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

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