Part 1 - Uncle Bill At Sea
An unexpected benefit came to Uncle Bill, when one of his Long Beach City College writing class mates said she thought he'd enjoy being a host on a cruise ship. She said he looked the part and that it would a great, low cost way to see the world. Moreover, she knew someone who recruited hosts. Uncle Bill thought about this idea for a while, maybe ten minutes, then asked how to get in touch with the recruiting person. After a telephone call, he received a package and worked to complete the application. Marital status, single, of course, health, height, weight, finances, photos, wardrobe, evening dress, and dancing skills, proved by a certificate from an accredited dance academy, and a current passport. It sounded like a lot of work but Uncle Bill was motivated and went ahead with the application. While waiting for a response, he enrolled at Arthur Murray School of Dance to obtain the certificate of dancing skills, as dancing with lonely female passengers was the main requirement for the unpaid job.
A personal interview was the final step to Bill's becoming an accredited 'Social Host'. His bag packed, he waited for an assignment. It came a few weeks later and he boarded a plane heading for a cruise ship port. That first night at sea Bill and his fellow hosts were presented to the passengers in the main ballroom. From then on he was up and running, asking ladies to dance. The cabin he shared with another host was in the forecastle and on the other side of the wall was the chain locker which paid out chain with a huge crash when anchoring. Bill and the others hosts met with the Cruise Director each morning to review the day's schedule but mostly to be told which women passengers had complained about being passed over by the hosts. 'Make sure you dance tonight with this or that lady,' identified by a dress or some prominent feature, was his daily instruction. Naturally, those women were usually the ugly ones. Don't accept invites into cabins, was a caution. One that didn't always work because when the band stopped playing a host might finish up in the elevator or be walking with a lady along a passageway that ran by her cabin. Food was in excess, booze flowed freely, shore excursions were interesting, especially when one of the well-to-do ladies decided to spend an evening ashore in a five-star hotel. Uncle Bill was kept busy, in addition to nightly dancing, he taught a poetry writing class, mostly to women, who were often looking to answer the question; Am I having any fun yet?