The initial bond is the shared experience.
Some time ago, I signed up to crew in an overnight yacht race across Lake Ontario from Toronto to Rochester and back. I had sailed with this all-male crew many times before, save for one new member, John, who was to share the same watch.
Once under sail, both the weather and our stomachs turned bad. It was the worst night of my life – apocalyptic downpours requiring the storm jibs to be changed every hour, heaving over the sides of the boat, the boom hit John in the head and sent him flying overboard, the skipper and first mate had a fist fight on deck, and we were disqualified from the race for hitting another boat.
The next day, I received a phone call from John telling me that the night before had been the best of his life! He wanted me to be the mother of his children and there was another overnight race the coming weekend – when could he pick me up? Was it the head injury or did this man, after witnessing me at my sick and bedraggled worst, still want to meet me again? It was amazing how we had such different takes on the same experience, but beautiful in that John saw beyond the difficulties of the event and still wanted to go back for more.