Never in my life have I ever imagined that I would go to a gay bar. It’s probably one of the craziest and weirdest places that I’ve ever been to. This was the reason why (aside from the other reason that it was our classmate’s birthday and we wanted him to have a blast on his special day) majority of my classmates chose this peculiar place for our SA21 field trip. The field trip would be the only time we would ever go to such, excuse me for my language, a socially condemned place. I have to admit, I have this image that a gay bar is filled with indecent characters doing indecent deeds that society utterly abhors.
When we first entered the gay bar, it was pretty much what I thought it would be (probably because I was so SURE that a gay bar would be what I thought it would be): indecent. The air was filled with the stench of smoke and there were men dancing around and even dry humping the poles. These men were wearing a white sando, short shorts (to the point that it’s not even okay anymore) and cowboy boots. But as the night went by, there were a few things that I learned which were contrary to what I expected a gay bar would be. Good thing the manager (or at least I think he’s the manager) was sitting in our table to talk about the gay bar business.
One of the things that I didn’t expect would be the dancers themselves. I honestly thought that the gay bar would have dancers who are flamboyantly gay, much like Vice Ganda or John Lapuz. Contrary to what I thought, the dancers weren’t gay at all, and they were even the macho dancing types. Another thing that I didn’t expect was the demographic. I really thought that the audience of a gay bar were gays, hence the name gay bar. But apparently most of the customers were women. I really thought that women would be the last ones who would go to a gay bar. I also didn’t expect that there were actually types of dancers. I used to think that they’d just go there, take some clothes off, shake their booty or something then BOOM (whatever the “boom” may be, you decide). There are actually three types of dancers: nakashirt pero gwapo, nakabikini pero ayos lang ang kagwapuhan at nag-aall the way. According to the manager, the ones who nag-aall the way are the veterans in the business. Normally, the ones who nag-aall the way would come out later but to our surprise, there was one who showed up early that night. Not a good sight at all. Apparently, it was all the manager’s doing and he said that it was his treat for us since we were there for a field trip.
I honestly learned quite a lot from the manager. I learned about how much the dancers earn. According to him, the lucky dancers are able to earn from 50k-70k per month. There are even times when the dancers would be lucky enough to get a matrona and get free stuff from her. There was this one dancer where he got a car and a condo unit for free. Learning about these, my friends and I cracked up jokes that maybe it would be okay to be a gay bar dancer if we’d get free stuff like that.
Aside from what the dancers earn, I also found out about their personal backgrounds. According to the manager, most of the dancers actually have their own personal businesses. There are a few who own computer shops, water stations and such. There were also some who’ve even graduated from college. I was honestly taken aback when I learned about their personal backgrounds. It really made me question why would they stick with this job. If they were able to finish college or have a business of their own, why would they sacrifice their own dignity and dance on stage with expressionless faces that seemed as if they’ve got nothing in life? A series of questions flooded my mind when I heard their background from the manager. Of course, we asked him why they still go through gay bar dancing if they have businesses of their own. He simply replied that he didn’t know. He didn’t want to pry into their personal lives and know about their reasons why they’d go through gay bar dancing. I guess the dancers’ lives are pretty rough to have to go through all of that.
I thought that dancing with poles while wearing expressionless faces was already bad, but the matronas I briefly mentioned earlier was definitely worse. Imagine women, of ALL ages (and I mean ALL) and sizes (yes, sizes too) would go to the bar and watch you, stare at you and would probably undress you in their minds. That’s not all; they’d most likely request for your company and would eventually do some stuff. There were some incidents during the trip where I saw this huge lady, probably in her 40s or 50s, asking this young dancer to sit down and talk with her. It gives me chills just imagining that this lady is a DOW…a dirty old woman.
At the end of the trip, the questions I had throughout the night just multiplied. There were so many questions left unanswered and many more questions that haven’t been thought up yet. I’m not sure if that made any sense but to simply put it, these gay bar dancers should be understood more. I judged them without even finding out where they came from. Why should I deem these dancers as lazy people with no drive or ambition? They have their own reasons for going up that stage and strutting their stuff and I have no right to judge them based on what they’re doing.
Oliver M. Vallarta