Thursday, February 08, 2007

Circuit Breaker
There were 3700 passengers (3695 guys and 5 women) on the Freedom of the Seas last week, and that is way too many people. Naturally, a significant portion of those guys were of the buff, tanned, athletic, handsome gene pool. Early on I could tell there was something different about this cruise, as the first half of the week was slightly marred by the overabundance of circuit party types who didn't follow the first unwritten rule of any Atlantis cruise: when you pass somebody in the stateroom hallways, you always say hi. From some buff bodies I received a few icy grunts. And the guy across from my stateroom let fail his half of a short, basic conversation I started. It got to a point where I judged friendliness by the shape of a body advancing toward me. Too much muscle meant too much attitude - and it didn't take all that much muscle. I wondered if I was noticing this because I'm now a much more seasoned "cruiser" and can view the scene with a more focused eye. But then a number of other people on the cruise made comments about this phenomenon, speaking of the "ice queens" on board.

As gay men, I think we somehow believe that we can all treat each other with friendliness and respect, since we were all subject to the same fears and humiliations and societal hatred when we were growing up. When we run up against the dreaded "attitude," especially from someone we find attractive, our gay grid of a belief system is shocked into disarray - not to mention the fact that it hurts!

I ran across a quote - a question, really - that speaks to this, on Life Beyond Code:

"What do you see when you see people?" The speaker goes on to explain:

We can have an instrumental view of people and see them simply as means to achieving our ends. Or we can see them as humans deserving of our respect, care and attention. Ancient practices of hospitality grew from choosing to see the “stranger” as a person and not a threat. Civility which is much lacking in our world also comes from a willingness to examine our perspective on others.

Saying hi to everyone you pass in the stateroom hallway equalizes the whole experience. If we choose to say hi to everyone, we aren't seeing people as a "means of achieving our ends" (whatever that may be...)

And who knows, me might meet someone who will end up important to our life.

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