Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dreamy Derek's Downfall

When I came up with the code name for “Derek” (not his real name), I thought that naming this macho dancer after Dr. Derek Shepherd of Grey’s Anatomy was perfect. Not only did the name had a link with the guy’s real name in the gay bar, but Dr. Shepherd also had a famous nickname among the interns in the hospital -- “McDreamy.”

For me, “Derek” was McDreamy.

Dr. Derek Shepard aka "McDreamy"
played by Patrick Dempsey

At 22, Derek’s looks, height, build, complexion, hair style, skin color, almost everything, reminded me of a young popular Filipino heart throb (Clue: local cheap perfume’s deliciously dark-skinned endorser, with initials J.A.). He was respectful, a good conversationalist, level-headed, and humble. He impressed me that while he’s still new in the macho dancing industry, he’s also managing to study in one of Manila’s farther universities (student by day, stud by night). I could sense the goodness and sincerity in him, even sharing his "words of wisdom", with the few encounters I had with him, in and out of the bar.

Plus, his English was not that bad (which was a sigh of relief after months of receiving “broken English” or jejemon texting via SMS from other boys).

If I wanted to have a steady boyfriend from any gay bar, McDreamy would be it.

I think he was McDreamy not only to me, but to a lot of the bar’s customers, may it be a excitable Koreana, a bored matrona or a horny gay man. Frequently requested by customers to be tabled, he never had a vacant night. Sometimes, there would be two or more guests willing to wait for him while he was occupied with another.

Just like last Saturday, I went to his bar, planning to spend time with him, but had to choose another one as he was tabled by a Koreana. When he danced on stage that night (he did a unique seductive routine that’s shirtless with jeans on), another Koreana stuck P15,000 on his jeans. How can I compete with that? (With my love. Charing! Which I screamed out loud before leaving the bar as it was closing).

I really wanted to get another chance to be with this guy, so on the following night, I sent him a text message on my way to Mall of Asia.
Me: Hi “Derek”, kumusta? (How are you?)
D: Ok lang po. Ikaw? (I am okay. You?)
Me: Oks lang. Papunta MOA. Yayain sana kita kumain. (I’m okay. Going to MOA. Thought of inviting you for dinner)
D: Pwede naman… May TF ba ako? (That’s possible… Do I get some TF?)
TF. Talent Fee. I didn’t believe what I just read. So I called him up to clarify.
Me: Anong ibig mong sabihin sa TF? (What do you mean with TF?)
D: Hingi ako ng fee para makipagkita. (I am asking for a fee to meet up)
Me: Grabe. Magkano naman? (Wow. For how much?)
D: Mga P5,000 lang. Barya lang naman yun sayo diba? (Only P5,000. That’s just loose change to you, right?)
Then he continued to explain how he and the Koreana fought in the bar the previous night because of someone else giving him P15,000, which he returned. So I assumed that he was asking for a TF because he lost that large a tip that night.

I've gone out with lots of dancers and hostos before, for dinner, coffee, shopping, drinks, ktv. As I paid for all our expenses, I was never asked for extra tip or "TF" or bar fine (except for once when I offered one dancer for mot-mot services). But never have I or any of my friends experienced someone asking for a TF up front and at this rate, just to spend time outside.

Infuriated, I called up my friend, Ringo, who was Derek’s original guest. The three of us had a chance to bond over dinner in Greenbelt some time in December. I even brought Derek home after that dinner. Never did he ask for anything from me or my friend that night.

Apparently, according to Ringo, when he had a text exchange with Derek that same morning, Derek had a similar “off” line to him. The exchange was something like: 
Ringo: Ang dami mong taga-hanga. Grabe yung binigay na pera sayo kagabi. (You have lots of admirers. The money given to you was enormous).
Derek: Oo nga. Kaya mo bang tapatan yun? (Yes. Can you even match that?)
The nerve. Such a turn-off, isn’t it?

Derek may know he’s popular as the current "it"-boy, the star of the bar. His supposed “fame” has gone to his head. The simple, self-effacing, humble working student that I knew a few weeks back is now gone.

In situations like this, I recall what “Cole” (from another bar) told me. Two years ago, Cole was fresh from the province and just entering this industry. He was at the top of the heap – he never had a night without customers. His appeal was his na├»ve-looking rural boy image – puppy dog brown eyes, little nose, strong jaw line, tall, lean, moreno – which made older gays gaga on corrupting him. That was until a few months back, when his boyish looks have faded, leaving him with just the plain provincial look, and gay patrons moving on to other bars and other boys. And that was why I had a chance to table him, because he was one of the few remaining boys in the bar without a customer. If it were a few years back, he said, I might have not gotten to know him that well.

Pana-panahon lang,” as some macho dancers typically say. They can be ranked number five a few weeks after starting in the bar, then go down, back up. Then depending on how he manages his job and customers, he can either stay on top or descend slowly into the bottom of the list, until he loses his job, leaves the bar, and tries to make his fortune in another bar. Then he’ll turn old, with receding hairline and flabby body, and lose his appeal in the bar, at the age of 30.

I wonder what made Derek change in a span of a few weeks. He might have been getting sustenance (sustento) from one of his Koreana customers. Or he might just have a bad day or really just needed the money.

Derek should be wiser and more careful. He won’t always be on top. But the damage has been done. McDreamy isn’t so dreamy after all.

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

Photo Credit: Tom Munro / Management Artists from

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