Long before the Slutty Study was even a thought in my mind, I took a Caribbean cruise with my family, which included my parents, my 3 brothers, and one of their girlfriends. Back then I was way shyer than I am today and would never have dreamed of documenting any of type of dating, flirtation, or hanky panky on a blog for the world to see. That being said, I think most singles are plenty happy to keep a lookout for a vacation fling, this shy girl included.
It was formal night on our cruise, so the whole family headed to dinner in our cocktail dresses and suits, with freshly sunburned faces to match. After dinner us “kids” decided that we couldn’t let our formal-wear go to waste by going back to our rooms, so we hit up the tacky cruise nightclub, knowing full well that we were way too cool for it. Nonetheless, I was in a hot dress on my way to da club- I obviously had my single girl antennae up.
When we got there we were disappointed to see how unbelievably desolate the place was. We were about to turn around and leave when I convinced my siblings to stay for just one drink. So we sat at the bar making fun of the 60 year old couple and various other weirdos living it up on the dance floor. In all of this people-watching we must have missed the fact that a new guy came in and was sitting just across from us on the other side of the bar. When we realized that he was alone and decent looking, my brothers and gf instantly starting encouraging me (more liking pushing and teasing me) to go talk to him. Like I said before, I was a shy non-thirty-something non-slut, so this idea terrified me, but I was also away from home and in vacation mode, so it also excited me. On top of this, the guy kept looking in our (well, my) direction, so we figured it was really his invitation for me to go talk to him.
So I did.
I walked right the heck over, sat down next to him and said hey what’s up? Thankfully we had read him correctly and he was, in fact, single and ready to mingle. We started chatting and it was actually not-so-bad. Don’t get me wrong, there were no fireworks or gazing into each other’s eyes, but it was still good enough, and that was really all I needed! I soon learned that he was way younger than me (early twenties and I was in my late twenties), and immediately started to stress. It took all my mental energy to force out the voice in my head that said “are you sure you want to be talking to this barely legal boy?”, and replace it with “of course I want to talk to him, I’m not searching for the love of my life here, just a tolerable enough guy for tonight”, and tolerable he was. He was from upstate New York, charming enough, and not so smart. Perfect recipe for a vacation fling. So I continued on.
An hour and a few drinks later, conversation started to die down, so we mosied on to the dance floor, and before long we were making out. In that moment, I was a mix of freaking out and freaking proud of myself. I mean, I spotted a guy, went up to him all alone, chatted, and now we were making out. I don’t know about you but in my books I call that “picking up”. What a success. I guess I’ve always had Slutty Study in my blood 😉
But then, a few minutes in, mid-dancefloor make-out, he asked:
Yes, he said that to me, or more like word-vomited it out. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect any extreme chivalry from this young, not so classy kid, but I didn’t expect that! I mean, getting down on the dance floor could very possibly have led to some stateroom bow chica wow wow later on, but I was a little shocked to be asked flat out while we were upright, fully-clothed, and in public. Call me a prude, but most of all, I was way put-off by his choice of vocabulary. Damn. Would it have bothered you? Just to clarify, I wasn’t bothered enough to leave, just bothered enough to notice…! I smiled timidly and politely said, hmmm, maybe later?!
So we stayed on the dance floor for a little while longer and then decided to go sit down on some nearby couches. He led the way and when we sat down he turned to me and said:
“Man, did you see the way those *n-words* were looking at you? ”
But he said the actual word. That word.
I was speechless. No words. My ears were on fire and my heart started racing. He wasn’t trying to joke, and this wasn’t a rap song, neither of which would have been ok either. He really just referred to a group of people using (what I consider) the most offensive, loaded word in the English language. Maybe I’m privileged to be able to say this, but I had never witnessed such blatant racism live in front of my face, let alone with someone I had just made “friends” with a few hours earlier. Wow.
Horrified, I immediately questioned him about it but he just couldn’t see the problem with what he had said. His defense was that he caught the group of guys checking me out (and clearly felt threatened), and therefore thought it was a perfectly valid time to use that word. I tried to reason with him but it was quickly apparent that there was no use.
I told him that that is not something I could ever tolerate, and that I needed to leave. He was shocked and tried to change my mind, but I had already blocked him out, and to my own surprise, I had even become little nervous sitting there next to him. I got up while he was still talking and raced out, checking behind me to make sure that he was not following me. I was that freaked out. I got to my room and thank goodness my brother was up and I was able to tell him what happened and calm down a bit.
Luckily my siblings knew what he looked like so for the rest of our time on the cruise I had them on constant lookout so that I can walk away in case I ever saw him again. Thankfully it never came to that.
How’s that for a change in direction? I’m sure you didn’t think that the story of my first time picking up in a bar would lead to the story of my first time meeting someone who thought racism was OK, I know I didn’t! And although I’m proud of the way I reacted and stood my ground in that situation, that experience was a huge reality check for me; it showed me although much progress has been made, racism still exists, and is not as far away from my little world as I may once have thought….