THE REAL UNDERPANTS OF SOUTHEND ON SEA

September 29, 2011 -

John Heald

I don’t know about America and Canada and Australia and Botswana but here in the UK, morning television is utter rubbish. Take this morning on a show called ummmm……”This Morning” where the subject was men’s underpants. Now this you would have thought should have been something that got my complete attention but it didn’t. That’s because the item in the show was hosted by a lady in her mid-thirties who was an editor of some woman’s magazine Hair and Beauty, Beauty and Garden, Slim Hair, Garden and Men are Bastards or something like that and she was telling me what underpants I should be wearing. Why is this allowed? If a man came on the same show and started talking about women’s knickers, he would, be cast as a fully paid up member of the steamed up glasses association who probably knows about ladies underwear because he wears a crotchless pair himself. Yet here we have this Chanel-wearing fashion editor talking about men’s underpants and everyone seems OK with that.

So my faithful male bloggers let me tell you what she had to say. According to Miss Cosmo, it’s all about the area just under your belly button, which I call my crab ladder but which Miss Cosmo called your “sacral chakre”……..that’s honestly what she said. What you wear near here speaks volumes about you. If you wear long johns, you’re saying: “I want to be warm and need a hug.” If you wear boxers, you’re a fellow who “lets it all hang out.” What a load of massive bollocks. There’s more because Miss Cosmo then told the TV audience that the colour of your underpants is deeply meaningful. Reds and oranges suggest you’re the “life and soul,” darks or pastels that you’re “somber and serious.” She then added that the current fashion is for contoured underpants that move with the body for that “stay-put factor” as worn by Calvyn. This does though make sense. Then things went downhill as male models paraded through the studio wearing various types of underpants including those David Beckham-types which come with a sewn in cucumber down the front. There were two older ladies on the front row of the studio audience, one had a stroke and the other couldn’t reach. Seriously it really pissed me off. Men should wear underpants that are comfortable and not what pleases women. If this show had been a true representation of men and their undergarments then I should have been invited to represent the average man and come out wearing a pair of underpants that look like a giant diaper and whose insides look like the runway at Heathrow Airport.

Time for some Q and A…..here we go

Lotti A asked:

We are going on the Carnival Valor on October 2. It will be me and my partner and our three-year -old son in the cabin number 1398. My partner and I would like a free gift because we were going to go to Six Flags in Georgia but decided we would spend our money on Carnival. It will be my birthday during the cruise and my partners late in October. Can you send us something? My friend Sue told me about you.

John says:
Hello Lotti A,

Thanks so much for cruising with us and I am sure you will have a brilliant time. I don’t know what Six Flags are so I will have to ask Uncle Google for information. We are glad you are cruising with us and yes I will send you a little something.

Best wishes.

John

NYchic asked:

Writing this on your blog is a pointless exercise but you need to see my experience on the Carnival Glory was my worst cruise experience ever. I also know this will have your pathetic cheerleaders roasting me but I don’t care because they are clueless cruisers who have been brain washed by your promise of free stuff in the cabins. It makes me laugh that they think you know them and they are your friends. I am sure you won’t read or post this because unless it’s a post that says how wonderful John Heald is or that Carnival is the best (usually a request for a free gift follows) but if you really are a brand ambassador and a professional you will.

John says:
Hello NYchic,

I am going to pay bugger all attention to the personal attack on myself and the people who read this blog because it is pointless and concentrate on the review you posted. I am so very sorry that you did not have a good time and I have sent this review immediately to the people who need to see it both on board and shore side. The one section that really concerned me was where you said “the crew’s complete indifference towards the guests” because that is something that we work so hard to make sure it does not happen. And in fact for the most part it never does which is why when I get a comment like this it stands out a mile. I have sent this to the ship and the shoreside management and I apologise that you did not enjoy your cruise. I have your email address and have sent this along with your post to our guest services team for follow up. My apologies once again and hope that we will see you again where I promise we will do better.

Best wishes.

John

Tofer Keleigh asked:
Hi John,

I’m super excited for my upcoming cruise. It’s coming at the perfect time at the end of a stressful year including a huge move to a new city. Anyhow, on to why I wanted to write. I read two of your emails and was offended by both (though neither is your fault). In one a frequent floater (thank Goose for giving me that one) posted about the Friend’s of Dorothy meetings, and it was pretty degrading to be referred to as “those type of people,” like we had leprosy. I appreciate the way you handled it, and appreciate that Carnival has those meetings. And the second was some son of a jackal was criticizing your humour and your look. I don’t think anyone gives two grapes what you look like. You do your job, and you do it well, and I look forward to a chance to cruise with you in the future. I’ve begun to read your blog on a semi-daily basis. Find it quite entertaining AND I learn loads. Thank for all you do!

John says:

Hello Tofer Keleigh,

Thanks for those kind words and as I have said before here on the blog I have had to develop skin as tough as an elephant’s dangly bits. I am sure you know as well that often when people write things like “those type of people” it comes from mostly a lack of understanding and yet I also know how hurtful comments like that can be. Carnival ships all have Friends of Dorothy meetings and we are happy to be able to provide a chance for our gay and lesbian guests to meet. I truly appreciate your kind words and I hope you had a wonderful time on the Carnival Valor and if there is anything I can ever do for you please let me know.

Best wishes.

John

Patricia Richards asked:
John,

I wrote to you in July with this and this was your reply:

Patricia Richards asked:
John,

My niece just graduated from high school and I am taking her on the Fascination July 28. We are in cabin number M108 and I think you should send her something for her graduation. She takes size XXL and a Carnival T-shirt would be nice.

John says:

Hello Patricia Blackden,

While I won’t be sending her a T-shirt I certainly will be sending her something for her graduation. I hope you and her family are very proud! Have a great cruise and I am glad I saw this question in time as I see you sail next week.

Best wishes.

John

How disappointed we were when you sent a cheap fake gold trophy and a few strawberries. Is this how Carnival thanks its customers? I also wanted to ask why there is a charge for her to have sodas when on NCL they are all free. John I am so disappointed in you and in Carnival and my last name is Richards you called me Patricia Blackden in your reply, I don’t know who that is but it shows how unprofessional you are if you cant even get my name correct!!!!!!

John says:
Hello Patricia Richards,

Thank you for taking the time to write. I know you asked for a T-shirt but as I mentioned in my original reply I could not send her one but would send her a gift. I hoped that what I had sent would have been enjoyable and I am so sorry that it wasn’t appreciated. I was not aware that sodas for children were free on other cruise lines and I am surprised therefore to read this. I truly hope that you and your niece had a wonderful cruise. As far as the name, I am not sure what happened there, I will have to research but I sincerely apologise for writing your name incorrectly. I do hope that you had fun.

Best wishes to you both.

John

David Michael asked:

As a platinum guest I think the Behind the Fun tour that I had to pay for on the Carnival Freedom should be free for all platinum guests. We should not have to pay the same price as passengers on cruise number 1. This was my 14th cruise.

John says:
Hello David Michael,

Thanks so much for your loyalty and I in a few days time I will be interviewing Rob who is in charge of our new loyalty program. I know that he is looking at improving the benefits but I don’t think making the Behind the Fun complimentary for Platinum guests will be one of the new additions. Each ship carries proudly many, many Platinum and Milestone guests so to have this as a complimentary event would not be possible as only 16 people can take part. Please check back here in the days ahead to see what the new program will be all about and I thank you most sincerely for your loyalty.

Best wishes.

John

John Alred asked:
John,

There is a young man working as a waiter on the Carnival Elation who deserves a huge raise. His name is Dario and he is the best waiter I have ever had on my eight cruises. I have cruised with RCI and Celebrity and Princess but this was my first Carnival and it will not be the last. This was because of the crew who were the best most friendly team I have ever experienced and at the top of the list was Dario. I cruised with my wife and our two children. Our youngest son Toby has special needs and can be quite a handful during meal times. Dario though was amazing and not only made sure we had what we needed but also entertained Toby every night and made him laugh out loud which I can tell you is not easily done. I was surprised that Carnival does not give out comment cards and so I was told by a colleague at work about your blog which I must say is very funny and I hope that you will show Dario’s managers that they have a superstar working on their ship Elation. We all had a great time and we will be back.

John says:
Hello John Alred,

This was a joy to read, truly a joy to read. We used to have comment cards on board but now they are sent to some guests online so maybe by now you have received yours. If not I promise that Dario will be recognised and that both he and his supervisors on board and shoreside will see your brilliant words of praise. I hope that we will see you again and if there is anything I can do for you please let me know.

Best wishes to you all and well done, Dario.

John

Alan asked:
John,

You won’t remember me I am sure but you helped arrange with Butch on the Carnival Dream a wonderful ceremony for my son who had been severely injured in an IED in Afghanistan while serving with the Marines. The wedding proposal you arranged for him was breathtaking and on October 15 Brandon my son and future daughter in law will be getting married. I know you see lots of hate mail here and I am always trying to defend you on Cruise Critic where a few people seem to take great joy in saying nothing but nasty things about you so I wanted you to see that you do make a difference in many people’s vacations and their lives. Thank you and I wish you could be at the wedding where my son will be walking down the aisle on his new leg which I never thought he would be able to do. We are all sailing on the Carnival Miracle in December and I wish you could be there as well.

John says:
Hello Alan,

I do indeed remember your request for this proposal and of course I remember it because of the extraordinary service your son gave as a U.S. Marine. I am thrilled to see that in a few weeks time they will be getting married and considering all he has been through I am sure that this will be a very proud day for you and I wish I could be there to see it. If there is anything at all I can do to make your next cruise more enjoyable please let me know and I wish you all a very happy day on October 15.

Best wishes to all.

John

Marlene G asked:
Hello John,

Can you tell me if there will be any special services and meals for Yom Kippur during our cruise on the Carnival Freedom? This is very important to all your Jewish passengers and I hope you make sure that something is done to recognize Yom Kippur.

John says:
Hello Marlene G,

I asked Uncle Google and I can see that Yom Kippur starts at sunset on October 7. Normally we do not have anything organised for this Yom Kippur however should members of the Jewish faith request a service while onboard we will organise a lounge and help with any other requirements as best we can. It would have to be an unsupervised service though Marlene so if you feel you would like us to do this please let the guest services desk know and the CD will announce and prepare accordingly? I have sent this to the ship to alert them in advance. I wish you a wonderful cruise.

Best wishes.

John

Matthew Potter asked:

First of all, just want to join the chorus and say how much I love your blog. LOVE it. I’ve not been on a cruise before but my wife enjoyed hers so much that she talked me into one. We’re sailing from Galveston on the Magic January 1, 2012. We were disappointed to see that you won’t be our cruise director. My question might be a little different but hopefully you can give me some insight or direction. We’ve been visiting Jamaica for years now and always bring a suitcase full of school supplies for a local school near Negril. We won’t be able to get to the school during our scheduled port stop and were wondering if you guys had any recommendations how to get some school supplies to needy children in Jamaica and Mexico? We feel so fortunate to be able to vacation and hope to be able to share some of this with the beautiful people in the countries we visit. Let me know if there’s any direction you can provide. Much appreciated and keep up the good work.

Best Regards,

Matt Potter

John says:
Hello Matt Potter,

How wonderful of you for thinking of the kids. If you can manage to get the supplies to the ship we will make sure that they are sent to the local orphanages in Mexico and in Jamaica. May I suggest that you buy a Hallmark type card and when you hand the supplies to us on the ship you include a card and maybe a photo of you so the children will know who this kind gesture is coming from. Please can you remind me here a month before you sail or on my Facebook page a week before you sail so I can alert the ship and prepare the paperwork accordingly. Once again many thanks for your kindness and if there is anything I can do for you please let me know.

Best wishes.

John

That’s all for today. Normally I would say that I will be back tomorrow but I won’t be as I have to pack and spend the day with the family whom I won’t see now for another two months. I am not going to bore you with how that makes me feel because I think you all know. I will though be on Facebook on Saturday night and on Sunday while in New York. I have meetings as soon as I arrive because such is the importance of this event that everyone with a beard is coming. Gerry Cahill, our president and CEO, will be there as will three senior vice presidents and of course our chief marketing officer and his team. Stephanie and Peter the Hair will join me as we will be posting videos of the event and post event interviews with___________ and with __________. Those two blank spaces are very exciting indeed I promise.

One thing that isn’t going to be fun is that I have to get a taxi from the airport to the hotel and then throughout my stay I will have to use the NY taxi service. The last time I was in New York was for the New Years Eve thingy last year and I as I stood on Madison Avenue I had a taxi…. “stolen.” I had been patiently waiting on the corner when a lady with huge sunglasses jumped out of nowhere and intercepted the approaching cab. Being British, I politely announced it was my taxi. “Oh, it’s YOUR taxi…….get the f**k out a heeeeeeeeere?” sneered the woman with the welding glasses……. before jumping in. There are many things in life that I know bugger all about and one it seems is taxi etiquette. I asked a New York friend of mine who told me that you must turn into a complete and utter bastard or this will happen all the time. Cab-stealers I was told are the scourge of the city and you have to be assertive and stand your ground or you’ll end up defeated and….…..even worse ……….walking.

Anyway, I am still not totally sure of my schedule while in the Big Apple but I do promise you will be among first to know what’s happening as I will be blogging live from the event. One thing I can guarantee is that the event will feature something that has become the scourge of the modern corporate world…..the PowerPoint presentation. I can understand why so many people use it because giving a presentation is like acting or singing — many think they can do it, few really do it well. One of Carnival’s senior beards gave an entertaining presentation to the Carnival Magic crew during her delivery. Sadly, he was followed by someone who wasn’t very good and I know many people in the Miami office would rather staple their ears to their desks rather than attend one of his/her presentations, PowerPoint or otherwise.

When I first introduced Gerry Cahill onto the stage during the Carnival Splendor’s naming ceremony, I could see that he was very nervous indeed. Remember he came from an accounting background which is why he came on stage holding his security blanket………..a calculator.

These days he is polished, he is fun and he speaks directly to his audience but most importantly he is himself and he is able to do all of this without a sodding PowerPoint. You can make it in business if you’re a bit shy, if you have the breath of a camel or the face of Bill Gates, even if you’re a bit thick. But if you’re scared of public speaking, you’re buggered because you will at some point have to address a group of people. Surveys consistently show that public speaking is as common a phobia as spiders, snakes and the French — and now you don’t just have to speak in public, you have to speak in public using PowerPoint. Can you imagine Churchill using PowerPoint?

So there I will sit at the big meeting at our advertising and PR partner’s office. There will be talk of blue sky thinking and that this is mission critical and there will be lashings of coffee, sandwiches and yes, PowerPoint. You raise an index finger to make a point. I don’t speak their language so I will pour myself another cup of coffee, help myself to another triangular tuna sandwich and listen to beards say things like; “We must maintain focused on the guests so that we can incentivise and swankify what is happening and take it to the next level.” I will look round the table at all the beards and the marketing and PR people, the sort of people who whip out their laptops every time they’re at an airport and know what a Wi-Fi looks like. At present, the world’s beards are physically incapable of sitting down at an airport for a moment without flicking open the computer and pulling a serious face while pretending that the machine is actually doing something. It isn’t. You spend the first five minutes waiting for the damn thing to stop making chiming noises and the next 20 discovering that it won’t connect to either 3G or the Edge, and that you cannot remember the password you chose for the T-Mobile hotspot is Iwantabiggerthingy……by the time you log on they have called your flight and it’s time to go.

So instead of pretending to be an international mover and shaker who cannot be out of touch for a moment, leave the sodding thing in your carry on and spend the time either thinking about stuff or reading a good book. Both of these activities will ensure you’re a better, cleverer person, and that’s a good thing because most people would rather do business with a chap who’s read a Tom Clancy novel than some nerd who reckons a widescreen EyeMac PowerTrip makes them look important.

I always feel out of place at these meetings. Everyone has perfect teeth and my teeth are not perfect. They have a yellow tint to them and one is as bent as a dog’s back leg. And as they talk about blue sky thinking and living outside of a box, I will have to bite my tongue and force myself from actually saying: “I’m sorry but what the bloody hell are you going on about?”

Anyway, the beards have put a huge amount of work into this event and I will do all I can to support them. I still can’t tell you (sorry Cruise Critic folks I know how much that annoys you) what it is we are doing but trust me it is brilliant and I can’t wait to tell you what’s next. So please join me on Monday and I will let you know what’s happening.

I wrote my comments last night for this event and this meant I worked until quite late. Once downstairs I realised that I made a fundamental error. Dinner was over. The dish washer was on, the chores completed which meant Kye was in bed and Heidi was relaxing, in front of my sexy 50 inch plasma TV which meant horror of horrors………she had the remote control.

I hate not being in command of the remote control and if I dare to suggest that I go watch the TV in bedroom I get that hurt, you don’t love me and you’re leaving on Saturday and I won’t see you on Saturday and you are a complete bastard and I am going to tell my mother look. Forget Lorena Bobbitt, the best way to castrate a man is to take away the remote control. It really is the worst thing a woman can do which of course is why women enjoy doing it so much. There are so many things we could be watching at one time and for women to deny us of this basic instinct should be illegal and any woman found doing it should be made to wear her husband’s underpants as a hat for one week. Heidi always comes into the room and grabs the remote saying “You’re not watching anything.” And technically I am probably not. But I do intend to spend the rest of the evening using the remote control to do the following:

  • Watching Latvian women’s beach volleyball on ESPN 27
  • Flicking through 20 channels in 30 seconds pausing for no more than 1.1 second on each one.
  • Any channel that is showing West Wing re-runs.
  • Catching the fart scene from Blazing Saddles only to discover its being shown on AMC and they have taken the fart noise out so all that’s left is a bunch of men sitting around a campfire lifting their arses off the ground.
  • Watching the History Channel’s three week marathon entitled “The French Surrender.”
  • Flicking through all the major networks and cursing out loud that the “bloody commercials are on at exactly the same time on every bloody channel.”
  • Watching the Playboy Channel with your finger hovering over the channel down button in case your wife suddenly walks in.
  • Watching Barney and realising you are watching the purple dinosaur even though Kye has been in bed for hours and realising it really is time to kill yourself.
  • And then after surfing through all 150 channels you scratch yourself downstairs …….. Wipe your KFC encrusted hands on the couch….and moan that there is bugger all on.

 

How can you explain this to a woman who wants to sit through a show featuring six desperate moaning fake breasted women and one exceedingly metrosexual Australian man? This is why men, you must never ever give up control of the remote. See you in NY on Facebook over the weekend.

Goodnight.

Your friend,

John

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.

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