You may be able to tell by this installment’s title, but the days had started blurring together a bit by the 3rd morning. This was mostly due to the complete lack of sleep to distinguish one day from the next. We were taking hour-long naps whenever we could, but with no clear pattern.
As I mentioned in the last installment, Rachael and I were the proud owners of VIP After Party wristbands. We didn’t really know what that meant, only that very few are given out and we definitely wanted to be in that club. I pushed aside any feelings of fatigue and we marched right down to the on-board nightclub, straight past the line of girls waiting to see if they might get in (I think that’s a thing if not a lot of people got wristbands, maybe?) and bopped our way right to the dance floor. But the dance floor was sweaty and I had already been sweating in my synthetic fabric and control-top tights for about 19 hours at that point (delicious), so we grabbed drinks and opted for a more sparsely populated, elevated spot with couches and junk. You know, to survey the land.
What we didn’t realize was that we were in the VIP of the VIP. Meaning, it was heavily guarded by one giant Donnie bodyguard (I believe his name is Cory, but he also probably answers to “Giant Hunk of Man-Meat”). There was nobody of note up there, so we just sort of shrugged and figured we’d leave if Cory made us. I thought he was just standing up there to keep an eye on the place from a high-up vantage point, like a lifeguard, but for drowning in overzealous fans instead of water. I was still feeling pretty dancey, even at the ridiculous hour of (probably) 4am, so that’s what I did. I danced. Probably badly. But at least there’s no documentation of it since phones/cameras are not allowed into the after-party. At least there’s that.
I had no expectations for the after-party except of course that it would be an intimate gathering of cruise elite, hob-nobbing with New Kids until dawn, and then we’d all be best friends forever. I’m mostly kidding. My logical side knew it would probably just be an extension of the Lido Deck parties, but the part of me that still thinks I might win the lottery one day was holding out hope for some New Kids face time. But there were no faces. There was barely a Donnie face. Or maybe I just didn’t notice a Donnie face because I was preoccupied with trying to seem like I didn’t notice that Jenny McCarthy and her entourage had alighted DIRECTLY behind me on the couches, so they had the unfortunate view of my giant ass pretending it knows how to dance. And of course, where there’s a Jenny, there’s a Donnie.
I can only speak for myself, and not Rachael. She’s probably VERY cool. But I was doing that thing where I just dance oddly hard (I don’t know) and every few seconds steal glances over my shoulder to make sure Jenny is still there and that she’s still a celebrity. You know, like what totally normal, not starstruck people would do. I absolutely did not make eye contact, or at least, I don’t think I did. Which is either better or worse, I’m not sure. For a lot of the time, Donnie and Jenny were sitting three feet from me, making out and canoodling and being the Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris this world needs. (RIP). And we barely even acknowledged them. I’m not sure what my strategy was, other than hoping they’d mistake me for a cool person and invite me into their world. So there I was, just manically dancing and pretending to not be aware that Dennie (Donnie + Jenny = Dennie, get off me) was so close to me I could practically feel the heat from their constant friction, even when Donnie was speaking into the microphone he carries with him always. I must have seemed SO cool and above it all.
Taking a quick break from being too cool for drool (see what I did there?), I seized an opportunity with Cory when it arose. He scared me by telling me not to move and I thought for sure the jig was up. They had found out we didn’t belong and we were going to be removed. But, we were fine. Cory just wanted to use my arm as a flat surface to sign his receipt for the bar. The joke’s on him, though, since there’s not a flat surface on my entire body. Squish-Squish, Cory! Since Cory and I were obviously such close friends at that point, I leaned in and asked him how a girl like me would get into the next night’s after party. Then he reached into his pocket, pulled out two “Saturday” wristbands and handed them to me with a smile. The pressure was off. We were already in for the next night. I showed Rachael with a raise of the eyebrows (since it was her idea for me to ask, anyway) and we silently squealed. Then we noticed that Donnie and Jenny were sneaking off, so we took the cue to leave as well. It was closing in on 7am and we had to find it in ourselves to leave the ship for Mexico in mere hours.
Up with the sun after only maybe an hour, Rachael left for her shore excursion to swim with dolphins while I glared at the idea of sun, fun and anything other than sweet, sweet death. I was hungover. In a very real way. And we had JUST crawled into bed after pretending we didn’t care about Donnie and Jenny all morning. It was exhausting.
Somehow I found the will to get up and put on fresh makeup. That will was Jennifer. We had made a pact to get off the ship and at least experience a bit of Cozumel while we were docked, and that’s just what we did. We stumbled out sometime around 11:30am and I immediately burst into flames under the hot Mexican sun. I was wearing my newly purchased bathing suit, but only out of obligation. I had bought it for the cruise, after all, and this seemed to be my only chance to rock it. We grabbed a cab to “el centro” and asked the cabbie to take us somewhere “local” with good food. He did not. I’m pretty sure he took us to the Mexican version of Applebees, actually. Fuck that guy. We did manage to find a small bar to waste the rest of our time in, however. This bar had swings instead of barstools and it was delightful. We pounded some tequila shots and ordered margaritas the size of our heads while we bonded and became drunk best friends. The bartender, Estefano, was a 24-year-old hottie, and all too happy to pour more tequila into my margarita as I drank it (without me asking). We asked the lovely Marbella if she knew who NKOTB was (she did not), and then the bar was filled with the sounds of any and all New Kids songs these people-pleasers could find. It was, honestly, the most fun part of my trip.
Jennifer and I swung, drank tequila, laughed, sang, made silly videos, argued over who would marry Estefano before agreeing to be sister-wives, and then sadly, had to get back to port to hop back on the ship. We made a quick stop at the duty-free shop so Jennifer could grab cigs, and I for some reason traded phone numbers with a hot guy who was on a different cruise ship. We texted briefly and then I forgot all about him until just now. What a whirlwind 30-second romance. Ah, Mexico.