Wanna Grab a Drink? Dating on Land vs. at Sea

Yeah, it’s true. I am dating again. I’ll take a moment for the celebration and fanfare to die down…

Done? Good. Let’s continue.

There are a few things I have noticed about the differences in land dating and ship dating. It is not an exaggeration to say that I’m re-learning the whole process. I was just a kid when I got on ships, and I have to be honest when I say that’s not a great place to learn about adult relationships. I have touched on this subject in a number of different articles, but now that I’m in the thick of it again I can speak to the whole crazy mess that is dating.


  1. Ships move slow. Relationships move even slower.

This is something I struggled with, and I know a few of my friends have had trouble with it when they come back to land. Ship relationships move at an alarmingly insane rate. I mean L-bombs are dropped and future plans are dreamed up before you can say, “red code.” Which you don’t. Ever. Cause you shouldn’t jinx yourself. Don’t joke about red code. Anyway, it’s pretty normal for a full-fledged, imagining-his-last-name-with-yours, looking-up-visas-to-his-home-country relationship to be underway after like two weeks.


  1. If you don’t see him everyday, he still likes you.

When you live and work in the same place, it is completely accepted and expected to see the object of your affection throughout the whole of your day. Given that you likely wake up next to them, you’ll start your day with them. The rest of the day would go as follows: have breakfast together, go in port together, have lunch together, share your dinner break, enjoy after work drinks, dancing with them in the crew bar, bed. All in one day. On land, however, it’s pretty standard to see your crush on the weekends and talk to them a few times during the week. I tell you this because, former ship ladies, you will drive yourself up the wall wondering why he’s not texting you every few hours or wanting to see you every night. That’s not how it works here. Just chill. Remember, he’s doing his thing, and you can do yours. Enjoy that time to yourself so you can clip your toenails, watch Bravo, or apply that scary, moisturizing face mask.

  1. Land dating – like everything – is way more expensive.

Take it easy on your newest beau, ladies. There isn’t a five-star restaurant for $30 a person. There’s no $5 bistro or free buffet for your dates. Dating on land requires more than just food, too. Movie tickets are ridiculously overpriced and you’ve surely noticed that martinis are no longer $6. Plus, you can’t forget the cost of gas to come pick you up and take you home. I’m just saying don’t expect specialty restaurants all the time anymore. Besides, Dominoes and Netflix can be just as romantic.


  1. Your dates will also be less exotic.

Along those same lines, dates on land tend to have less once-in-a-lifetime moments. Your land guy is at a serious disadvantage in this area. Those ship boyfriends could always bank on the fact that they were being carted to the most amazing date spots in the world. I had dates in Germany, Colombia, Bermuda, etc. Lunches in foreign countries may not be on your agenda anymore, but having someone cook you dinner is a sweet luxury you didn’t have before. Your dates are less exotic but not less exciting. 

  1. We already have “plenty of fish.”

On ships there’s no Tindr, no Grindr, no OkCupid, no Match, none of that. Online dating became a thing when I was a crew member so when I came home and my friends suggested making a profile I thought, why not? I’ll probably meet a nice guy and have some fun dates. This will be so easy… Jesus, was I wrong. After multiple messages with bad grammar, bad jokes and bad boys I decided it was not for me. This is a part of dating today that I hate. Just hate. It works for some people and that’s awesome. I hated it and just wished I had the dirty crew bar dating scene back.



  1. The butterflies are the same all over the world.

I love the butterflies. I love the smiles. I love the warm fuzzies in the pit of my stomach. I love the excitement of getting to know a new person and looking forward to talking to them after work. This mushy, gushy, disgusting feeling is the same on land and at sea, and it’s awesome.



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