We initially decided on going to a Gay Bar because of a certain blockmate’s 18th birthday on the exact day of the fieldtrip. At first, we were laughing about it, but while on the way to Adonis, we suddenly realized how bad of an idea it was. Another blockmate of ours asked his friend’s experience in Adonis, and we were all shocked to hear about male appendages flying everywhere and dancers touching themselves in places none of us wanted to see them touch. Minutes before arriving at Adonis, the boys of the block began chickening out, but we had no choice.
Upon arriving and entering, we were assured by one of the staff that all the dancers were straight. Despite this, it was still weird seeing grown, muscular men dancing a slow macho-dance in white tank tops, tight maong short shorts, even shorter than what women in school wear, and cowboy boots. They even had a move where they slide and glide on the floor with the use of kneepads. This went on until we got bored, as the routine was the same, even though different dancers went on stage. While we were bored, we decided to listen to one of the staff members who sat beside sir. After minutes of talking and laughing, the lights dimmed.
Everyone focused on the spotlight pointing at the stage. Out came a man in seemingly nothing but a towel on, his penis erect and bulging beneath the towel. He started off with the usual dance, but then suddenly reached for his towel. He removed this but held it in front of him, scaring us into thinking that he was nude underneath. After minutes of dancing with his towel in front, he decided to put the towel over his shoulders. At this point I looked away, but since my blockmates didn’t react, I decided to look back. He was wearing a sort of bikini underwear underneath. He began dancing again, so I looked away. Eventually, my blockmate beside me made a rapid movement, so I looked at him. Sadly, while moving my view on my blockmate, I saw something on the stage that I never imagined I would see in my life. The most appropriate term for what I saw was what my blockmate said: “Angry bird!” After getting a regrettable glance, I just looked at my blockmates with eyes wide and in shock. There were many “violent” reactions from our class, mostly from the boys, ranging from curses to birthday greetings for my blockmate.
After this event, it went back to the slow dances from the performers. Apparently, the whole towel-penis thing was specially requested for our attendance in Adonis. The wild stuff, such as the towel-penis guy’s routine, was supposedly going to start at around 1am, but we were only going to stay there until around 12, so the staff decided to give us a “treat.”
What struck me hard was not the horrific image of another man’s penis, but that of the performers in general. From the staff member’s stories, we discovered that some of the dancers actually earn a lot, with old women giving them tips like a car or 20,000 pesos in cash for doing a “job well done”, whatever that implies. Apparently, the dancers’ income is dependent on how mabenta they are. If no one calls them for private dances and such, they earn significantly less.
I’ve always had a knack for seeing through a person through his facial expressions and his eyes. I tried looking at the different dancers throughout the fieldtrip, and it was quite obvious that some of them aren’t that happy with what they are doing. Some dance their slow dance with eyes of depression or despair, probably hoping hopelessly for much more than literally using their body to gain money. This does not hold true to all the performers, for whatever reasons they have, but it is sad to see that some dancers are trapped in what they are currently doing. The staff member told us that some dancers leave, but eventually return, and this saddens me. Of course, it isn’t for me to judge how one wants to live his life, but what I’ve seen in the eyes of the dancers really stuck. The staff member also said that some resort to vices such as chain-smoking and drugs, which I assume may be a way of coping for them. The staff member also reminded us to not make any reactions that can be hurtful. Macho-dancing these days is seen as something negative. It is looked down upon, and people who are macho-dancers suffer from these judgements. It just scares me to know that some of the words we let loose after seeing certain things might have hurt them.
Whenever I tell people that I have been in Adonis, they laugh and ask how good the dancers were or what I saw. It feels like they see the establishment and its performers as what they are commonly seen as. After spending hours in Adonis, I have come to realize that those who danced in front of us are some of the stronger people in society, especially those who aren’t entirely happy with the idea of macho-dancing for their money. To go out each and every night in little to no clothes and dance in front of total strangers just to earn money for their livelihood is an amazing feat. Through this whole fieldtrip, I have come to respect these people, the people who, in our eyes, degrade themselves to survive.
SA21 – T