This week, my guest is the one and only Captain Silver Fox, though he’s not really fond of that nickname. His real name is Fokke de Vries, which is a really Dutch name, but since no one could pronounce it (and when they did, it sounded like they dropped the F-bomb…), he changed it to Fox. As he got a little older and became the captain of a cruise ship, the nickname Captain Silver Fox was born… This silver fox only has eyes for one man though, his younger lover Brantley. I’m excited to hear all about their lives…
Thanks so much for sitting down with me, Fox. Or should I call you Fokke?
[laughs] At least you know how to pronounce it, Nora, considering you’re Dutch yourself.
I am, so I might as well take advantage. Has Brantley learned some Dutch yet?
He has, but you and I both know it’s a difficult language to learn. My parents’ English is limited though, so he’s working hard on at least understanding some basic Dutch, and I love him for it. He has the cutest accent, and of course, he hasn’t yet mastered the Dutch rolling -r or the harsh -g sound we make.
Just tell him to make it sound like he’s choking. That should do it.
I told him exactly that! [laughs] He had raw herring for the first time a few weeks ago, and the sound he made when that taste hit his throat was pretty close. You should have seen his face. I damn near died laughing.
It’s certainly an acquired taste.
It is, and I warned him, but he really wanted to try it. So we went to the harbor in Scheveningen, near The Hague, and got some fresh caught ones. They’re amazing, but not for him, apparently. Luckily, there’s been enough Dutch food that he did love. So far, bitterballen are his favorite.
[Note from Nora: if you want to know what bitterballen are, check out this recipe…]
Let’s go back a little in time. What did you think of him the first time you saw him?
That he was one sexy guy…and that I probably didn’t stand a chance, considering the number of men surrounding him. I was looking for a last hook up. As a captain, I work a ten weeks on, ten weeks off schedule. Since I’ve always been strict about not sleeping with passengers or coworkers, that meant no sex for ten weeks. So before my rotation started, I’d always score some hook ups, and that’s what I was doing. But he had all these pretty men around him, all younger than me, and I figured I didn’t have a shot. He’s like that…magnetic. People naturally gravitate toward him. He has this energy, this zest for life, and it makes people want to be in his presence.
But in the end, you were the one who went home with him…
I was. Well, to my hotel room anyway. We bonded after doing CPR on a guy and we both felt that strong connection. Our chemistry was off the charts, and that first night was…memorable. I’d never had a hook up that good, where the sex was that easy and effortless…and hot.
And then reality hit.
[groans] When I discovered he was one of my new crew members… I was genuinely upset. A ship is a tough hierarchy to explain to others, but the bottomline is that everyone on that ship is under my command. They may work for the cruise line, but once on board, they fall under my authority. And in all my years of doing this, I’ve never, ever made an exception to my rule of not sleeping with crew or passengers. And then Brantley came, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t stay away from him.
But in the end, love won.
It did, but it didn’t come easy…and our relationship is pretty unique in the sense that we don’t see each other for ten weeks and then get to spend the next ten weeks together.
You’ve never considered asking for Brantley to be transferred to your ship?
[sighs] Considered? Yes. But I haven’t done it. Of course I would love to have him by my side. In the beginning, that was impossible. The cruise line would’ve never allowed it because our relationship was so new…and maybe a little because we’re both men. But by now, they know it’s real. In fact…in a few week’s time, Brantley Phipps will become Brantley Phipps de Vries…
Oh my god, you guys are getting married?
[holds out his hand, which shows a lovely ring with a small blue stone in it] We sure are. In The Netherlands, surrounded by all our friends and family. I proposed a few months ago, simply because I didn’t want to wait any longer with making him officially mine. I’ve never been that super-possessive alpha-type guy, but I will admit that I had this deep urge to claim him publicly.
Congratulations! I’m so happy for you guys…and that ring is so pretty!
Thank you. I picked it because it’s the color of the ocean… And I hope that once we’re married, the cruise line will allow him to transfer to my ship so we can sail together. Brody, my first officer, thinks it shouldn’t be an issue with my years of service, and I hope he’s right. But if not, we’ll survive as well. The one benefit of not seeing each other for that long is that our reunions are always sweet…
I bet. What did your family say?
They all love him. he’s easy to love anyway, but they see how good we are for each other. I’ll admit that my parents had hoped I’d retire from cruising and move back to the Netherlands, but I don’t ever see that happening. The moving back, I mean.
You don’t miss it?
Holland? No. I miss the people, like my parents and my family, but even that has become a small group. I’ve been gone for so long by now that I don’t have friends left there. They’ve all moved on, and that’s understandable. And I miss the food. Every time we go back for a week or two, I binge on all my Dutch favorites. Pancakes, poffertjes, dutch fries with mayo, frikadellen, you name it. Not exactly refined cuisine, but so good. But I don’t miss the country itself. It’s gorgeous, don’t get me wrong, but it’s become too small for me. I’m too used to the wide open spaces of the US now, especially where Brantley and I live, in Maine. When I spend too much time in Holland, I feel suffocated, like I can’t breathe anymore… It will always have a special place in my heart, but it’s not my home anymore. That’s with Brantley.