For those not in the know, the cruise package comes with a guaranteed photo op with all five members of The New Kids and 9 women you’ve maybe just met. Two girls per guy is, in this instance, more disturbing than two girls, one cup. At any rate, it’s a memory you’ll cherish for all time and definitely not crop just yourself and half a New Kid out of. The problem, of course, is that most girls will fight dirty to stand next to their favorite (usually being Joe, Jordan or Donnie) leaving poor Jon and Danny spots endlessly open as new groups form in hopes of locking in that coveted Donnie spot. My forever favorite is Joe, thank you for asking, but I saw an opportunity for a Donnie spot and I grabbed it. Those are unheard of. Especially a week before the cruise, which is when I got mine, thanks to the lovely Jennifer. Everyone has their own reasons, but if you were to ask me why I’d prefer not to stand next to Danny, I’d say it’s because he’s the one I have the most photos with, as the most accessible (but really it’s because I’m a lot taller than him and I’m not tryna look like a giant). Most girls will tell you they don’t want to stand by Jon because they “don’t have what he likes”, but I’m a bit more self aware and realize that I don’t have what ANY of the guys like. Unless they just indiscriminately like body parts that surround a focal vagina. In that case, I very much do have radial body parts, boys, so come and get me.
Friday morning began with an expected hangover and my first experience in a cruise-ship shower. Despite the concerning sign warning to “not scald” myself, that’s exactly what I did. On the nipple. (I’ve since recovered). I had to be up by 7:30 after partying all night because I had to get fresh, clean and snatched for the photo-op, of course. As I was struggling to focus my eyes enough to draw my eyebrows on straight, I got a phone call on the cabin phone (the only reliable method of communication on the ship). The voice didn’t introduce itself, just said, “I’m fucking dying”, and I knew it was Jennifer. We had plans to meet at 9am to get toward the front of the photo line and be done with the whole thing earlier rather than later. Thankfully, everyone seemed to be on “Donnie time” (a coined term meaning whenever you happen to be ready, regardless of appointed time) and we arrived to the already massive line by around 10am.
I was tarted up in my special “plus size hoochie” outfit, Michael Kors high top kicks and some bright blue lipstick (as had become my signature color on the ship) and I was feeling VERY sassy for the early hour. Once our group made our way into the photo room, the line flew by. I had never done a cattle-line photo op before, so I was studying the interactions of the groups before ours. Each group of ten people (women…it’s…it’s women) has approximately 2 seconds to scramble to their spot, look like a human person for the photo and then get the hell out of sight of the band. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not much of one. As far as I could tell, we would be allowed to say a quick hello and even more quickly embrace each New Kid as we moved past him on our way to our designated man. As I was a Donnie Girl for the day, I only had to say hello to Danny before I got to Donnie and got situated. As you may have read in my novella about the time I met Nick Carter, or the time I asked Aaron Carter if I could hold him on my hip like a toddler, I’m extremely awkward under M&G pressure. I stared at Danny for a good 3 seconds before saying “Um, hi!” and he sort of smiled and nodded before urging me with his eyes to move the hell on.
Next in line was Donnie. I sidled up next to him, smiled and gave him a quick hug before he looked down and said, “Oh, hey! I really like your shoes!” so I panicked and blurted, “Yeah, so do I!” instead of thanking him for the compliment. Because I guess I’m an asshole when I panic. I think I stood up straight and looked in the direction of the camera, but I honestly have no idea. It’s all so fast. I might be a hunchback with one squinty eye for all I know. And I won’t know for another couple of weeks when they post these dastardly pictures. Fingers crossed, everyone. Can’t be worse than my photo with Nick Carter:
The girl in front of me, the other Donnie Girl, must have been in a bit of shock as well because she did not move after that camera click. We’re supposed to march forward and briefly greet/hug the other guys as we make our way out of there, but she didn’t. She just stood there. The security guard tried to gently prod her while making sure she didn’t trip and she just looked at him and stood there. Which made me have to stand there. By the time she started moving her feet, the vibe was SUPER awkward. Jordan was staring at us, or maybe through us, and I panicked yet again and just sort of went in for a hug while he wasn’t ready. I basically assumed the Heimlich stance on him, from the front (I know) without exerting any force (thankfully), then I calmly moved on and said a very cordial hello to Joe, my forever favorite. Bless his heart, he smiled and said he loved my lipstick (which might have been my motivation for keeping that same shade on for most of the next few days, but I’ll never admit to that in court). I gave him a quick hug, then shuffled down to step on Jon’s foot while he flinched slightly and said, “Hey sweetheart” or something more Jon-like that I definitely blacked out.
Then I robotically shuffled my way off the platform and back into the sea of waiting ladies so I could hurry up and think about my awkwardness for the rest of my life.