On 23 March 2021, Ever Given, a golden-class container ship wedged itself in the Suez Canal after drawing a supposed dick pic in the ocean. The 400-meter-long beast ended up blocking the world’s busiest trade route for a sum total of six days before it was re-floated again.
The unfortunate event was quick to steer a toilet paper shortage, delay of $400 million an hour in goods including a massive shipment of sex toys, a plethora of memes and its own line of fan merch. Just when we thought the internet’s obsession with Ever Given had finally capsized, a new genre of erotica surfaced—one that will either make you want to throw yourself overboard or wish the ship had kept the canal company for longer.
Titled along the lines of ‘Troubling the Suez’, ‘Inside you for days’, ‘C-anal of pleasure’ and ‘Ever Taken’, the cargo ship has inspired a new genre of erotica with the tag “Suez Canal (Anthropomorphic).” Currently boasting 127 entries on the transformative fanfiction platform Archive Of Our Own (AO3), the genre attributes human traits to the ship and canal—thereby catering to a wide range of audiences with tastes ranging from hardcore BDSM to flowery, Rupi Kaur poetry.
Common tropes in the genre describe the Suez Canal as lonely and “longing for a lover” until the Ever Given—with a “bulbous bow”—wedges into her walls with a promise to “provide the contact the canal has been deprived of for decades” before “finally being pulled out.” This ‘Titanic, but sadder’ romantic trope is a sharp contrast to other entries which feature anti-capitalist satire, where the canal plots her revenge against humanity with Ever Given, a ship loyal to his captain and crew, caught in the crossfire.
By default, these entries could fall under the category of ‘crack fic’, fanfiction that is intentionally absurd and usually written for laughs. However, some of these make a pretty compelling read. For example, one of the pioneering fanfiction in the genre titled ‘XXX-TRA WIDE CARGO STUFFS MAJOR SHIPPING LANE—DELIVERS HUGE PAYLOAD!!’ features the star-crossed lovers going through a rough patch, blaming each other’s steering system and narrow walls for the unfortunate event before livestreaming themselves onto “OnlyFreight.”
The story’s author, who goes by the username GalWednesday, calls it “the most cursed thing I’ve ever written.” “I think the idea popped into my head while I was looking at memes about the Ever Given’s ‘bulbous bow’ and how it had gotten lodged in place,” they told Jezebel. The author further admitted that the research took more time than writing the 263-word story as they ended up browsing Quora for answers. The response? A staggering 10,000 hits.
“The response has been way bigger than I expected, which I think has more to do with our collective need for a stress release valve than anything about the fic itself,” GalWednesday said, enjoying how feedback alternated between “funny, thank you!” and “JFLDJSLFJDS I HATE THIS.”
We can either blame Chuck Tingle for popularising anthropomorphised inanimate objects or the millennials and gen Zers’ love for absurdist humour, but Suez Canal/Ever Given erotic fanfiction is out there and multiplying with no limits to human creativity. Given its masturbatory weirdness and avant-garde drama, it makes one wonder what they would title their own fanfiction about the 2021 power couple. I would go with ‘The one with the deck picks’ or ‘cruising for a bruising’. What about you?