This line was among the hundreds of lines that stood out from the highest box-office Filipino film, "No Other Woman." For those who haven't watched the movie, the story is about a guy being torn between his wife and his I'm-not-a-mistress mistress.
The movie's charm comes from the catty exchanges between these two equally stunning, equally rich (nouveau or old-money), equally fierce, equally palaban women. Before this film, the confrontation scenes of warring women in local cinemas or TV shows were often depicted with a tirade of insults, that leads to uncivilized sampalan, leading to sabunutan, ending with the lead actor separating the two jealous women. This movie showed that backhanded compliments, veiled insults, raised-eyebrow parinigs and bitchy one-liners give more powerful emotional blows than multiple slaps on the face.
Ironic, isn't it, that the line above was said by well-off characters who looked down upon confrontation scenes depicted in local soap operas, even if the movie from where the line came from was itself just like an extended local teleserye?
And where tall, dark and handsome men are involved, do confrontation among jealous women also occur?
Where else, but in a macho dancing gay bar. But perhaps, not the extereme sabunutans and sampalans among the customers and these men's real wives. It can be as subtle as one look. Just one look that seems to be lifted straight out of any cheap teleserye.
And what I saw in the gay bar a few weekends ago, almost around the same time as the movie's opening weekend, was a perfect example.
The setting was inside an iconic macho dancing gay bar. (Oh, how teleserye can this get!) Right in front of the gay bar stage, a dark-skinned plump woman in her 30s was seated on the couch, with a young twink-ish looking macho dancer (let's call him Mark*) beside her. They were canoodling as if no one in the bar could see them -- her lips pressing against his neck, his arms tight around her shoulders. They've been doing that for hours already, even before I came into the bar.
A few tables behind them, near the back wall of the bar, was this lone old gay guy. He looked like your typical D.O.G. in the 80's -- thin man in his 50s, with large eye glasses and clothes that looked two sizes too large for him. He concealed himself the best way he could, with a baseball cap and an oversized jacket. On his table were four empty bottles of San Mig Light, and a partially empty bottle that he has been sipping for some time already. There was no hunky dancer nor twinky model beside him. He was simply looking straight ahead.
A few minutes later, I saw the D.O.G. standing at the woman's area. He has been standing there looking at the couple for a few seconds, until the bar's staff held him and forcefully led him back to his seat. He still didn't want to sit down. The bar's bouncer slash waiter asked him what was wrong, and despite this old gay guy's alcohol-induced reasoning, the bouncer threatened him.
"May ibubulong lang ako kay Mark* (I'm just going to whisper something to Mark*)," explained the gay guy.
"Sinabing bawal lumapit doon. Nanggugulo ka ng guest. (I've told you that you can't approach them. You're disturbing the guest)," said one of the bar's staff.
"Sabihin mo bibigyan ko siya ng five thousand, labas lang kami. (Tell him that I'll give him five thousand just for us to go out)," the old guy insisted.
While that little ruckus was going on in the old gay guy's area, I asked one of the staff what had happened. Apparently, the macho dancer Mark was one of this gay guy's favorite dancers. For some reason, he didn't table this dancer (nor anyone else in the bar). Too bad for him, the staff said, that the woman got the dancer first. The gay guy, who was just too drunk at that moment, stood up and approached the woman's area. Without any warning, he yelled, "Umayos-ayos kang babae ka! (Control/restrain yourself, you woman!), and before doing any harm, he was brought back to his seat.
As I looked at the woman's direction to see her reaction, she just kept turning her head backwards. In between her glances to the back, she kept whispering something to young macho dancer beside her. I thought she'd get annoyed by this drunk gay guy (syempre, sugurin ka naman bigla ng kung sino), and would threaten to leave the bar. But then, when she looked at the confrontational gay guy behind her, I noticed her reaction.
That look. Her face.
I couldn't forget her mischievous eyes, raised eyebrow, and sly little smile, as she looked back from her shoulder. Her facial reaction seemed as if she wanted to tell the gay guy, in her nouveau riche tone, "Hey, look do I have here!" She held the shoulders of the seated macho dancer, as if laying claim to her prized possession.
She had that unmistakably villainous inggitera look, reserved only for the malditas of cheap teleseryes. It's the same look that the legal wife Christine Reyes had in the movie, when she and Derek were canoodling in the swimming pool while the other woman, Anne, looked at them from the window. It's the "this is what you want, right? And now I have it!"
It's the same inggitera look that a few seemingly rich and powerful gay bar goers do. Especially when they think they are the envy of everyone else just because they've tabled the most handsome macho dancer in the bar. Or maybe it's the look of arrogance, to show off how they got the man first, in a setting where tabling macho dancers are often on a first-come, first-served basis. Or maybe it's the look of pride, to boast how they can indeed afford to spend on such a hunky accessory.
Well, if only those macho dancers really looked, or at least sounded like Derek Ramsay, right? Eh hindi naman.
But in fairness, while watching the movie for some reason, I kept remembering someone who looked like Derek in certain angles. I don't know if it was the semi-kal buzzed haircut or his moreno skin.
Yup, it was the dreamy Kap*, a macho dancer my friend Mary and I got half a year ago. Funny thing was, both Mary and I liked Kap at the same time, even to the point of trying to prove if he's gay or not (if he's gay, then Kap goes to me. If he's straight, then he goes to Mary). A Derek Ramsay look-a-like being "shared" by two equally gorgeous gay bar goers. And buti na lang, we didn't fight over him inside the gay bar. Or else that confrontation would've looked like a scene straight out of a cheap teleserye.
Learn more: Lessons from Gay Bars in Manila
Photo credits: http://www.pep.ph, http://www.pinoyshownow.net/2011/10/no-other-woman-2011.html