Manual Girlfriend Getaways, 2nd: You Go Girl! And Ill Go, Too

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He asked me if I was staff on the cruise, noting my friendlessness, and I told him I was a reporter. But he did occasionally seem to forget about the realities of the situation. For the last stretch of our afternoon, we were dropped on a secluded beach at Nevis, where a few of us ferried beers and our new favorite drink, the very college-esque Panty Ripper coconut rum and pineapple juice , from shore to the rest of the women waiting in the water.

One woman stuffed a bunch of beers into her bathing suit and we cheered whenever anybody pulled one out. A couple women had GoPro cameras, with which we took a lot of increasingly drunken group shots while we swam. One of them was attached to a floating handle that looked very much like a big yellow dildo, which, once somebody pointed it out, kept sending us into hysterics.

Bonding is built into an Olivia trip, which, I realized soon enough, is basically like grown-up lesbian camp. On this floating gay island and its satellite getaways, time works differently than it does back home. You can skip the normal-life process of slowly getting to know somebody on the shallowest of levels and get right to the good stuff.

Back on the catamaran for our return to port, we got into some deep and very lesbian-y talk about relationships. In the spirit of lesbian camp bonding, I told my new crew about my situation — nonmonogamous, not sure how to feel about it — which seemed to pique the interest of beer bathing suit girl, because she would soon afterward follow me into the impossibly tiny bathroom, bursting in on me mid-pee. By this point, I was — somewhat unintentionally — quite drunk. But there was another part of me that was very much not into it, especially when the makeout gave way to other things and people started banging on the bathroom door.

I was also, literally, developing a pretty bad sunburn.

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I made my way up the tiny laddered chute to the deck, bouncing against the walls like a pinball, and immediately moved as far away from the bathroom as possible. Later, when telling friends what had happened, I did laugh about it — one told me it sounded like something pulled straight out of The L Word , which, true — but I was also a little mad at that girl, and even more so at myself for being so sloppy.

The consent element there was indeterminate; I had willingly gone along with the hookup, at least for a little while, though I remain uncertain about how much I really could have consented while drunk-peeing in a bathroom the size of a broom closet. Bad sex happens. Even with lesbians!

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I was going to move on, get over it, and go back to enjoying myself. Before I left, I talked to a few of my reporter friends about it, just in case a hookup opportunity should present itself and I decided to partake for, um, research purposes. We decided that my Olivia story fell in some sort of weird journalistic in-between, just like my own job does.

And the thing a lot of women on the cruise were looking to experience was, yes, getting laid. Instead, I found singles and couples of various ages and gender presentations looking for something extra, something different, something more. My lesbian friends and I have often complained about how much easier it is for our gay guy friends to hook up with abandon — they have way more bars, and they all have back rooms! On Grindr, you can just ask someone to skip right to the sex. That is, in fact, the norm. One of my friends was in a hot tub, in the middle of the day, when she noticed that the women across from her were having sex in the same hot tub she got out immediately.

My friends Jamie and Matie, for their part, were determined to make things happen. At our evening activities, Jamie was frequently flagging , via colored handkerchiefs placed in her back pocket.

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She and Matie also hung up a white board outside their door and encouraged their neighbors to invite them to their play parties. They had a very sweet exchange with a curious anonymous neighbor who wrote them a note, inquiring what a play party is. It was only on our last day at sea that I discovered a Public Posts board, tucked away by reception in an area that most guests definitely would not be walking by every day. Afterward, I had lunch with Dana and some of the other Olivia staffers and asked them about it — why not make the Public Posts more prominent, MichFest style?

Especially since the younger people at the first Gen O event had explicitly asked for more sex content. Olivia had run sexuality and intimacy workshops before, and at the lunch, the staffers floated the definite possibility that they will again. Tisha, the cruise director and VP, met her wife on an Olivia cruise. When my partner jokingly warned me, before I left for the cruise, not to fall in love with a hot older butch — seriously, we joked about this — I thought, Fat chance.

Not only because I had no intention of falling in love with anyone else, but because I thought hooking up with hot older butches would remain the stuff of my fantasies. I even reported out an entire article about intergenerational lesbian relationships a few years ago.

I have a lot to share. The lesbian bars and events I frequent in New York — the gay capital of the world!

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The older women I did meet tended to be coupled up. It was Monday night, at the Deck 11 elevators. The only thing Lynette said to me, in the brief window after introductions and before we went our separate ways, was that my accent made me sound like an American newscaster. I was high on my newfound karaoke fame, and she was, by far, the most beautiful woman in the room: tall, dark, and striking, dressed all in white.

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But I walked right up to her, catching her alone, and asked if she wanted to take me home. When we left, wobbling down the sea-bucking hallways, she offered me her elbow, a gentleman from the first. All our nights together have swirled together in the strange, heady flux of my memory. I was lying on my bed, on top of the covers, shivering slightly. Lynette stood over me, her head cocked to one side, a slight smile on her face.

We stayed that way for a while, just breathing, as if waiting for whatever would happen next. Lynette is 53 years old , though she looks at least 10 years younger. She was born and raised in London to Jamaican parents.

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This cruise was the gift Lynette gave herself in the aftermath. She was starting over. My Capricorn groundedness makes us a good match, allegedly. She plays the drums, loves cars — like, posts-on-car-forums-level loves cars — and follows tech news.

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She cares about clothes and buys a lot of hers vintage. She just got a tattoo commemorating Liverpool, her beloved football team. Once, after I came in her hands, I burst into tears yeah, I know, big dyke energy , and she held me tightly in her strong, sure arms. Other things she calls me, in her unfairly irresistible British accent: cheeky bint, missus, girl, my dear, my love, my darling. Per the rules of our loose nonmonogamous agreement, I FaceTimed with my partner about what was happening on the cruise, first telling them about the catamaran girl and then, in so many words, about Lynette.

I was the one who seemed to stress this rule the most. I was less confident. Lynette and I had only just met, but in the emotionally intense bizarro world of the cruise, where relationships of all types seemed to develop at warp speed and I was feeling enough emotion for 10 lesbians combined, I liked Lynette very, very much. A lot of it was, obviously, physical, chemical. But there were other things, too, that were harder to explain to other people or to myself.

One of the first things I loved about her was observing her get dressed after she showered: her careful routine of lotions and gels and aerosols, her selection of a different wristwatch for different outfits.

I loved grabbing her waist by the belt loops, loved playing with the silver cross she wore around her neck. It sounds shallow to imply that, in the beginning, I fell for her simply because of her style, her stuff. Fountains, painted tiles, flourishing greens and vibrant flowers set against the lovely, Mexican-inspired architecture create a delightful ambiance for relaxing and exploring! Stop 1? The cross stands 90 feet tall on top of the feet of rock it sits upon and the panoramic view from the inside is just as magnanimous as that from here!

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Though we arrive late and the sun has retired behind the mountains, we glimpse just a bit of the famed view here at Mariposa…. She makes her way to us and a bottle of sparkling Malbec follows this wine is a new one for me, and what a treat! Need I even say it?? We vow to return tomorrow for more wine and to experience the views, and we find our way home, to our dreamy hotel, for a good nights rest.

We rest a few times — partly to calm our bodies from the dramatic shift in altitude as we go upward and partly to take in the ever-changing views as we go. Works out well though, as we need a group shot taken here at one of our stops! As we near the end of the trail it grows suddenly steep, so be forewarned. Tasha the most practical of the group — she is an engineer after all , is hesitant to say the least. This experience is exhilarating and the vistas at nearly 5, feet are remarkable. Then hustle back to town to reward yourself with healthy snacks, of course!

The sun is out and the sky is blue, but the temperature up here in the mountains is brisk! Relaxed, we head just a few steps back to our gorgeous room and get ready for our evening out! First stop of the night is Mariposa! Not only a viable weekend pitstop… but an absolute local Sedona gem! We walk through the doors of an unassuming and seemingly quiet building and are overwhelmed at what we find inside! The place is packed, there large parties at the tables, friends mingling at the bar and couples busting a move on the dance floor!