My name is Sharon, but you can call me 'Becky'

Becky is not my name but some people call me Becky. Mostly, these people are drunk losers who have tried to pick me up in a bar. In an attempt to not share any of my real self with any such drunk losers, I have often given a fake name. I try to use ‘Lisa’ or whatever they misheard my name to be, but I tend to default to ‘Becky’. Becky was the nickname I was given a few years ago and it stuck. I was named after another Becky, one that I have never met and probably never will. There’s a story behind this nick-name and it goes something like this:

Once upon a time in a land far away, there lived a little girl who had really curly hair. She didn’t want curly hair and was in denial about its curlyness so she would try her best to brush it straight and ended up with the Lampshade effect. Together with bottle-bottom glasses and an awesome Jersey that had the pattern of a collar and tie knitted into it, this girl was not cool. And no, her name was not 'Becky' (but thanks). Her name will not be mentioned for the sake of protecting her identity. For the purpose of this story we will call her Lampshade-Head girl.

At the school of Lampshade-Head girl was another little girl, one without lampshade hair and bottle-bottom glasses. This girl knew that jerseys with the pattern of a collar and tie knitted into them would probably date and opted for puffed sleeves instead. Okay so those dated too, it was the 80’s and she was cool, okay? I don’t know who invited who or what, but for some reason it was arranged for Becky to go play at Lampshade-Head Girl’s house. Lampshade-Head Girl desperately wanted to impress Becky and thought long and hard about what she could do to entertain her so that they could be come real friends. Unfortunately the decision she reached was that rearranging her room would be a fun activity for the two of them to do. Needless to say, to Becky it seemed more like work and she never went to Lampshade-Head Girl’s house ever again.

Many years later I was fortunate enough to meet the much older, much cooler version of Lampshade-Head girl, who one day realized that curls were not to be feared but embraced. She replaced her bottle-bottom glasses for contacts and learned to discern between good trends and bad ones. She invited me over to her house many times with the intention being to have fun and, on occasion, I would end up making coffee, entertaining a kid, or doing something else that could be construed as ‘work’, and she would apologetically call me ‘Becky’ and recount the story of the mistake she made as a child (well, one of the mistakes – the hair she probably regretted more). Over time ‘Becky’ became the nickname assigned to my people-pleasing alter ego.

I always wanted people to like me so I’ve spent much of my life helping out or serving people in an attempt to be accepted and on countless occasions people have taken advantage of this. I’ve all but killed myself bending over backwards for people. And then one day I found myself working in hospitality on a cruise ship. My intention was to be in entertainment but instead I found myself in guest-services where it was practically my job to please people for a living. – And I was really good at it! Between the kind advice of Lampshade-Head Girl and the ridiculous demands of the guests from the most self-entitled nation of the world, I learned to say ‘no’, to define my boundaries and to not people-please to my detriment.

Lampshade-Head girl now lives far away and my sea-faring days seem to be behind me for now, but if I could find my way back to either or both I would be super-happy. I would give anything to make Lampshade-Head girl a cup of coffee right now or organize a renewal of vows at sea. The truth is, if you can please people because you want to please people and not because you feel obligated to, it’s really nice being a Becky.


Sharon Waugh

Sharon is a writer, cruise ship entertainment host and freelance unicorn wrangler, living it up on the high seas. She also likes to photograph a plastic lawn flamingo in exotic locations because it seemed like a good idea 10 years ago and 53 countries later, it’s probably too late to turn back now.

 Sharon greatly dislikes reading “travel blogs” by people who are just rephrasing press releases or composing lists like “15 ways to travel the world for cheap”, specifically formulated for SEO, with absolutely no evidence that the writer has ever left their bedroom. (This is not one of those blogs.) Sharon also dislikes bigotry and referring to herself in first person, apparently.

To find out more about Sharon and Rodrigo’s travel aspirations read this.

Browse by category

Practical travel tips and destination guides for anyone visiting any of the places I have been.

My thoughts on travel mascots, photographing your butt in exotic locations and the addictive nature of cruise ship employment, among other things.

True stories about trying to find trolls in Norway, toilets in Denmark and getting flashed in Cuba, to name a few.

Tips for cruisers and crew members, as well as anecdotes from a variety of experiences at sea.