Thursday, May 17, 2012


Scenes From My Recent Cruise

The following conversations took place on the decks of the ship and on the islands I visited during a recent eight-day cruise with my family.

Lady behind me on tour bus (spying my Yankees hat):  Oh, you’re a Yankees fan?
Me (turning around): Yes!
LBMOTB: So you know Jorge Posada then?
Me: Of course!
LBMOTB: Have you seen that boy’s thighs?
Me: Oh ... well, yes. On the field though. Not, like, in person or anything.
LBMOTB: I bet he can f*** standing up with those thighs!
Me: Oh ... my ...
LBMOTB: And look good doing it!
Me: I well ... I ... I guess!
(I turn back awkwardly as my uncle has also been listening to this exchange.)

Guy from Ohio: So hey...what’s the deal with your sister? She involved with anyone?

Blackjack Dealer: Hello, Lia.
Me: Hello ... (stumbles over name I can’t pronounce)
BJD: Who is standing behind you?
Me: That’s my sister, Lindsay.
BJD: Hello, Liiiiiiindsayyyy.
Lindsay: Hello!
(Blackjack dealer literally stop dealing cards to talk to sister for 10 minutes.)

Lady in San Juan: What are you taking a picture of?
Me: Well, this block. It’s awfully cute.
LiSJ: You’ll probably never remember that photo.
Me: You’re right, I probably won’t. But I like it.
LiSJ: It’s not going to be a very good photo.
Me: Oh. Well no, probably not.
LiSJ: Just saying.
Me: Thank you.

Guy from North Carolina: I gotta ask you a question.
Me: Sure.
GfNC: Your sister. Is she married?
Me: Did she tell you she was married?
GfNC: She is being mysterious about it.
Me: Then I will also be mysterious about it.
GfNC: That means yes.
Me: No, it doesn’t.
GfNC: So it means no?
Me: It only means we’re both being mysterious.
GfNC: I like y'all.

(The following scene takes place entirely in whispers.)
Me: This magician sucks.
Sister: (Nods.)
Me: No, seriously. You can't just, like, turn off all the lights when you're about to do the trick.
Sister: He is the worst.
Me: How much do you think he is getting paid for this? Like, more than we make in a week right?
Sister: Probably.
Me: I think I’m going to go play blackjack. This is making me angry.
Sister: Just watch. It’s so bad, it’s funny.
Me: No. I can’t. I’m getting physically mad. I’d seriously rather lose money than watch this for one more second. (looks at mom who is glaring at stage.)
Mom: Let’s go.
Me: Bye.

Super Hammered Guy from Missouri: Your sister...
Me: Yes.
SHGfM: She thinks she’s all that doesn’t she?
Me: All that? No, she doesn’t.
SHGfM: Well she’s trying to act like she’s better than me.
Me: That’s ridiculous.
SHGfM: We weren’t all born with silver spoons in our mouths.
Me: We’re on a Carnival Cruise. None of us here were born with silver spoons in our mouths.
SHGfM: I paid for my entire family to be on this cruise. I don’t need her shit.
Me: You realize this is my sister we’re talking about? Why don’t you just change the subject before I get mad?
SHGfM: One time I rented a Ferrari in South Beach just so I could crash it.

Me: Is that ... Dad?
(My sister and I look down the deck where my dad is pretending to stride toward us after hiding behind a partial wall. It is 5 a.m.)
Sister: Oh, God.
Dad (approaching table where we sit with a bunch of people eating pizza. Puts fist down on table and makes eye contact with only us): You two okay?
Me and Sister (in embarrased unison): Yes.
Dad: It’s getting early. You should come to bed.
Me: Oh ... well, soon, Dad.
Sister: We’ll be there soon, Dad.
Dad: Soon.
(Following day.)
Various People from Boat:  Are you two the sisters with the ninja dad?

GfNC: So how fun was your sister’s wedding?
Me: What?
GfNC: Just heard it was fun that’s all.
Me: Where would you have heard that from?
GfNC: From Dave over there.
Me: Where would Dave have received that information?
GfNC: He said he got it from you. Drunk last night. You told him.
Me: (Thinks a second.) I didn’t tell Dave that! (laughs)
GfNC: You’re right I was trying to trick you!

Lia LoBello works in public relations and marketing by day, but spends her nights crafting, cooking, and watching real-crime television. She blogs about her projects and recipes at Pretty|Delicious. She lives in Astoria, Queens, with her boyfriend G.C. and her dog, Pelusa.

106 Comments / Post A Comment


"Are you two the sisters with the ninja dad?"

I wish I had a sister and a ninja dad!


@KatieBarTheDoor To be fair, if your dad was a true ninja you probably wouldn't even know it.


@stuffisthings Or, you know, he would be Japanese and living in the 17th century.


@KatieBarTheDoor My sister gets hit on everywhere I take her. Like, proposed to by strangers. She projects ZERO interest, which I think is her secret.

My dad cruise story is not ninja-y but might be weirder: I was 13. My dad took me to a late-night cruise buffet because the rest of my family was too tired (and I'm never not interested in food). This foreign couple at our table asked if we were NEWLYWEDS. Whaaat. I also look exactly like him (for a girl), so it was extra weird.

New Commenter Name

Sounds like a fun vacation. I would totally go on a cruise with your family.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

I don't understand the ninja dad part. He was pretending to stride toward them after hiding behind a partial wall? Was he spying on them or something? For some reason that isn't making any sense to my brain.


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose: Sense has gone overboard after a full day of sun exposure and a long night of drinking.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Too Much Internet That must be it. Phew, I was worried it was my reading comprehension. (Wink!)


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Also confused, but I think the implication is that he was being overprotective?

Lia LoBello@facebook

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose - yes! that's right. he pretended he had been just walking up but we totally caught him spying first. also - since it was so late he kind of just came out of nowhere. we also got a few "heard you two are the ones with the bodyguard" comments. overprotective. crazy. funny? interchange them all and they're all the right answer!

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Lia LoBello@facebook Thanks, I'm 100 percent positive the confusion had nothing to do with your writing and everything to do with reading this after a tough deadline day.

Setec Astrology

You were far more social (and had many more age-appropriate conversational partners) than was my experience on the one family cruise I took.

Faintly Macabre

@Setec Astrology My only real memory of the cruise my family took when I was 10 was my dad not allowing me to stay up for the midnight buffet because I was too young, and then him eating all of the little pastries my mom and sister snuck back for me. I still hold a grudge and sometimes dream of taking a cruise just so I can stuff my face with petit-fours.

Mrs. Hutchinson

This is adorable. And your sister sounds hot.


@Mrs. Hutchinson Yeah, is she married?


@redheaded&crazie I heard that her husband is a fox. (She has a husband, right?)


I am never going on a cruise.


@Megano! Reverse-bucket List.




@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher This thread is getting me all excited to go on my very first cruise ever with my extended family next month. Ack.

Killer Kitties

@Bittersweet Cruises are fun! I swear! I just booked my 2nd cruise for December!


@travelmugs Aahh reverse bucket list! I love this! I learn so many new phrases on The Hairpin. Like "shark week"!


@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Or get Norovirus. No cruises for me, thanks.


@Megano! I get severely and horribly motion sick on boats. A cruise is like my personal version of hell.


@Equestrienne I think I saw that phrase born on "Jezebel" an otherwise boring website that no one reads anymore.


@Megano! My extended family is going on a cruise next month without me! Are you a part of my extended family? If so, I resent you.


@pallasathena My non-extended family used to go on trips without me all the time!

Sharon Crawford@facebook

Why were you eating pizza at 5 a.m.?


@Sharon Crawford@facebook There isn't a time of day when you aren't eating pizza on a cruise.

Reginal T. Squirge

Pics of your sister or it didn't happen.

Passion Fruit

@Reginal T. Squirge Ha, I know, right? Who the heck is this girl and how did you not shrivel up from insecurity? Not that I would have...



@Passion Fruit It's not the insecurity that's the hard part, it's the fierce protectiveness when faced with the total creepers. And resisting the urge to punch them in the nards.

For me, anyway.

Nicole Cliffe

@Reginal T. Squirge YES.


@anachronistique Right? When dudes say shit like "She thinks she’s all that doesn’t she?" and "Well she’s trying to act like she’s better than me," I start thinking "Is this guy going to get all assault-y?" And then I get ready for some nard punching.


@Passion Fruit Nah, no shriveling up. You overcompensate by *thinking* you're the funny/creative/scary one. Allegedly. I have "a friend" like this.


@sniffadee also one time my sisters cornered me in the kitchen with tongs and a potato masher aimed at my face "to keep the boys away".

Reginal T. Squirge

I rented a Ferrari in South Beach! BIG TIME STUFF!

Reginal T. Squirge

Hyperlinks not working. Try this one...



"You can't just, like, turn off all the lights when you're about to do the trick"

They're called illusions, Michael.

Passion Fruit


A trick is something a whore does for money!


@Passion Fruit Or candy.

Toby Jug

CRUISE MAGICIAN: I did it! I sunk the yacht!

Lia LoBello@facebook

@Decca this made me LOL.


@Decca This speaks to my heart.


Please tell me that, no, those things didn't actually happen.


Super Hammered Guy from Missouri makes me angry. Her spot on that cruise had to be paid for too and maybe she doesn't need his shit either. Seems to think other paying guests are there for his amusement, which, what? I laughed out loud more than once reading these conversations though!


Replace 'sister' with 'gorgeous cousin who is a year older and far more conversationally apt and also better at drinking and is way prettier' and you have both extended-family cruises I went on during my teenaged years and beyond.

Toby Jug

Replace "sister" with "younger sister" and you have my late teens, until she moved to Chicago to attend a much better college then I went to.

I would hate her if she wasn't a better person than me.

Toby Jug

@Toby Jug
Oh my god, sometimes I type things on the internet and read them five minutes later and I'm mortified. I need to take a break from this until I can stop being the cyber version of THAT GIRL at the party.


@Toby Jug I'm pretty sure it's OK to do that here. Once in a while.


@Toby Jug the worst is when you read them 5.01 minutes later. VERY common occurrence for me.

I mean ... very once in a while occurrence for me


@Toby Jug I'm pretty much that girl. And I had the same feelings, but she's my older sister. The cruise director (WHO WAS ENGAGED) Was pretty much obsessed with her. It was all kinds of awkward.


@DandelionTacy I've moved on from hating my sister, but last weekend I was waiting on the sidewalk with my sister in my CUTEST DRESS and this guy comes up to my sister to tell her how beautiful she is etc etc like I wasn't even there. I love her, but I'm not going out in Wicker Park with her anymore.


@mackymoo it sounds like strangers give her a pretty hard time, especially when she goes out alone, so maybe her side of it isn't all fun and games either. (i mean, i know you know all that, but it sometimes helps reminding oneself). life -- full of hard shit for everybody.


@harebell Good point! BUT- maybe guys came up to the sister- to ask about the adorable, girl-next-door sister who didn't need to flaunt her inner awesome-- and that info never got back to her.


@mackymoo There should be a law that this doesn't happen to a person wearing their CUTEST DRESS. That is all five flavors of wrong.


Also, I'm pretty sure that if somebody could scan brains and assemble a list of all fears, hang-ups and dislikes in order to construct some kind of customised personal hell, a cruise would be mine.


@Decca The "forced interaction with strangers" part of cruises is actually the main reason why I have no real desire to ever take a cruise. I would probably be holed up in my room more often than not.


@WhiskeySour A Supposedly Fun Thing I...Will Never Ever Do?


@Decca I went on a cruise once. I mean, not to scoff at the privilege of that statement BUT all you do is eat and you miss out on all the fun europe stuff like at night and it's full of old people and it's during the craziest busy season so it's all crowded and shit

how do you like THEM first world problems?!


@Decca DFW fans represent!!!
(But I'm more likely to go on a cruise than to the Iowa State Fair or a porn convention.)


@purefog I would go to the Iowa State Porn Convention

...maybe not.

EDIT Hold up, Iowa legalized gay marriage, I bet their Porn Convention is a tolerant and happy place. GOING.

Killer Kitties

@WhiskeySour Boyfriend and I are both pretty introverted (not to mention judgmental and wary of strangers) and our first cruise was fabulous. Our actual social interactions with other passengers were limited, we mostly just people watched and judged from afar.


@Killer Kitties Hmm, that sounds quite a bit like Mr. Sour and me. Maybe cruises aren't as uncomfortable-sounding as I've thought? Did you have to do the assigned-dinner-mates thing that some cruises apparently love?

Lily Rowan

@WhiskeySour I've been on a couple of cruises and never interacted with anyone that I didn't already know, beyond the ship's staff. It's easy!

And the opportunities for judging other people are many. There was a couple who literally wore denim overalls for the fancy dinner on one of the cruises I've been on. Good times.

Killer Kitties

@WhiskeySour We went on a 5-day cruise and only ate 1 meal with strangers, and it was breakfast at a weird time. Most cruises have an "open dining" thing you can pick when you book so that you can just walk in with whoever, whenever, and they get you a table in the dining room as soon as they can. It's awesome, and that's even before they let you pick as many desserts as you want.


I don't have a hot sister, but I had a somewhat similar experience when I traveled with my pretty model friend who gets drunk after 1 cocktail and is totally naive about horny men.

It was a lot of fun trying to convince her that the 60 year old Italian man she met at a vineyard in France was not just interested in helping her with her Italian language exam..


I went on a cruise last year and despite the people, it was awesome. I am not a "cruise type" person.


Hey, did you steal my sister for that cruise? Because I have eerily similar conversations about my sister with strangers.

We also took a cruise (with our mom). Never again.


I have to say to all the cruise haters, I kinda loved mine. In fact, my whole family did, which is in and of itself an embarrassment. Everything about going to awful ports is true, and how you miss the fun night life and all of that, which is why (am I going to admit this? I'm going to admit this) we stopped getting off the boat. Literally. We've considered doing another and plan entirely around which cruises go the FEWEST places. We are, apparently, horrible people.

That said, things that happened on my cruise:

My brother tried for three nights running to get the same dancer to break her no sleeping with guests policy. In his third attempt he didn't come back to the room until 4am and couldn't get out of bed until 2 the next day.

The cruise director fell somewhat in love with my sister, even though he was both under the same no-sleeping-with-the-passengers rule. I found them eating pizza at 2am and talking about life philosophy (incidentally, whoever pointed out that there is no time on a cruise when you aren't eating pizza is correct.)

I ran four decks down and half way across the boat barefoot without a bra in PJs cradling an elephant made out of towels just so I could drunkenly show it to my mom by pounding on their door at 2am.

1/5 of our boat was booked out by a nerdy online parody singer's fan club. I never learned the name of the guy they were all there for, but it meant that on formal night there were at least 3 people I spotted in full LARP gear.

At the boat bar crawl (that happened) my brother wouldn't let me leave because he was hitting on some girl and using me as his cover for being there, so I hung out with her recently divorced mother until the two of us got so drunk she tried to dance on a blackjack table.

My brother and sister both went to the finals of "Eurodam Idol" - the boat's karaoke contest. My brother sang My Heart Will Go On.

If all of this makes cruises sound horrible, you're probably right. But, with the exception of the time someone on the bar crawl asked me why I wasn't as hot as my siblings, it was a damn good time.

Lia LoBello@facebook

@Hammitt i love this!!!! it's exactly these weirdly amazing things that can only happen trapped on a very large ship with total strangers that make cruises so much fun.

runner in the garden

@Hammitt I was going to say "how many nerdy online parody singers can there be?" but I think I would be horrified by the answer.


@Hammitt I'm showing my nerd colors, but: would that nerdy singer be Jonathan Coulton? I think he does a cruise thing sometimes. I love his music, but going to one of his concerts is kind of like walking into an anime convention -- almost everyone is decidedly geeky-looking and half of them are wearing T-shirts that aren't as clever as they think they are.


@discombobulated Oh my god! Yes! Yes that was the name!! Thank you.

And it was a bit like an anime convention. There was a girl who had blue hair and wore these little cat ears and a tiny backpack everywhere. Which is fine in many contexts but surprising at the following times/places:
a) bingo games
b) breakfast buffets
c) formal dining rooms
d) casinos

My brother, unfortunately, has a penchant for those same kinds of tshirts, which may be why he was so often asked if he was with "the group." But it did mean he could sneak into one of the concerts, which he said was legitimately hilarious.

Passion Fruit

@Hammitt You make me want to go cruising. [Is that the phrase for it?] [Nope.]

BUT, sweet beez's, that sounds so fucking fun. So much alcohol. So zany.


@Hammitt YESSSS. Cruises! So weird. So... zany, as Passion Fruit said. I enjoy them. And getting dressed up for the dinners, and eating pizza and soft-serve ALL THE TIME, and watching the terrible shows, and TOWEL ANIMALS, and drinking and sunning and just all of it. I am also a Horrible Person. *high five*

Passion Fruit

@automaticdoor "eating pizza and soft-serve ALL THE TIME"

Ha, I can't even imagine what that would do to my bowels. And in the middle of an ocean! Sacre bleu.


@Passion Fruit Oh, I can't do it now! But when I was a teenager, it totally worked.


@Hammitt I LOVE your comment. The best part is that your mom probably had the same towel elephant, right? So she wasn't impressed by drunk you and your elephant baby at 2am?

Passion Fruit

@automaticdoor Hahaha, I was like, I'm taking a leap here, but I imagine that cruise ship pizza basically is soft serve.


@Passion Fruit Hahahaha ewwww, and also hahahaha yes truth.

@SarahP I am 99% sure it was the same towel animal. I can just imagine my own mother. "Sweetheart. I have the SAME DAMN ONE. GO THE FUCK BACK TO BED." Only with 300% more swears.


@Hammitt The towel elephant part of this is the very very best.


@SarahP Amazingly enough, she had a towel monkey! Actually, I wish I still had the picture of it. IT was really pretty spectacular. It was hanging from a hanger in the middle of their room, and it had my Dad's sunglasses on it, and they had left only one light on, trained on it, so it had a spot. So yes, she was unimpressed by my carefully cradled towel elephant, but mostly because her life was so much awesomer than mine right at that moment.


@Passion Fruit I spent a long day of the cruise feeling really sick. I complained to EVERYONE who would listen about how awful it was and how I was sea sick, and even convinced my Dad to walk down to the infirmary for sea sick meds with me. Later that evening, feeling better, I told my family how the meds were really effective. That was the moment my brother chose to say, "really? The meds? You don't think you're just maybe getting over the hangover from the SIX champagne cocktails you had last night?" HE was the only one who knew about those damn cocktails. Because he was the only one who wanted to dance to the live band karaoke with me. Bastard traitor of a brother.

Cruises = really the best.


Oh man. The only cruise I've ever been on ended after 600 passengers (my mother and myself included) fell violently ill from Shigella virus (which causes pretty spectacular dysentery.) A few people died, many of us were hospitalized, and before they let the ship out of quarantine they had to burn all the mattresses.

But before it set in I do remember the Midnight Buffet with some fondness.


@paperbuttons OH MY GOD.


@paperbuttons The Best Time I Almost Died On A Cruise Ship. Please.




@paperbuttons This is why none of these ships are "registered" in the US. They can't pass the health regulations. Or so I've been told.
And yes, "The Best Time I Almost Died On A Cruise Ship" must be written.

Slight Joy
Slight Joy

I can no longer read about cruises without thinking about this essay by David Foster Wallace from Harper's. The neuroses present are incredible: http://harpers.org/media/pdf/dfw/HarpersMagazine-1996-01-0007859.pdf

More directly relatedly, this basically sums up why I avoid cruises. That and the only other time I was on one I spent all of my time in the teen hang out room flirting with a guy with a girl's name and trying to get my little brother to leave us alone. SO.

Leon Tchotchke

@ DFW kinda gets carried away about the people, I think, but it IS definitely a weird experience tinged with a sort of low-rent sadness. And the worst people in the world definitely are on the boat with you, although there's also some totally normal people.

The oddest thing is the way meals are done on Carnival cruises. There's a big (awful, gaudy) dining room that actually has surprisingly good (and legit fancy) food. But on the cruise I went on, it was always at least half-empty at meal times because everyone's just up at the Lido deck buffet shoveling pizza and macaroni and cheese down their throats with wild abandon.


@Slight Joy When I think about cruises, I think about Tina Fey's description of a cruise in Bossypants, which is making me giggle just thinking about it.


@ Slight Joy "Temperatures were uterine" i heart DFW so much. i wish i coulda told him :(


Currently reading article in May's issue of Vanity Fair magazine about the Costa Concordia wreck. Will never, ever..I don't care how much fun, alcohol and unending food you could ply me with..am ever getting on any cruise ship. You folks go on..have fun..my feet are on the solid soil of anywhere but the deep seas!


HaHAAAAAAA! I enjoyed this a lot.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

I have never been on a cruise, but if I had, I probably would have been the first woman making comments about Posada's thighs. Because, really. I mean baseball players in general. WOOF.

Graydon Gordian

@sudden but inevitable betrayal We've been a little too distracted by Lia's hot sister and haven't spent nearly enough time talking about the Posada's thighs woman. That's a hell of a thing to say to the gal sitting in front of you on a bus.


My mom, sister and I went on a cruise and the best/weirdest part was sitting at our "table" with a very wealthy pair of Mexican ladies, who were mother and daughter, and both named Yvonne. Yvonne and Yvonne were always giving us CRAZY rich mexican lady fashion tips (like sprinting around the pool and telling me to ABSOLUTELY NOT wear my sunglasses while laying there because I would get TAN LINES ON MY FACE! THE HORROR! And putting lipstick on us and stuff. They tried to get my mom to buy some horrific dress in the ship's crazy clothing store.)

My poor sister (strawberry blonde w/ freckles) got sun poisoning like, the 3rd day of a 14 day cruise, and we literally had to cover her with towels if she wanted to step outside. So she and I took the same "wine appreciation" class every day in the afternoon for like, 10 days. The sommilier finally just started putting us in the corner and giving us "advanced" wines and materials, like we were special. (even though I was 21 and she was like, 17)

OH - and at the breakfast buffet thing - there was an omlette station (my sister's favorite)and on the last day of the cruise, as we were approaching, I think San Juan, she comes back to the table all sad, and we're like what's wrong? And she's like "No omlettes today. They said they can't make omlettes now BECAUSE WE AREN'T IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS ANYMORE WE'RE IN US WATERS AND OUR EGG CODES AREN'T US EGG CODES." And we were like WHAT WE'VE BEEN EATING INTERNATIONAL WATERS OMLETTES THIS WHOLE TIME! Which...probably not that big a deal but at the time it was hilarious.

Also they ran out of limes on like day 6 (the only cocktail I really liked at 21 was gin and tonics) and so I drank gin and tonics w/ lemons, which, gross.

AND, finally, when we went back, I went from San Juan, to Miami, to Columbus, OH to Indianapolis and then to Rhinelander, WI to go to a friend's lake house - in like - 18 hours. It was nuts. The pictures from that new year's are hilarious b/c I'm ALL OF THE SUNBURN and everyone else is like, regular upper mid-west pale.

This comment is so long! But cruises are great b/c they're so "wacky".


@Olivia2.0 Everything about this makes me happy.

Lia LoBello@facebook

@Olivia2.0 This is so so amazing.


I would read a novel or watch a movie based on this experience. It's that level of fantastic.

Lia LoBello@facebook

@elizabee I will get started on my screenplay!!!!! Thank you. :)

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