Friday, April 29, 2011

Tangled in Your Hair


"Alam mo, mas gwapo ka pag maikli yang buhok mo (You know, you'd look better with shorter hair)," Rommel told me, insisting that he drive me at once to the nearest barbershop.

I was aghast. A barbershop???? Rommel and his friends dragged me from the club the previous night and we were hanging out at his place and having lunch while still gulping down some alcoholic drink he concocted.

"Honey!!! He wanted to (gasp) chop off my golden locks!!!!" I told Vackie the next day.

"Hahaha. You should have told him to keep his hands off your hair," V said, laughing. "And that you never go to a barber. It's so ... antiquated."

Once upon a time, hair was as much as an indication of wealth and social status as it was of taste and fashion. How you dressed your hair showed who you were and who you did.

During the Roman era, women curled, twisted, and looped their hair to create elaborately arranged layers. In the 18th century courts of the European kings and queens, women and men donned elaborate wigs, mile-high coiffures and lavishly decorated curls. A complex hairstyle illustrated the wealth of the wearer as it showed he or she can afford to take the time to do his or her hair.
Nowadays, hair has become mainly an expression of personal identity. Women and men are experimenting with a plethora of styles that even stylists (and perhaps, even barbers too) are boggled.

All of a sudden, men in New York, Tokyo, and Paris don't want just a normal trim. Instead, they want 360 Waves, mohawks, dreadlocks, Afros and pompadours. And these are just the styles that have names. Often enough, these clever young lads crossbreed styles into hybrids to create their own personal look.

I always had a fascination with hair. In my lifetime, I have had short hair, semikalbo (nearly bald), long, curly, wavy, straight, with bangs, without bangs, and practically everything in between.

Hair allows me to play, to create a different character, a different version of me. You can be a foxy brunette one day, an edgy dark haired rock star the next, or a golden haired prince. It allows you to be anything you want to be.

But of course, everyone knows that in the gay world, the most commercial and sellable look is still the short haired clean cut one. Whether you're in Paris or Manila or LA, more than half of the population of gay guys sport this look.

So wearing your hair long can be tricky especially for someone like me. My features are not masculine. (Sigh). I am not dark skinned, hairy, heavy nor tall.

I look androgynous and the longer my hair grows, the more feminine my appearance becomes. Which in the gay world, translates to scaring potential dates away.

But … I am very stubborn. Although short hair does suit me, I refuse to change how I look just to please a guy. You'll get more men, my friends would say. But I don't need more men. I want someone who will be able to appreciate how unconventional I am.

My hair has grown longer over the past few months. I normally tie it in a ponytail so it doesn't get unruly. Yes, it is difficult to maintain. And on ordinary days, you look like shit.

But on some days, when the wind cooperates and you catch the sunlight in the right way, you just might get lucky.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Gossip Girl: Summer Tips


Sorry for the silent treatment, Gossips. But everyone deserves a little R and R. So before you head off for the Holy Week, I'd like to share a few things I've learned about having fun under the sun. We all know how some of us get burned by the heat.

Tip No. 1: Leave before the sun rises. The best hookups are free of morning breath and awkward conversations.

Tip No. 2: There is no "we" in summer. Only you and I. Find out where you stand before you find yourself stood up. Anyone can canoodle in April and May, but will he be gone by June?

Tip No. 3: Go to the beach, escape the city, smell the flowers. It's true ... all good things must come to an end, and summer is no exception. They don't call it "fall" for nothing.


Friday, April 08, 2011

Gossip Girl: While You Were Sleeping


Previously on Gossip Girl:
"All I need you to do is to get Will very drunk the next time we see him at the club."

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

Farewell My Concubine
"Hey, I'll miss you," I said and smiled at him weakly.

Click here to meet the cast.
A wise woman once said that every morning when you wake up you should say a little prayer. After all, you never know what your day may bring.

"Go to Malate tonight," Arlan told me in a commanding voice.

"Honey, I can't," I replied. "You know I have work tomorrow."

"Too bad... I arranged a little get together and guess who's coming," he said.

"Ohhhhh. Now that was quick," I said. "I'm impressed A. All right, I'll be there. But I'll be late. I'm having dinner with Chris and we will follow."

"Don't be too late. Remember K ... you have a boy to catch."

Someone was knocking on the door.

"Fuck. He's already here," I muttered to myself while hurriedly putting on a pair of jeans. I was still fixing my hair and still wasn't dressed.
"Hey! Kamusta?" I said after I opened the door. "Ang aga mo ah. (You're early)."
"Wow.. pumayat ka! (You lost weight!)," Chris said staring at me. I realized I was still naked except for the jeans.
"Well, that's because I never forgot what you told me the last time," I said, twirling around to show him my flatter tummy. "What was it again? Oh, now I remember... 'Grabe Kane, ang laki mo na!'"

"Sus, wala lang yun (Come on, that was just nothing)," Chris said, laughing so hard.

"It wasn't. You should know, some things a girl never forgets."

Chris and I dined at one of my favorite steak houses in the city. I rarely eat meat, but tonight was an exception. It has been awhile since we last saw each other.

We had a good time, we shared a lot of laughter and a lot of stories. I told him all about my trip to South America; how Machu Picchu took my breath away, how I tasted cuy chactado or fried guinea pig for the frist time, how I made friends with our guide who taught me all about the Incas.

He told me about how he turned down a promotion at work, how his ex boyfriend finally left for the U.S. and how emotional their final meeting was.

"I wanted to project a happy aura. I didn't want it to be a sad meeting," he said. "I wanted it to be really casual."

"Did you ... kiss or hug him?"

"I knew if I hugged him, he will never let go. All the memories will come back in that very quick embrace," Chris narrated.

"So we had dinner. Then coffee. Then we went to a comedy bar because I wanted our last night together to be fun and happy," he continued. "Then someone sang our favorite song. Then I held his hand. Then... I cried."

Chris looked at me. He was a little teary eyed and at that moment, he suddenly seemed fragile and beautiful.

"I looked so stupid Kane. I was supposed to laugh there, instead, I ended up crying."

Chris and I have a strange relationship; we're not exactly "friends" but neither are we "not friends". Somewhere in the middle, I guess.

On our way to Malate, we held hands. I traced my fingers on his palm and drew imaginary birds with golden wings. His skin was rough, just like I remembered.

It was already late and obviously Will wasn't coming.

"Where is he?" I asked Arlan for the seventeenth time that night. "Why isn't he here yet? Argh."

"Sorry honey. I've been calling him but he's not picking up. Hayaan mo na. (Never mind him)."

Sigh. It looked like the night was going to be a total waste. I looked around the room and suddenly spotted a familiar face. Well… maybe not.

Mark, the surgeon, was at a corner of the bar and I approached him and said hi. I introduced my friends and later on, we all decided to stay and have a few more drinks at A's place. But I was already drunk.

"Honey, I'm going to go ahead and sleep," I told Arlan. "I gotta wake up for work and it's already 5 a.m."

"You coming?" I motioned to Chris.

"Sunod na lang ako. (I'll follow)"

I went to the bedroom and slipped into a drunker stupor while the three of them stayed up drinking. Or … so I thought.

Uh oh. But careful K, once darkness descends true natures emerge and everything and everyone is fair game.

My friends and I were hanging out a couple of days later at my place and Vackie and I were badgering Arlan to tell us what happened after I fell asleep.

"Come on, what really happened after?" I said.

"What did Chris tell you ba?" he replied.

"He said he slept afterwards and left you and Mark."

A seemed agitated and looked a little nervous. I was getting a little nervous, too. V hasn't seen Mark in a long time and he was more than surprised to find out we bumped into him and brought him home with us.

"Grabe. Nawala lang ako ng isang gabi, umikot na ang mundo (I was absent for just one night and suddenly, everything has changed)" he said. "Who whould have thought you and Arlan would see my surgeon again?"

I knew he still felt something for Mark and my feelings for Chris were also unclear.

"Come on, it's okay. Just tell us," I told A.

"V, in the first place, I didn't know Mark was your guy. Swear! We were drinking and the next thing I know we were suddenly kissing," A said. "Chris stood up and said he was going ahead, but Mark grabbed him and pulled him towards us… and then …"

I was stunned. My mind was reeling. OMG. Chris???? And Mark???? And Arlan???? WTF. I was gripping the wine glass in my hand so hard it almost broke.

It did not ... but somewhere else, something else did.

Sinatra sings "New York, New York, it's a hell of a town.” But on the Upper East Side sometimes it just feels like hell. We all know you can’t always get what you want. But that doesn't mean it’s okay for anyone else to have it either.

Sorry K. Sorry V. It looks like our it boy A had a party for three... at your expense.


Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Lie to Me


If you have been reading my stories for some time, you would by now know that one of my passions is understanding human behavior, human nature, human life.

What does it mean, to be human? Why do we love, why do we cheat, why do we lie? Why do we do the things we do?

I have recently become very interested in the TV series Lie to Me. In the show, Dr. Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) and his colleagues in The Lightman Group accept assignments and assist in investigations, searching for the truth through applied psychology: interpreting microexpressions, through the Facial Action Coding System, and body language.

The show based most of its science on the research of Paul Ekman who studied facial expressions and body movements and their relations to human emotions. Ekman showed that facial expressions are not culturally determined but universal, and thus biological in origin.

Some of the universal expressions he identified include anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, and surprise.

If you want to test your ability to spot lies, the BBC website offers an online exam designed to test your skill in spotting between a fake smile and a real one. The test is based on the research of Ekman.

Click here to take the test.

Sometimes, though, I wonder if lies and deception are necessary. Do we really need the truth all the time? Perhaps there are cases when a lie is kinder than the truth.

Friday, April 01, 2011

My Baby Love



It's a new month. I feel incredibly happy, like something is about to come though I don't know what. I miss writing to you. I am listening to Robyn's Hang With Me right now, and the music is making me feel light and free. Like a kite drifting in the summer sky.

How are you, my dearest sister? How is spring treating you across the ocean? I miss you. I wish we can be together more often.

I have grown used to being far from you, and I've built a nice comfortable world here in Manila. But sometimes late at night, I find myself wondering what would it be like if we were together? Would we still be roommates? =) Paano na ang mga lalaki natin? (What about all our men?) Hahaha =)

You know, I am really proud of you. I don't think I say it often, but I am. I always tell my friends about you. One of my favorite anecdotes was the first time I saw you last Christmas and I said

"OMG! Is that a limited edition Marc Jacobs bag?"

Grabe, parang kailan lang lahat ng ito pangarap lang. (It just seemed like not so long ago, all this was just a dream.) I mean, look at you, your life is so… stable while mine is still so uncertain after all these years.

You have a job you love, a fiancé, a mortgage! All the things that define stability, while I'm still the crazy boy running all over Manila. I always knew you'd get married first. You always had this sense of determination to get what you want, a quiet strength that I have seen through the years.

I can't wait to see you and to spend your last few days of being single together. I will throw you the most kick ass bridal shower party!

I'm glad you had fun during your trip to Mexico. Someday, let's go there and we will try this drug from the peyote cactus found in Mexico. It is known as the bruja's brew among the Yaqui Indians. I heard it can be a life changing experience.

I am very excited to visit India for the first time. I will be spending most of my time in the Rajasthan region and see the blue and pink cities. I am also considering going on a camel safari in the Goa desert.

We shall see. As always, there is never enough time to do all that we want.

Do write. I miss you terribly.