Friday, December 31, 2010

When The Kingdom Falls


"So this is it. You're off on your trip," V said while I was packing my clothes. I was running late for my flight and was hastily grabbing things from my closet.

"It's just going to be for a while," I replied. "So which pair of shades should I bring: this one or this?" V pointed to the purple-colored pair of shades. "Christian, of course." He lighted a cigarette and puffed.

I put it on and looked at myself in the mirror. I tilted my head sideways. It does look good on me.

"Besides V, I need some time to think. It's been a crazy year no? I haven't exactly been on my best behavior and people have noticed. And what's worse, some of them are actually upset. Whew."

"You haven't been exactly discrete about it, but come on. It doesn't matter. These people don't really know you," V replied. "But yeah, so much for honesty in writing. Turns out not everyone can handle the truth."

"I know! You know, ang tanda ko na (I am old) and at my age I still get surprised how judgmental people can get. Do they even know the whole story?" I said. I was referring to the story about Ron. That elicited reactions from a lot of people. Many got angry and some of their comments were craftily written attacks against me.

"Do they know that Ron has been badgering me to meet and have sex, and when I finally did, I'm still the bad guy. It's not like I forced him, more like I forced myself. And he obviously enjoyed it since he's been pestering me to meet again."

"Well, people will be people. And what you said stirred insecurities and forced everyone to acknowledge that the world is not fair. Yes, we all act nice to each other and act like we're all equals but we're not. Some of us are more beautiful than others. That's just the way it is."

I stopped folding my shirts and looked at V. "Really? Is that the way it is?"

"Honey, since we were little girls we both knew that. And so we learned to work with what God has given us. We may not be the most good looking people on the planet, fuck, not even in Manila, but we learned to work with our markets. We know eaxctly who we can get and who we can't."

I smiled mischievously at V. “Who we can’t?”

“Well, you are a special case. What can I say? You like pushing boundaries,” he replied.

“Hahahaha. Gago (Fucker).”

“You know, I wanted to comment on that entry of yours.”

“And what were you going to say?” I said.

Of all people, I should be the one who should be upset. My best friend just had sex with a fatty!!!!

We both started laughing uncontrollably.

“Gaga ka talaga (You’re such an ass). If you do that, everyone will think we’re mean girls,” I said.

“Oh wow, talk about being mean. Just look at what some of them said in your blog,” V replied.

"But that's the thing. Sometimes I think … my public image … what's that exactly? Binge drinker, party girl, mean girl, slut?"

"Honey, you don't need to explain yourself to others."

"I know. But still… I need to figure out how somewhere along the way I turned into a dirty little whore from a respectable housewife," I said and chuckled. "I kinda miss being a housewife, you know."

"Sooo... does this mean you won't be flirting while on vacation?"

I shook my head and smiled. "It's family time," I said.

V stared at me disbelievingly, with a knowing look.

"Well… okay, okay. I can't promise, but I'll try," I said, and again we both laughed uncontrollably.

The buzzer rang and I picked it up.

"Honey, the time for our parting has arrived. The cab's ready to take me to the airport," I said. "I will miss you."

I hugged him tightly. "I wish we can be together this Christmas."

"Me too. Be good okay?" V replied. "And remember, you're Kane. People don't tell you who you are. You tell them."


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

(500) Days

Last year, we had (500) Days of Summer.

But summer is gone. Welcome to (500) Days of Winter.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Gossip Girl: Farewell K

Hey Upper East Siders! The holidays have finally caught up with me but before I leave to celebrate, I'd like to leave you all with one last piece of dirt.

I spy with my many eyes Kane at the airport, bags in hand, slipping out on Christmas Eve. Where is he going? Why did he leave? Word is the kingdom rebelled and the Queen has been sent on exile. Abandoned by friends and frenemies alike, it looks like Golden Boy just became Lonely Boy.

But the real question is: now that the Queen is away, will the mice play? Behave you little rodents. Remember: if you kiss... I tell.



Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gossip Girl: The Gift That Keeps on Giving


Rise and shine, Gossips! Hear those silver bells? It's Christmas time in the city. And in the Upper East Side, it only means two things: gifts and lots of surprises.

We hear this year the Queen is feeling extra generous.

Spotted: Kane doing the nasty with a fatty. What happened to standards K? Wonder what people will say once they find out you've gone chub chasing. Or have you become ... what's the word ... free for all?

When the leaves start to turn and the breeze becomes chilly, I know it's time for my good deed of the year. Long ago, a wise older gay friend told me to invest in good karma and once a year have sex with any one of the following:

1) Someone ugly
2) Someone fat
3) Someone old
4) Someone all of the above

"We all become one of them someday," he said. "But since you're a pretty little thing, you'll never be ugly. Just fat or old. And when that time comes, may God have mercy on you. You'd be praying some cute boy will still have sex with someone like you."

Does God work that way, I wondered? That He'd trade good fortune in return for sexual favors?

I've always chosen ugly or old. But this year, I was feeling a little adventurous and decided to hook up with someone fat.

Wow, I thought when I saw him. He really is big.

Ron told me he was a little chubby, but that was an understatement. He had twice my mass in all the wrong places, if you know what I mean ladies.

I laid out to him the rules of the play. I am not going to be naked. I am just going to unzip. There will ne no kissing nor foreplay. I won't touch, much less suck his dick. When I finished, I saw a look of quiet defeat settle on his face.

He knew. He understood. My terms or nothing... and since the chances of someone like me having sex with someone like him is close to zero, he took it.

But since the holidays were making me feel warm, fuzzy, and charitable, I offered to let him suck on my cock.

"Sige. Chupain mo na (Go on, suck on it)," I said and closed my eyes.

And he did.

Happy holidays everyone! Hope you all get the gift you deserve.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gossip Girl: Bed Aftermath Part 2

I woke up Sunday morning with a massive headache.

I was trying to recall what happened last night when I realized I wasn't alone. Why are there five people in my bed?

Oh shit. Not another Serena moment.

"Oh yes, it was. You passed out in the middle of the club," V said over late lunch. "On the ledge where everyone was staring at you. Classic K."

"Oh God, I don't even remember it. So what happened?"

"Grabe honey, there was a screamfest in the middle of Malate earlier. It was 6 a.m. already and Arlan and I were shouting at you. 'Kane!!! Halika na!!!! Umuwi na tayo!!!' (Kane!!! Come on!!! Let's go!!!)"

"Pero ayaw kang paawat eh (But you couldn't be stopped)," V continued. "May hinaharot ka pang lalaki at talagang hinila mo na lang siya sa loob ng taxi. (You were flirting with a guy and you grabbed him and pulled him inside the cab.)"


"And then, siguro naisip ni Arlan na 'Tekaaaa!!!! Alangan naman paghahati-hatian natin ang isang ito'. So bigla siyang lumabas ng taxi at humila pa siya ng isa pang lalaki. (Arlan was probably thinking 'Wait a minute, we're not going to share just one guy' so he got out of the cab and grabbed another.)"

"WTFFFFFF!!! Hahahha God, did people see?"

"Of course they did. It was already morning and people were having breakfast."

"I hate it. It's soooo… public," I said. "Now people will think we're that kind of girls."

"You and Arlan are the kind who pass out, grab random strangers and bring them home," V said. "I'm the kind who revives her Pretty Fucking Wasted friends."

"Hahahaha. Fuck off. I'm not!"

"Uh. Have you forgotten Sunday night? When you were spotted with some skinhead guy?"

"Oh... Was that just last Sunday? But you can be just as bad! And you know that!"

I massaged my head and picked at the food. I wasn't really hungry but I knew I had to eat.

For the first time in a long time, my girls and I were together. Glenn and Arlan were in town, Vackie had gotten back in my good graces and had been called out of exile, and Carlo decided to come even if he was sick.

Thinking of Saturday night still gives me an endorphin rush. It was just so fun, one of those nights you wish would never end. Time, please be still.

"Grabe honey, it's really fun when Arlan is here. It's like we just explode, you know… lose yourself in the moment completely," I said.

Arlan flew back to China last night. I already miss him. All that's left are memories... and a photo.
Four wise men once said, "I get by with a little help from my friends". But in the Upper East Side, some friends come with benefits.



Monday, December 13, 2010

Gossip Girl: Bed Aftermath Part 1

Morning, Upper East Siders. Hope you all had a good night's sleep. Or at least a good night's play. Are you ready for your dish?

Spotted: Kane and his troops storming the walls of Castle Bed. But as with every war, there are always casualties.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I think three letters are enough to adequately describe this photo.


Looks like the party was a smash K. Or, at least you were.



Thursday, December 09, 2010

Gossip Girl: Bed Opening Party


While Upper East Siders were hitting the snooze button, Kane had a rude awakening when the rooster crowed at dawn this morning.

"Did you get an invite for Bed's opening party this weekend?" Carlo asked me.

"What do you mean? It's opening next weekend, right?"

"Apparently, there's a strictly by-invitation-only party this Saturday for their VIPs. It's supposed to be hush hush. The public launch is next weekend. And I guess this means we're off the list."

"What? You mean we're not invited?" I was fully awake by now.

"Bed apparently is limiting their VIP list and removed some names," Carlo explained.

"And they removed our names? Are they kidding? WTF? I'm Jenny fucking Humphrey all over again?" I was getting upset. "God! Do I have to plot and scheme all over again just to get in the list … again?"

Poor K. Doesn't he know the rules by now? When you're not on the list, don't get mad… Get in.

I immediatetely called V after.

"Honey, Bed's throwing an exclusive party for their VIPs and apparently, we're not invited," I said.


"But don't worry. I already made arrangements."

We both laughed.

"Of course you did," V said. "Don't they know? The best parties to go to are the ones where you're not invited."

Watch out Upper East Siders. Looks like our girls are making a heroic entrance. But then again, forget a grand entrance.  Everyone knows it's the exit they'll remember.


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Story of a Marriage

"Perhaps you cannot see a marriage. Like those giant heavenly bodies invisible to the human eye, it can only be charted by its gravity, its pull on everything around it. That is how I think of it. That I must look at everything around it, all the hidden stories, the unseen parts, so that somewhere in the middle — turning like a dark star — it will reveal itself at last."
---"The Story of a Marriage", Andrew Sean Greer

"Mommy, how are you?"
"Uy, anak. Ikaw pala yan. Mabuti. Ikaw kamusta? (Oh, it's you my son. I'm good. How are you?)"

It was nighttime in America. I suddenly missed my mom so I called her at her work at the nursing home. I wanted to chat a bit before I sleep.

"I'm good. O, 11 na ah. Susunduin ka na ng asawa mo (It's almost 11. Your husband will be fetching you soon)," I teased her.

"Ay. Oo nga. Yang Daddy mo talaga Kane, talagang every night andiyan talaga siya para sunduin ako. Favorite talaga ako niyan. (Oh, you're right. You know Kane... your Dad, he's really there every night to fetch me. I'm really his favorite.)"

She laughed and I heard the genuine pleasure in her voice.

"Sabi ko nga sa kanya, malapit lang naman ang bahay. Kaya ko ng lakarin para makapag rest na siya. Pero gusto pa rin niya ako sinusundo. Ay teka, andiyan na siya. O mag ingat ka lagi ha. I love you (I keep telling him the house is near and I can just walk home pero he insists on fetching me from work. Oh wait, got to go. He's here. Take care always. I love you)," my mom said.

"I love you too Mom. Give Dad my love."

My mom and dad live in a small apartment in Los Angeles. They have been married 31 years. My sister moved in with her boyfriend last year and they have become closer since then. I guess as what people say, it's like a second marriage.

"Yang mommy mo at ako, talagang 'til death do us part kami," Dad told me a few months ago during one of our conversations.

My dad arrives home much earlier than mom who has two jobs. Ssometimes he would fall asleep at the couch while watching TV but he makes sure he wakes up to fetch mom.

Sometimes I think of their nightly ritual and what it means for them. Perhaps for Dad, it's a daily gesture of his love for Mom. He's there ... every night for the past eight years an hour before midnight. Whether it's summer or fall. Winter or spring. There were days he wasn't feeling well. Or had a bad day at work. Or was simply tired.

But he always shows up.


Friday, December 03, 2010



When writers write, they think they're just telling a story. How my lover cheated on me. How much I love my grandmother. How boring work is. But what we don't realize is that the stories we tell about who we are may define who we become.

Life stories, by their very nature, are a retrospective reconstruction. We all have different versions of the same story. My friends and I attended a party once and the next day, when I asked them to tell me what happened, it turns out we all remembered things differently.

Or, I'd ask people to discuss a film and they'd say they like it or dislike it for different things. It was the same film but what was significant for one was trivial to another.

In a New York Times article titled "This Is Your Life (and How You Tell It)" published in 2007, researchers discovered there was a strong correlation between the content of a person's life and the stories he/she tells.

Those with mood problems have many good memories, but these scenes are usually tainted by some dark detail. The pride of college graduation is spoiled when a friend makes a cutting remark. The wedding party was wonderful until the best man collapsed from drink. A note of disappointment seems to close each narrative phrase.

By contrast, so-called generative adults — those who score highly on tests measuring civic-mindedness, and who are likely to be energetic and involved — tend to see many of the events in their life in the reverse order, as linked by themes of redemption. They flunked sixth grade but met a wonderful counselor and made honor roll in seventh. They were laid low by divorce, only to meet a wonderful new partner. Often, too, they say they felt singled out from very early in life — protected, even as others nearby suffered.

The research argues that "narrative themes are, as any other trait, driving factors in people's behavior."

“We find that when it comes to the big choices people make — Should I marry this person? Should I take this job? Should I move across the country? — they draw on these stories implicitly, whether they know they are working from them or not,” Dr. McAdams said.

When I read personal blogs or stories, I tend to create an image in my mind of who the writer is. Oftentimes, it is how the writer perceived himself as an actor in the story.

The writer could be talking of a heartache; which is quite common in personal blogs. Does he portray himself as kawawa (the underdog)? Does he regret falling in love? Or did he use that experience to learn? It is how we choose to narrate the story that matters.

Storytelling can also be important in battling personal demons. Another study showed patients who sought treatment for depression, marital problems and who won told very similar tales about the experience.

They described their problem, whether depression or an eating disorder, as coming on suddenly, as if out of nowhere. They characterized their difficulty as if it were an outside enemy, often giving it a name (the black dog, the walk of shame). And eventually they conquered it.

While these people saw their problems (drinking, cheating) as a villain to be defeated, the others felt these were part of their own character.

Another trick I've learned is to learn to shift perspective from a first-person point of view to a third-person. Remembering events in the third-person point of view allows us to be a little distant from the story and to be more critical and objective.

In a 2005 study reported in the journal Psychological Science, researchers at Columbia University analyzed how people reacted to a painful memory when it was recalled in the third person.

“What our experiment showed is that this shift in perspective, having this distance from yourself, allows you to relive the experience and focus on why you’re feeling upset,” instead of being immersed in it, said Ethan Kross, the study’s lead author. The emotional content of the memory is still felt, he said, but its sting is blunted as the brain frames its meaning, as it builds the story.

What is interesting in all these studies is the implication that the power to change our lives may fundamentally be related to how we tell our stories. We write, apparently not just to express but also to create ourselves. So be careful how you write your stories, you may be revealing  more than you want to.

Thank you to those who took the time to read, understand and share their thoughts about what I wrote. I fear I may have failed in making myself clear on certain things and because I strongly believe that this artice can be very helpful, I will labor to answer some of your comments.

It would help if you also read the original article as it appeared in the New York Times. I included a link above.

I noticed most of you focused on the implication of how other people would view you based on how you write. But that is not the point of this research. It is not how others perceive you, it is how you perceive yourself.

What others may conclude about you is irrelevant. It is not what kind of a writer you are, it is what kind of a person you think you are as revealed by how you tell or write your life stories.

The research also focuses only on life stories, the story of your life so it does not apply to fabricated tales, or fiction. We can surmise and discuss how we reveal ourselves in our fictional works but this is clearly beyond the limits of the research.

Again, it was a pleasure reading your comments and I look forward to hearing your ideas. Cheers =)

I would like to thank my friend Niel for sharing with me the article. He has been a wonderful friend, confidant and my de-facto shrink whenever I feel that life has dealt me another blow. But see Niel, look at where we are now? =)