July 12, 2013

Alaska Cruise Problem #2: A Mild Discontent

As the seven-day cruise progressed, I began to realize something was bothering me. The cruise was certainly surpassing my expectations. I've often traveled by myself and loved it, so that wasn't it. It was only a mild feeling of unease or discontent, and I didn't brood about it.

On the last night of the cruise, the light bulb clicked on. For the final fling, the ship didn't feature the usual night club act. Instead, we were encouraged to show up in the lounge -- with its dance floor -- for an evening of Beatles songs. In light of the average age of the passengers, the evening was a big hit. I sat in the back of the lounge, watched the "older" couples on the dance floor, and thought how great it was that they were loving the old songs . . . and each other.

Then it hit me. Deep down, I was feeling like I used to feel as an adolescent growing up in Ithaca, and then attending Cornell while still living at home. During those years, I felt I was the only homosexual around. The overwhelmingly hetero environment on the ship brought back that painful old feeling.

A Wonderful Mix of Friends
I love that my close friends are a mix of young and old, gay and straight, male and female, native-born and recent immigrants. It's a "mix" I've always wanted. Many gays I know prefer living in what I call "the gay ghetto," but that's not for me. Many of my gay friends have taken all-gay cruises -- something I don't think I'd really enjoy.

I'm sure this mild discontent won't be a problem on my upcoming 11-day cruise from Venice to Barcelona, since I'll be traveling with my family. Now that my aversion to group travel and cruises has been replaced with enjoyment of both, I've been looking at possible cruises around South America, a continent I've neglected in my travels.

I'd likely be traveling alone again on that adventure . . . this time for twice as long as the Alaska cruise. Could I endure being back in the closet that long?

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