Monday, October 24, 2011

Gossip Girl: The Games We Play (IV)


The Games We Play (II)
The Way We Were

On the Upper East Side, the possibilities are endless. Dom or Krug. Winston or Cartier. Tory or Stella. John or Grindr Boy.

Eventually even the people with everything have to choose. But sometimes, you learn that the choice has already been made for you.

Dating, it seems, has never been this fun. There's always a new boy to add to the list; some new guy you met at a party or through a friend. Sometimes you feel you just might have it all.

Grindr Boy and I made plans to meet that night. I was excited to see him again and I planned my day so we can have the evening together. I checked the calendar and made sure I scheduled my appointments with other guys on other days so there would be no conflict.

A few minutes before we were supposed to meet, I texted him to ask where he was. He didn't reply. After a few more minutes, I called him but he didn't pick up. I was getting worried and puzzled. I called him several times more but it looked like I was getting stood up.

Oh well, I told myself. Just when you thought things were going well. Grindr Boy was nice enough but he had been acting strange. He would at times not respond to my calls and messages but I always attributed it to his busy schedule.

A few days later, Grindr Boy suddenly texted.

"I'm now officially taken :(," he said.

I was stunned. Officially taken? What does that mean? Was he unofficially taken before and it now became official?

Every now and then, I would ask Grindr Boy about the other guys he's dating and he always said he wasn't seeing anyone. And I believed him. My thoughts were still in a disarray so I composed myself before I sent my response.

"Wow, this is a surprise. I guess this is it," I said. "Masaya ako para sa iyo. (I am happy for you.) I mean, I know how wonderful it is to find love."

"Kane, I'm sorry if I lied," Grindr Boy said. "He's my boyfriend for three years now. I met you during the time we were having problems."

Woooohhh. The hell. I couldn't believe it. I had been duped all along. This sweet boy with the sweetest smile turned out to be a lying, scheming bastard.

Uh oh. Spotted: K learning that two can play this game. It looks like our star player …  just got played. Outwitted by a boy almost a decade younger than he is, tsk tsk. Talk about a coup de grace, ladies.

"I just got scared you might get mad and won't talk to me again. Masaya kasi ako (I'm happy) when we're together," Grindr Boy continued. "I hope we can still be friends."
I heaved a deep sigh. Of course I understand him. I suppose I should have known better.

"I accept your apology. I understand how complicated relationships can be," I said. "I guess it explains a lot of things. Three years is something, you know. You should be proud."

The next day …
"Were you really surprised?" Gino asked me, disbelievingly. "Couldn't you see the signs that he was hiding something?"

I shook my head. "You know what, maybe I trust people too easily. I guess I always expect people to be honest. Are we not ba?"

"Eh siyempre Kane. I mean, ikaw ba, do you always tell your boys everything?"

"Well, not everything I suppose. But I do tell them that I'm seeing other guys. That way, expectations are clear. And I've always done that. I don't want people feeling like I led them on."

Gino and I were both quiet for awhile. He knew I did like Grindr Boy.

"Well, there's still John," Gino pointed out.

"Oh, I stopped seeing him already. I guess it just wasn't working."

"Meron ka pa naman ibang boys. (Well, you still have other boys)," he said.

"Yeah, but they're really just for fun," I replied. "I actually thought Grindr Boy and I could have something more, you know."

"So much for the one huh," Gino said.

"Or the other one. Sigh. Sometimes, people can really be so disappointing. They say they're one thing but end up to be something else."

They say you reap what you sow. Instead of too many choices, you suddenly have none. Lonely Boy finally learns the truth, only to realize it's a little too late. That perhaps, the time for love has once again come and gone.

It was a Sunday night and I was trying to rest after a tiring weekend. My phone suddenly beeped. "Kamusta? (How are you?)" Albert asked.

I called him up. "Hey! What are you doing? Listen ... remember the date you promised."
But that's the thing with players.

"I was wondering when you're free to meet," I said.

They can never resist the game.

"Let me know if you can get away from your boyfriend."

And on the Upper East Side, only one thing is certain: let a new game begin.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beauty and the Feast

Humans have always been, and I think, will always be obsessed with physical beauty. No matter how many New Age philosophies extol the virtue of inner beauty, of strong character and steadfast values, the beautiful always lords over the rest of us when it comes to a very basic human need.


One day, Gino and I were talking about the Grindr application and how groundbreaking it is in the way it allows people to connect.

"Why don't you try it?" I told him.

"Tingin mo ba may magkakagusto sa akin? (You think they'd like me?)" he asked.

"Well, there's only one way to find out."

Gino and I chose a photo and created his profile.

The response was overwhelming. Within minutes, a flood of messages poured in and he received more than a hundred texts in less than twelve hours. Half of them within the first four hours.

"OMG! Grabe, nakakaloka!" I said to my friends. "You guys should have seen it. Nagkandarapa ang mga bading!!! It was like there was a feast and everyone wanted a piece of him."

"Eh oo naman (But of course)," Arlan said. "Yung look talaga niya yan ang bebenta talaga. (He has the look that will really sell.) He's tall and very manly. He looks like the college basketball player you always wanted to fuck but never got to."

I nodded. Gino does have that look. He's very masculine, dark skinned, lean with abs. How could gay guys resist?

"I was surprised. You know we get messages from Grindr. But, not that many. And all those guys who ignored me before… wow, they were really after him," I said. "I guess hot guys really trump cute huh."

"Well, he's got the sex appeal," Carlo said. "I mean, most people who use Grindr are looking for a hook-up. It's a different case when you're in a club or at a party, where you see the guy in person, see how he carries himself, how he dresses up, how he speaks. It all adds up to his desirability."

We were all quiet.

"Talagang dinefend ang cute no? (I had to defend cute huh?)" Carlo said, and he started to laugh.

"Tama! Hahahaha. Napaka passionate nga ng pagdefend mo eh (Uh, we noticed. Hahahaha. And you were so passionate!)," I exclaimed. "But you gotta admit, he is such a perfect addition to our group. It's like we've got something for everyone."

My friends and I were laughing but I knew implicitly that even though no one said it, we were starting to realize that Gino may be more attractive than any of us.

I think in general, my friends and I consider ourselves fairly equal in the looks department. We tend to fall into the category of the boy-next-door type; hence the usual compliments we get are cute, nice, charming, pretty boy.

But never yummy, sexy, or hot.

Days later, I was telling a friend about Gino when she suddenly said …

"So, nainggit ka ba? (So, did you get envious?)"

I was about to say no, of course not. But I realized that something had been bothering me about the whole experiment. The truth is; I am envious. A little perhaps.

Don't get me wrong. I am not insecure, nor unhappy about who I am and how I look. I am fairly contented. But I do wonder at times: how does it feels like to be hot?

I guess I'll never know.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Way We Were


Note: Please play the video at the end before reading the story.

The moment Albert stepped inside the club, people stopped and stared. Guys paused midway their conversations, their whirling, dancing, drinking and crotch grabbing to steal casual glances at him. And then slowly look at me.

Why, you might ask. Because I was leading him by the hand which was, I suppose, a not so subtle way of saying "Back off ladies, the boy is mine." Except ... he wasn't really mine.

It was Albert's first time in the club. Which meant he was a fresh face.

"Don't you just love fresh meat?" I said.

"I know," Arlan replied. "They're just so … "

"Fresh?" I said, and we both laughed.

Albert and I dated a few years ago. We haven't seen each other in a while but we kept in touch through the years. He and his boyfriend had a huge fight and that was why he was out tonight.

"Actually Kane, andoon kasi boyfriend ko. Inaway niya ako para makalabas siya (my boyfriend's there. We had a fight just so he could go out)," Albert told me. He was hesitating to join us.

"Come on. You don't have to worry. Hindi naman kita pababayaan. (I'll take care of you)."

After a while, the inevitable happened. They saw each other and froze. When Albert introduced us, I could see the boyfriend was taken aback that Albert was out, and more importantly, that his boyfriend was out with us.

"I bet your boyfriend was shocked to see you earlier," I said. We were at home with my friends who decided to continue the party, and Albert opted to join us.

"Yeah. Akala niya siya lang ang marunong (He thought only he could play the game)," he replied.

I plopped down beside him on the bed. Tell me about him, I commanded.

Albert and his boyfriend have been together for about a year. He had recently found out his lover was cheating on him.

"Did you confront him?" I asked.


"What did he say?"

"He said 'Ganito na talaga ako (This is how I am). Tanggapin mo na lang'."

I listened intently to Albert's stories. His voice was hushed, sad; can't stay, can't leave. Stuck. Fuck, he says. Why? He asks. Why am I not enough?

"Ikaw, kamusta ka (how are you)?" Albert asked.  "It seems like you're still the boy I first met," he said, giving me a crooked smile.

I shook my head. "Nahhh … I've gotten old Albert. I'm no longer the same boy."

"Do you still remember when we first met?" he suddenly asked.

Four years ago …

I was at a party hosted by a friend on a penthouse overlooking the glitzy city of Makati. I was out on the terrace, holding a glass of Merlot, admiring the skyline when I turned and bumped into a stranger. I spilled my drink and some of its contents were now causing stains on the guy's jeans

"Oh fuck. I'm sorry, pasensya," I said, embarrassed at my clumsiness.

"It's okay," he said. I looked up and saw that, the stranger was well, cute.

He had an accent which marked him as someone not from Manila. It was adorable. We found out we both actually hailed from the same province; that he had arrived in the city only recently. He and his friends were about to leave when he suddenly whispered text me, and surreptitiously gave me his number.

Present …

"I still remember ...  diba diyan tayo nag sex (wasn't that where we fucked)?" Albert said and suddenly, one by one pointed out certain spots in the room.

"Oh my God! Gago ka. You remember?" I said, astounded.

"Nakakainis ka nga eh," I said. "You didn't even suck me then."

"Hayaan mo na," he said. "Alam mo naman, bago pa lang ako noon and marami pang issues. (You know I was just new then in the scene and still had a lot of issues.)"

"But if you want … you can fuck me now," Albert added.

"Whaaaaat? Tang-ina mo. Gago ka. (You fucking piece of shit.) You wouldn't even put my dick in your mouth before and now you let guys fuck you. Nakakainis ka!"

I pretended to be miffed. "Come on, don't be upset na," he said. "Let's set a date so you can fuck me."

"You never got to keep your promise. You told me I'd be the first," I told him. Once, in the middle of our cuddling, he promised me I would be his first. But not all promises are kept.

"I know Kane. Some things just happen."

After a while, he bid me goodbye. I walked him out the door.

"Uy, salamat ha. (Hey, thanks a lot.) It was really good to see you again," he said.

I took his hand and squeezed it.

"You know … I really did like you," I slowly said, and smiled wistfully. He looked at me and nodded.

"I really did like you too," Albert answered in a quiet voice. "Perhaps, if we had met at a different time … "

So there we were. The years have passed but our pasts continue to haunt us. We were young, eager lads; now one's an unhappy husband, the other a gallivanting man around town. It seems the love we were looking for had somehow eluded us and all that we have right now is this tender thing; a memory of who we used to be ... and perhaps it is enough.

I hugged him tightly. "Goodbye, Albert," I whispered. He turned to leave. I stared at his back until his image slowly faded away.


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Gossip Girl: War of the Roses


Previously on Gossip Girl:
Gossip Girl: Prêt-à-Poor A

"Well… if you really want to get even, then why look for someone else?" V said. "Don't you know… the best revenge is for you to sleep with his friend."

Click here to meet the characters.

Upper East Siders, ever wondered why we haven't heard anything about A? Word is the cold war between our favorite girls is now causing frost bites with each one marking his territory.

Kane has claimed Ortigas as his kingdom, while Arlan rules Malate with an iron fist. And if you happen to be caught on the wrong side at the wrong time … well, things might just get nasty.

Arlan and I last spoke to each other in May. He ignored all my calls and messages and vanished out of my life. My friendship with Vackie is also splintering. We no longer see each other often, no longer talk to each other every day like we used to.
It took me awhile to be okay. I suppose it's because these people are my best friends, and our relationships have lasted longer than those I had with my lovers. But no matter how strong our bonds; perhaps human relationships by nature are quite fragile.

Two weeks ago

My phone beeped in the middle of the night and woke me up. Messages after messages poured in. I checked the clock and saw it was four in the morning.

"So I'm in a club. A couple just began fighting because I was flirting with one of them but I didn't know he had a boyfriend."

The message was from A. I was groggy and re read the messages again. I was shocked to receive a message from him after all this time. And the way he spoke … why, it's as if nothing happened.

He continued sending messages which were no longer coherent, messages which contained words such as I miss you … and forever … and go with me

It dawned on me that Arlan was drunk texting me. It was that time of the night, the witching hour. That moment when you're drunk and vulnerable and very prone to text an ex-boyfriend you're missing. Except this time, he was texting his ex-best friend.

A few days ago

"Honey, where are you?" Vackie asked me.

"Hey, kamusta? I'm on my way to Ortigas."

"I'm here in Bed. With Arlan. He was hoping you'll be here. He misses you … you know."

I didn't know what to say. My first initial reaction was: if he really misses me, why didn't he text me? And besides they didn't invite me to go with them, so let them enjoy each other's company. I don't need them.

I took a deep breath. I always want to be polite so I told V to have fun and I'll see him soon.

It was late when we arrived. Gino and I immediately got our drinks and mingled with our friends. I was having fun catching up with people when suddenly, I turned and …

"Honeeyyyy!!!" V shouted and hugged me.

"OMG. Why are you here?" I was taken aback. It was almost, what, 4:30 a.m.?

"Arlan and I went here all the way to see you," he said.

Oh. Okay. So A is here. What do I do?

"Hey ... kamusta?" A said as he approached me.

"I'm ... okay," I slowly answered.

"Can we talk?"

We went outside. I took out my phone. "What's that?" A asked.

"A message. I wrote it to you when you were gone. I never sent it.

Dear A,

My life's a mess now. My relationship with Big is strange; we haven't spoken in months. I don't even know whether we're still pushing through with our plan to meet in April.

I might migrate next year and I don't know whether I can get my company to move me. I don't know which state I'm moving to or what kind of life faces me there. Everything's just so uncertain.

You're gone. Vackie's acting weird. Where are you? Why won't you pick up my calls? Why won't you answer me?

You're supposed to be my best friend. I miss you so much.


I paused after reading it. I have saved the message in my draft folder. I never sent it; I never deleted it either. I don't know why, really.

"Why didn't you send it?" Arlan asked me. "I would have …

"You would have what? Oh come on. You knew why. I sent you hundreds of messages, but you never replied."

"I guess I was just too angry… "

Spotted: Two white flags waving in the sky. Could an Upper East Side peace accord be that far off? So what will it be, K? Truce ... or consequences? We all know one nation can't have two queens.

What happens next ? Only time will tell.