Inquiries at sea......by straight folks

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#81
Long Island, New York
131 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Originally posted by RMS Olympic
I have to admit I expected to get flamed, to get over it. Sometimes I wonder if how we react or respond is dictated by age or where we are from.....east coast and west coast corridor states can be so much different from Bible Belt states. Poster Boytjie has met me, and I must admit he and his Richard have really impressed me with their outlook on life.
Years ago when I had hair queries were a bit different. In my late 20's I would be asked if I was traveling alone...I would say yes. Next question...your not married? No. Never been married...no, then the killer....why not. Some wives would go as far as to ask why not, what's wrong with you? As I was in the military, and wearing dress blues on formal night I couldn't exactly use a snappy reply. In my mid 30's still in the military it became disturbing because some actually would say you aren't gay are you? Since this was before don't ask don't tell, I would find myself lying, as I could not out myself only to get angry with myself for lying. Now much older but perhaps no wiser I figured I would not be queried.....yet it continues. And the bigger the ships, the more people that seem to be nosey. I appreciate the responses to my post. I sail on the Norwegian Jade right after Thanksgiving.....these responses may provide me with a greater ability to handle simple curiousity, ignorance, stupidity, arrogance or hate. I still think I need a bets skill set, but life is a journey and learning is an unending process. I just. Wonder if traveling single has something to do with it.....years back I was always told women sail alone, single men don't....unless they're you know.....
Hope to read more responses and thanks to all for not getting on my case about posting this thread...
I've been asked twice once on board. I was traveling with family and friends and needed some alone time. I was approached and asked; but it was because he wanted to invite me to join him and his husband and some others for the LGBT meet and greet. The second time was on another cruise. I was chatting with someone at the meet and greet and another guy joined the general group. Asked me if this was the LGBT meet and greet and if I and the guy I was chatting with were gay. After saying yes to both, he made it clear he was straight, and proceeded to close the bar with me as everyone else wondered off for the night. LEt's just say I had my doubts about him being straight; more like he was really unsure...
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#82
Long Island, New York
131 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Originally posted by Austcruiser84
Very interesting thread!

I have the benefit of being a solo traveller. Never been asked about my sexuality, but I am usually accused of being a crew member. I've been verbally abuses for it too! Quite funny though.

The thing that frustrates me are the gay couples who almost always take pity and say 'you'll meet the right guy'. Why is there always the assumption that gay men want to be partnered off?
For the same reason straight people with try setting me up with their female cousin, coworker, friend. Couples (gay or straight) think that singles are inherently unhappy.
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#83
Long Island, New York
131 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Originally posted by crzergrl
This is a good thread!

I am a woman who is trans and at dinner on board with our children my wife and I were asked "which one is the mother?" I did say I was their father and it was taken as a joke and got laughs. This was with a lovely gay couple that we have become friends with and like very much. I did treat it as a teaching moment and sat down in private telling them about me and offered to answer any questions about being trans they had.

We had a cabin attendant ask if we wanted our beds separated with an apology that they were together. I just told him no.

On a shore tour once I was asked if I "had the surgery?" I am tempted to say "let's talk about your genitals/ surgeries first" but I didn't :-).
I can sort of understand their confusion if you said that you were the kids' father if they didn't realize you were trans. The room stewards are in an awkward position not really knowing what the guests would prefer in terms of how the bed should be set up, but I've never had one bat an eye about it. Someone asking about the surgery is completely out of line. I give you credit for a) biting your tongue and not saying anything and b) not decking them!
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#84
Long Island, New York
131 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Originally posted by RMS Olympic
How you kept your composure is impressive in my eyes. Sometimes I wonder if people are stupid or just insensitive. As empathy for other human beings is almost dead these days replaced by judgement I wonder where we will be in 10 years as a society.
I know we are all grown ups, but it amazes me what some people have to put up with.
I will take heed on some of the guidance provided in previous responses. The tough part is crafting comebacks not knowing the other persons potential for escalation. Makes me think of the time I was asked why I wasn't married....having had substantial pre dinner cocktails I responded by saying well I never found the right man. The wife said you mean women, I Said no, man. Her husband then threw his beer in my face. Ya just nevah know. Gee maybe
I need a big burly mate to make them apprehensive in asking rude questions....heaven knows my ugly mug doesn't deter them👹
Peter....role play? Good comeback. Hope to sail with you and Richard in the future, hopefully a RSVP cruise someplace exotic. I considered the Feb cruise , but as a single, the cost was substantially more than the Windstar Star Breeze I booked. Not a gay charter, but a much more intimate ship. I will say I don't find rude people on the smaller ships but there can always be that one...
The responses from other posters on this thread have been interesting, sad, informative but most important not judge mental....goes to show we are all together in the journey through life.
Now to countdown till the Jade in Nov......the personalities on the cruise roll call are very strong....should be an interesting cruise. Everyone's responses should provide me some good responses to queries....or is it queeries. 🤓
I really hope you called security about the guy that through the beer in your face. I don't know of any cruise line that would stand for that.
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#85
Ottawa, Canada
241 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
I always loved being mistaken for my partner's son! We are only 8 years apart in age lol
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#86
46 Posts
Joined Sep 2015
Sort of on topic: My wife and I were cruising a few years ago on HAL and we decided to go to the Mariner's lunch. It was a huge crowd there and we hadn't met anyone on the ship yet and there really weren't any tables just for two, mostly tables that seat 6 or 8. We meandered through the dining room and saw two elderly ladies and asked if we could join them. We made polite small talk with them and found out that they were mother and daughter who regularly cruise together. They were very elegant and genteel in their manner and we were so glad that we found the perfect dining companions.

Several minutes later a husband and wife in their late fifties or early sixties asked if they could join us. Both of them were hard of hearing and wearing hearing aids but the background noise in the room was interfering and they couldn't hear conversation very well. So they were speaking very loudly and when replying we had to speak loud to be heard and had to repeat ourselves often. I really felt bad for them because they were trying hard to follow the conversation and to participate. The wife asked us if we were a couple and I said yes that we were and she loudly said so you are lesbians, how wonderful. And she was very loud. She starts asking me how long we had been together and if we were married, etc. Keep in mind that she is being very loud and since I'm not one who likes a lot of attention and I know that her saying the word lesbian has gotten a lot of attention from tables around us. And her excitement prompted the mother of the elderly ladies to ask her daughter what was being said. The daughter whispered something to her mother but in all the noise the mother couldn't hear her so the daughter repeated it, still the mother didn't understand so the daughter said quite loudly, THEY ARE LESBIANS. The mother said, OH.

Needless to say I changed the subject pretty quickly. I was fine with the one of one conversation with the couple or even with the whole talbe but not with all the tables in our proximity. We did make it through the dinner but politely excused ourselves shortly after dessert. As soon as my wife and I were out of there we started talking about the whole lesbian conversation and we laughed our butts off. At the moment it wasn't funny but it totally was after and it still is. We haven't been asked since then if we are a couple but I think that I will take into consideration how private the conversation is before I answer. I'm not ashamed of it but I also like to be more in control of who I share such intimate information with.
#87
Chicago Area
1,539 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
LOL fantastic story. At least they didn't say "Oh wonderful, we know a lesbian back home" If you had stuck around after desert they might have asked about health or financial issues or perhaps social security numbers. :-) I am sure you thought "oh it is wonderful that you are heterosexual" but you didn't want to yell it.
#88
Vale, Oregon
252 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
OMGosh! That is Hilarious!!! My wife and I are
BOTH laughing!!!!
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#90
404 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
Originally posted by retafcruiser
So, to clear things up for me, if someone asks if my partner and I are brothers - they are really asking if we are gay???
That's right. And if they ask whether you and your brother are partners then they're asking where you're from.
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#91
Tennessee
153 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
I look them straight in the eye and say no we're not Brothers he's my spouse. End of all doubt.
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#92
San Francisco
4,100 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
Originally posted by HillBilly Bob
I look them straight in the eye and say no we're not Brothers he's my spouse. End of all doubt.
Happens to us all the time.

"Are you guys twins?"

"No, we're husbands."

Easy.
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#93
Calgary, Alberta
94 Posts
Joined Sep 2013
We have never been asked directly but two older/middle aged men travelling together might be looked at askance. Generally I don't wait. We talk about our lives matter of factly and don't leave anything out. Mind you we never curse (like we do at home) and anything we talk about is polite and fitting for public consumption. If people prefer that we not be ourselves then we prefer to spend our time with other people.
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Randy and Gus in Calgary
#94
Tennessee
153 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Originally posted by CalgaryMac
If people prefer that we not be ourselves then we prefer to spend our time with other people.
Thank goodness we get to pick our friends.....they DO NOT get to pick us.
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#95
Ko'Olina, Hawaii
27 Posts
Joined May 2015
We’re a group of 8 who often vacation together: one straight married couple and three gay male couples. We usually share a table, and enjoy dressing well and making the dining experience special.

On one vacation, a gentleman got up from the adjoining group table and said “we’ve been watching you since the beginning of the cruise, and I was voted to be the one to ask ‘what’s the story here?’”

We all sort of smiled, not quite sure how or how much to answer. But Fatima, the one female at our table chimed in with “Well, this is my current husband, Jeff, and this was my first husband, Bernard, and this was my second husband, Gary, and this was my third husband...”. She continued around the table introducing us, and with a cheery “Thanks for asking!”

After that, there were no more questions! And we all had a good laugh.
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#96
23 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
Hello, I would like to suggest you check out a fellow by the name of Dan OConnor on YouTube and his website He specializes in communication with people and he is terrific at doing it. I watched one of his videos speaking about such a topic "What to say when people ask a strange question' One of his responses was "That's an interesting question, why would you ask it?" Dan is very good at what he does and well worth a listen and you just may have that answer next time soneone asks.
Originally posted by RMS Olympic
As a solo cruiser at least once on every cruise I am asked if I am gay. I once read that coming out is a ongoing thing and not a once and done deal. I still have a discomfort with being asked even after this long a life. Couples have told me they are never asked since it is assumed two people
of the same gender traveling together are automatically gay/lesbian.....stereo typing once again.
I cannot think of a question that could be asked of a straight person that has the significance of being asked if you are gay, so I am at a loss for a return question . To not respond is a cop out in my mind, and to say it's none of your business seems to be saying yes. To ask why are youre asking is still backing down, but I can't see why I should have to answer or be put into a situation to have to answer. I find my self getting angry at myself for getting uncomfortable with the inquiry....and find myself saying, put your big boy pants on and answer the question. On my last cruise after socializing for three days with the same group of people at the Vibe on the NCL escape I was asked .....well are you or aren't you.......I was stopped dead in my tracks.
I hope I won't get flamed by responders who think this is a stupid question, but is there a comfortable way to handle a situation like this. I cant figure it out....some people say I had no idea, some say we wondered based on things you said and yet other say, honey as soon as you entered the room we all knew. I am a very social person at sea, but find myself dreading inquiries or how I will respond if asked.
Have any of you experienced these inquiries and how did you comfortably handle it. I might note on a few occasions when I answered the question yes, the other person got real ugly......so the idea of being questioned has put me on edge. Any thoughts as long as they are not nasty put downs would be appreciated. Ones life experiences in being gay can be so different by age, family background, upbringing etc, so ones sensitivity levels can be greatly different. But I wanted to raise this issue and see what others think, and how they may have handled si ilar situations. By the way, I once responded ( having had numerous Long Island ice teas ) why are you interested.....I got a drink in my face and security called by the bartender who defended me.....
Thanks
Tom
#97
the woodlands texas
15 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
My husband and I have been together for over thirty years and have been on 36 cruises. About twenty years ago on a european cruise we were on our balcony and started to speak with our neighbors about the people in the cabin below us that were very loud. We started hanging out with them in the evenings before and after dinner. At first Tom seemed nervous around us but soon warmed up to us. By the end of the cruise we were great friends and still are to this day. Tom at the end of the cruise took me aside and told me that we had changed the way he felt about gay people. When we go on cruises with them now, he brags to others that Jay and I have been together for over thirty years and that we are the greatest couple,"straight or gay" he as ever met.
#98
Chicago Area
1,539 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Originally posted by danor
My husband and I have been together for over thirty years and have been on 36 cruises. About twenty years ago on a european cruise we were on our balcony and started to speak with our neighbors about the people in the cabin below us that were very loud. We started hanging out with them in the evenings before and after dinner. At first Tom seemed nervous around us but soon warmed up to us. By the end of the cruise we were great friends and still are to this day. Tom at the end of the cruise took me aside and told me that we had changed the way he felt about gay people. When we go on cruises with them now, he brags to others that Jay and I have been together for over thirty years and that we are the greatest couple,"straight or gay" he as ever met.
The power of being fully out. It will change the world. Thanks for posting.
#99
Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
966 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Originally posted by walester
We’re a group of 8 who often vacation together: one straight married couple and three gay male couples. We usually share a table, and enjoy dressing well and making the dining experience special.

On one vacation, a gentleman got up from the adjoining group table and said “we’ve been watching you since the beginning of the cruise, and I was voted to be the one to ask ‘what’s the story here?’”

We all sort of smiled, not quite sure how or how much to answer. But Fatima, the one female at our table chimed in with “Well, this is my current husband, Jeff, and this was my first husband, Bernard, and this was my second husband, Gary, and this was my third husband...”. She continued around the table introducing us, and with a cheery “Thanks for asking!”

After that, there were no more questions! And we all had a good laugh.
How brilliant!

My partner & I started cruising back in 1995 when he was 40 and I was 35. We cruised mostly with British Line P&O and I can't recall being asked directly. We always had fixed dining and whilst not sitting down on the first night and saying "hi - we're a couple", we were always completely open from the start, so it became obvious over a night or three that we were a couple. We never experienced any problems with that. I don't think I can recall anyone asking outright.

One of the sweetest moments I have experienced was after my partner died in 2012. I was with two older couples at breakfast and they had both quite recently celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversaries. One lady then asked me if I had ever been married. I explained I hadn't but was with my partner for 26 years, that he had died earlier that year and that I had brought his ashes on this cruise to have them cast into the sea. Without any hesitation, she just said "You must miss him terribly". That sort of contact really boosts your thoughts on the quality of the human race.

Times have certainly changed since 1995 however. I now sometimes sail with a friend and on numerous occasions, other pax just assume that we are a couple and we have to gently point out we are just friends.
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Andrew

Past: Cunard QE2 & Queen Elizabeth; P&O Victoria, Oriana, Arcadia, Aurora, Oceana, Azura; Sea Princess; Celebrity Summit; Fred Olsen Black Watch, Saga Ruby, Portuscale MV Funchal, MS Mayfair (Nile River Cruise), Marella Discovery 2 & CMV Marco Polo

Future: P&O Azura to Amsterdam(2019), Coral Princess to Alaska (2019).
NYC
1,205 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
Originally posted by retafcruiser
So, to clear things up for me, if someone asks if my partner and I are brothers - they are really asking if we are gay???
That question has always baffled me. Though my husband and I are only six days apart, we look nothing like the other. He's 5'7", clearly of total Caucasian descent, thinning hair, power lifter build and hairy. I'm 6'4", half Japanese/half Scottish, full head of hair and lean. We'd been asked that before and I can't ever come up with any response but a look of total bewilderment, followed by, "Are you serious?"
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