Friday, March 25, 2011

Professional Conversationalists

The realization came when "Phoenix" had a laugh as he found out who I was going to "table" in the gay bar a few weeks ago. After about two hours of being undecided who to select from the twenty available macho dancers that night, I got one of the more handsome-looking newbies. I've gotten to know almost half the dancers in the bar, so that night I wanted to experience someone else. Like trying out a new dish in a favorite restaurant. But when Phoenix, who was "tabled" with my friend Ringo that night, saw which of the fresh meat dishes I ordered, he wondered what was going on in my mind.

"Ano yan, interview-hin mo lang yan e! (What's that, you're just going to interview him!)" remarked Phoenix.

True enough, that was one of my intentions. For me, the macho dancing gay bar is a place where I can get to select a young, good-looking boy to spend the evening with. Sort of a date, but with my choice of man. without him refusing the invitation. And of course, over expensive beer in a dimly-lit place.

Thus, what I want is to converse and make landi (flirt) with a guy I am attracted to. Getting to know him, getting him to know me. Flirting on the side. Ending the night with him putting his hand over my shoulder, or with us holding each other's hands. Perhaps the matronas and the mature gay men would also agree with that, especially if conversations would lead to something more either inside or outside the bar.

From this perspective, I judge a macho dancer, not on his ability to dance and seduce on-stage, but on his ability to spark an entertaining conversation with me. The awkward getting-to-know-yous are mandatory, but once the customer and boy get past that, the getting-to-continue-the-flow-of-discussions would then become the challenging part. Thus, one-line responses from the boy often kill the discussions. Frequent fifteen minute silences bore customers. Jugging down the pricey drinks one after another without talking can quickly end the night for both guest and dancer.

"Syempre, nagpunta kayong customer dito para malibang, kaya trabaho namin mag-entertain (Of course, you customers went here to be entertained, so it's our job to do so)," as often said by many macho dancers.

And the best at entertaining, I feel, are the ones I tabled in the past weeks -- Beatty, Phoenix, Russell, and Japoy, the latest, just two nights ago. All of them are within the ages 25-27. All are veterans in the gay bar industry, having at least two-three years experience (average of four years among them). All I have seen in previous visits, as I knew they were the popular ones, but I never tabled. All have been at the top of the bar's rankings (tallied monthly based on the drinks bought for them). All used to have regular sugar-guests (daddies or mommies) who have showered them with all sorts and forms of love. All have made their guests cry.

These guys who are best at entertaining know they are paid to talk to customers. And with years of being honed in this craft, they know already which buttons to push for any type of customer. For instance, Phoenix knows which topics I might be interested in, or how to crack up the group into laughter. Maybe he was thinking "just make these customers laugh, and I've made their night." Beatty and Japoy's topics are mostly intriguing gay-bar related gossip, from their customers to the other macho dancers, which they know we're interested in. They haven't tried to flirt or make bola with any of us, as they might have an inkling that we were already gay bar goer professionals whose minds can't be twisted with empty flattery anymore.

With all the various people they've met, from young to old, from poor to filthy rich, from closeted men to gay-acting matronas, they claim that they can read already people's personalities, moods, and intentions in going to the bar. From all their conversations with different people, as remarked by Russell, "Pwede na nga akong maging psychologist (I can already be a psychologist)." Fair point, given the fact they're paid hourly (in bottles of beer) to listen and to talk (in the buff).

When I tabled the fresh 21-year old newbie a few weeks ago, I felt I was just repeating all conversations I've had with all the other 20-22 year olds in their industry. He was shy and reserved, like all the rest. He didn't know what to talk about, unlike the older ones. His responses were mostly one-liners, unlike the veteran 25-year-old conversationalists.

Maybe if I were also new in the gay bar scene, I would've already titillated in excitement just by the mere presence of a cute boy beside me. But given my so-called experience,  I knew this job-interview-style conversation was not worth spending four bottles of PHP 400+ priced beer.

Sorry, but this macho dancer's looks could not compensate for the lack of rapport betwen us. Sure, a macho dancer's main job is to dance on-stage, seduce and entertain. But when tabled, his job of entertaining now adds a new dimension of engaging his customer to a conversation. Looks can attract a customer. But a macho dancer's personality, coupled with conversation skills, will keep us coming back and spending for more.


GB Goer
Learn more: Lessons from Gay Bars in Manila


  1. This actually makes sense to me. I don't see the thrill in watching some guy dance - I can download hotter porn after all. But maybe an interesting conversation may be worth it - I just don't necessarily expect to get it most of the time.

  2. Hi rOckY, yup, that's why "tabling" a guy heightens the gay bar experience. But others may prefer to just observe, then whack off with their porn afterwards.

  3. I so can relate. Props to your writings, teh!



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