Friday, February 26, 2010

Gossip Girl: The Age of Dissonance


Some people think that when the party ends, the night is over. But I've learned that it's when the music stops and the light comes out that the real trouble begins.

"Nagpatulong kasi ako kay Vackie na makilala si surgeon (I asked Vackie to help me get to know the surgeon)," Edward told me. "Tapos, nagulat na lang ako na gino na niya. (I was surprised when he suddenly made a move)"

"OMG! Talaga? (Really?) What happened?" I said.

"Ayun, sila na ang nag-usap. Ano ba yan? (It ended up with both of them talking. WTF,)" he said.

"Hindi ka niya pinakilala? (He didn't introduce you?)"

"Hindi. Kasi habang kausap niya si surgeon, kinausap naman ako ng friend ni surgeon na tinetext ako ngayon. (Nope. While he was talking to surgeon, surgeon's friend started chatting with me and now we're texting.) Kaya lesson learned."

Oh Edward, haven't you heard of the old adage? All is fair in love and war, and this, ladies, is war.

"Honeyyyyyy… gusto ko talaga si surgeon, (I really like surgeon)" V told me.

"Talaga? Bakit? (Really? Why?)"

"We clicked. Ang happy ng usap namin, (We really had a great time)" he said. "There was this time I asked him: 'I'm going to ask you a really crazy question.' Then before I could even ask it, he said: 'Yes.'"

"Oh my. Marunong siya. He knows how to play the game. Bakit hindi mo kinuha ang number niya? (Why didn't you get his number?"

"I guess in my head I was thinking ... lalaki siya ni Edward. (he is Edward's guy.) Sigh."

"So what now?"

"I guess I'll have to talk to Edward."

"It's really tough. Una-unahan talaga eh. (It's all about who saw him first). So next time, don't be surprised to see me go all around the room the moment we enter the party. Then, I'll point to all the guys I like and tell all of you, 'Gusto ko siya! Siya! Siya!' ('I want him! Him! Him!')"

We both burst out laughing.

"That's not fair! Hahaha. Paano naman kami? (What about the rest of us?)" V said. "But honey, I really ... really like surgeon."

Better lock it down with the surgeon, Edward. Clock is ticking.

The problem with the game is when there are too many players. Getting fame was easy, but not everyone can be equally famous. Some stars will always burn brighter than the others.

Being single can be fun and exciting, but being single with other single, good looking friends can be a recipe for a disaster. Especially if you go out together. Especially if you go to the same places. Especially if you like the same kind of guys. After all, how many cute guys can there be in one room?

What if you and a friend happen to like the same guy and you meet him the same night? Does the person who saw him first gets to declare "He's Mine!!" How do you deal these kinds of issues? Who gives in? What if you really really like him? Do you negotiate? Are there rules that should be followed?

Because if there aren't any rules, then it may be game over between friends.

They say one is the loneliest number, but sometimes only the lonely can play. So thank you all for playing… each other, that is.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

All Good Things Come to an End

"They flaunt out their beautiful leaves in the sun,

And they flirt, every one."
---Ella Wheeler Wilcox, "A Reminiscence"

"Kisssss. Kissssss. Kiss kayo ni Kane," Arlan said to Cj. Cj, looking uncomfortable, was smiling at us. 
"Nahihiya ako eh," he said.

"Sige na. Go! Go!," V said, egging us on.
"Nakakahiya," Cj said, smiling shyly.

"Ano ka ba. Parang ganito lang yan," V said, and then suddenly he kissed me, slowly. We were both aware our friends and Cj were looking at us, and we put on quite a show. Our kiss ended.

"Sige na. Go," V told Cj.
Emboldened by what he had just witnessed, Cj and I kissed.

"Kayo naman ni V," Arlan said to Cj.
"Gooo! Goooo!," I said.
Cj and V kissed.

"Pinaglalaruan niyo ako," Cj said.
"Umayos ka, enjoy na enjoy ka nga eh," I said.

Arlan and Cj then kissed, then V and I kissed, then Arlan and V kissed, and then Arlan and I kissed.

It was a Sunday night and I wanted to go out for three reasons: to party on a Sunday night with V, to celebrate Eric's birthday, and to see Arlan before he goes back to China.

I was so excited to see Arlan that night. He is one of my best friends and I have missed him terribly. He used to be my banger sister before he moved away. We spent countless night boy-hunting or being hunted, getting drunk, partying. We used to dance like there was no tomorrow.

Arlan is the type of guy who can get away with many things. He can just literally grab a guy, charm him off his shoes and the guy would leave his friends and join us. Then we work on the guy, flirt with him, tease him. That night, we decided to choose Cj.

Cj was fair, lean with a cute, boyish smile you could spot the moment you entered the club.

K: Grabe, ang bad natin. Hindi man lang natin kinausap yung friend ni Cj.
Eric: OMG! May friend pala siya?
K: OMG! Hindi mo alam na may friend siya?
Eric: Hindi.
K: Grabe, ang unfair ng mundo. Mahirap talaga pag hindi ka pretty. The pretty girls get all the luck.

Everyone in the club was staring at us. We were dancing and drinking and laughing and singing out loud. The music was good, the drag show was fun. Eric went up to the stage and joined the performers. He wore their wigs and a boa and gamely posed for the camera.

And when they played "Ang Huling El Bimbo" by the Eraserheds, that's when the crowd roared.

Edward, who from the start told all of us gusto nyang manlalaki, met five guys that night, including a surgeon we all crushed on and a guy with a huge tattoo on his right biceps.

Guy with tattoo watching us kiss: Tang-ina. Tinitigasan na ako.
Edward: Naku, mahirap yan. Relax ka lang. Relax lang.

V met a guy and they locked themselves inside the restroom. (What's with restrooms, anyway?)

I wasn't in the mood for boys that night because I wanted to be pasaway. I painted my nails black and teased my hair.

While going to the loo:
Guy: "Hey, what's your name?"
K: "Kane"
Guy: What's your number?
K: Later.

Another guy introduced himself.
Guy: Grabe ang fun ninyo ng mga friends mo. And I really like your hair.

K: Grabe honey, it's like I'm doing everything to NOT meet a guy and still, I get boys. I mean, I painted my nails black. I teased my hair. I wore shorts. Nakakaloka.
V: Well, honey, pretty goes a long, long, long way.

The next day, the boys who got our numbers kept asking the same thing. Tuwing kailan kayo lumalabas? Kailan kayo babalik?

I wanted to freeze time that night. Encapsulate the moment. Hold it, cherish it. But all good things come to an end, as Nelly Furtado sang. Arlan leaves tonight. Eric's birthday has passed. And all we have left are our memories. Like a movie that replays in my head, I remember our endless laughter, and hugs, and kisses that night.

"I'd like to stay here just like this,
It's just a momentary bliss."
---311, "Freezing Time"

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Immoral or Not, That is the Question

"To be or not to be – that is the question:

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And, by opposing, end them."
---William Shakespeare, (Hamlet)

When my friend Jethro invited me to be part of the "I Am Not Immoral" campaign, I said yes. Not because I was particularly upset about the decision of the Commission on Elections to disqualify the gay party-list group “Ang Ladlad” from participating in this year's election, but because he is my friend and I wanted to support him.

He wanted to create a short video showing gay men and women protesting the decision of the Comelec and the branding of all gay people as immoral. The participants gave their names, said something about themselves, and the line "I am not immoral."

It appears gone are the days of marching in the streets and shouting "Off With Her Head!" Instead, people don on costumes, pose in front of the camera, and scatter the videos all over the Internet. The person who was interviewed before me wore a black-and-white Lady GaGa-inspired outfit, posed, and said "Hi. I'm a gym instructor by day and Lady GaGa by night."

So I was a little disconcerted when Jetty suddenly started asking me questions about the issue. I was flustered and told him "Wait, Jet. Bakit may Q&A? Akala ko ba simple lang ito."

I realized I was flustered because 1) I had to sound smart and intelligent!, and 2) I haven't really thought about the issue, not deeply, at least.

Fundamentally, I had to ask myself what does it mean, to be moral? Who defined it? The protest implied two things: to be immoral is not something desirable, and that gay people are immoral.

But, what if some of us are? What if, I am not moral after all? Should being moral be a requirement for a person to run for public office?

The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "There is no moral phenomenon at all, only a moral interpretation of a phenomenon." He argued it is people, individuals and societies who define morality and that these definitions change depending on who is on power.

But then I realized to explain all these things on camera requires too huge a task given I only had a few seconds of fame. Sometimes you have to know what to say and when to say it (so I'm saying it here).

And oh, the best part of it all? You get a free photo shoot. And ladies, here's my best shot.

Monday, February 15, 2010

And V Said ... Fame! Fame! Fame!

Dear K,

"Let's play a lovegame, do you want love, or you want fame?"

Why is it that I can only choose one over the other? But seriously, if I have to choose one... I'd choose fame. No wait, I chose fame. Isn't it obvious? I've had love. Four years to be exact. Isama mo pa ang 16 months after the four years. And I guess, it's time to focus working on someone who I should've spent more time with --- me. GaGa sang "Love Love Love", but I say "Fun Fun Fun". The days of cuddling and embraces may have long been gone, but I now see that flashing bulbs are just as warm.


And so the years have passed, and we may not be where we wanted to be. But we are here, aren't we?

We have to play the cards that we are dealt with. Lady Luck may not be on our side (she's a very jealous woman), but it doesn't mean that we will go crashing down and call it quits. Until the next shuffle, I say. We may want to be somewhere else, but screw it. Tama ka. Andito na tayo eh. So I say, raise the stakes, shuffle the cards and deal with all the Kings and Jacks and yes, even the Queens until we hit it big.


"slightly weathered, slightly worn"

If I remember right, it says: "I still believe in ever after". So do you still believe in ever afters? In castles from faraway lands? I know you no longer wishes for castles K, as you have fancied on elevator-welcomed building floors in the Upper Eastside. Indeed, we all have to grow up from fairy tales


We look at the world and perhaps for the very first time, we are seeing things the way they really are. And you know what? I see you V, and it's a beautiful sight. Happy birthday honey. I love you, but you already know that.

It's hard to see oneself K, especially when you don't have a mirror. You know that this phase in my life has been very changing. A lot of things I raise for question --- my morals, my dreams, my hopes; and sometimes, I am afraid of the answers that I might get. I may look tough, or act tough, trying to be all grown up... but I am scared sometimes. Like what Hansel and Gretel must have really felt when they were lost in the woods. But your love secures me, like a hand that carries mine. How beautiful that you see me, and accept me as I unravel. Such a lucky kid, I am.


I hope you find love again. Love is game, they say, but as Hungarian-born socialite and actress Eva Gabor (who you share a birthday with) once said, love is a game that two can play and both win.

We will find love again. Not a moment do I doubt that. If love is indeed a game, then I say the whole world is the playground and everyone is in it. Too bad for me, as I seem to have bruised myself from the last game, but that would not stop my from playing (as all wounds eventually heal up). So I may limp now and then from the game, and I am most likely to fail, but i still want to dive in and do it. But we hope in the game of love, we win next time. Like scientologist and A-list actor Tom Cruise, who you share a birthday with (kala mo ikaw lang ha), I disagree that we learn more from getting beat up than in winning.


So, what are we waiting for? Let the games begin!

Nagsimula na honey! And guess what? TAG!! You're it!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Love Game

"Let's play a lovegame, do you want love, or you want fame?"

Dear V,

And so the years have passed, and we may not be where we wanted to be. But we are here, aren't we?

"slightly weathered, slightly worn"
We look at the world and perhaps for the very first time, we are seeing things the way they really are. And you know what? I see you V, and it's a beautiful sight. Happy birthday honey. I love you, but you already know that.

I hope you find love again. Love is game, they say, but as Hungarian-born socialite and actress Eva Gabor (who you share a birthday with) once said, love is a game that two can play and both win.

So, what are we waiting for? Let the games begin!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Fine Romance

Dear J,

It was really good to see you again last week. The pasta you cooked was delicious; I can still taste the eggplant and fresh tomatoes on my tongue.

It has been a while since we spent time together. As they say,
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I, ---
I took the one less traveled by,
So the roles have changed. You're now the housewife, and I… well, let's not get into that. =) I am happy to see you and P are doing well. I can tell you both are in love; and how well I know that feeling.
Some say love is a river, some says love's a silly song. Some say love is all around us. It lifts us up where we belong.
Looking at both of you, I had a sudden feeling P is your first great love. And I cannot help but feel both happy and worried for you.

I guess this is the 30-year old me speaking; the one who's a little bit scarred and battle-weary. There are only two possible endings, we both know that. You either get the fairytale happy-ever-after or a Greek tragedy.

If I look at statistics, the odds are against you. But then again, I cannot deny the magic of love. It can shatter boundaries and expectations and bring you both unimaginable joy and sorrow. Indeed, that fairytale ending is possible and I will hope with you.

As Cristina Nehring said in her recent treatise, A Vindication of Love, love "at its strongest and wildest and most a demon," a religious faith and a "divine madness."

I hope you get to experience all of that, a love that is ferocious, passionate. The road ahead will not be easy; it is laid with traps and bumps and you might get lost along the way. But you will always have your true north to guide you home.

And you will have your friends like me, who will cheer you and keep you company during your journey.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Fuck Me I'm Famous

"Find Me, Kiss Me, Use Me, Abuse Me, Fuck Me I'm Famous!".

Hey Upper Eastsiders! The year has scarcely turned and already we're seeing the onset of a new social dynasty. The big question is: with K single and on top of the world, will Manila ever be the same again?

It was another one of those weekend nights of partying, dancing and drinking. That night, I met six guys including Jayvee.

Jayvee was tall, built, semi-kalbo, and the minute he saw me, he approached me and said you're the most goodlooking guy here tonight.

I was taken aback and gave him my most charming "I-don't-believe-you-but-I-want-to" smile. We danced, and touched, and then before I knew it, I met King J.

My friend started teasing us, egging us to kiss. So I kissed him.

King J: Grabe ka. You're such a tease.
K: Ha? Why?
King J: When you kiss me, you would bite my lower lip. But when I try to kiss you back, you would push me away.

E: OMG. You're such a tease.
K: But I don't even remember it. I was so drunk.

On my way home, E texted me.
E: K, this night is yours. I'm so happy for you and so proud of you. Be uber happy. I want you to experience the best this fucking life has to offer. I'll be here, your most avid fan, cheering you up as we both take it to the next level. Go K!
K: Grabe E, I was so good at being in a relationship, nakalimutan ko na ang galing galing ko palang manlalaki. Parang teka lang, before I turned housewife, I forgot I was everyone's favorite it girl.

In the past two months, I have met dozens of men including a sommelier, a graphic artist student, a nursing student, a nursing teacher, a photographer, a chef, and an event organizer.

I enjoyed meeting them and liked hearing their stories. Ed, the wine sommelier, works at a luxury cruise liner and was in town for vacation. When he started talking about Cabernet Sauvigon, Pinot Noir, and Merlot, I said "Stop. You had me at Merlot."

How could these men resist? Week after week, I met more and more of them and slept with some of them. Most of them were harmless fun, your usual weekend encounter. And then one night, I found myself sucking a guy inside a restroom in a club.

He closed the door behind us, looked at me and smiled teasingly, all the time giving me that knowing look. Before I knew it, he had unzipped his zipper and had taken out his hard cock.

We didn't speak a word to each other, not even a hi. I don't know his name. And because I'm so vulnerable right now, wala na akong nagawa.

V: So K, it's official. Welcome back to Hollywood.
K: Hahahaha. You know what, it feels like I never left.

There are days when I do miss the consistency of being in a happy relationship.

K: Oo nga, ang saya kagabi. Pero the next day, it's all the same. Lalabas ka naman. Anong gagawin mo? Manlalalaki?
V and I answered simultaneously, "Oo!"

But lest we forget, there is also a danger in meeting men. And when four of them told me they have fallen for me, I realized I should control myself.

MA: You know what K? Minsan lang ako mag ka crush sa isang guy. Kahit madaming guys doon, I don't care kasi may crush nako. But don't worry K, ngayon wala na. Nag fade na kagabi. Kasi ano gagawin ko? Wait for nothing?
K: Ayan na, guilt trip. I can feel it coming. :(
MA: Guilt trip? Why should I? Don't worry, it's not your fault. Kasalanan ko. Maybe being in love creates a state of temporary insanity especially if you're in love with the wrong person.
K: Wha wha what? Meron ng in love? Whew, you barely know me, relax.
MA: Love keeps me going and inspired, yet I'm unappreciated.
K: You know, just because love is not returned in the same exact way you want it to, doesn't mean the person doesn't care for you or appreciate you.
MA: Wheee? Di nga? :)
K: At least, that's what I've learned :)

This led to a debate between me and some of my friends.

E: Ikaw kasi, may talk pa kayo. Alam mo naman you don't want a relationship.
K: But I enjoy kasi getting to know them. And because we talk, it is possible for us to be friends, not just some guy you had a thing with before.
E: Yeah, but the thing is, once these people really get to know you, they'll fall.
K: Sigh. So what do I do? Alangan naman puro sex na lang?

Being single can be tricky. There's always the thrill of the hunt, whether you are the hunter or the prey. Sometimes the chase can take you to places you've never gone before. But going too far and crossing lines we've drawn may mean you never find your way back.

And when that happens, you know who will be watching.

"What we do is innocent, just for fun and nothin' meant."