by Lance Chua and Raf Guerrero (Section T)
Warning: The blog post you are about to read may contain some words that are unpleasant in general. The tone of this is going to be frank as we want to be able to properly convey our experiences, insights and ideas. The views expressed in this blog post are solely those of the authors. No, we are not homophobic or anti-LGBT. We just don’t find pleasure in seeing other men strip. The owners of the pictures found in this blog post have granted us permission to use their faces to better illustrate our thoughts and emotions. (save for Chris Pontius, F21, the boot and the angry bird) This post is for mature audiences only and is not recommended for children under the age of 18. Reader discretion is advised.
First off, we have to say that we did not know what we were in for when we said we wanted to have our SA field trip in a gay bar. Penises (
cut or uncut mutilated or not)? Trannies? Cross-dressers? Boisterous laughing? Hair-raising flirting? Fake boobs? The block REALLY did not know what to expect. We were all fine a few hours before going to the said place. We all had fun in Andrew’s house and played “Rock Band”, chill pa naman. However, the moment we took the turn from EDSA to West Ave. is when we realized how bad this idea was. Homophobia started to become a very real fear.
“Gago.. ngayon ko lang yata narealize na homophobic pala ako.”
-a certain block mate whose name may or may not sound like Shake Charisma
We had various expectations. Drew thought we were going to a comedy bar. As for us, we expected to see average-looking dancers wearing only a bow-tie and a piece of underwear (think Chris Pontius) and plenty of gay customers inside.
We think the picture is *pretty close to our initial expectations
What started out as prank directed to Lance (-_-”) (Happy 18th birthday, Lance!), eventually made us want to back out when a banner bearing the name “Adonis” greeted us. We received stares from passersby, probably confused with the thought of why this large flock of students was gathering outside the vicinity of the gay bar.
We then found ourselves asking: “Pare, ano ba ‘tong pinasok natin?”
And we entered and started what turned out to be one of the longest nights of our lives.
(Entrance fee of Php350 inclusive of one drink)
Minutes seemed like hours and hours seemed like days. Awkward would be the accurate yet non-encompassing word to describe how we felt. Once inside the bar, we found ourselves seated in three rows of tables ordering the complimentary drink, the only drink we will order given the insane mark-up of the drinks inside the bar. We were right on time to witness the next set of performers. Two scantily clad men came out from the dark as the spotlight focused upon them. Initially, we avoided looking at the dancers as if they had the eyes of Medusa.
Just use your imagination and fill in the fit, muscular legs with a bulge in the middle.
Now, moving away from the body, specifically the groin area, we need to note the facial features and expression of the dancers. As men, we will admit. They… are…(lalake sa lalake to), pwede na, may itsura naman. They have above average looks. If you remove everything and replace their skimpy outfits with business suits, you’ll definitely think of them as models or people in the higher-ups (which what they might really be during the day).
However, one thing to note is their facial expression. It was sort of vague. One could interpret it in many different ways. It can be seen as portraying negative emotions such as being forced to do their job, forced to play a passive role, lack of freedom, sadness and some other feeling. One of the reasons this view immediately surfaced might also be because we ourselves weren’t really quite happy being brought to the place. However, after the insightful talk with the owner, we start to see the other end of the spectrum. The looks on their faces could never be the result of earning 50-75k a month for a part-time job. Their look could very well be seen as sensual, seductive, building sexual tension (as if trying to ‘penetrate’ the audience). We see here how bias comes into play in trying to interpret the feelings that the dancers want to convey to the audience.
The choice of songs used inside the gay bar were particularly interesting. The music, which ranged from Jon Bon Jovi, Daft Punk, Nelly to Avril Lavigne, played every time a dancer performed. You name it, and they’ll most likely play and dance to it. Most of the songs played evoked the feeling of sadness and love to probably reach out to the target audience of the gay bar: lonely and loveless people.
Well, there goes our songs which previously had memories of kasawian and kilig associated with them now being replaced by memories of dancing, half-naked men. 😐
During the first hour of our stay inside the gay bar, only a handful (probably less than 10) of customers were seen inside the bar. The number, however, dramatically increased as the bar reached its ‘cinderella’ time – the time when all hell breaks loose and the half-naked men start to bask in the full glory of their naked bodies.There were some who came alone (a guy in his late 30s who we presume to be gay), a group of three middle-aged women, and a woman in her 30s together with her gay friend. Those who came in groups were seen to be smiling and laughing. They were there to have a good time. On the other hand, the man we observed was staring blankly at the macho dancers while drinking his beer. Of course, not much can be said about what we observed, but we think that this guy was drowning whatever problems he had and was waiting for the clock to strike 12 (alam na) since he was seated behind us for the whole duration of our stay.
The climax of our gay bar experience happened when the lights became unusually dim and one of the dancers went on stage wearing a malong. The succeeding events that transpired shocked the very core of our souls, traumatizing to say the least. It was a bird. A BIG ANGRY BIRD. Never in our lives have we seen a penis
or at least someone else’s as aroused and furious as that. (It was as if a cobra realized how unfair his deal with the snake charmer was and now it was angry, very angry.)
A big angry bird. You get the picture.
Little Drew asks:
Masama po ba ang macho dancing, Kuya Raf at Kuya Lance?
Come to think of it, there’s nothing really wrong with showcasing one’s body through dance. Media has led us to believe that gay bars are filthy places where ‘extra’ services are being offered. The only difference these macho dancers have with the dancers you see on TV is the amount of clothing they wear (which is actually getting more similar over time), the ‘shady’ venue, and their option of being able to dance to you in private. Both do it as a profession and probably enjoy what they are doing. Of course, it becomes different when consensual sex comes into the equation, but those are strictly internal arrangements between the dancers and their clients. The management takes no part in these kinds of transactions.
Papasukin niyo rin ba ang larangan ng macho dancing?
The high pay and the benefits that come with macho dancing are indeed tempting, but no. We can’t afford to dance half-naked for the sake of giving others entertainment
unless one-on-one. It’s not something that we’re disgusted with (thanks to our SA experience), rather, it’s something that we really do not see ourselves entering as a profession. Although, everything changes if we have to dance for our lives to bring food to our families’ tables.
Again, we see a big difference in views if a certain practice or ritual is placed out of its context. Admittedly, we initially had negative biases regarding a gay bar. If it were not for the manager who shared some of the inner workings of the bar, we probably would still have carried these negative notions with us. Ultimately, this experience taught us that we can never judge anything immediately, especially if we are unfamiliar to it. We should never let ourselves be clouded by bias and miss the whole picture.