You sit in the middle of the gay bar. The DJ introduces the next macho dancer. He comes to the stage, in a sando and short shorts. He looks center, then starts to dance slowly to the sappy power ballad. He moves to the right of the stage, while removing his sando. He looks to your area, touches his chest, his abdomen. He flexes his arms to the air. Midway, he goes to the pole and removes his short shorts. It reveals a black underwear. You notice some sweat trickling down from his navel to his undergarment. He walks back to to the center. He kneels, then humps the floor, stands up. He returns centerstage, standing there, gyrating. Both of his hands are on his head. He turns his torso sideways slowly, leaving his head facing your area again. More slithering. Music ends. Exits.
And all that time, while you, and everyone else in the bar, were looking at the dancer's eyes, his lean neck, his well-defined chest, his dark erect nipples, his tight abdomen, his nether regions covered by an opaque black cloth, did you even notice where he was looking at?
At you, you say?
Where were you seated? At the middle of the bar. That's why you're so sure that he was looking at you the whole time.
Turn your head to the back. Right now. What do you see?
What you see behind you was placed there for many reasons.
One, it helps dancers see their own form while dancing. As all eyes are on them, these dancers need to constantly check themselves out for the right posture and movement: Are my arms in an awkward position? Is my head tilted wrong? Is my stare seductive enough? Did the week's bench press improve my arms? Is my foundation too thick? Does my beer belly already show? Did the roll of tissue help my dick seem 6 inches bigger?
Second, it helps them concentrate on their dance. One dancer told me that if he removes his eyesight from the mirror, and glances at the audience, he instantly gets distracted and feels self-conscious. Before going on-stage, they have a semi-set routine already in their heads, so once their concentration is disrupted, they might forget what their next move would be.
Lastly, it gives them something to stare at, making them feel less awkward on stage, especially if they don't know where to look at while dancing. Do they look at the faces in the crowd, directly into their eyes? A shy, embarrassed newbie dancer will feel very awkward at the thought. So why not make them stare at their half-naked bodies instead? That's less awkward than dozens of giggling girls and horny gays stare at them while they're in their tighty whities. Right?
Out of the six or so gay bars I've been to, only about 4 have mirrors at the back wall facing the stage. Two of these don't have full-length mirrors per se, but simply the windows of the VIP Rooms, which act like one-way mirrors (you can find them at "Lord Gay Bar" in QC and "Kingdom Come" in Pasay). One bar in QC has its mirror overhead on the second floor facing the stage, and looks hidden from the audience. Another defunct gay bar (Mr Valentine) has its mirrors hidden behind exit-stage-left, that's why dancers always stay at the back drop and constantly look to that side (Dancers enter the stage from "stage right." Sorry, I dont know the exact terminologies of a theater's stage. I am not a stage mother. Charot!)
In "Home Base", there are no mirrors. That may be a reason why I am more engaged when watching these boys on-stage in this bar. They look at the audience. They search for familiar faces. They acknowledge or smile when they see you. When their regular guests are not present, they entice and seduce the group of bridesmades seated near the stage or the lonely bading in the dark, and hope they table them that night. Without them focusing on themselves, they focus on you.
So when they're on stage, and you see them looking at your vicinity while they're gyrating, think again before assuming he was focusing on seducing you. He might just have been seducing himself.
And you, love-struck you, might just feel you were already the ____ (insert "girl", "boy", "bakla", "tomboy") of his dreams.
Learn more: Lessons from Gay Bars in Manila
email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow at twitter: @gbgoer