Pink Flamingo Meaning on Cruises: What You Must Know!

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Amusingly (or mortifyingly, depending on where you find yourself on the spectrum), there are not only secret symbols on a cruise line that indicate those who are interested in swinging, but the same principles apply to clothing as well. If you know the meaning behind an upside-down pineapple on a door, you may also want to discover the Pink Flamingo meaning on a cruise.

According to the New York Post, 15 million swingers exist in the United States. They comprise 4.5% of the total population. Swinging isn’t just reserved for group sex or changing partners. It is also wife-swapping as well. 

When going on a cruise ship (or even at home), there are certain symbols you will want to avoid if you aren’t into swinging. Some are obvious or becoming more obvious, while others are just beginning to emerge. This doesn’t only extend to a symbol on a door anymore. It also incorporates clothing choices. Items to avoid or use, depending on where you stand, are:

  • Upside-down pineapples (or any pineapple-related clothing as it means the same thing)
  • Unicorns (seen as couples looking for other couples to swing with)
  • Pink flamingos (plastic lawn flamingos and on cruises)
  • Garden gnomes (more on the lawn)
  • White rocks around a mailbox
  • Wearing a black ring on the right hand
  • Wearing a red ball cap
  • Thumb rings
  • Toe rings
  • Wedding ring worn on your right hand
  • Metal star
  • Yin-Yang tattoo

If you aren’t into swinging, you might want to avoid wearing any of these items. For cruisers, as more people are finding out, it doesn’t just extend to symbols displayed on the door, but clothing as well.  Here is the truth of the matter.

The Secret Signals Exposed

Swingers display one of these secret symbols to send a message to others who engage in the same lifestyle. This doesn’t just extend to a cabin room but clothing and grocery shopping.

If a symbol is displayed on your cruise cabin door, it means that you are open to the experience and other swingers are welcome. Worn on your clothing (pineapples, pink flamingos, and a black ring), it says that you are “secretly” looking. It acts as a subtle signal most casual glances wouldn’t pick up on.

Flamingos Design
Image Credit: Julia Pr / Shutterstock

A black ring worn on the right hand, despite being a common way to accessorize, is what a person uses as a conversation starter. It initiates a discussion regarding alternative lifestyles. It is a signal that you are looking to meet other people who are interested in swinging. People will note the ring and may subtly attempt to begin a conversation on swinging.

On a shopping cart, a cabin door, or in the front of a home (white rocks, pink plastic flamingo lawn ornament, and garden gnomes) indicates a swinging party is in progress, or you are looking to attend one. Unicorns are more of an emoji feature, presently, to indicate a swinger, found mostly on dating apps.

Why Do Couples Resort to Secret Signals?

Secret signals are a subtle way of saying “hello” to others interested in this type of experience. It is not something that is “open” publicly, so those interested often resort to signals to attract others looking for similar experiences. If you are unsure what being a “swinger” means, here is a brief history.

Flamingo Couple
Photo Credit: Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock

The History of Swinging

Most people think swinging began in the seventies and died off from there. However, while swinging may have decreased, it is now gaining popularity again. Many people don’t know that it originated in the 1950s when California Air Force officers began swapping their wives. What started as a private, taboo home activity now dominates clubs, websites, and cruises.

Swinging is commonly found in middle-aged couples who have grown bored with their sex life. They thought they could revitalize it by engaging in sexual exploration with other couples. Now, 20- to 30-year-olds are using it to destress after an intense work week. Also, interpretations of monogamy are changing with Millennials and Gen Xers.

What Do Pink Flamingos Mean on a Cruise?

Upside-down pineapples are the most common symbol on a cruise to indicate couples are interested in swinging. However, pink flamingos are another symbol used to indicate the same thing. 

Again, it is a series of secret symbols that people should be aware of when planning for their cruise. If you are into swinging, you will know the symbols. However, if you are not, you could find yourself in an awkward situation.

Cruise Couples
Photo Credit: Flystock / Shutterstock

It is not uncommon for people to decorate their cruise ship doors. While you may think that you are simply decorating your space, you may inadvertently be sending out a secret message. Therefore, cruisers should be aware of these symbols so they don’t unintentionally send a mixed message.

Some may not be aware that vacations on a cruise ship are popular with those in the swinging community. Not every cruise will have those interested in swinging on board (it is unlikely overall), but cruise vacations are ideal for those interested in having fun with new partners. 

Secret symbols will be placed on a door or worn to attract those who share the same experience. Pink flamingos are one of them. 

The History Behind Pink Flamingo Meaning

A pink flamingo, through the years, has possessed several meanings. Depending on your age, you may know how the symbol has morphed through the decades. You may also not see how the meaning has changed, as it means one thing to you but now has a different connotation. This is when interesting situations can arise.

The pink flamingo was first created in 1957 by Don Featherstone. Union Products hired him to sculpt ducks and pink flamingos. The bird was originally used to brighten tract homes in post-World War II communities. It was a way to make your home stand out from other houses.

Pink Flamingos Lawn Ornament
Pink Flamingos Lawn Ornament (Photo Credit: David Dea / Shutterstock)

In subsequent decades, their popularity rose and fell. By the late 70s to early 80s, they were part of prank culture and symbolized a joke.  Don Featherstone was given the Nobel Art prize for the creation and later became Union Product’s president. 

Pink flamingos began as a colorful lawn ornament. People joked about it being a Florida retirement staple. People also put pink plastic flamingos in a yard to indicate someone’s birthday. However, there has been some confusion regarding the meaning – no matter what decade you’re talking about.  

What You Need to Know: When Did it Become a Swinging Symbol?

While it is unknown when the beautiful bird with the bright pink feathers became a secret symbol, it may have something to do with the fact it was initially used as a welcoming symbol. It used to be a symbol to show your hospitality and morphed from there. 

Today, the pink flamingo meaning is used as an indicator of a swinging lifestyle. This type of symbol is not as common as the others, but it does exist. They may be innocent but can also have other meanings as well. Since they aren’t as prevalent now, sometimes you can innocently get away with wearing or displaying the symbol.

However, avoid getting attached to the symbol, as things have a way of changing over time. While the pink flamingo is a debated sign regarding swinging, it is still known. You may open yourself up to commentary or uncomfortable requests if this isn’t your intention.

Pink Flamingo Meaning
Photo Credit: TairA / Shutterstock

Pink flamingo symbolism is a more prevalent sign on cruises (to a lesser extent) and in an RV park. They are not used in online chat rooms or clothing to indicate swinging. This causes a bit of ambiguity in the swinging community because it lacks a direct meaning.

If attracting other swingers is your intention and goal, then you can display them. However, note that it is not a commonly used symbol. If you display a pink flamingo on a cruise, you may want to revert to the upside-down (or right-side-up) pineapple as stronger indicators. Due to the ambiguity, you may not be acknowledged if seen on a cruise, as most people seek the pineapple reference.

Read Also: Best Cruise Lines for Couples and Top Romantic Cruise Ideas

This is not to say that it won’t work, as swinging works on subtle signs. It is just more of an unknown sign. If you want to create a stronger “hint,” then most people incorporate the upside-down pineapple (right side up, now) and the pink flamingo as a more obvious cue. 

The Flamingo Challenge

When placed on a cruise ship door, as mentioned, there is some ambiguity. Since flamingos are associated with summertime fun or cocktails, the symbol may have a dual meaning.

If seen, people can shrug it off, seeing it as someone being quirky. While this can make it the perfect subtle secret signal, it might be too subtle. Those who don’t know its meaning won’t respond.

Cruise Ship Cabins
Cruise Ship Cabins (Photo Credit: David Samuel / Shutterstock

If you are into swinging, then most experts state that you may have an easier time if you book on a swinger’s cruise rather than advertising using an upside-down pineapple or pink flamingo. However, due to the rise in awareness, you may also be pleasantly surprised. 

If you are curious about what the pink flamingo meaning is on a cruise, you might need to examine the connotation closely. It could mean nothing, but it could also be a secret signal.

If you aren’t into swinging, you may want to avoid decorating your door with a pink flamingo, as it may be misleading. If you are interested in swinging, pair it with a pineapple, so the meaning isn’t lost.

Haiyan Ma
Haiyan Ma
I absolutely love cruising with my favorite ports of call being in the Caribbean. As a former crew member for Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival Cruise Line I can continue my passion by sharing my experiences with readers. Find out more about us here.


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