WARNING: If you are uncomfortable with reading or discussing gay-oriented activities, do please navigate away from this page. However, if you are, then read on.
Getting off from our ride, the sky seemed quite intent on pouring its contents upon the city that earlier was blanketed by such a humid spell that the heat almost seemed unbearable. I decided to stay in the hotel room for the most part of that humid day as my skin and its disposition could not take the sun and whatever it brings with it. So, the last thing I expected after the rain suddenly poured come ten in the evening was for us to actually consider braving the weather to make our way to this Gay Bar along Roxas Boulevard in the Baclaran area.
But before we proceed, let me lay out the premise. In my quarter life, I have not yet seen the insides of a clichéd Pinoy Gay Bar. Defining the cliché, a bar where go-go boys would gyrate in sensual motion to the entertainment of the male and female patrons that frequent these bars. However, I have seen my fair share of movies with plot lines about these places and the stories of the men who work there -Trust me, the plot seems the same in all their incarnations [that‘s just me being critical about it].
Okay, so there we were: Me, my cousin Pinky, and Alex [an old friend whom I have not seen in years that we accidentally bumped into at Starbuck’s in Greenbelt 3] at the threshold of what would turn out to be quite an interesting night.
Sidebar: Actually, My Manang Pinky, wanting to be a bit adventurous, wanted to see what the inside of a clichéd Pinoy gay bar looked like and what went on in there. She was quite surprised to learn that her cousin, The Barefoot Baklesa, had not yet let his feet within any distance of such places. My Manang’s excitement was just out of curiosity, for she had seen the bars at Chelsea in New York with her gay friends and had gone out with some of her friends on their bridal showers in male strip clubs that cater to female audiences. She could have easily poked fun at what kind of a prude I was but insisted thus, “Come on, Niki! This is my last night on vacation here, let’s be adventurous naman!” -this was because the rain could have easily dampened our evening and may as well force us to return to our hotel.
I didn’t know what I was going through at the time, part of me could feel the dessert we ate at Bizu earlier stir in my stomach, the back of my head felt as if it was a glob of jelly wiggling away, and my feet seemed intent on making me lose my balance. And as a theater performer, I never felt anything like this even if I was playing to a house with a thousand people in the audience.
We went inside, there was a sort of front desk that required you to deposit your digital cameras and mobile phones with cameras, as it is policy, according to them. We were greeted by Belle, the manager assigned to us. I take it, the manager is your hostess for the night. I was a little thankful that Belle was assigned to us. Of all the managers I saw there, he/she seemed quite the behaved homosexual in his/her feminine element.
And past the second door, we went inside a dark rectangular venue with a stage located on the center of the left side as you enter. At the far end of the place was this room with a glass wall where the guys sit or in this particular situation, nap on bleachers in full display. We were led to an elevated box facing the stage. I reckon sitting on that box was a little awkward at first but I found it better and offering a bit of privacy for our trio.
Speaking of trios, there were three guys currently performing on the elevated stage. I noticed that from where we were seated, there was a pillar right smack-dab in front of the middle of the stage that obscured a small part of the stage. The illumination for the place was provided by the lights that kept blinking at a pace that enhanced the dancers as they moved on stage. This I can say much for the dancing I saw when I got there; the boys seem to be just going through the motions in that particular number I saw, with their eyes looking at what the other was doing peripherally. That number was pretty much over by the time our drinks got to the table.
Then another set of guys came on stage to do another routine, there was nothing remarkable from that number in my end as my eyes rolled around the venue after they adjusted to the dark. Observing the lay of the land, so to speak, I noticed that there were cushioned couches in two rows facing the stage while other smaller boxes were located along the walls along the stage. I was thankful to be in a box, for to be seated on the couch meant that people would be walking past you on the round. I did that myself as I looked for the restroom which was located left of that place with the glass wall they called a showroom.
I have seen my fair share of horrendous restrooms, theirs was not particularly bad, but leaves much to be desired. Due to space concerns, and I guess adding to the experience, the male restrooms are commonly shared with the guys/dancers there.
Back at our box, the stage performance finally took our attention. I really didn’t get what they were called as the DJ that was introducing them was not enunciating well. Three guys came on stage, and one particular guy caught our attention. He was wearing a yellow fitted shirt that said “Back To School” across the chest and black hot pants with red graphic prints and the brand name Armani emblazoned on the waistband. He wasn’t particularly muscular nor did his face strike me as drop dead gorgeous. But he had that appeal that draws your attention. I noticed that all these guys wore boots; and they were not just regular boots. The detailing on them -Argh! I have got to stop analyzing everything! Hahahaha!!! But seriously, those boots made the guys look tall.
I have learned that this particular guy’s name was Kim [I’m not really sure if that’s an alias or the real thing]. He’s currently the reigning Prince of these guys and enjoys quite a following. But coming from a theatrical background, I knew that it was all about the packaging… the right costume, the right hair, the warm toned lights, and yeah we need to mention the boots. I had been quite chatty with Belle as the evening went about. I began to ask questions about the place, what went on, and who was on stage. Since it was a Monday, it was a pretty slow night. They have this thing called big nights on Fridays when they put out their best in terms of entertainment.
As this went on, I noticed that the lights -I could not particularly say if it was a strobe since the tint of it was blue- went flashing differently. It was to signal that a dancer would be “showing off his goods”. Standing on his mark, the lights came up on a dancer wearing a pair of white swim trunks that left nothing to the imagination. He was not too muscular but buffed enough, his hair was cropped neatly, he had that bad boy yet boyish look going for him even with the blinged-up stud earrings he was wearing. Later on, the music gets cut midway and the dancer runs off to what looks like a dressing room and you could make out that he was removing his swim trunks. The next time he comes out, another music track was playing and he had on an orange sarong. His dancing became, how do we put it, a little more intense and his gyrations suggest the nudity that was to come a few bars after. He "lets it out", and I must say, the boy was pretty gifted. His thing, in full glory, held everyone’s attention…
Later on, he gets off the stage to approach one of the guests seated on the couch directly in front of him. He bends a little so he could hear what the guest was to whisper in his ear. He whispers back and he then positions the sarong to cover the guest a certain way for a fair amount of time. My Manang Pinky was displaying a particular amusement at the sight and regaled her experiences after visiting a certain club back in the states.
I guess my observant eyes had been noticed by this dancer wearing a sarong when he was on stage earlier that he began approaching our direction, and the three of us were on edge as he took his steps. There he was getting nearer, for a split second I caught myself exchanging looks with Belle; and after that, I was frozen…
There was this feeling that the entire room had focused at my direction, and as he took his first step at the edge of our box, I just did not know what came over me!