A Shot to Remember

Originally Posted: April 19, 2007

At the start of my first contract I was lucky enough to have a wise veteran with a similar outlook explain to me the things that aren’t in the manual. The truest lesson from my Ship Sensi was that when you meet someone again on another contract the relationship automatically leaps to the next level. Acquaintances become drinking buddies and drinking buddies become friends the instant you set eyes on them again. In a world where all our connections dissolve completely every five or six months, a familiar face carries a lot of weight. And so, high on the list of the unexpected joys for ship’s crew is bumping into friends who are now on other ships. Such was the case for me in Cozumel.

She started as a neighbour on another ship, progressing quickly to a dining buddy as we discovered similar tastes. A beautiful New Zealander (they’re affectionately known as Kiwis) with effervescent charm and a knack for bringing any plan to fruition, she’s easy to like. Only last week she e-mailed me, promising to buy lunch should we ever meet up. It was an easy promise to make, for while our ships hit some of the same ports, they do so days apart. In this life that means “not a chance”. The fates were with us, though, as I looked out my office window in Cozumel to see her ship parked alongside. I sent an e-mail congratulating her on changing the ship’s course just to buy me lunch (hey, if anyone could do it, this Kiwi could!).

Lunch was at a wonderful Chinese restaurant overlooking the ocean, joined by her friend, a fellow Canuck, and an Auzzie from my ship who’d been together with us on our previous contracts. Even though we’d only parted three months ago, the joy of the reunion resembled that of three years separation shoreside. I’m not sure why it’s so, but perhaps it has to do with spending every day with someone and then seeing them not at all. After lunch we moved on to Señor Frog’s, a popular chain of bars down here that barely manage to contain the perpetual party within.

For the uninitiated, this place is hard to describe. Long before you see the place, you can hear the bass beat and the whistles. As you draw nearer, the music and laughter fill in the gaps, creating a wala particular to intoxicated tourists having a good time in the Caribbean. We found a table amidst the throng and our waiter arrived as we did. A charming young Mexican man, he was full of smiles and laughter as he took our order. I remember the Kiwi saying something about a shot. Still, I was unprepared for the delivery.

Shortly thereafter a sexy young woman arrived with a bottle, a whistle, a shot glass and a blindfold. With precision timing and exceptional good humour, she proceeded to blindfold the Canuck across from me, pour a shot down her throat, shake her head (to properly scramble her brain, I assume), grab and juggle her breasts and slap her arse, all while creating shrill screams on the whistle. There was laughter all around (how could anyone watch this and not laugh?) as well as photographic evidence of the moment. The rest of us received the same basic treatment in progression, with slight variations for the character and attire of the recipient. I, for instance, experienced the added shock of having the empty souvenir shot glass plunged down my cleavage. The Auzzie managed to escape by pointing out that she was in uniform, but even so, she gave a startled squeal as her breasts were grabbed from behind, perhaps the assigned punishment for spoilsports.

Having had opportunity to watch this performance twice over on my table-mates and several more times around the room, it was no great surprise when another woman arrived to perform the ritual again, on the order of a table of guys a few paces away. It must be the most worthwhile drink a guy could ever buy a girl. I imagine it could be equally gratifying for girls to buy for guys, as the breast juggling is replaced with raising his shirt to tweak his nipples.

As I sat and watched the scene around me, the whole thing got me thinking (clear evidence that I think too much). I’m intrigued that in today’s society women grabbing women and men like this in public is so acceptable. If the tables were turned, if it were male servers doing the grabbing, I have no doubt there would be objections from men and women alike. So why is this OK? Why the double standard? Furthermore (and this I should ask this of my friends) what do straight women get out of it all? Is it really just a drink?

All told a good time was had. We enjoyed the drinks, the laughs and the company before moving down the strip to another bar offering a swimming pool. As for Señor Frog’s, I do recommend it… there’s no denying the experience was unique. I wonder why my Ship Sensi didn’t warn me about this?

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