Friday, December 31, 2010

White Shoes

My girl friend, "Mary", who goes with me to macho dancing bars, dislikes seeing guys in the malls wearing white leather shoes with dark slim/skinny jeans. She says it is a dead give away to a macho dancer in "porma" attire.

She's maybe on to something. In "Home Base" and "Neighborhood", when these models go up on stage in their casual attire, they usually wear those white pointy leather shoes. Almost all of them. Even paired with a tight roundneck or buttoned-down shirt. Oddly, those wearing the classic black leather shoes (which I believe looks nicer on dark jeans) even feel awkward walking on stage. When we meet up with our "dates" outside of the bar, we notice everytime that they will wear their best tops, best dark jeans, and voila!, their white leather pointy shoes.

I asked some of my ex-bfs why. They said it just looks nice, in-fashion. I didn't probe further.

When I went to Singapore and asked my (now) ex what he wanted for pasalubong, he said "white leather shoes", something that he can wear in the bar. He said he still didn't have a nice pair yet as a "newbie", and apparently, it was an unspoken requirement for "modeling". So I bought him those white loafer-type sneakers (leather on top with rubber soles), which he can also use in malls, outings, dinners, etc. When he opened my gift, he looked a bit disappointed. He was expecting the exact "white pointy formal leather shoes" that he sees his mates wear.

How did this seeming trend start? I guess one model just started wearing a pair in one of the events, partnered with white pants. It might have looked good on him, which was followed by another, then copied by another, until it spread to the bar and future bars, making even newbies in the industry want to have one. I guess for them, their limited experience of fashion, as what they see as "nice looking" in the street or in the mall counts as fashion already.

Another theory: maybe there was an event in the bar which required them to wear white leather shoes. And assuming these boys have limited pairs of footwear only (tsinelas, a pair of rubber shoes, and any formal shoes required for modeling), since they bought their white shoes already, they may think this footwear counts as "porma" attire already.

GB Goer
Learn more: Lessons from Gay Bars in Manila
email:; Follow at twitter: @gbgoer

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gay Bar Advice: Selecting a Boy, Show-up

When I was a first-timer in macho dancing bars, I knew I wanted to experience getting a boy to table with me. But with all the coaxing of "Janice" the tranny floor manager for me to get a boy, choosing "the one" became very nerve-wracking:
How would I choose? Which boy would I choose? How much to table a guy? Do I have enough money? Would I like the boy? Would the boy abuse and keep on drinking MD drinks? What if someone I knew went into the bar and saw me with a boy in tow? Will I say "Hi Tita, I was just dragged by my friend who's getting married (at 40?), and this is her ka-table named Junjun"?

Then, with a quickened pulse, I decided to get one. Janice then invited me to go across the bar to view the showroom. All the way there? Where everyone can see me? With the lights of the showroom too bright? Won't the boys see me from this supposed one-way mirror? Embarrassed, I just told her I would select from the boys dancing on stage. In hindsight, that decision already limited my choices.

Good thing, there's what bars call "show up." The manager will gather the un-tabled, available boys, and make them stand in front of you all at once (or in groups of 4-5), in a military line-up, for you to choose. Just like going to the showroom, this can also get a bit embarrassing because all eyes will be on you -- the boys, the manager, the waiters, and the other curious customers.

Crude representation of a show-up: Imagine a line of boys in their underwear in front of you
More experienced than my first visit, I've already requested for "show-up"s from various bars already. I guess I've gotten over the embarrassment (or shame) connected with choosing and table-ing a boy.

What's so interesting about show-up's is the range of looks and expressions of these boys. A few boys give blank stares, not caring if they will be picked. Some will be beaming proud, over-confident that they will be the chosen one, possibly because they know they are the most good-looking or most popular in the bunch (note: "Ruiz"). There will be a few who will be smiling to death, or raising their eyebrows, trying with all their energy to charm the customer. One or two will just be at the back of the group, either shy-types or newbies or those who feel that for the nth time this week, they won't be picked. Once a boy is chosen, the rest will simply walk back to their original places -- on unoccupied seats/couches, in their dressing room, or in the showroom.

I got to experience though a slight variation of these show-ups last month (eight months after my first visit). The manager simply introduced two boys at a time, with a name, proper greeting and handshake. I felt it was more respectful to the boys, more discreet for the customer, and less embarrassing to the un-chosen boys. I also felt being in some scene from "The Bachelor(ette)", being wooed by guys one at a time.

Oddly enough, in spite of the managers pushing or the boys' efforts to stand-out or blend in during show-ups, I would already know which macho dancer or hosto to choose. I would've seen the boy earlier that night, either dancing on stage, walking around, or seated from the other end of the bar. With a show-up of the whole set of available men, I just wanted to make sure I've chosen the right one (and confirm that no one else in the bar was better).

GB Goer
Learn more: Lessons from Gay Bars in Manila
email:; Follow at twitter: @gbgoer

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Stewart", Part 2

(Continued from Part 1)

Two weeks passed. No communication. Break from going to “Kingdom Come” (Friends and I went to “Home Base” instead). I forgot about Stewart.

On the eve of Christmas Eve, I decided to visit the bar, with my gay friend, after a surprising text kumusta from Stewart and a lengthy sms conversation with him (despite him never even mentioning for me to pay him a visit). Upon seeing him, feelings resurfaced. Yes, I was so in-like, but I had to restrain myself because I believed I was just one of his customers. I wanted to ask him out, but had to find a way without making the invitation sound sleazy. Good thing we left the bar until it closed. The opportunity to bring him home opened. Even if the idea came from him, after I agreed, he was nahihiya at first because he lived far south. But I insisted, and assured him that I would often do this to my previous boys.

The 30-minute car ride was the closest I can get to a date with Stewart outside the bar. I was nervous, unsure. I wanted to spend more time with him, like offering to treat him for breakfast or maybe go on a booking so that he has more money to bring home for Christmas. I didn’t want to sound sleazy to him, like taking advantage of the situation.

But nothing happened. I just dropped him off at a distance from his house. He rushed to walk home, even forgetting his cellphone inside the car. So I made a u-turn, asked the neighbors where he lived. I got to his place. He rushed again to my car to retrieve my phone. Apparently, his dad and sister were already awake at 5am, and outside the house. So they saw my silhouette inside the car. What could they have thought – their boy going home nightly at that hour, but this time brought home by a guy with a car?

With that thought in mind, I was apologetic. He replied that it was perfectly okay, after a very grateful text message. No questions were asked by his folks apparently.

It’s been almost a week since that night. We greeted each other last Christmas. We sent a few messages every now and then, before I left for a post-Christmas family trip. But the entire day and even tonight, no word from him.

I texted him “I miss you”, just before starting this post.

(Names here are not their actual bar names, which are also pseudonyms to protect their real identities. All names here have been tweaked a bit – with an added little hint on their bar names).

"Stewart", Part 1

Since my split up with “Air” last October, I’ve been going to “Kingdom Come” with my trusty skemperkada. After sixteen or so boys I’ve met this past year, I noticed that I’ve been very picky with selecting boys.

I tabled “Carlos Magdangal” on my first visit in late November. I thought he was a catch – young, resembled a popular young actor, smooth-talker – until he asked me that same night to bagsak 25 drinks as points for the big event “Mr. Kingdom Come 2010” where he participated as contender. Too fast. Masyadong presko. Then came “Cole”, who was all sweet and charming, but whom I couldn’t really connect with. After those two, I thought I would never meet anyone good enough from that bar. Then jackpot, I was introduced to “Stewart”.

23, boyish, lean, tall, lanky, clean-cut hair parted sideways. He can carry a good conversation. Varied topics. Not the typical MD-guest conversations. Only a few dead air moments. Witty. Never awkward. Never pushy. Only slightly bolero. Nice innocent smile. Shares his personal photos in his phone. No regular guest (good, no competition!) Good head on his shoulders. No turn off traits so far.

Inside the bar, to loosely quote Rihanna, he could make me feel like I’m his only guest in the world. I was so in-like.

But I have a feeling though he just treats me as a guest, nothing more. I don’t know, but he doesn’t seem to put much effort in reaching out to me outside the context of the bar. He rarely initiates text messages, which is so different from Hobbes, who manages to contact me often. We can go on for days without any contact. He’s the first macho dancer who didn’t send a text message during my travels abroad. Even if I am in town, I never got the invitation to meet up outside. I was resigned to the fact that, yes, I might just be a customer and nothing else.

To be continued...

(Names here are not their actual bar names, which are also pseudonyms to protect their real identities. All names here have been tweaked a bit – with an added little hint on their bar names).

Monday, December 27, 2010


When I interact with macho dancers I am interested to have a relationshup with, I always look out for signs if he MAY be sincerely into me, and not treat me as a mere "customer" or "walking ATM." Case-in-point: "Hobbes".

Pre-Christmas: "Hobbes", 22, of "Home Base" (not his real "bar name") has been so makulit via text. Even if I just "tabled" him once on the previous weekend and has replaced him with two other guys since then (I was put off by the four drinks he rushed to drink within an hour's time), he has always kept in touch. He would share stories of what went on that day with his family (going to the embassy, party for his sister's birthday, etc). Quite amusing, since most MDs that I've "rejected' or "replaced" would just leave me as is. Effort kung effort.

So Monday night, I asked him via text why he seemed to be "pursuing me" as if I was the girl of his dreams, and not an actual girl (haba-hair moment). He said that he didn't like to pursue girls anymore because "mga manloloko din... kasi binigay na nya lahat pero niloko din siya." He wanted to have a real relationship that would last long, and not just be someone's toy, maybe based from a previous experience he had with another gay guest. He didn't want to be "iiwanan lang sa ere" (a line that was mentioned by another MD earlier that week). He felt I could give that real relationship to him.

In between his flirty text messages peppered with "bhe", he was persistent in selling me his tickets for their bar's Christmas event, which I wasn't planning to attend. But I obliged, out of sympathy (if the tickets went unsold, the bar would deduct the price from their allowance, which he was planning to spend for their Christmas dinner). So Tuesday night, I went to "Home Base" at 3am to purchase the tickets personally, after hours of text messaging. But when I arrived, he was already occupied with another guest. So I just told him to meet me up the following day.

So Wednesday of last week, I met up with him in Trinoma, QC.  The meeting was quite short and uneventful -- him tagging along while I did my errands, then early dinner at Chowking. But what amused me was our discussion during our post-dinner smoke.

He told me I was the first customer he met up with outside the bar, since he started last August. After probing if this was true, he said that he was supposed to meet with another customer in another mall a few weeks back, but that didn't push through. I asked if that customer was a girl or a guy. He answered the latter.

So I asked why, and he reiterated what he texted me a few days back. And he added that he felt that gays give more to their beloved, unlike girls. (Hayy, if these boys really knew and appreciated what we gays do for love). Momentary silence. After the smoke, as we parted ways, I handed him the the payment for the tickets (plus a few extra for Christmas). He refused, because he forgot the tickets at home. So it was my turn to insist, and then his turn to oblige. I didn't go to the bar's Christmas event that night. All through out the night, he was still persistent for me to follow.

I don't know if he was truly sincere when he shared this story. Maybe he was. Who knows if what he told me was actually true... or just the truth stretched just to make me have my "haba hair moment" enough to "give my all" when he needs it.

On Christmas eve, he texted to remind me of his birthday on the 26th. After my greeting, he replied with "Maghahanda ba tayo sa birthday ko?". Taken aback because I held no promises to treat him for his birthday, I bluntly declined. No more messages from him afterwards.

Dec 26, Saturday, 4pm:
GB Goer: Hi Happy Birthday
Hobbes: Cno to bago kc cp q. tnx
A few exchanges.

Guess what. He did have a birthday celebration in their house... thrown by another guest.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Machos vs Hostos

A masseur once asked me if I had boyfriends before. I said "yes, three this year." He asked me where they worked, but I told him to take some guesses first, which he tried. For some reason, he thought aloud "ano ba mga easy-money na trabaho?" He assumed all my relationships were with guys in the "easy money" industry (what made him think that?)

Anyway, I told him I had one with a macho dancer this year and then with a hosto afterwards.

"Ano ba yung hosto?" asked the masseur.

From someone in their so-called "easy money" industry, he didn't know what it meant. Quite odd. We hear often of "hostess" in girlie bars, but almost none of those "hostos." Before I entered into this world, I've only heard of male hostos going to Japan for work. But what do they do?

I thought hostos and macho dancers were one and the same. I even thought they were the same as "call boys." But talking with guys from different bars, apparently, there would be differences... huge.

Macho dancers, obviously, dance on-stage, half naked with their signature snake-like movement.When you "table" them, they would be wearing their sando/wifebeaters, boxer briefs and their boots. Hostos (or sometimes referred to as "models" in some gay bars), on the other hand, don't dance on stage. They are fully clothed the entire night, even when you "table" them.

Both entertain you -- macho dancers impress with their faces and bodies, hostos impress with their faces and chit-chat.(Masseurs, on the other hand, impress with their face or body AND hand skills).

There also seems to be a heirarchy among them. I think they consider "call boy" as lowest (those peddling their bodies on the street). Both hostos and machos seem to find dignity that they are not sex-workers strictly speaking and offering paid sex -- just purely dancing or entertaining. One macho I talked with was thinking of "ibenta ang katawan" (selling himself) as a "last resort" just to make money. Unless the gay bar condones "bar fines"; but not all machos in these gay bars accept these out-of-bar offers. Maybe because they "respect themselves" ("parang nawawalan ako ng respeto sa sarili ko kapag gawin ko yun"), or they have sugar mommies/daddies who forbid them to go out with another customer.

In "pure hosto bars" (no macho dancing, only male "GROs"), hostos feel relieved they are not working as macho dancers -- they don't need to bare their bodies, which they think is just one step higher from being "call boys". Some of these hostos even detach themselves from "macho dancers", often referring to them as "sila"/"them", even if where they work can be considered as part of one big gay bar industry. However in macho dancing bars, some hostos (or models) feel they are not the "stars" of the bar. They feel they are not skilled enough or buff enough or brave enough to be macho dancers. The result -- these models get less exposure, thus get less customers, and less income, of course.

Who gets higher pay? I think it will only depend on the bar they work in -- how much "budget" or "daily allowance" the bar gives (usually ranges from P150-200 a day) and how much commission per drink they get (around P80 to 100 per drink). But mind you, drinks for these boys (called macho drinks) in macho bars are much more expensive than a pure hosto bar. So clientele for these two bars will also be different (and another blog post altogether).

So how did I answer the masseur when he asked me what a hosto is? Simple. Those guys working in a bar, only entertaining customers over drinks and chit-chat. In which he replied, "oh, just like a guy version of hostess". Nagtanong ka pa.

GB Goer
Learn more: Lessons from Gay Bars in Manila
email:; follow me at twitter: @gbgoer

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Some Sort of Intro

I've been going regularly to three of Manila/Pasay's gay bars (excluding the ones in Quezon City) for less than a year now.

No, I am not a rich gay old businessman nor a lonely matrona -- stereotypes of regular customers in these bars. I am from a generation of gay guys who have discovered more popular ways to be titillated by men, via gay-friendly social networking sites, mirc circa early 2000s, gay clubs in Malate, bathouses, saunas, massage parlors and online masseurs. For me at this age to be patronizing these institutions means that I am either way too young for these older-clientele clubs or way too late from these clubs' popularity in the 80s and 90s.

Since the time I've experienced my first "table" nine months ago, I've been yearning to read information about gay bars -- not just the usual physical descriptions, rates, locations, nor the types of boys in these bars -- but more in-depth, highly personal, or gossip-worthy accounts from "more experienced" patrons. Yeah, there are some info on this topic in the web, but mostly bloggers' one-time or first-time personal experiences. But, none of the kind of info I've been looking for -- something more emotional, more personal, more detailed that I can relate with, kumbaga, with all the highs and lows I've experienced in these bars.

So while driving home from a GB session, I realized I will just start my own blog. Typical of bloggers.

I've gotten to know a lot of those working in these bars (from macho dancers to hostos, from gay impersonators to gay managers), and even had close relationships with some of them. I just want to write down and document my most memorable experiences, anecdotes, hearsay, and maybe insights on being a patron in these bars. I feel I just have too much to share from my bimonthly (and sometimes weekly) visits. 

Just a note -- To clear expectations, what you may not be reading from this blog in the future:
  • In-depth insider information from the point of view of a macho dancer, hosto, or bar/floor manager. An account of the ins-and-outs of the trade. Tips and tricks in these bars.
  • Investigative journalism or expose for news (Shutting down these institutions is the last thing I want. And please excuse my not-so-perfect grammar)
  • Socio-historical analysis on the "plight" of these men and a study on how to uplift their status in society (Discussion and debates about these will surely be endless)
  • A gay guide to "score" with a straight guy (I just wish I knew how to)
  • Blog on sexual encounters with "paid men" (Sorry, not in this blog site)

Again, only for the curious. Enjoy!