(Do your homework! Read parts 1-8 HERE)
I was trying to wait for the group photos to be posted before I wrote this, and it was half procrastination, half waiting for inspiration. As we get further and further from the actual cruise, it becomes more difficult to remember events in the exhaustive detail I like to write. But, since Babs is surely at the mercy of the New Kids (he said the other day that he has the photos edited and uploaded and they’ll be to us soon), and since “soon” means whatever Donnie wants it to mean, I figured I’d better just get this one out without the photo evidence.
Sunday was a rough start, I’m not going to lie. I spent the previous night/early morning vomiting my life away in the cabin while my Trouble Trifecta had the most fun without me. But the morning of our photo-op had arrived, and it was pretty much the only face time we were getting with the guys, so I was not going to miss it. Plus, it was the last day. A bittersweet thing for someone who just sort of wanted to be on dry land, but maybe bring the New Kids with her. I had had a pretty crappy experience thus far, and was determined to turn it all around for the last day. So I got up, got dressed, and beat my damn face like a bad bitch. Rae was still in bed, writhing from a horrendous hangover. She wandered back to the cabin sometime around 7am. It was 10. I felt for her. Sort of. At least she hurt because she had fun. I hurt because my body really hates motion. I wonder if I can use that excuse if I’m tired during sex…
We already had a full photo group, at least. I had to recruit one last Jon girl by promising I’d grab her butt and write her into this blog. My intention was that I’d spend some time with her to make that first thing happen, and then the second would follow organically. But I was so sick, I barely even got to speak to her. Jenn J., I’m sorry I didn’t grab your butt. Please forgive me. We were supposed to meet the rest of the girls in our photo group sometime around 9am, but obviously, had to push that back a few times. Rae did manage to get ready in under 20 minutes, which was unprecedented. I’m sure it had something to do with her funereal sleep-pose, but still. Now we knew she could do it. Most of the girls were already in line, so we wandered up to the front to get in our pre-set group of 10, and waited in nauseated silence for the line to start moving. I was taking a big risk by wearing burgundy lipstick instead of blue. Donnie had recognized me with red lipstick at the after-party, so…I had hope that he wasn’t face blind after all. I wasn’t standing with him this year, either. I was with Joe. My forever-favorite. So there were risks all around. I’d only have about 4 and a half seconds to speak to Donnie as I walked past him to get situated next to Joe before the click of that way-too-fast camera. How was I supposed to convey that I needed him to help me get famous? To introduce me to Jenny so we can all be best friends forever? To let me play a dead body on Blue Bloods? To share one of my blog posts, at the very least? I was stressing. It goes so fast. I know this. Last year I panicked, and I’ve panicked in every meet-n-greet photo I’ve ever had. But I was determined to not be weird.
Being normal when you’re seasick and face to face with men you’ve literally idolized since birth is a tall order. And no, I didn’t pull it off. Z was there, helping everyone onto the small stage (and no doubt looking at butts). So I mentioned something about his ever-present sweatpants to break the tension a bit. Then I greeted Danny in the exact same way it happened last year. By forcing him to look at me because I was aggressively standing in front of him and saying, “Hi Danny.” in a dry voice. He sort of tap-hugged me and I moved on. That was a fair response. But then it was Donnie. He grabbed me into a hug and said, “I adore you.” My whole body collapsed into a pile of fangirl dust, and I said, “Aw, I’m glad you recognize me without my blue lipstick!” He replied, “Uh yeah, I’m a fan!” Before pulling me into one more hug. And then I blacked out. I have a memory of touching his sweater and saying, “I like this sweater.” But I could have made that up. It seems too normal. Who knows. I do know that as I walked the 6 inches to Jordan, I said over my shoulder, “Keep watchin’ the show!” and then got so pissed at myself. I meant Inaccurate & Inappropriate, of course. But sheesh. I know he was just being nice when he said he was a fan. I know he doesn’t have time to keep up with my comedy. But in the moment, I panicked. Like I do. Then I transferred that panic to Jordan, said hello and had to initiate a hug. Which is something I am NOT good at. It was ass-out, double-tap for sure. Jordan did say, “Look at you!” which at first I was pleased with (I was wearing a VERY tight/short blue dress and am always low on confidence) but in retrospect, that’s something I say to toddlers when I don’t know what else to say about their weird twirl.
Shaking my head, but chalking it up to just another in a series of awkward interactions with Jordan, I moved on to Joe. He asked how I was doing, and I answered, “Pretty damn seasick!”. Because of course I’d want the man I thought I was going to marry as a literal baby to picture me vomiting. Of course. He said, “Hehe…yeah, it’s bad this year”, and gently prodded me into position for the photo. I have no memory of what I did for this photo. I can pretty much guarantee I forgot to suck in my stomach and stand up straight. Which means instead of my sexy hourglass silhouette, which can only be achieved if all levers and pullies are working correctly, I likely look like my name is Violet Beauregarde and I ate the wrong piece of gum. But we’ll see. If one of my arm-rolls is showing, I sincerely quit. I don’t know what I quit. But I quit.
In the daze that happens right after your photo is snapped, I stepped up to Jon, said something (literally cannot remember what), hugged him and zombie-walked out of there. And I kept that damn dress on all day. Blueberries and all.