How to Find Other Friends of Dorothy on Straight Cruises by the new Gay Cruising Editor of CruiseMates
An all-gay party cruise not your thing? But, you still want meet other gay folks on your next cruise. Then check out the Friends of Dorothy meetings in your daily program.
No, there won't be any flying monkeys. Friends of Dorothy (FOD) meetings are informal gatherings for gay and lesbian passengers to meet and mingle.
In gay slang, a Friend of Dorothy is a term for a gay man.
The term dates back to a time in the early 20th century when homosexuality was against the law in both the United Kingdom and in the United States. Saying at a social gathering that another man was a "friend of Dorothy" was a euphemism used for discussing sexual orientation without other people knowing what you were discussing.
The origin of the term is unknown and there are various theories. Most commonly it has been linked to the film The Wizard of Oz because Judy Garland, who starred as the main character Dorothy, is often noted as a major icon in the gay community, and in the film, Dorothy is accepting of those who are different, e.g. a gentle lion living a lie, "I'm afraid there's no denyin', I'm just a dandy lion."
A less popular etymology links it to Dorothy Parker, who had many homosexual friends.
Starting in the late 1980s, on several cruise lines, gay passengers began approaching ship staff, asking them to publicize gatherings in the daily cruise activity list. As the cruise lines were hesitant to announce such things so blatantly in their daily publications, they would list the gathering as a "Meeting of the Friends of Dorothy". Such meetings have expanded in popularity and frequency over the years. Now, many cruise lines will have multiple "FOD" events, sometimes as many as one each night.
Not every cruise line allows FOD meetings, and on most sailings, it's up to the sole discretion of the cruise director to add a listing. If you do not see a listing in your daily program, then ask the cruise director to add one. If they refuse, you may have to resort to old-fashioned "gaydar".
Every FOD meeting is going to be different; some are small and intimate, while others draw a large crowd. You may even have a few curious straight people show up. My advice is to be as flexible and open-minded as possible. Remember everyone on a cruise is looking to have a fun trip. So stay safe and happy sailing.