“Mahiwagang mundo.” These two words were all that he needed to describe the stereotypical seedy establishment before us. The man we talked to was either a part of the bar staff or a regular clientele –someone who knew the ins and outs of Adonis. He was probably in his late 30s, a man with a chubby stocky build, someone who highlighted the idiosyncrasies of the often light-hearted gay. We ended up chatting with him while waiting for our classmates to arrive and he was kind enough to entertain us with some interesting stories about the macho dancers and his personal experiences in the gay bar.
According to him, not all of the macho dancers who worked there were gay. In fact, most of them were straight men with high paying day jobs. Some even come from well-off families. I was surprised to hear that these people would go as far as pursuing this type of profession or ‘hobby’ even with the social stigma attached to it. These days, there aren’t a lot of people who are bold enough to walk through a path filled with unwarranted discrimination. We rarely see people who embrace their pride as unique individuals despite the prejudice that seeks to confine them within the norms dictated by society. It must have taken them a great deal of courage to see the crude reality, and still to love or continue doing it.
The man we talked to, seemed like one of these people. He was pretty open about his sexuality, and tells us, “Alam mo, may tatlo akong jowa sa loob, baka makita niyo pa ang isa sa kanila mamaya.” Now that wasn’t something I was expecting to hear. But what the heck, for all I knew, I was standing outside a gay bar…
Ahhh yes. For a moment there, I almost forgot about the unbearable situation we were put in. We just happened to be amid the busy streets of Timog in a place where I wouldn’t want others to see me in. Yet, we attracted a lot of unwanted attention from the bypassers since we looked just like a bunch of loud, jittery freshmen in a campus. I couldn’t help but regret being there. Each time someone passed by, I could feel their deadly, soul-piercing stares. Just how much longer did we have to endure this? *Sigh
After a few more minutes of sheer agony, our class was finally complete. Now, all that was left for us to do was to pay the entrance fee then, “mapapasukan na namin ang mahiwagang mundo.”
As we entered the place, I saw some Greek columns that decorated the well-lit hallway. I guess that this was the whole design scheme they had going on to complement the name of the establishment. After going through the hallway, we stumbled across some sort of concierge where the employees reminded us not to take any photos or videos. Well, employees do have basic rights in the workplace such as privacy, but I felt that they had another motive for not allowing these types of things. Maybe, they weren’t exactly open to other people when it came to the type of profession they pursued. Was it their fault then, or did the problems lie within society? I didn’t really know the answer to this, but it left me pondering.
I didn’t know what to expect as we entered the dark and cavernous room, until I saw two almost naked buff men dancing to their own interpretation of ‘sexy’, which to me looked more like a series of awkward gyrations combined with the hey-I-love-to-touch-myself-and-kiss-my-yummy-biceps move.
Their dance routines can get a bit predictable after some time though. Even the music started to sound dreary. What’s more, the macho dancers who went up on stage all looked sad and uninterested in what they were doing. Were they happy with their job to begin with? I tried to decipher what the look on their faces really meant, but ninety-five percent of the time, I was also trying my best not to look at the stage for obvious reasons.
However, there’s this certain part of me that felt that I should at least make a few more observations so that I can gain some new insights about the gay community. Besides, the man we spoke with before entering the gay bar had told us that there won’t be any wild scenes unless it was past midnight. So, I took the opportunity to observe the dancers on stage while they were still sober. Unfortunately, as soon as I looked up on stage, the macho dancer started stripping. Then…
I experienced a brief moment of disbelief, bewilderment, and then, mind seizure.
After the whole experience of going to a gay bar, I felt that my eyes were pried open to the social realities within the gay community. People vary in race and gender. They vary in sexual orientation too. Differences in race or gender don’t mark morally important distinctions between people, and so, I strongly feel that differences in sexual orientation shouldn’t either.
Danica Teng — 103795