Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Rumored, The Curious, and The Doubted

Yes, there may be a misnomer of the term “gay bar” in the Philippines. Lots have been written in the web how Manila’s “gay bars” don’t actually employ dancers who are homosexual, effeminate or “bakla”. What one finds inside gay bars are straight uber-macho-looking stripper-dancers, to cater to the mostly-gay clientele, hence making the terms “macho dancers” and “macho dancing bars” interchangeable with “gay bar.”  

Well, Pinoys know these by heart, such that despite the dichotomy of the terms “gay” and “macho”, adding the word “bar” at the end of each will refer to the same thing.

But what if the gay bar has macho dancers who are gay and gay customers who are macho-looking? Last weekend, I got to experience this so-called “silahis”, may it be bisexuals or discreet gays.

Who are they? Read after the jump:

The Rumored.

Top macho dancer “Beatty” (27, tall, dark, lean with tattoos, and handsomely-boyish with bangs) recently broke up with his long-time top customer “Nuts”*. The 52 year-old married Korean woman has gone nuts with Beatty, who got fed up with his customer’s demanding, overly-controlling, too jealous, and war-freakish ways. That’s the rumor going around the bar where Beatty is working in, but the other rumor I know is something more juicy.

According to a former dancer, despite the tattooed countenance of this top macho dancer lusted by all sorts of Koreanas, Beatty is gay deep inside.

He’s had some flings with men, not with gay customers, but his co-macho dancer workers who’ve since left the bar already. A waiter found them making out years back. He is also known to invite co-workers out for a drink after work hours, which would lead to something intimate.

And that’s the reason why I got so curious that I tabled him last Friday night; he was already free from the clutches of his customer.

I didn’t sense any hint of gayness in him. No softness, no gay mannerisms. He actually looked straight enough to me.

What made me wonder though, something that he shared: in the last two years that he and Nuts were together, despite their seeing each other in and out of the bar every day and Nuts showering him with love (and money), they haven’t done it. Not once. He even told her to get some other guy who’s willing to do the deed with her at any price. She of course, kept insisting, even complaining somehow to the bar management about it.

I don’t know if it was because he wasn’t too interested to f*ck this over-the-hill woman, or just with any woman at all.   

*I amuse myself with the code names. This latest one, “Nuts”, is so apt to even use in a sentence: The store “Nuts About Sugar” can be endorsed by the gone-nuts An-Nuts Benning, the wife of our lead.   

The Curious.

A group of five straight-acting gay guys in their 20s entered the bar, and caused a slight commotion among the gay managers and tranny impersonators.

This was because aside from the fact that discreet gays my age is an uncommon sight inside a gay bar, the group of guys were good-looking, even more than the crème dela crème of that bar’s macho dancers. Obviously, they looked like first-time gay bar goers, with their silence and awkwardness, unlike the more effeminate, more experienced older gay customers. So they went to the bar to satisfy their curiosity.

Not only were the gay managers flustered with their arrival, even the group of women in their 30s at the table beside them got excited upon seeing them and started whispering among themselves and glancing back to the guys. I think they were choosing which among the five guys was their type. Sorry, honey, you’re not their type.

The tranny impersonator who sat with us wanted to get their attention. So he/she looked to their area, flipped and whipped her hair to tease them. But it seemed the guys were too focused looking at the scantily-clad men dancing on-stage.

Their presence also got me excited. I was conspiring with the tranny impersonator for ways to get their names and numbers -- if it was possible for me to act as a gay manager working in the bar and talk to them.

But, even if I succeeded in getting their numbers, I think these discreet men preferred someone discreet as well (and not someone acting effeminate working in a gay bar).

The Doubted.

This newcomer macho dancer “Cap” (short for “Captain Alvin P”) attracted both me and my friend “Mary”. He’s 25, 5 foot 10, dark, lean with some muscles. To me, he looks like a guwapong maton – a strong face with a square jaw line and high cheek bones but softened with his piercing eyes and dimpled Sam Milby-ish smile.

Cap is known in the bar to be shy and very quiet, which Mary also observed when she tabled him last weekend. Either he was just reserved as a person, or was too reserved in revealing his true self.

I somehow sensed something un-straight about him. Maybe how he walked, which was quite soft, contrasting the roughness of the other MDs. Or how he sat, which was a bit stiff with a straight back. Or how he bent his neck to listen closely when I whispered to him. Or how he couldn’t react when I called him “pare” teasingly. Or how he crossed his legs like a movie actress as he clutched a piece of used tissue between his clasped hands on top of his knees. Or how he stood up to take a curious look at the group of silahis customers at the other end of the bar.

Or how his favorite song is Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”, which is also my favorite song because of its message of positivity and gay liberation: “I’m beautiful in my way, ‘cause God makes no mistakes…

Or maybe how he sat right next to me for most of the night, our legs and knees touching, even if Mary, the one who got him, was also seated beside him, but with a few inches gap. This he did even if I already got another guy to table with me, the “Rumored” Beatty.

But wait, we found out from Cap that he has a kid out of wedlock, with a girl he already broke up with. And that he has a new girl friend who was a one-time customer in the bar, and whom he pursued after. And that he still wanted to have kids that’s why he claimed he wouldn’t go for a tranny or gay lover.

Now Mary and I got hooked in unlocking the mystery surrounding him. Is he straight but just shy and very refined? Is he gay but won’t come out yet? Is he for me, or for Mary? It’d take a few more visits to the bar to get clear answers to our doubts.

I hope I win. (Sorry Mary).

The gay bar seems to have a distinct line between the “boys” (straight macho men) and the “girls” (the women customers, tranny managers and impersonators, or “effeminate” gay customers). The boys shouldn’t have any hint of femininity in them – which may be deemed a turn-off for the “girl” clientele looking for a true macho man. The gay customers, on the other hand, are often assumed to be effeminate, in the traditional sense. So a macho-looking gay man in his 20s, whose sexual hang outs will be limited to gay clubs, discos or saunas, will seem to cause quite a flurry in a macho dancing gay bar, especially if they look more handsome than the bar’s dancers.

But with the blurring of the lines borne from the metrosexuals and the discreet gay phenomenon in society, even the opposing girl vs. boy or gay vs. macho dichotomies inside the gay bar will seem to get re-defined as well.

May mga silahis ba sa gay bar? Meron daw, Merong isa pa ata, at Meron pa ring nagpupunta.

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