Traveling to Adonis I already had in my mind what the place was going to be like. Gay dancers, Gay audiences, Gay staff, pretty much gay everywhere. I was pretty nervous not because of the gay people, but because of the location of the bar. I assumed the area would not be very safe but I was comforted with the fact that we would be with our whole class and our teacher would be coming with us.
The first sign that showed we were at the right place was the banner than hung over the pathway with a picture of muscular men on both sides. A sample of what was to come. Surprisingly the bar was situated right across the GMA office building , clearly we were at a street meant for the watching things. Upon arrival we were welcomed by this man with mannerisms that strengthened the idea in my head that this place really is for the gays. We entered the bar around 10pm. Once inside the first thing I noticed was the stench of cigarette smoke in the air. The size of the bar was actually smaller than I expected, it was about the size of two Atenean classrooms with tables surrounding the center stage. Tables were at the back while sofa’s were at the front.
Once we were situated at our tables we were offered drinks by the waiters which came from the entrance fee. When shown the menus I could see that the mark up was really high. The drinks ranged in the price of 100 and above. According to the man who welcomed us the food and drinks are how the bar earns. The drinks also showed how much a dancer earned. The more drinks that are sold during a dancer’s performance the more he is paid. Due to that, the really good dancers could earn up to 80k a month, a wage higher then a lot of people. Once we got comfortable in our chairs the dancing started
The attire of the dancers was quite simple. short jean shorts, a sando and some boots. The men danced slowly and except for one exception stripped only to their briefs. The men danced to popular songs of the past decade ranging from Avril Lavigne to Maroon 5. This surprised me as I was expecting really upbeat party songs, “tugs tugs” music. Some of the music was in fact mellow. With the mellow music playing this made the place seem really depressing.
Watching these dancers closely you can notice certain things. The most clear to me though was that while dancing they never looked to the audience. They always stared at the ceiling above the audience. Perhaps this is due to shame the same way one avoids eye contact when one they are being scolded. I couldn’t help but feel pity for these people. We were told that these were only part time jobs of the dancers, they had day time jobs such as internet cafes. A sad sign in todays economy where your really willing to do anything to survive. The men dancing were also plenty. As far as I could tell not once while we were there for 2 hours did a dancer repeat. With a constant change of dancer every song this means there were quite a lot of dancers. Another thing is that these men were not ugly. If I saw these men in a mall I could mistake them for being models.
While watching the mean we were given an explanation of what was happening by the man who welcomed us in. It turns out that the dancers are straight and the majority of the audience is women. 80% women 20% gays we were told. This made me think why this place was called a gay bar. From the audience I only noticed 1 man watching while the others were middle aged women. There were some young woman though at the front. Surprisingly while we were there the place was still rather empty. This is perhaps due to us arriving “early”, before 12. We were told that the naughty things start happening after 12 and since we were leaving at around that time the man who welcomed us had one of the dancers show his penis. We weren’t expecting this as the man was just teasing behind a towel and none of the other guys showed theirs. Yet he did and our class pretty much screamed.
We were told before we entered to not make any violent reactions and this truly make sense. If we laugh or shout during a man’s performance it would seem like we were jeering at him. His job is already difficult enough, so no point in adding more harm. However when something surprising would happen such as one man showing his penis the class would either scream or laugh. I could only feel ashamed since we may possibly just increasing the emotional scaring these dancers are going through. It could be said that the dancers could be happy since they earn a lot. However seeing their eyes I could not believe that they are happy with what they’re doing.
My view of what was happening is heavily biased on the idea that what their doing is harmful to their psyche. Showing your body to complete strangers of both genders when your straight has to hurt your psyche in some way, Its possible that they could really be enjoying what their doing. However trying to see what’s happening to them through their perspective as a dancer its hard to imagine that they could be enjoying what their doing and I think I’m right, while watching I did not see a single smile from the dancers, only a blank poker face.
Its a shame that the general view of these people are negative. They are no different from us, they are just trying to make a living. In fact they are more courageous than most because they endure hardships that only few voluntarily would.
Patrick Pecson 102941 Section-T