Monday, November 28, 2011

Anonymous Text Messages

Have you ever gotten a text message like this from an unknown number:
Niloloko ka lang niyang si Roman (or any other name for your macho dancer).
Your first reaction: Intriguing, right?

Then lots of questions will start to fill your head. From whom did this text come from? Is what this text message saying true? How did that texter know I am Roman's regular guest? And how the heck did that texter get my number? Then that might just mean... is my number being broadcasted and passed around by the macho dancers in the gay bar? Am I that in demand among hot men?

Before feeling all pretty with this "haba ng hair" moment, let me give you some context as to where this text message may actually come from. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pera Padala

Send your love with Western Union. Sa Cebuana, sigurado ka.

Love and Trust -- Common themes of money transfer services.

All along I thought that use of those money transfer services were limited to OFWs and their families. Or only those breadwinners from the provinces working in Manila to send money to their loved ones back home. Or anyone just needing to send payment for some debt or favor to a trusted friend in another location.

But nope, pera padala (literally, "money send/transfer") works too for gay bar customers and their macho dancer men.

The traditional "which restaurant or mall do we meet so that I can give you the money?" has been replaced by "which branch do you want me to send the money?" Of course, customers would like to personally meet up with their macho dancers, so that aside from giving them the "help", they can also see them in normal clothes under normal daylight or florescent light outside of the bar's premises. But if the macho dancer lives far and needs the money urgently, then the customer has to resort to more modern means of sending help.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Interview with a Macho Dancer: Behind The Scenes

Urgent daw, ayon sa paksa ng kanyang email. Akala ko kung ano ang ninais ni Jofti, isang freelance writer, sa kanyang pabor. Kailangan daw niya mag-interview ng isang macho dancer, para sa isusulat nya sa isang online magazine. Tinanong din niya kung may kakilala rin daw akong contacts na maaaring ipasa sa kanya. 

Natawa naman ako dahil ako talaga ang naisip nyang lapitan para humingi ng tulong. Bugaw ba ng MD? Haha. Ngunit, pumayag naman akong tulungan siya. 

Reply ko sa kanya: "Sige, samahan pa kita." Kung magpapasa lang ako sa kanya ng random contact at address ng bar para puntahan nya, natakot naman ako kung saang lumalop ng Maynila siya mapadpad, bilang isang babaeng hindi pa nakakapasok sa isang gay bar. Saka para rin maging komportable ang macho dancer na ibahagi ang kwento sa isang hindi nya kilala. 

Ang tanong, sino naman ang maaari niyang interview-hin? 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Gay Bar Goer's Hiatus

Hiatus [ha-yay-tus]: a pause or gap in a sequence, series, or process (New Oxford American Dictionary) 

"Titigil muna ako sa pagpunta sa gay bar (I'll stop going to the gay bar for a while)," I texted my gay bar going friends, Mary and Ringo. 

It was around this time last year, first week of November. It wasn't the first time I told someone that I'd take a break from something I loved doing for the past year. Three months prior, I told my regular macho dancer that I'd stop going to his gay bar. 

"Bakit naman? (Why?)," my partner macho dancer asked me. 

"Paalis-alis ako ng bansa. Mahihirapan akong magpunta nang madalas (I'd be flying in and out of the country. It would be difficult for me to keep going to the bar)" was my alibi. 

"Pero magkikita naman tayo? (But we'll still see each other?)" 

"Oo, pero sa labas lang ng bar. (Yes, but outside)."

I didn't want to tell him that going to the gay bar was draining on my finances. I didn't want to admit that supporting him in his bar was getting more difficult, especially after volunteering to give him a monthly allowance. I was stupidly in-love then, and I thought that the only thing that would make him love me back was that "support."

With him, I was tired financially, and I wanted to stop. As weeks went by, I eventually "broke up" with him, citing difficulties in keeping up with the relationship. It was a good, clean break up from the relationship and the support. What I didn't admit that I was going to another gay bar with my friends, and I wanted to spend more time, and more money, in that bar.

I eventually found a new guy in that new bar. I fell very much in love with the hosto "Air", who  eventually left me for another bar girl (and whom I have written much about in previous posts). Because I was still emotionally involved with him despite not being financially involved, as learning from my previous relationship, we had a very bad break up around end-October. 

That was when I texted my gay bar going friends, Mary and Ringo, that I'd stop going to the gay bars.  Just like my previous MD partner, they also asked why.

Lots of reasons are given by regular gay bar goers why they'd temporarily stop going to the bar. Working abroad is one. Being busy with work is another, more frequent response. Finding another gay bar or another macho dancer is another reason, which these gay bar goers don't usually admit. Or just like my friend Mary nowadays, they enjoyed living the "normal" non-gay bar centered life again. 

But for me, I was just tired. Both financially and emotionally. 

I stopped to focus on my work, which I had neglected a bit, months prior. I stopped because I wanted to re-earn the money that I seemingly lost for months already. I stopped because I wanted to let my heart rest, after the roller coaster of emotions felt for these men. 

And so, for a month, my weekend nights were only spent at home or at other more wholesome gimmicks. I stopped receiving the frequent "good am, pauwi na ako" or "good pm, kakagising ko lang" text messages. I enjoyed shopping for myself, which I haven't done for ages since I started going to the bar. I even texted Mary back then when I was in Singapore that it felt so liberating to go back to Manila without thinking of what pasalubong to bring home to a guy.  

Pero, hindi nagtagal...

Before that month ended, my gay friends, Mary and Ringo wanted to see another gay bar which we haven't visited before. Of course, not having been inside that bar, I was also very much curious. At least it was another new experience for all of us. 

For me, it was a perfect time to restart, in a completely new setting, with a completely new set of boys. Malay mo, I was thinking that I would meet that perfect macho dancer this time who would not tire me financially or emotionally. Physically tire me? Pwede!

And from then on, my November hiatus ended. I continued going to that bar even further, without thinking much if I'd tire eventually of throwing away money to a guy I fell head over heels for. To keep myself from doing so, however, at the start of my return, I decided not to get too much involved with these guys already. 

Gay bar goers undergo their own hiatus in their lifetime. My friend Ringo is currently on his 3rd or 4th hiatus since he started going to the gay bar last year; his reasons are all shallow (kidding, Ringo). My friend Mary has stopped going to gay bars altogether for six months already, after a hiatus at the middle of this year. For that, congrats to her for graduating.

As for me, I don't know when my next hiatus will be. I keep telling my friends that I'd slow down para magtipid. Still I eventually find myself visiting our favorite gay bar, weekend after weekend, out of habit (Slow down ba talaga yan? asked usually by Mary). But I strongly feel that my next hiatus will arrive soon. Not because I will get tired like the previous one, but perhaps because I am already getting a bit bored. Just slightly.

GB Goer
Learn more: Lessons from Gay Bars in Manila
twitter: @gbgoer