"Pare, Txt mo ako 'punta ka dito'. (Dude, Send me a text message 'come here')," texted by Japoy*, a macho dancer in one of Manila's gay bars.
"Ha? Nandito ako sa bar niyo, may kaupo ako. (Huh? I am here in your bar, with someone sitting beside me)." I replied. I thought he wanted me to get him, even though I knew he was seated with someone else.
"Ako rin, meron eh. Sige na, text mo ako. Pakita ko lang sa asawa ko. (I am also seated with someone. Please, text me. I'm just going to show my wife.)"
"Bakit? Sino ba yang customer mo? (Why? Who's that customer with you?)"
"Sabihin ko mamaya. Daan ako diyan saglit. (I'll tell you later. I'll drop by your area for a while)," Japoy texted. He appeared a few minutes after, leaving his customer quickly, while the one seated with me went to the toilet.
What he told me, after the jump:
After a few kumustahan exchanges, Japoy started explaining: "Yung customer ko kasi, babaeng nagtatrabaho sa bar. Alam mo namang selosa asawa ko, lalo na pag babae katabi ko. Kaya kung pwede mag-text ka. Kunwari ikaw ang umupo sakin. (My customer is a girl working in another bar, ie. hostess. You know my wife can get really jealous, especially if I'm with a woman customer. So if you can text me, as if you were the one who tabled me tonight)."
I knew this story of his. So laughing at the idea of my macho dancer "kumpare", I obliged and sent him a message: "Uy pare, dito ako sa bar niyo. Upo ka dito sakin. (Hey dude, I'm here at your bar. Come, sit with me.)"
That wasn't the first time a macho dancer asked a favor from me. As a frequent patron of gay bars, I am used at getting requests, mostly financial related, from various boys -- Can you come here to the bar? Can you send me load? Can you buy my ticket for the big night? Is it possible if you buy me a new shirt, required for our special dance? Can you lend me x thousand pesos for my whatever, and promise, I'll pay back?
But the past few requests I've gotten were a bit silly. These weren't money-related at all. It was as if I was their kabarkada who knew about their personal or "marital" problems, and was asked to be helped out with something about their significant others.
Just like how Phoenix* called me up at 5 am, both of us going home after a night in the gay bar. We were actually seated separately -- I was with someone else, while he was seated with his long-time crazy matron patron. I knew he didn't actually like that matrona guest of his, who was acting as if she 'owned' him -- overly possessive, neurotic, paranoid about his every move.
On the phone, he began to share stories about his guest, "Marami na nga yan binigay sakin. Puro mamahalin -- Armani na bag, Bulgari na pabango, mga kwintas. Hindi ko lang magamit kasi magtataka asawa ko kung saan galing. Eh yung asawa ko, nagagalit kapag nalalaman niyang yung matrona yung guest ko. Sayang pa naman yung mga binigay, hindi ko magamit. (She has given lots to me already. All expensive stuff - Armani bag, Bulgari perfume, some necklaces. I can't use them because my wife will wonder how I got them. And she gets angry at me everytime she finds out my guest on a particular night was that matrona. And too bad I couldn't use the things that guest gave me)."
Sensing an unusual favor coming up, I asked with a giggle, "So ano ngayon gusto mo gawin ko? (So what do you want me to do?)"
He laughed as well. "Text mo ako. Kunwari, galing kang abroad at nag-uwi ka ng pasalubong. (Text me. As if you came home from an overseas trip, and you came home with some gifts). Please. Okay lang ba?"
"Haha, okay lang! Txt mo sakin ano gusto mo sabihin ko, tapos re-send ko sa iyo. (It's okay. Just text me what you want me to say, then I'll re-send to you)," I responded, still amused by the fact that I was used as an excuse by a macho dancer to his significant other.
In fairness, I didn't take offense by the fact that I was used as a scapegoat. I felt that these favors were typically asked by men to a trusted buddy. So in their minds, I might not be considered as their usual customer anymore, but maybe as a "safe" kabarkada. Or at least their wives and girl friends felt some assurance that it was a gay guy giving their husbands some attention, and not some money-wielding beautiful-faced "other" woman. That probably means these men have shared some good stories about me to their siginificant others.
It's also good to know that these dancers were honest enough to share to me that they were in a relationship, compared to the other boleros (flatterers) who often lie to their customers about the fact they have their significant others.
And now, they weren't asking me to go their bar to visit them, or buy them some drinks to get some income, or send them some load, or lavish them with expensive gifts. They even haven't asked for anything monetary yet, except for these little requests. At least, they were not asking for money directly from me.
Learn more: Lessons from Gay Bars in Manila
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*The names mentioned here are not the macho dancer's actual bar / stage names, though they are somehow connected.