Dirty Dancing

15 Mar

So, a friend’s going to a field trip. Where do you think would he/she go? A zoo? Museum? A historic landmark?  A couple of nights ago, we went on our own little fieldtrip. We didn’t go to any of the “normal” destinations but to a place way out of our comfort zones: a gay bar.


On the outside, it seemed like an inconspicuous spot. Despite being one of the most popular gay bars in Manila, Adonis barely stands out from the street in front of the GMA TV Station building. Its sign, lit from the bottom, shows a bold-faced ADONIS bordered by two Greek-looking marble statues. Although Adonis is well-known even to non-supporters of such establishments, the facade it presented simply gives off a hint of a Greek themed building and not as a den of sensual men. The entryway looked decidedly Greek as well; silver pillars lined up the similarly-colored hall inside. The hall led down; to where, was up to our imaginations. It gives the place a sense of class and mystery.

After an hour and a half’s wait, we were ushered in. Down the stairs and into a door to the left we went.

Now, our initial perceptions to what a gay bar and its inhabitants looked like were a bit off. To be honest, we were expecting strobe lights of different colors flashing, men in drag, men in birthday suits, men (and some women) in the audience howling their hearts out, the works.
On the contrary, the inside room was dark; only the stage and its contents were brightly lit. In front and around the stage were couches, tables and chairs. We were led to a table on the far right. As we sat down, waiters presented menus for our perusal; our entrance free included a mandatory drink so we decided to make the most of it and ordered…
By the gods, the drinks were expensive. Over 300++ bucks for a bottle of beer, really?

After ordering some of the insanely priced drinks, our attention focused on what was happening onstage. Two men in short shorts, white form-fitting shirts and cowboy boots were macho dancing onstage. Well, not really macho dancing, but slow, caressing dancing. Their gazes fell beyond the audience, as if on a trance.

It was… tamer than what we expected.

After each performance, the dancers would go into a dressing room of sorts next to the stage, then exit again. They would walk around the audience area, as if they were looking for something. It turns out, they would do this to look for interested patrons who were willing to buy their services. What happens next is anyone’s guess. We only came to know of this when a performer mistook Arianne’s glances as a sign of interest and approached her. She looked away, suddenly aware of what it implied.

We observed that the dancers had similar features. All were sporting the metrosexual look: mostly clean-shaven and acne-free faces, toned bodies and neat hairstyles. Their bodies were similarly built; no arm hair, no chest hair, no leg hair (possibly hidden by the boots most of them wore) and mostly even skin tone. The usual attire was a white shirt or sando, short shorts or briefs (some dared to wear thongs beneath their shorts), and most of them wore boots.

The commonness of this body type tells much about the patrons of Adonis and, to an extent, the new standard of male beauty: a more feminine masculinity.


While we were outside waiting to go in, the manager(?) told us that some of the dancers had their own businesses, and that not all of them are gay. That made us think. Now why would these people want to dance almost-naked? Why would they want to bare their body to scrutiny? Why would they willingly go through all that if they didn’t need to?

A lot of people would mistake their actions as them being desperate for quick sources of cash. While that may be true for some of the performers, the manager’s words made us think that there was more to it than cash. Since we could find no answers to our questions, we looked to the dancers themselves. It was a pretty awkward sight, at first. None of us have been to places remotely similar to Adonis. At times, we would avert our gazes to the surroundings. Though, once we somehow got used to their looks and the atmosphere, we got some rather interesting insights, especially on the nature of their dance.

It is a sensual one; one that entices the audience by enjoying the self. Their self-caresses and slow movements hint to something much more than mere dance moves. These men appreciate their bodies just as much as those paying for their services. Their empty gazes are reminiscent of a trance; their dance is not of lust, but of… worship. It is a celebration of the male physique, with the dancer as the medium. For the time they have onstage, these dancers are not only their own Adonises but also the Adonises of the viewers.


From what the manager had said, the risqué stuff happens after 12. At close to 11:30, a sneak peek presented itself, taking us all by surprise.

After a few more rounds of dancers, a guy, seemingly clad in nothing but a towel, got on the stage. Unlike the others before him, his member was clearly standing tall and proud. A hushed silence suddenly spread over the room. The only sound audible was the loud thumping of the dance music and the breathing of the audience.

His dance was completely different to the others. Gone were the caresses and slow movements we somehow grew accustomed to. He danced as if he was with a lover in the middle of a passionate session. When he laid down on the floor and started to move like he was making love to it, we were mesmerized by the sexuality of his actions. After that, he walked to the edge of the stage and all the built up tension he made reached the climax with the revelation of his family sword and jewels.

The flashing lights made the whole view look so surreal, as if all of us were simply in a dream sequence. For a moment, we wondered what the other observers and costumers were thinking of. Disgust? Awe? Or perhaps… Lust?



Thinking about the events of that night, we cannot help but feel that we just scratched the surface of something deeper than ourselves. It’s as if we got a teaser of what sexuality and sensuality truly is and what it means to these men. Perhaps the reason these men willingly put themselves in the spotlight is to explore their own sexuality by means of sensuality. Their movements, especially the most risqué dance, may be a form of sexual expression they wish to show others. Maybe dancing gives them a sense of power over the audience- some sort of sexual dominance over the observers. When society rejects their expression, this is the place they turn to: a place where they can feel appreciate, feel wanted, feel… accepted.

Adonis, the only mortal who has captured the attention of Aphrodite herself. How fitting.

Brandon Ho, 101866
Arianne Tan, 103681
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Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Uncategorized


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