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The Urban Erma by Leighann Lord: New Kids on the Boat
I recently found myself performing on a charter music cruise headlined by New Kids on the Block. You heard me. I’m not big on boy bands but I was just a wee bit sorry that it wasn’t Boyz II Men. [Insert sly smile and small swoon here.] In case you didn’t know, New Kids on the Block rebranded themselves NKOTB. This is cute but it must make it hard on their dyslexic fans. I bet some of those poor ladies ended up on the MFSB cruise jamming to “Love is the Message.”
It’s worth noting here that I consider myself more of a man band fan: Cameo, Slave, Earth Wind & Fire, Kool & the Gang, The Dazz Band, The Gap Band, The Commodores, The Time. The Jonas Brothers just don’t fill that void for me.
New Kids was an 80s group with hits like “The Right Stuff,” “I’ll Be Loving You Forever,” and “Step by Step.” They’re all grown up now and so are their fans. On a ship that normally accommodates up to 2,800 vacationing couples and families, over 2,500 of the passengers on this cruise were women. That’s a lot of estrogen. Some of it was replacement estrogen but it still counts. The New Kids gift shop not only sold tee-shirts and such, but it also had a line of personal fans that sprayed a fine cool mist of water. Clearly someone on the New Kids marketing team anticipated that some of their fans are now peri-menopausal.
A casual stroll around the ship was artistically enlightening. Even before setting sail, many of the ladies had decorated their cabin doors and hallways with elaborate homages to NKOTB. There were arts and crafts displays that put school children to shame: oceans of oak tag, rivers of glitter, and mounds of macaroni. It looked like these chicks had bought out Michael’s Craft Store. I’ve seen museum installations less complicated. One woman went so far as to hook up an iPad to run continuous New Kids concert footage.
Mostly though, the doors and walls were bedecked with fan photos taken at earlier concerts and cruises. One cabin door was awash in photos of the New Kids asses and abs. It made me wonder if they were still singing or doing porn now. When the ladies ran out of photos of the group they began tacking up just any old set of abs. Tom Selleck? He’s not a New Kid. He’s an old kid. There was an awesome ab photo of Naughty by Nature. He’s definitely not a New Kid on the Block; maybe the cell block …
On another door an ardent fan proudly displayed what looked disturbingly like private family childhood photos. You just knew that if you pressed her, she could probably show you a New Kids sonogram. At this point it started feeling less like a cruise and more like a floating restraining order.
Although it was sold out, not everyone on the ship was a New Kids fan. “This is just sad,” one of the other passengers whispered to me in a guarded moment. And it was wise to whisper. There’s no telling what the Stepford chicks would’ve done if they had overheard such heresy. “I can’t believe grown women are acting like this.” And I’ll admit it was surprising to see a woman with a full back tattoo of all of the New Kids faces. It made the homemade, 3D, deck-for-deck, port hole-for-port hole, paper mache replica of the cruise ship look tame.
On the bright side, these women were some of the most dedicated, passionate, and creative fans I’ve ever met. (And I am a Trekkie.) I am convinced that male fans would not have done all this. I can’t picture them, 20 years from now, putting this much effort into a Destiny’s Child Bootylicious Reunion Cruise. That’s not to say they wouldn’t want to, I just doubt they’d stop masturbating long enough to make it happen.
Some women brought their husbands on the cruise. A New Kids on the Block cruise. I know. That’s cold-blooded, right? That’s like bringing your man to a book club meeting. It’s kinder just to serve him with divorce papers. I’m not sure if the women who left their men at home fared any better. When the cruise ends, they won’t be returning home to a New Kid, just an old spouse. Either way, I smell an argument.
Charter music cruises are quite popular now and there are a lot of old groups I’d love to see but who might not do well on water. Katrina & The Waves and the SOS Band come to mind. Hell, Musical Youth wouldn’t even make it passed customs. I hear there’s an R. Kelly concert cruise coming up, but you might not want to bring the kids.
Now if there’s ever a Star Trek cruise, beam me up. I’d see nothing wrong with plastering my cabin door with my pre- and post-restraining order cast photos, hooking up my iPad to show every scintillating season of STNG & DS9 (director’s cut), and strolling around the lido deck in my prosthetic Vulcan ears. Now that’s the right stuff.
© 2012 Leighann Lord
A very funny lady on the stage and on the page, stand-up comedian Leighann Lord pens a weekly humor column with topics ranging from the personal to the political, from the silly to the sophisticated. Reminiscent of a modern day Erma Bombeck (famed nationally syndicated humor columnist), a fan dubbed Leighann, “The Urban Erma” and the name stuck. It’s a fun, fast read that leaves you laughing, or at least wondering why we don’t have a comprehensive mental health care plan. Follow Leighann on Twitter and be a fan on Facebook.