A group of muscle jocks decided to nickname me “Jiggles” as they slapped on my muffin top during a dance party.
By: Mark in Minneapolis
Being overweight on a gay cruise ship isn't a good idea. Well, that was my experience.
Last year, I was talked into going on an Atlantis Cruise by my friend Adam.
You’ve seen the advertisements for gay cruises, right?
It’s always a bunch of young, muscled up guys that look like they jumped right out of an Andrew Christian Ad.
In fact, I wonder sometimes if the marketing gurus don’t hire models just to lure us gays in?
Anyway … I digress.
When Adam sprung the whole gay cruise thing on me, I was hesitant to agree because of my long- standing body image issues.
You see, I’m one of those gay men that happens to have love handles. No, I’m not obese or anything like that. I guess I would fit into the heavy cub territory?
If I had to describe myself, I guess I resemble a heavier version of Matt Damon, circa 2008. He was still handsome, right?
So anyway, it took a lot of arm-pulling on his part but I agreed to go. I gulped when he told me the price tag would be north of $2,500.00 for a Sky Suite – and that didn’t include airfare or hotel.
When you added everything up, it was near $4000.00. But I figured you only live once so why not?
Our Atlantis cruise was set to sail in March, which gave me roughly six months to get myself into better shape. I knew I wasn’t going to completely get rid of my love handles but I could, at least, reduce them to something respectable.
My goal was to move from a size 38 pair of jeans down to 36. It would take a lot of work but I was determined to do it. And so I hired a personal trainer and forced myself to go to almost every day.
By the time our trip rolled around, I had made significant progress. I was down to a 35 – which was one size smaller than what I had hoped.
Yes, I still had a muffin top but it wasn’t pouring over my belt like Niagara Falls anymore. I was proud of myself.
Off to the Gay Atlantis Cruise
When you go on a cruise, you typically fly a day or two before to the departure date. In our case, Adam and I would be sailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico. We decided to give ourselves two days in San Juan because the flight from Minneapolis can be long and grueling.
In our case, we flew on Delta because they are the big carrier out of here. Between the both of us, we had enough frequent flier miles to upgrade to first, which kind of helped.
On the plane ride, I kept replaying in my head that campy commercial from Carnival Cruise Lines from years ago. You've seen it – the one with Kathie Lee Gifford?
He’s a football nut like me and we both have a passion for the Vikings. And no, we never messed around or anything. We’re just close friends.
I will say that whenever we go out in public, I often feel like I’m his DUFF – you know, the Designated Ugly Fat Friend.
If you don’t know what that’s all about, be sure to check out the movie with Robbie Amell.
Oh, I honestly don’t think he intends me to play that role. I’m just saying it feels that way sometimes.
Adam is probably 5’11, 160 pounds and has a set of abs you can flip a quarter on. In fact, he looks a lot like Robbie Amell bod-wise, including his bright blue eyes.
The only difference is that Adam has body hair. I’ve got a selfie oh him that I’m including here. He wouldn’t let me include his face and I guess I understand that.
So once we got to Puerto Rico and arrived at the Sheraton Hotel in Old San Juan, we were wiped out. After we checked in and settled into the room, it was already 5 pm. Mind you, we had left at 6:30 in the morning. Adam suggested we grab a bite to eat before calling it a night.
Across the street from the Sheraton are the San Juan cruise ports where all of the giant ships line up. We could see our ship, The Summit, already docked with workers busily loading her with food and beverage stocks.
We found a restaurant nearby and took in the sites. It was kind of fun to imagine what the next week might hold for us.
Would there be a bunch of hot guys on the ship? Were there going to be a bunch of Twinks or would it be a collection of heavy leather trolls? Maybe a mix of hairy otters?
As we continued talking, we noticed four guys getting out of a cab. Immediately you could tell they were going to be on our gay cruise ship – they were loud, obnoxious and super Nellie. Even though chiffon was coming out of their mouths as they shouted and laughed at one another, they were all hot.
My body image issues became activated badly. I thought to myself: “Crap, are all the guys going to look like this?”
Adam and I finished dinner and then headed back to our room. In the lobby of the Sheraton, we could see more guys checking in for the Southern Caribbean Cruise. Maybe 20 of them? I can’t say all of them were attractive but at least half of them were.
I think Adam could tell I was a bit anxious, particularly when it was obvious the boys were looking our way – and not at me.
The next morning we got up and decided to have a chill day. Basically, we walked around Old San Juan and visited all of the cute little shops that line the hilly streets.
And let me tell you, those streets aren’t easy to walk.
The only thing that got me through it were the occasional stops we would make to look at crap. That and Puerto Rican boys that seemed to be everywhere. I swear, all of them have huge bananas in their pockets.
That night we went to the casino and then hung out in our room. We wanted to get to bed early because we were still tired. There’s a 3 hour time difference between San Juan and Minneapolis so jet lag was still a factor.
Atlantis Cruise Sets Sail
Our cruise ship was scheduled to depart at 8 pm. That may seem late but it really isn’t because you can board super early and get yourself settled in.
As we walked onto the Summit, I could see that there were a collection of different guys. Not all of them were attractive like the boys we had seen a few days earlier. There were some older guys, a few paleo-gays and a scattering of jocks.
Once we got to our room, which I have to say was pretty small but nice, I started to relax. Given the scenery from the onboarding process, I took comfort in the knowledge of knowing that other average guys would be sailing with us.
Gay Fat Shamed By Jocks
I won’t bore you with a day by day play of everything that happened during our 7-day cruise. I will tell you that there were several dances, with some that took place on the main deck. They had DJ’s, laser light shows and lots of intense dance music. Sounds fun, right?
Not so fast.
So one night as we sailed in between ports of call, Adam talked me into going with him to one of these parties. He must have felt bad because, during the first three days at sea, he had more people in our room than I can remember.
And that doesn’t count the numerous hours he spent in the sauna area in group scenes. Our cabin seriously smelled like poppers and stank like a bathhouse with all the traffic.
To keep it real, the only “action” I received was when a really drunk twink invited me into his cabin. In fact, he was so messed up that he could hardly keep his eyes open. We made out a little and I ended up leaving. But at least it was something.
Anyway, Adam and I went to the party. Immediately, I could see that I was going to have problems because most all of the guys were super built.
“Was this a party for jocks only?” I asked. He told me to chill out and just go with the flow.
So we found a spot and ordered some drinks. Guys were dirty dancing everywhere and if I didn’t know any better, I would have thought we were at a white party in Palm Springs. I will admit it was cool watching people having fun.
At some point, Adam got up and joined a group of jock-like wolves that were dancing. Everyone in the group was shirtless and had on tight shorts. He was having a great time and I was happy for him.
About 5 minutes into it, we made eye contact while he was grinding on some guy. He used his hand to motion me towards his direction.
I waved him off several times but he kept giving me this really wounded look that told me he wasn’t going to accept no for answer.
I don’t know WTF what I was thinking but I decided to join him on the dance floor.
I have no real way of accurately describing these six wolves except to say they were all chiseled with beach bodies, replete with six packs and hairy chests. If I had to guess, I would say were in their mid to late 30’s. Remember, I had been drinking so some of it is a bit blurry.
So there I am dancing, trying to fit in. Adam whispered in my ear at some point something like: “See, I told you it was going to be a good time.”
Suddenly, one of the wolves asked me when I would be taking my shirt off. You see, I was the only one who still had one on.
Before I could answer, two of the other wolves were behind me, pulling my shirt up from behind and up over my torso.
It was like the music stopped – at least in my mind. I was extremely nervous. But what else could I do except keep dancing? And so that's what I did – I danced and tried to keep my anxiety in check.
Just when I started to relax, one of the wolves started to pat on my love handles and made a statement that caused everyone else, including Adam, to giggle.
“Look at that muffin top jiggle! It’s like a bowl of Jell-O under laser lights!”
Before I knew it, all of them were taking turns slapping my pads like it was some kind of twisted game of Wack-A-Mole.
The more they slapped it, the more it jiggled. I was horrified and humiliated all at the same time. I remember I just wanted to get away from them.
Do you blame me?
Adam could tell that I was upset and told the guys to cool out. The bigger of the pack apparently didn’t like that and said to him as he looked directly at me:
“If he didn’t want to be made fun of then maybe he should lose some weight.
Why don’t you and your friend Jiggles get lost!”
That’s when Adam started getting into it with the group. I had enough and bolted away as fast as I could. I didn’t even bother looking for my shirt, which was probably somewhere on the deck being trampled on. I just ran like crazy and made it back to our cabin.
Adam returned about 10 minutes after I arrived and spent the rest of the night apologizing to me. He told me that the wolves were likely high on X and to not take it personally. But how could I not?
The Remainder of the Cruise
After that incident happened, I pretty much locked myself in our room for the rest of the trip. The one time I did venture out, I saw two of the guys from the dance getting drinks.
“Hey jiggles, what’s up man?” one of them said to me as I passed by with a smirk on his face.
Yeah, the whole fat shaming thing kind of ruined the trip. I didn’t even get go on any excursions – which kind of sucked because I wanted to go to St. Barts.
Adam tried to comfort me. It’s not that I was playing the victim card or anything but I just was pissed at him … for talking me on the trip … for the attention he had been receiving … and for the dance party incident.
Once the cruise was over and we got back to Minneapolis, I didn’t talk to him for a long time. And my sense was that he didn’t want to talk to me either. Not because he was mad at me but because it was all super uncomfortable.
I will say that if you want to go on a gay cruise, you will probably have a good time. I mean what happened to me is probably an outlier because there were plenty of guys who weren’t built like an Adonis.
But if you have body image issues, there’s a good chance that they will become activated when you set sail.
If you are overweight or have even a small muffin top, you probably aren’t going to be getting any. Well, I take that back. You might if they're boozed up.
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