Thursday, April 28, 2011

Russell's Invitation

"Inaantok na ako (I'm getting sleepy)," Russell*, a macho dancer in his mid-20s, said to me earlier this night. He was seated beside me in his gay bar in Pasay, which at that time had only a handful of tables with customers.  

"Inaantok ka, pero ang tagal ng tulog mo kanina? (You're getting sleepy, even if you slept long the whole day?)" I inquired back, as his shaved head was resting on my right shoulder.

That morning, upon waking up, I received a text message from him, the usual hi's and how-are-yous. I wondered why, at 9 in the morning, this tall, baby-faced dancer wasn't asleep yet despite his night-shift in the gay bar that usually ended around 6AM. He couldn't sleep, he said. Maybe it was the heat of the summer, he thought. Or his rewired body clock. After a few text messages back and forth, I agreed to his invitation to a dinner date that night. The set time was ideal for a meet-up with men in his profession -- after my work, before his. My choice of Chinese restaurant, as he was craving for some yang chow fried rice.

"Sobrang busog kasi sa kinain kanina, kaya masarap matulog (I feel so full from our meal, and to sleep it off isn't a bad idea)," he replied. I had an inkling that these men only have a light snack or don't eat at all before going to work. So a full meal before their work hours was already a huge treat.

My dinner. His breakfast.

"Masarap nga matulog pagkatapos kumain ng Chinese food. (It really feels good to sleep after eating Chinese food)," I responded back, while puffing my cigarette and sipping my beer. I myself felt a bit sleepy, as it was past my bed time on a weekday night. I had to wake up early the next day for work.

"Dapat pala, hindi na ako pumasok pagkatapos natin kumain. At natulog na lang ako sa bahay. (I shouldn't have gone to work after our dinner. I should've gone home to sleep)," Russell said, still beside me, but with his left arm now hanging on my shoulders.

"Sabi mo kasi papasok ka e (Well, you told me you intended to go to work after dinner)," I quipped, taking a sip from my post-meal drink. After our meal earlier that night, I offered to bring him to his bar, as it was just a few minutes drive. I was supposed to go straight home after dropping him off, but my body was craving to see some men in the flesh. I decided to enter the bar with him and stay, as a couple bottles of beer after a full meal wouldn't hurt. It was already past midnight.

I hoped I didn't make a wrong decision, sitting beside this tall baby-faced guy instead of resting at home.

He then invited me, nonchalantly, "Sige, next time, kita ulit tayo. Tapos nun, tulog tayo ha. Sabay. (Let's meet again next time. Then afterwards, let's sleep. Together)."

I sipped my beer again. Another puff of my cigarette. Half an hour later, after my second beer, a few more laughs, and after his solo dance, I decided to go home and get some sleep.

Sweet dreams? Let's see where this goes.

GB Goer
Learn more: Lessons from Gay Bars in Manila

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