Friday, February 25, 2011

The Guest Who Went Abroad

“Where are your regular guests?”

Whenever I ask this question to the macho dancers I’ve tabled, I usually get a “wala naman akong regular guest (I don’t have regular guests)” from them. I feel this is a quick response from them, as to not make me jealous of an invisible someone who “owns” the macho dancer I am with. Some of course may be telling the truth (kung wala naman talaga). But there are those who admit that yes, they had a regular guest before, but who has now gone abroad.

It’s always a variation of this “gone abroad” line at different gay bars, from different macho dancers. “Wala na, nasa ibang bansa na” and “Nag-migrate na sa _____ (insert country)” and “Bumalik na sa ______ (choose from the following: Korea / Japan / Taiwan)” are the most common replies.

But why is it that previous regular guests, almost always, have left the country already? Is there a constant mass migration of regular gay bar goers to various parts of the world?

My thoughts and experience on this, after the jump:

I admit, as part of my job, I do travel frequently outside of the Philippines. I’d spend a week in one country then fly off to another country the following week. Just like the past two weeks – first in Singapore then in Thailand this week.

However, I make sure that I go home to Manila in between travels during weekends. The 2-day break allows me to do my night hobby (ie. gay bar-going activities), and meet a guy who can entertain me enough before I leave for another trip the following week.

With the frequent travels, it can feel slightly heart-breaking though, to leave that “special” guy back home, especially if I’ve had a bond with the guy already. I can only communicate with him via text messaging, but seldom via email or Facebook. Hotel rooms at night can feel very lonely – my heart is telling me to send an SMS at 12 midnight when he’s at work, but my mind is stopping me due to roaming charges. Thus, I always look forward to the last working day, when I am already bound for Manila and texting my friends when and what time we’ll meet at which gay bar.

Traveling frequently may be tough for a regular gay bar goer, but it can also be used as an easy excuse to “disappear” and even to get out of money-related gay bar situations. For example, from my experience:
  • When a shasha boy (masseur) texted me this week if I wanted to meet up as he needed some customers, I simply replied “Bangkok now, sorry.” (I actually was).
  • When a gay manager asked why I’ve been absent in their bar for two months, I reasoned out “Busy eh. I was traveling back and forth between Pattaya and Malaysia”, even if the truth was I shuttling between Pasay and Malate gay bars in those two months.
  • When a macho dancer (whom I once tabled but got turned off because he was too forward asking for money) texted me when I’d visit him in his bar, I replied with “Sorry, can not. I am in Singapore. Too expensive here, no more money.”
  • When my friend wanted to cool off with her materialistic MD boylet, she used my suggestion of telling the MD that she was going to be “assigned in another province for work.”

So is leaving the Philippines synonymous to leaving that macho dancer for good? Does “Sorry nag migrate na ako sa… ummm... Los Angeles” mean “Sorry nag migrate na ako sa ibang gay bar sa Angeles City”? Maybe. But not always, especially if opportunities do arise for these gay bar guests.

If MDs have their reasons for not texting or not going to work, maybe regular gay bar goers also have reasons why they tell their beloved macho dancers that they’d be moving to another country.

It can be a way to say no to a boy when the customer does not feel for him anymore. It can be a way to avoid being so entrenched into the gay bar going addiction, and as you know, addictions of any kind can dry up one’s finances.

It can be an easy way out – not just out of the country, but out of their lives, temporarily or permanently.

But it’s very heartwarming to hear of stories of regular customers abroad still being in-touch with their boys. Whenever the regular guest of “Mars”, a doctor with wife and children living in the West, comes back to Manila, he’ll always visit the gay bar every now and then, to “shower Mars with love" (i.e. companionship, pasalubong, dollars, etc). “Jeriko” of Lord Gay Bar admitted that his long-time gay patron he calls “pare” has been living in London already, but flies back every now and then to catch up, provide some financial help, and even share some intimate moments. For these guests whose loneliness have become deeper staying abroad, it’s the thought of having a boy they can come back to is reason enough to keep the connection.

As for me, I mentioned to gay bar managers and macho dancers I’ve met last weekend that I’d be traveling again this week. For sure I told Stewart last Saturday night, though I’m unsure if he remembered. But upon landing this early morning at 4AM in NAIA, I received a text message from him, sent when I was still on the flight:

   “Musta?” (How are you?)

   “Eto, nakauwi na.” (Here, back home).

We had an early morning breakfast along Roxas Blvd.after.

*Dedicated to the blog's readers living abroad, those longing to be in the company of a guy they left in Manila or have yet to meet elsewhere in the future.

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

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