the bottle of whiskey he was holding, and he handed it over for her to swig out of. This prompted me to make eye contact with him and do a very “do not contribute to her delinquency” face at him. In retrospect, that certainly didn’t help my cool factor. I had gone full blown babysitter. Another thing that likely didn’t help my image was that I make a certain face when I dance. Well, when I go hard. And, according to Kala’s blurred memory, I was going HARD that night. I do remember glancing up and seeing Donnie downright laughing at me. Not in a mean way. In an amused way. Like, “Oh, that girl is silly.” Not sexy, but at least he saw me? Or…

So much of this.

After a while, Donnie got down to go make his rounds, but Megan stayed. She couldn’t very well leave when there was a literal line of women waiting to get a bit of her attention. I assume nobody has seen a masculine-presenting lesbian before. She was very diplomatic, dancing with each one for a moment before kissing them on the cheek and sending them on their way. I feel I should stress that everyone was so drunk, that we shouldn’t judge them for their actions. And I’m not gonna name drop here because nobody else gave me permission to air their dirty laundry like Megan did. But it was hilarious. I grabbed the leftovers, once they had been moved along from drunk Meg, or rather, they grabbed me. I didn’t have much choice in the matter.

Megan, still on the small stage, insisted that I go up with her, but also didn’t make any space. Moving past that, I hopped up to dance more of my delusional “this is cool, right?” dancing, and noticed she was unknowingly bumping into the ladies behind us, and basically just being in front of them too much, and I noticed it was starting to bother them. Or maybe I was just hardcore projecting. Probably that. But I asked the girl behind us if she’d like to dance in front for a while, and she did. So I spent a good five minutes trying to explain that to a performing Megan. It was a whole thing. At this point, she was having a hard time balancing while standing, and was beginning to stumble into the personal space of others quite a bit. But she was not ready to calm down. Not at all. I had to take a break from it, though, before I started to get verbally irritated, instead of just making exaggerated faces at anyone who would look at me. So I popped out for a bit and sat at the casino bar with Cedric, ordering another double-tall vodka with water that I didn’t really need or want.

After 20 minutes or so, I wandered back into the after-party, nervous about what I might find. I saw Lisa, asked her if she had seen Megan, because she wasn’t where I had left her, and grew even more nervous when she said she hadn’t. I did a lap, and thankfully found her slumped onto a barstool, at the bar, with a “blue drink” attached to her lips. I asked that nobody give her any more, since when people get past a certain point, their ability to say no becomes a bit bungled. But when I turned back around, someone else was handing her another drink. So I transitioned into mom-mode yet again and insisted it was time to go. Well, that was after a certain someone completely fell off of her bar stool. I’ll not say who. But it rhymes with Smegan. Since she couldn’t really hold herself up or walk a straight line, Kala and I each took an arm and carried her out of the club, past Cedric and co. in a zig zag pattern. I asked Kala to go grab a pizza, so I could get Megan to the room without distraction, and she was nice enough to oblige. That line gets long.

By the time I got Megan to the cabin, she was in a mood. She was pissed we left the party, but couldn’t even sit upright. She kept asking if she was getting pizza, I kept telling her that yes, Kala was getting her pizza, and she asked even more. She kept trying to leave, to wander the ship, but I had already taken my pants and bra off, so I was in no position to chase after her or haul her lifeless body back after she inevitably fell down or passed out. I did take a funny video of her, after assuring her I was not taking a video, of course. I needed proof of what I had been put through. I had left an after party before Donnie. That’s breaking the cardinal rule of after parties. You never leave before Donnie. She eventually went to the bathroom so I laid down, thinking she’d puke and go to bed. About 20 minutes later, I heard what sounded like a scraping from outside, so I got up to investigate. Instead of a strange scraping, what I found was a sound-asleep Megan. On the toilet. Folded in half. Snoring. I tried to help her up, and get her to put her vag away, but she fought me on it, laid down on the bathroom floor, pants still around her ankles, and that’s where I left her. But listen. We’ve all been there. Plus, I was being petty. She eventually made it to her bed, so don’t worry. I didn’t kill her.

You’re welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NKOTB Cruise X – Not Nassau and 70s (Part 7)

(Catch up on this sequence and all things NKOTB here!)

When I left off, I was barely standing at the end of the Block-A-Versary party, because, I had been held hostage on the small stage for a thousand hours. But we hadn’t been to an after-party yet, (because Thursday’s was canceled mysteriously), so I was hell-bent on dancing the early morning away near dear Uncle (zaddy) Donnie. When we walked into the after-party, though, we were both in a weird mood, emotionally and physically exhausted and not trying to carve out space for ourselves in the jam-packed cesspool of the dance floor. So we did a few laps, said hi to people who seemed excited to see us and then settled in on two barstools, overlooking the floor.

Sitting on a barstool was pretty ideal, because we could still dance from the waist up and look semi-cool. However, it has been brought to my attention that when Megan and I are doing the same thing, in tandem, which is something we do to look cool, what I’m doing doesn’t necessarily look like what Megan’s doing. So. That was hard for me to wrap my mind around. But that’s what we did. We didn’t have a Donnie moment, because we chilled up out of the way and just took it all in. We did chat with Maria briefly, which I gather she doesn’t remember, and with a lot more people who had seen our show. There was a nice Australian woman who told me the name of a comedian she wanted me to check out, and I don’t remember what it was for the life of me. So, if you’re reading this, and maybe you’re not Australian, but just the comic was, who knows, but please leave me a message.

Finally getting to bed at around 6am is wild unless you’re on the NKOTB Cruise. Then it’s just what happens. Luckily, we were stopping in Nassau next, so we could sleep in and mosey off the boat whenever. Which is what we did. We moseyed off the ship, did a quick lap in Nassau and then noped our way right back into NKOTB-land. Nassau was sketch and dumb. Well, the port was. I’m sure Nassau in general is lovely. But the port had the same vibe as those kiosk-jockeys at the mall. And it’s like, no. I don’t want you to put lotion on my hand or straighten a lock of my hair, sir. I’ll take your word for it.

Photo taken by Joyce from across the pool. And motivation for me to move around a little every once in a while.

Since we had some hard-to-come-by down time, Megan and I decided to throw on our pretend bathing suits and chill with Misty at the lido pool. We brought some drinks and watched over Misty’s shoulder as she desperately tried to get enough wifi service to see if her daughter won a dance competition. And we were invested in the results. 2nd place, if I’m not mistaken. And if “Bring It On” taught us anything, 2nd place deserves a big “hell yeah!” from the Rancho Cucamonga Toros. Joyce was also lounging by the pool, but told us we were too cool to come sit by. In jest, obviously. Because she did come by and we had a talk that was deeper than the pool. A talk about life and aspirations and whether or not we were living up to our potential. Or maybe I just ascribe a lot of meaning to whatever Joyce says because I kind of want her to be my auntie.

Oh, Jon. (Photo courtesy of Pippa Ruben)

The Group B concert was that day, but a shower and a nap put us out of commission for that. Plus, we couldn’t see ANYTHING from our seats, anyway. I did want Megan to experience the wonder that is a NKOTB concert, but perhaps I’ll just have to drag her to the Mixtape Tour next year, instead. We needed the extra time to get into costume for 70s night, after all. Megan had a mustache to glue on, from hair that we trimmed from my head. You know, because nobody would notice. And I had to straighten said hair so it looked more like Cher. That’s right. Sonny & Cher. Or, Sonny & a lady who ate Cher. The Spanx I bought didn’t have any squeezy-inny fabric on the butt cheeks, so when I put my jumpsuit over it, I had just…too much booty. Kim Kardashian-West would have blushed and averted her eyes. Sorry, KKW. Get your husband in check, though. He needs a time out.

A time out is exactly what I felt Megan needed once we were an hour or so into the 70s night deck party, actually. She was having a “good time”. A good time in quotations means she was hitting the sauce hard. With the instigator, Amanda. We took pictures with a lot of people, and half-heartedly danced to the 70s tunes with which we weren’t very familiar, and then the skies opened up and rained on my painstakingly straightened hair. All seven thousand feet of it. And then it puffed up like the world’s longest triangle. The gold, platform Michael Kors sandals I was rocking were literally taped to my feet, because the water retention in my ankles wasn’t allowing the straps to do their job, but they didn’t last long. I ripped them off my feet, stashed them under a random table and continued living my best life barefoot. It was the 70s, after all.

Iconic.

The highlights of the night were definitely when Amber “Wocka-Wocka’d” all over the main stage, and gave me very real “same” vibes when she all but pleaded with every god in the universe to let her be unfamiliar with the next song so she could catch her breath. But she straight up killed it. No offense, little Reagan, but #AlcoholAmber (her hashtag, not mine) might have snatched your crown. Your mom is my second auntie. I’m making a list. The other highlight was clearly the huge, and aptly timed “Bohemian Rhapsody” singalong. Even though every time I try to show a friend a video of that phenom, I curse technology for not doing it justice. Mostly because you can just hear whoever is nearest the recording device. Shout out to all my tone deaf BH sisters out there. Because same. A friend once told me I wasn’t a bad singer, but I was always off key. So.

I don’t know who took this, but I stole it from Amber’s Facebook…so…half photo cred.

I’ve been asked to write about Jordan and Danny, because I haven’t mentioned them yet. Here’s a crumb. ALL of the guys looked hella sexy in their Village People getups. Jon was rocking Native American garb (and we collectively decided to ignore cultural appropriation in favor of period costume) with only boxer briefs underneath, Donnie was showing us some chicken thigh in cutoff jorts and a construction vest, Jordan was making me feel things in a very “wild west at the gay club” cowboy getup, Joe was Officer Zaddy and Danny was a bear of a biker. Only, I guess not a bear because of the whole “hardwood floors” thing. But you get it. It was all super homoerotic and I’m always very on board for that nonsense. Especially because Jon always, always, presents as the least gay. It’s my favorite thing (girl).

LOOK AT JORDAN. LOOK AT HIM. I’d shove dollars wherever he wanted.

The rest of the night involved me trying to catch up with Megan, alcohol-wise, and failing miserably because of my ironclad constitution (functional alcoholism and general girth). Then came the after party. Oh, the after party. But that’s a story for tomorrow. And trust me, you want it.

NKOTB Cruise X – Block-A-Versary, Baby! (Part 6)

(Take a peek at the first few installments here if you aren’t caught up.)

I can’t believe I’m already on part 6 of this recap series and this is only about the second night. Like. I need to take a lesson in being succinct. I apologize. Insincerely.

I want to say that we got dinner in the dining room after we made our way back on the boat after Half Moon Cay. I’m pretty sure we did because I have a vague memory of severely under cooked (raw) prime rib and overcooked creme brulee. I could have done without the bundle of disappointment that is the cruise dining room, but I thought Megan should experience it at least once. I’m mean like that. Her meal wasn’t that bad, she said. So I guess the joke’s on me. I have to be really careful with my tone for this one, because I have Sarah Silverman’s “I Love You, America” playing in the background and I tend to soak up affectation like a culture sponge. I’m still dropping Rs like Lizzie Borden and lilting syllables like Kala the southern belle.

It was Block-A-Versary night. Because it was an anniversary celebration of 30 years since the iconic Hangin’ Tough album (and VHS concert special that my sister, cousins and I WORE the FUCK OUT well into the 90s and early 2Ks) and 10 years since the inception of this crazy cruise. And I was here for it. 30 years ago, I was a plucky 3-year-old, belting “Whatcha Gonna Do About It” from atop our secondhand coffee table, so my memories of the first time around are unclear at best, and romanticized fictionalizations at worst. But I know that many of you were teens the first time around, and if my relationship with NSYNC and BSB in those days is any indication, it was your LIFE. I get it. I fake married Chris Kirkpatrick by making a marriage certificate in Microsoft Paint, so. (Yes, Chris. Don’t judge me. I was odd.)

Theme nights for me tend to be an opportunity to be funny, but I was at a loss for this one. Luckily, Christina reached out to me a few months ago and asked if Megan would be the Jon in their recreation of NKOTB from the Hangin’ Tough concert special, made up of “the husbands” (and Jessica as Danny). Megan was Jon, as you all know, Jonas was Donnie, Jeremiah was Jordan (but the wig made him look more like Gaston) and Dan/Faux Joe was obviously little pre-pubescent Joe. It was hilarious. Especially since actual Jon showed up in the SAME EXACT OUTFIT. We could not have planned it better. That unassuming orange button-up shirt ended up being everything. Since Megan was taken care of, costume-wise, I decided to just join in what the gals were wearing, and the lovely Christina slapped some decals on a piano-skirt for me, while Kala crafted a pretty light-up letter to attach to my shirt. It’s pretty nice just shipping things to other people from Amazon, and having them do all the work. Except for the fact that the skirt was a “one size fits all” monstrosity that I wasn’t going to be able to try on until I was on the boat. And let me tell you. It. Was. Close. My spanx saved me on that one and I still couldn’t breathe in too deep or sit down if I wanted it to remain intact. What I didn’t know was that there would be a headband with sparkly 30 and NKOTB trading card involved, and the whole thing was a lot more “cutesy” than is my usual aesthetic. In short, I was uncomfortable. But I was grateful, so I stuck it out and waved that little fangirl “Donnie” heart like I made it myself.

Nobody’s hair is as fake as Gaston!

The girls were all lined up on the second level, right at the railing, bouncing our glowing boobs before the party even got started. I had been promoted from a light-up music note to the letter B in the NKOTB sequence, so I was pretty sure I was contractually obligated to be perky. And I gave it my all. Eventually, the guys came out in all their glory, and Joe caught my eye in his sparkly Bieber pants. He caught my eye and my hormones because, damn. For some reason that fuckboi getup really got me going. I was into it. Is what I’m saying. It’s a curse of the Tinder age. Before I knew what was happening, though, I was being yanked from the railing and pulled toward the small stage at the back of lido. And I was a little concerned. Had we been asked to go up there? Would everyone hate us? I had no clue what was happening but I’ve been dying to get on stage since 2016 so I went with it. Even if it was the small stage. I was excited. All the piano-skirted girls and Megan made our way to the platform and white-girl-danced for all the Blockhead world to see. It was a teensy bit awko because so many other ladies were having their big moments on the big stage and it felt weird to dance in front of those moments. But we did.

My dreams coming true.

One of those moments was the original Cover Girl, Jennifer Cervantes, getting to relive her iconic moment from that immortal concert special, and I legit teared up. I remember watching that little Donnie dance in awe when I was barely not a toddler. And I was jealous of her. Then and now. But that was honestly the most pure and adorable moment I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen my sister give birth. Twice. After that, I started to feel weird about being on that stage for SO long. Even though it was becoming apparent that the stages on this year’s cruise were a lot like the Hotel California. You can check in but you don’t check out. For real, though. What was with leaving everyone in stage purgatory? Awkward. I was starting to panic about being rude and getting down, or whatever, when I was finally told that Donnie had in fact asked us to go up there. That would have saved me a lot of worry had I known that to begin with. Once I knew that I was free to dance like the big screen wasn’t watching. And boy, did I. It wasn’t long before Megan’s matching Jon outfit got her a ticket to the main stage. Which I desperately wanted to happen. But I mean, I wanted to go with her. Obviously. I’m not going to talk about that a ton, because that was her experience, and this blog is for mine. But you guys were there. You saw her doing every body roll on the planet, and earning the nickname, “Not Jon” for the duration of the cruise. You don’t need me to tell you.

My dreams coming true for Megan.

After about 5 hours of dancing non-stop in such a public area on stage, I was dying. Of dehydration and of being an out-of-shape 33-year-old whose spanx were strangling her organs, and whose strapless bra was pretty much around her waist from all the boob bouncing (the light-up letters looked really fun when they bounced). The power pack to my light-up letter kept malfunctioning because it was water-logged by all the sweat in my cleavage, and I had run out of dance moves three hours earlier, so when the party finally wrapped up, I was grateful. I hopped down, amazed that my legs didn’t collapse under me, and made a beeline for the closest water I could find. Then I got dressed for the after party, but that’s a story for another blog.

If you’re still with me, thank you. Please let me know that you want to keep reading these. It helps motivate me to write.

 

NKOTB Cruise X – Half Mooned Cay (Part 5)

(Missed the first four installments? Don’t worry! Just go here and scroll to the bottom. Or read everything, I’m not the boss of you.)

I had never been on a cruise that made two port stops before. I was curious about Half Moon Cay because it wasn’t an actual city, and I’m not really one to enjoy “fun in the sun”. Megan and I slept in as long as possible with the onslaught of overhead announcements about getting off the ship, and then sleepily moseyed to deck 3 (I think) to stand in line and grab our stickers for the ferry. Because. I thought there were a finite number of ferries. And I was slightly concerned. I popped into the line, and Megan popped over to the bar to get us some bloody mary power while we waited. But the line moved VERY quickly. So I panicked and hopped out, joining Megan at the bar where we found Jonas, and later Nina and Sonya, too. Christina and Kala assured us we had time to drink a couple bloodies, and that the ferries would be going back and forth all day. Whew. I was worried we’d be trapped on an island until 5. I uh…don’t like outside.

Fish out of water.

Once we got on the ferry, I felt very “Ellis Islandy” and wanted to do a monologue about arriving in the new world, or rap seven Hamilton songs, but kept my mouth shut and made odd faces instead. I did catch the eye of the two people sitting across from me, because we seemed to be irritated at the exact same things. Which is always a nice way to make friends. Shout out Ange and uh…not Ange? I forgot her name because she didn’t friend me on Facebook. I’ll not mention what was so irritating because I’m a nice person. Or I hate confrontation. Probably that one.

Arriving at Half Moon Cay and actually walking around was interesting because I was wearing what I’m calling a bathing suit. And I don’t do that. I had a very Selena-esque bra on, that I pretended was a bathing suit top, and high-waisted bottoms, but I also had a black, mesh t-shirt dress to cover all my lumpy bits (and the bikini area I literally haven’t even seen in a year. Let’s just say I was prepared for 70s night). In a word, I was uncomfortable. I felt exposed. So I drank to forget about that, and we made a beeline right for the food. The food on the island was better than anything I had eaten on the ship, and to make things interesting, we got to make eye contact with live, roaming chickens while we ate jerk chicken. Effectively making us the jerks, and not in fact, the chicken. If I’m being honest, the roaming chickens, especially the tinyfuzzychirpybabies, were the highlight of my trip. They were putting on a chicken parkour show and it was enchanting. It was so much of a show that I half expected someone to interrupt and shout, “Where’s Joe?!” (that’s a 2016 callback.)

No, YOU’RE a jerk chicken!

After we tore ourselves away from the chickens, we hopped back onto the maze of concrete sidewalks and attempted to walk toward the water. We eventually succeeded, and basically just walked into the ocean to put a stop to how em-effing hot it was outside. I don’t “lay out”. I don’t prance on a beach. I hid in the water. I did do a lot of booty dancing, because when you twerk in the ocean, it feels like you’re really good at it. I recommend it. There was a crowd forming near the roped off area, so Megan and I decided to float toward it, just in case something cool happened. What eventually happened was a boat full of New Kids gliding in, and Danny, Jon and Donnie taking a ton of beach selfies with sweaty, swimsuit-clad fans. There was a GIANT line forming to take selfies with Donnie, and I did not want to get out of the water and/or stand in it at all. So I didn’t. I was in shallow water when I realized I was right in front of Q the bodyguard (who you may know as “Z” from last year’s blogs), so I smiled at him and he gave me a side hug and a cheek smooch, which was very sweaty. But very nice. Because he’s basically a giant pile of muscles and swag. So.

I was standing awkwardly in thigh-deep water when I heard a bunch of people shouting my name. I tried to stay at least thigh deep because I hadn’t shaved my legs in several days, and those bitches grow a mean 5-o-clock shadow in a matter of hours. I was trying to protect the masses from the atrocity that is my nearly-nude body, you see. Because I’m a humanitarian. Anyway, people were shouting my name, and when I finally started wandering ashore to see what was happening, I realized Megan was standing with Donnie, and they were both waiting for me to come take a picture. Perfect. I’d never looked better. We did that, and then Donnie told us to go up to the pirate ship and hang out. When Donnie gives an instruction, you take it. Even though it seemed like a literal uphill battle to get there. We went, and we were stopped at the stairs because we did not possess the required “All Access” passes. But luckily, some dude had seen Donnie point and tell us to go there, so he mentioned that to the security bro, and we were let in. It was just the other side of the bar that we had already gone to for drinks. But it was the private side. So we felt cool.

There are arguably too many pairs of sunglasses in this pic.

Donnie came up shortly after we finished doing a samba with Billy from Philly, and embraced us into a very sweaty, very shirtless hug. It was low-key more skin on skin contact than I’ve had in an actual year. Don’t tell anyone that, though. It’ll be uncomfortable. I’m guessing I was feeling some type of way in the moment, because the resulting pictures that someone from across the bar apparently took were very offputting. I don’t give good face. He asked how we were enjoying the cruise so far, if we needed anything and then if we were sure we didn’t need anything. I couldn’t think of anything to even ask for. In retrospect, I should have asked if he could introduce us to Jenny. Kicking myself now. Then, he said he was heading upstairs and asked if we wanted to come. Obviously we did. I didn’t even know what else was upstairs, but again, if Donnie says, you do it.

My face. I just…I can’t.

We started to follow the entourage of Donnie, Cory and Q, but of course Donnie got sidetracked taking more selfies with fans who were outside the ship, like the beautiful angel from heaven he is. We awkwardly loitered behind them because we didn’t know where “upstairs” was or how to get there without Donnie. We didn’t want to actually follow him in his meandering selfie journey, because that would have been hella weird of us, so we just kind of hung back and watched, until we lost sight of him. By the time we saw him again, he was ducking up the stairs and all we could see were the backs of Q’s ankles as they disappeared into the unknown. We tried to follow, about 30 seconds behind. But the security guard at the bottom of the illustrious stairs didn’t know we were allowed up. So he said no. Megan tried to reason with him, assuring him we weren’t just “crazed fans, making up a story about permission”, which of course made us seem like crazed fans, making up a story about permission. I suggested we just forget it, and we argued right in front of that security guard. He refused to use the walky-talky hanging suggestively from his belt to check with Cory or Q to make sure we were allowed. So we just left, and headed back to the water.

The bummed-ness of missing out on the potential to hang out near Joe or have a delightfully awkward moment near Jordan didn’t last long, though. Because about 10 minutes later, all the guys were back on their little dingy, heading back to the big ship. Which is exactly what we did shortly after.

Keep following to read about my favorite of the theme nights, Block-a-versary!

 

NKOTB Cruise X – My Sweaty Valentine Girl (Part 4)

(Catch parts 1, 2 and 3 by clicking those numbers!)

On past cruises, I spent entirely too much time getting ready for theme parties and not enough time finding somewhere good to stand for theme parties, and I vowed to change that this year. This was my year, after all. Of course, I had to allow for last second outfit changes when costume ideas inevitably didn’t work out, or only looked good in theory. So we were a little late to the party on Valentine Girl night. We struggled to dress ourselves because my plan A was basically just to wear a red bathrobe and use liquid latex and synthetic blood to make it look like I had actually been impaled with an arrow. But then I realized I didn’t bring an arrow, and Megan didn’t want to wear her barely-there cupid costume, anyway. So I put on a black dress and tied the sash from my robe around my neck. And Megan put on an all-black waiters’ uniform and some red, heart-shaped sunglasses she stole from Kala. And of course I beat both of our faces with some fancy red eyeshadow accents and it all smacked of the exact thing that happened on “Purple Night” in 2016. Except, you know, with purple.

I rely heavily on makeup.

I was nervous and excited for Megan to experience her first NKOTB deck party. Because, it’s like nothing I had ever seen before (way back in 2016 when I was but a noob.) And I can imagine it would be a WHOLE thing for someone who isn’t even a fan of the dudes. Also, I just don’t know what young people think is fun these days, what with Tide Pods and fidget spinners and like…watching other people play video games on YouTube.

We were coming into this theme party without having had any face time with any of the guys yet, and without even making eye contact with our lord and savior, Donnie Wahlberg. When you walk onto Lido without having an established plan or group or last will and testament, you end up just sort of seeking out whatever semi-empty pocket you can see in the crowd. And that’s usually near one of the bars. So that’s exactly what we did. We high-tailed it to the red bar to grab a spot and take in the spectacle around us. That spectacle happened to include the firemen, who I swear were haunting me already at this point, causing me to side eye so often that I may have pulled a facial muscle. I saw them everywhere. Already. We are not each other’s favorite people. I don’t like misogyny and ickyness and I guess they don’t like when I write about them being misogynist and icky. Go figure. Lucky for us, I also ran into Sara and Starr, in almost the exact same spot I had met them for the first time in 2016. And they were having capital F Fun.

I have this disease that causes me to make a super dumb face whenever a camera is pointed at it.

Even our little out-of-the-way oasis was getting crowded by the time the guys graced us with their dapper selves, so when Misty and Amanda appeared out of nowhere and whisked us to the other side of the deck to find our unofficial crew in all their be-bowed glory, we were grateful. Christina, Kala and co. were situated just outside the blue bar, in a group big enough that it didn’t matter when we added our bodies to it. We continued to drink, take selfies and bop our way over there and over there is where we stayed for the duration of the night. And I’m glad we did, because in that very spot is where Captain Donnie first laid eyes on us, and where my knees melted into goo for the first time that cruise. But not the last. I really enjoy the new thing they’re doing, riding their security guards through the crowd. It’s slightly homoerotic and I’m here for it.

I usually maintain my composure when faced with one of the New Kids. To a fault, sometimes, actually. Because I try so hard to maintain my cool that I end up coming off as aloof and indifferent. Which of course I am not. I am internally losing my shit and mentally double checking everything I said and did for the next seven years. But my face says, “Oh, hey.” It’s a problem. Especially this year when every single one of the guys inexplicably looks a zillion times hotter than usual. Like. What happened? Did they all start eating keto or something? Six packs are back. Face scruff is on point. And as you can see if you watch the video all the way through, I uttered the word “zaddy” in reference to my dear fake Uncle Donnie. Because LOOK AT HIM. Zaddy until the day I die. Or until the day he dies. Which I suspect is never, since I’m subscribing to the theory that he steals his energy from fans and that’s why we all get sick when we get home from the cruise, but he seems to have boundless exuberance at nearly 50 years old. We’re on to you, D! But tbh, you can have it. Take all my energy, zaddy. Agh! Jesus. I can’t stop. Someone get me a glass of water because apparently I’m thirsty.

This blog is coming across rambly and strange, but I’m on so much cold medicine right now that I can’t fix it. So just take this ride with me. I was fueled by vodka and adrenaline and the awkwardness of how I probably held on to Donnie’s hand for way too long, and I was DANCING. I was dancing with a ferocity that would continue throughout the cruise, for some ungodly reason. I’m guessing the reason is that I was trying not to be upstaged by my 24-year-old partner in crime. Unsuccessfully. Megan likes to say, “We love to dance. We were both captains of our high school dance teams.” But like. I was on the dance team 16 years ago. (And it was JV. But shhh. Don’t tell her.) I barely even remember being able to do the splits. Megan can still do it.

The crew was lit.

I had awkwardly danced my way into an adrenaline bubble and I was absolutely psyched to be going to that night’s after party. I had never gotten into the Thursday night after party before. This was uncharted territory. When the deck party died, I reminded Megan that we had only just begun as I guided her to the elevators to hit the 5th floor and the entrance to the ever-coveted after party. As usual, there was already a line of hopeful BHs, waiting to get in if not enough people with wristbands were there. And honestly, I commend them for their patience. I do not possess that kind of smiling hopefulness. And it makes me feel a little bad about waltzing right past it with my shiny green wristband. But like, not bad enough to not do it. When we stepped into the club, however, it was like being hit by a wall of darkness and silence. There was a power issue. Only in the club.

We stood around for a bit, hoping they might fix it and shine the party on, but no. It was cancelled. Except, the thing is, we were all jacked up in preparation for this first big night. All of us. So we turned the casino into an impromptu after-party. Missing the main ingredient, of course. Because Donnie would have to be crazy to venture out into that mess. I’m sure he used the power issue as an opportunity to get some sleep, or to get weird with his hella hot wife. And who can blame him?

 

The fun isn’t over! That’s just the first night. Keep an eye on me for the rest of the recaps, coming soon!

 

NKOTB Cruise X – Games? Games? Games? Games? Games? (Part 3)

(Missed parts 1 and 2? No worries! Just click those numbers and read up!)

Megan was learning the non-stop ways of the cruise very quickly as I dragged her along to the next event after Sail Away. We did stop in our room to freshen up and make use of that $80 bottle of mediocre vodka I had purchased before heading up to the first theater event of the weekend, but there’s only so “fresh” I can get when I’m sweating constantly and aging by the minute. I mention the cost of that damn bottle of vodka every year because every year it annoys me. I need it. I can’t navigate a world where there’s no room to breathe and everyone is after the same thing without it. It helps my face be (moderately) friendly. But damn. $80 and it goes so fast when you don’t sleep. But I do it for all of us, really. You’re welcome.

We managed to find our way to the theater, and with all the excitement of getting on the boat, I hadn’t even looked at my bracelet to see where our seats were. I was pleased to see that they were on the floor, but not so pleased when I sat down in row N, the 2nd to last row that sits under the balcony overhang. But hey, you might be thinking, didn’t you have obstructed view last year? Surely this was better. Don’t worry, friends. There was once again a giant pole in between our legs. But like, too big to be fun. You know. Blocking our view, not sexing us up. No problem. No problem. We could just stand up with everyone else, and simply look around the pole. Easy. Except. When we stood up, all we saw were crotches and thighs and a whole lot of ceiling. Which wasn’t actually terrible when I pointed my eyes at Joe, because there he was without pants, again. I don’t know why and I won’t ask because Joe in his tighty whities was literally the saving grace of Game Show night.

Not a bad view from sitting down. Standing up would be all bulge. Which is probably exactly how Joe feels.

When I say Game Show night, I mean “Game Show” night because boy, was that term used loosely. The guys all looked mildly panicked, like they had just been asked to deliver a book report on something they hadn’t read. Or even heard of. And that book was called “Charades”. None of them seemed to know how charades worked or whether or not people from the crowd were supposed to play. It was a mess. Usually when New Kids things are a mess, they’re an adorable, charming mess. Like when Joe talked at length about his longing to blow a dude in 2016, or when Jon tries to do the YMCA. This just seemed wholly unplanned. Or maybe I just couldn’t see the planned parts. Maybe they had their shit together for Group A. Maybe somebody googled “charades”.

Megan bailed for most of this show, to wander and gather her thoughts or to sleep upside down like a bat or whatever it is she does when she’s not in front of my face, so I relied on the ladies behind me for entertainment and a snark two-way road. They kept saying to each other everything I was thinking to myself (and jotting down as notes for this blog). I don’t know their names, (but I do know that they are @dewswaterbottle on social media). One thing I will say, is that the guys seemed to know that what was happening was sad and cobbled together. At one point, Joe shouted, “You’re just cheering because I put my hands up and you saw my balls!” Which was funny, but questionable. I’ve never once cheered for balls. Dicks? Sure. As long as I asked to see said dick. But balls? Don’t think for one second that even Sexy McSexerson Joey McIntyre has cute balls. But like. I’d still look. I just wouldn’t cheer. I don’t mean to be a complainer, but there was so much not happening on stage that it was getting dangerously close to when Joe literally meditated silently for 5 minutes onstage last year. NOT AGAIN! There were several moments of clear self-awareness, however, which the guys are always good for. Joe mentioned how the show was on life support, and Donnie gave a sarcastic recap of the evening that out-snarked even me. But you guys. Joe is genuinely funny. Like. I am a comic. A stand-up. I hang out with comedians almost exclusively. And he’s fucking funny. I love/hate it because it makes me believe in fate. My 4-year-old self could sense a connection even in 1988. (I usually keep the thirst in check but he looked GOOD this year. Better than normal. Must be all the meditation and airing out of balls.)

Heeeey…snarky ladies!

Megan popped back in long enough to say, “Wow, Danny is completely hairless. He looks like hardwood floors.” which made me laugh out loud and probably spit out some precious, precious vodka. I did tell her that Donnie is also hairless, and wondered out loud if that made him hardwood floors as well, or more like a tasteful porcelain tile. I personally prefer a nice Berber carpet. Like Joe. Then we made our way out of there and got our hands on some After-Party bracelets. The kind that gets you in all weekend but looks a little like a hospital bracelet, which is actually appropriate considering I likely need medical attention after partying that hard for that long. How did we get them? Magic, probably.

Did we ever eat? I honestly couldn’t say. We may have eaten before the game show, but probably not. I just looked at the itinerary and there doesn’t seem to be time. I don’t see us eating before the lido party either, but we must have at some point. I’m a fat lady. I like eating. But I also like attention, so it stands to reason that we would just haul ass back to our cabin to get dressed for the Valentine Girls deck party. We had grand plans that involved gore makeup and a badass cupid costume that we quickly abandoned when faced with the reality of wearing those things in public, and ended up in our uniform of all black with a pop of red to fit the theme. Because we’re SO cool. But really because we’re so unprepared.

We are here.

I try to keep these at around a thousand words apiece for attention span reasons, so, this is it for now. Keep following to read about the first theme party and everything else that happened on this crazy cruise adventure. It only gets wilder.

 

 

 

NKOTB Cruise X – Sail Away Promises (Part 2)

(Missed part 1? Read it here!)

Most of our hotel-mates arose bright and early to go stand in line to hop on the boat, but as I’ve mentioned in great detail before, I hate standing in lines. And I hate being hot. (It’s a curse with this fantastic bod, I tell ya). That was a joke about being sexy. Just wanted to set the sarcastic tone a bit for first-time readers. Anyway, Megan and I slept in to avoid being actual corpses for the rest of the week, and then just sort of hung out at the resort until late afternoon, chatting with the resort employees and trying to practice speaking Spanish. Porque, solamente hablo español cuando estoy borracha.

We may have overdone the waiting around, though, because by the time we grabbed a Lyft, it was already pushing 1:45. And Megan needed sunglasses. We prepared to ask the Lyft driver to stop at a CVS on the way to port by having the resort staff teach us that phrase in Spanish. But when I said it out loud to the driver, he stared at me blankly. So I tried to piece together what little Spanish I knew and with the help of translating apps on each of our phones, we made it happen. Then he tried to drive us to the airport. After that was corrected and translated, we missed the exit for our port, and had to loop back around. At this point it was around 2:30 and I was panicking. I do like to waltz right onto the boat, but I definitely want to MAKE the boat. Instead of panicking, Megan was inexplicably spreading all of her stuff around the backseat of the Lyft, even putting the sunglasses she had just purchased in some strange cubby on the back of the center console, as if on a mission to leave them behind.

These pants were a risk, but not as big of a risk as our Lyft driver.

We screeched up to Terminal B, and I hopped out to ask the luggage dudes if it was for SURE the New Kids cruise, and they all shouted at me to hurry up because they were closing up luggage shop. So I in turn screamed to Megan to get out of the Lyft and get her luggage to these loud, angry men. We made it. Just as we stepped into the doorway of Terminal B, a brief and voracious downpour started, barely missing us and our Miami-frizzed hair. I took this as a sign of good luck that all of my compiled three years of cruise dreams were about to come true.

The process of getting on the boat seemed chaotic and ill-planned, even though we were the only people trying to get on. It seemed as if we had caught every Carnival employee on a break, and nobody wanted to tell us where the hell to go. We eventually found our way on, and hauled ass right to our cabin on deck 2 to attempt to get some door decorations up before Muster (or “mustard”, as Megan genuinely thought it was called. Because some people don’t like mustard. Logic!). We did not get any door decor up, but we did get a knock on the door and a visit from Miss Kelley, who I had only spoken to via Facebook. We were a little flustered and rushing and I’m sure Megan was a bit overwhelmed but before we knew it, it was time to go stand in the mustardy, moist heat for the safety drill. The drill that never ends. The drill that is led by the most attractive men and women I’ve ever seen all together outside of S Club 7. Do you think they pick overly attractive people just to taunt us while we sweat and whine? Last year Andrea Barber was standing in front of me, but this year there were no celebs for me to study in mundane circumstances, so I just paid attention like a jerk.

Ain’t no party like an S Club party. Except probably a New Kids party. Those are pretty lit.

After the sweet release, Megan and I took our Inaccurate & Inappropriate t-shirt-clad selves up to Lido deck for Megan’s first experience in true Blockhead culture. The sail away party. We had promised several people who purchased our t-shirts that we’d meet up with them for a group photo after, so we dutifully wore ours and kept an eye out for others as we tried to find a decent spot to stand where, let’s be honest, we’d be visible to the Donnie. Megan peeled off to grab drinks and I spotted the other parts of the former Trouble Trifecta, Rae and Jenn. We approached them with an enthusiasm that was not at all matched, so after a quick hello, I retreated from the sun with my wagging tail between my legs. Which, seems like it would feel kind of good. The Miami sun was beating us like it was in the NFL and we couldn’t take it. We took cover under the red bar and that’s where we stayed put until the last syllables of “Live it, live it, live it up” echoed in our ears. Side note: “Girl, I don’t cheat but I want to”? Terrible lyrics. Terrible. That song is like all of Taylor Swift. I hate it but I can’t stop grooving to it. We did not get near any of the bros on the block, but we did talk about how they manage to just get hotter as the years go on. Which is frankly, just rude to those of us who are barely past 30 and getting grosser every day. I mean, I’m almost 34 but I can barely remember the past three years so I’m not counting them. I briefly quizzed Megan on which New Kid was which, and she almost got it right, only mixing up Jordan and Joe. We were on our way to a helluva Blockhead weekend.

We had never made an actual time/location plan for taking our I&I group pic, so I posted a selfie to what I thought was the I&I Facebook page, reminding everyone to meet us after the guys left. As it turns out, I was paying too much attention to Donnie’s open shirt, and not enough attention to my phone because I posted it to my personal page, doing us no good. So. Megan and I decided to just sort of stand near the doors to the elevators and look available. Kind of like the strategy I used to employ at school dances. I did run into Cait, another lovely who I had only known from Facebook and who I creeped out by knowing her name, so that was nice. When it had been an embarrassingly long time and we still hadn’t seen anyone with our shirts on, we figured our flash in the pan was already over, shrugged and bounced down to our cabin to get acclimated and get those damn door decorations up.

This reminder to meet up for a group pic remains untouched on my Facebook.

We lacked planning for most aspects of this trip, and the door decorations were no different. What we ended up with, were a bunch of pictures of the two of us, some post-its and instructions for people to roast us. It became a very fun game to come back to the room and see what hilarious thing a fellow Blockhead had left on our door. Although, it did take a little prodding to get you hearts of gold to actually be mean.

 

(Look out for part 3 to hear about the “game show” and Valentine Girl night!)

 

 

NKOTB Cruise X – Changes Afoot and Pre-Cruise (Part 1)

Here we are again, my friends. Three years of cruises (for me) and three years of long-winded blog recaps. I used to think these were just self-indulgent ramblings, but so many of you stopped me on the boat to make sure I was planning to write them, that I now realize these blogs are literary masterpieces and should immediately be added to the American canon. Let’s get published.

This year’s cruise was pretty much a first for me, because I completely switched up my squad and went as one half of the comedy duo, Inaccurate & Inappropriate, rather than myself. It was I&I’s trip to mingle with fans of our show, take as many selfies as possible and of course, to farm some content for future videos. I was pumped. Not only did Donnie “know” me better this time, but he knew us as a duo (you know, from that long-ago interview I&I snagged with him outside a concert venue last year). Megan, who had been on the periphery of the BH Fandom for over a year now, agreed to come on this cruise to see what all the hype was about, and to see our dear “Uncle Donnie” once again. But she wasn’t even born until after they broke up, and essentially only knows about Donnie. You’ve seen the “training video”. You know. But this was going to be it. This was going to be the cruise I had always dreamed of, with boy band best friendships, stage time and even more “Blockhead Fame” than these blogs have brought me. (I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but uh…I’m a comedian and an attention-hungry performer.) Everything was in place to fuel my ego-needs and to pump up the BHLove barometer that had been lacking in IRL interactions for months. Videos had been posted. T-Shirts had been sold. Hype had been formulated.

We seem close.

Megan and I booked a flight that left Grand Rapids at 6:00am on Wednesday morning, so we decided to stay up all of Tuesday night rather than attempt to get up early enough to make it to the airport. Which is something we needed anyway, since neither of us were even remotely ready for the theme nights or to leave the country at all before then. We’re a mess. Turns out, I had other people plan everything in years past, and just clicked whichever Amazon links they sent me. That was easier. Luckily, another Grand Rapids BH was heading to the airport at the same time, and scooped us up on her way. (Big shout out to Nicki for driving our sleep-deprived butts!)

Such a diva.

When we finally arrived in Miami, it was about noon and we were pretty psyched to see the sites a bit (or maybe take a nap forever). But first, we needed to get to the hotel we were sharing with several women we hadn’t met. When we arrived, we grabbed our room key and tentatively knocked/opened the door super fast to hopefully catch someone in the nude. Nothing makes for a better first impression than an unexpected nude. Alas, everyone was dressed and the introductions were chaste. These ladies would become our go-to squad for the remainder of the trip. Particularly the ever-chill Misty and the firecracker birthday girl, Amanda. What we didn’t realize, was that our hotel was basically a resort. So instead of leaving, we hopped in the pool to quell the actual melting of our goth-leisure bodies in the Miami heat. The literal heat. Not the sports team. Although, I’m sure they could melt my body too if you know what I mean. Wink wink. (Sex.)

Serving gothleisure poolside

When it was finally time to hit the town, we decided to head to the only semi-organized pre-cruise event we had heard of; the Karaoke Meet Up. It was the first step in our “meet all the people!” plan and boy did we. Sweet Caroline’s was shoulder-to-shoulder packed with Blockheads and one unsuspecting bachelorette party that had no idea why all these people knew the words to several songs they had never heard before. It was a nice practice round for the cruise. After a year, I forget how to navigate this fandom without being a shover. I just don’t have it in me to push my way somewhere. You want me there? Great. Grab me. If not, I’m not going. This is why I don’t get selfies with famous people or good spots to stand in crowded bars. I hate being somewhere I’m not supposed to be.

There were so many people dying for a little stage time at the karaoke bar, that the DJ had to make an announcement that everyone would only get ONE song. This is especially important to remember as I launch into a confused diatribe a little later on. That was foreshadowing with training wheels. Because it’s happening right now. So you don’t even have to remember.

I don’t know who Roger Ortega is. I know that he says he’s a recording artist and I think that’s fantastic. Live your dreams, boo. But the little 4-song concert he put on at the karaoke bar was very confusing and oddly placed to me. I didn’t really see him before or after that, so was it just a “pop in, this is my show now, here’s a random concert, bye forever”? Did he plan it ahead of time? What did that phone call sound like? Did he use Facebook Messenger to set it up? How does one phrase that? After Roger opened for us (just kidding), Megan and I did manage to hop on stage to do a shouty rendition of “You Learn” by Alanis, and to throw out a teensy bit of shade.

BOTHER US!

We met a bunch of people and took selfies when asked and it was phenomenal. We love when people pretend we’re famous. Truly. It is my favorite thing. A very nice woman kept saying how much she loved our show but how she didn’t want to bother us because we were on vacation. But we were on vacation to be bothered. Bother us ALL THE TIME. It’s the only thing that keeps us going. Just pretend I’m Tinker Bell and I’ll die without your applause.

And then it was time to go to bed for the first and last time.

 

Part 2 is coming shortly behind this, so keep an eye out!

 

We Are All Donnie Girls

Here’s the thing. I miss you guys. Hyperbolically, mostly, because I don’t really know many of you. But I miss the idea of community that we have. And yes, this is a big ol’ mess of pandering nonsense because I haven’t had enough attention this week, but that doesn’t mean there’s no sincerity to it. It’s been too long since there’s been a “New Kids Happening” and I’m in withdrawal. Big time. So this isn’t an event recap, because there are no events. But I needed to write something.

We all have one major thing in common, and that thing lets us relate to each other on a level that’s different from other people in our lives. I have best friends I’ve known since I was 10 years old, and they side-smile and shake their head a little when I talk about this fandom. Not with malice, but because they’re not in it. We’re a tight-knit group with a common goal and way of thinking. And other things that sort of describe a cult without ever saying cult. Because we’re not creepy like a cult. I’m doing too much with the word “cult”. Moving on.

Of course, the thread that holds us all together (aside from NKOTB as a whole) is the one and only Donnie Wahlberg. He throws us Twitter-breadcrumbs to keep us occupied in the off season, and those breadcrumbs lead us out of the forest of our everyday mundanity. I’m not a huge fan of white guys, as a species, but this one is different. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Donnie is the best dude I’ve ever met. And I’m not the only person who thinks so. You’ve heard the My So Called Whatever podcast. They have merch spouting this very mantra: We Are All Donnie Girls. And we are. Most people, myself included, can’t even manage to be nice to the people in their office. Somehow Donnie has the wherewithall to be nice to thousands of people all at once, ALL THE TIME. It never ends for him. He’s always bombarded with outstretched hands, pleading for a tiny morsel of his attention. Thousands of Oliver Twists. I got 3 Facebook messages yesterday and I had to actively try not to be irritated. And these were messages I genuinely needed to answer.

Way to make a gal feel special.

Way to make a gal feel special.

But the thing is, when he does give you a piece of his attention, it’s sort of addicting. He has a way of making you feel like he genuinely likes you as a person. And maybe he does. Maybe he’s literally Jesus. Or like, whatever the modern, bedazzled, bubble-butted version of that would be. But most likely, he just understands people. He understands what we need from him in the brief moment of interaction and he delivers.

Now, maybe I’m projecting my own experience onto the global “us”, but I doubt it. I’m pretty intuitive. At least that’s what I tell people when I make sweeping generalizations in my standup comedy. But Donnie is somehow everything I should innately distrust in a person (a straight, white male in his 40s who has a lot of money), and my very favorite person. I think he’s a witch. Donnie will say, “I just love you” to me (in the way where it could easily be substituted with “you’re ridiculous” and a smiling head shake) and sure, I’ll get a little nervous and say something dumb like “back atcha”, but he doesn’t sound creepy or contrived. It sounds like I want to be his foster kid. Sure, I’m 33 years old. But I’m not like, an adult adult. I could use some supervision.

At first, all the positivity on his Twitter feed made my sarcastic soul roll its eyes, but then it started popping up when I was having a shitty day, or a shitty attitude, or just being a shitty person in general. And I realized that’s why he posts it. For the one person who might need to see it in that moment. Not because he’s sitting cross-legged and meditating in his own good advice for 5 straight minutes (*cough* Joey *cough*). He has this celebrity thing figured out, my dudes. He really does. I’m still skeptical about people who are just genuinely good. But I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Or sit down with a vodka/redbull and a list of interview questions. Because I’m a journalist, dammit. And a hopeless fangirl.

I'm uh...not photogenic.

I’m uh…not photogenic.

One time he said the phrase, “before we knew each other” to me, and I almost forgot that we’ve literally only spent about 3 solid minutes speaking to each other. I jokingly refer to him as my BFF, but I’m not opposed to making it official. I have room in my life. In the words of Mindy Kaling, “best friend is a tier, not a person”.

So, Donnie my dude, let’s be besties. I could use some of your “good guy” vibe. We all could.