15 June, 2009

First Time Gay Bar Blues [Part Two of Three]

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.

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!

Both my hands leapt from my lap, upwards they both went and my fingers went unbent. As I gestured to suggest “NO” to the dancer wearing the sarong. I could barely make out the surprise on his face in the soft light that permeated the room. I guess it’s not the first time his ego was shaken a bit by one such as I. Not that what he had to show was insufficient, his thing was just not my thing. [had you going there for a while, didn't I?]

I was able to breathe a sigh of relief as Alex and Manang Pinky were laughing a bit at what had just transpired. I have never gulped up a glass of beer that fast in my life! Looking back at it, that was one thing I’d regale with laughter in the years to come.

I noticed that there were a fair number of female customers in that place. A few of them were seated near the stage. And the arrival of two Korean ladies in their 20s drew my attention. After they were seated at the box left of the stage, the manager assigned to them had taken out about ten guys from the room at the far end of the establishment, they then lined up at their box and were shown-off to these two ladies. It was quite dark where they were and the waiters had to light their faces with these blue LED flashlights that for me was an uncomfortable sight. But to these guys, I reckon it has become common practice for the more “demure” clientele [“demure” my gay a**]. Moments later, I did not get what all the squealing was coming from their direction, but it would be safe to say, they walls have come down.

As our first hour and a half went by, I just sat there taking it all in -my skills in observation at full, my eyes just went around looking at every nuance. There was one costumer sitting alone at a table by the left side of the stage, he was just sitting there almost not moving, except for his hand reaching for the drink, he would have passed off for a statue. Alex was his usual self sitting there, his silence meant that he was enjoying himself tremendously. I have known Alex for quite some time now, and he can be very vocal when he is not pleased where he is seated. Manang Pinky, on the other hand, has become chatty with Belle who was nice enough to oblige her answers. Later would I realize why…

When I got back from what looked like one of my dozens of trips to the restroom, Manang Pinky goes, “So, don’t you want one of those guys to sit with us here?”

First allow me to explain: In places like these, you have the option to have one of the guys sit with you -to entertain you- so to speak. It’s kind of like those “Host Clubs” you see in Japanese series/movies, where the guy sits with you during your stay, they pour your drinks, carry a conversation, or in plainest terms: provide company. Well, for the Filipinos reading this, I am sure you are familiar with the concept of a G.R.O. [Guest Relations Officer], the practice of which is common in girlie bars. Thus the colloquial term “tini-table” or “ti-nable” which means “to have one sit on your table”.

Going back to that moment, I responded with shrugged shoulders, squinting my right eye with my left eyebrow raised, and forcing twisted thin lips towards my right cheek which meant that I did not care much for it. Alex responded by turning his head and rolling his eyes towards my direction. We could have easily left some time later, but admittedly, we were enjoying ourselves. The expression on my face, for the most part, was of curious amusement.

Then Manang Pinky goes, “Come on, you guys! We’re already here. We might as well experience everything this place has to offer! It’s my last night, tomorrow I fly back to New York!”

I could not figure out what came out of me first, if it was a cough or a sudden laugh. But with that, as they say, I went as the Romans do and responded, “Okay, might as well.” Any hypocrite for that matter would make the excuse that he did not know if it was the alcohol consumed or the pressure that made him agree. I, for one, had the insatiable thirst for the human experience.

We sought the advice of Belle, who knew how this thing went about, and asked if we could have some guys come over. It was really up to us who we wanted to come sit with us according to Belle but he/she was hesitant as to the particular company we wanted. She even commented that she fears that we may have certain sophisticated requirements. And I was like, “I’m already here; I think I left my sophistication back at the hotel in Makati.” Hahahahaha!!! Also, I had told Belle that if possible, find someone who can carry a conversation and not just nod all the time. Unfortunately, Belle was still apprehensive on who to send to us.

So Manang Pinky, Alex, and I huddled over at our box and agreed on one thing, we wanted to have Kim at our table. To recap, Kim was that guy in the fitted yellow shirt that caught our attention while he was dancing, and was the current prince of these guys as I had learned, so this seems promising. As per the other guy, we had no idea and asked Belle to pick for us. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that we were having two guys over.

For the expanse of those obviously tense minutes, all we could do was just exchange smiles with each other as we waited for Belle to bring them over.

Moments later, I could make out Belle coming towards us from the right end of the room. He/she was followed by the two guys we had called for. As they approached our box, I was not particularly aware of what everyone else was doing. Talk about tunnel vision! Belle introduced the two gentlemen. Kim was there wearing the yellow shirt that had “Back to School” printed across the chest, the same attire he was wearing when he performed earlier, except for a piece of soft black fabric about less than a yard and was about the length of his leg that he wore like a towel tied his waist but still showed off one of his legs. Kim was as we had expected him to be.

The other guy, was one we had not noticed before, and he went by the name Warren. He was wearing a black tank top and had on of those black fabrics on his waist as that of the other guy. At a glance, there was nothing really striking about how he looked and his body was not really that statuesque but more like a lean swimmer’s build; but he had one of those faces that grows on you. He was not like Kim who immediately catches your eye. Warren has what one defines as “appeal”.

Manang Pinky was seated on a separate chair from the couch in the box, so only Alex and I had to make room for the two guys who were joining us. I moved a bit towards the right giving room for them to sit in the middle. Kim sat beside Alex and Warren sat to my left, we had sandwiched the boys, between us.

After the obligatory handshakes, It was a literally awkward for me. Manang Pinky and Alex had engaged Kim into conversation but I had no idea how to start it with Warren. When I had opened my mouth the first thing I had asked him was his age. He was pretty honest about it when he responded that he was already 26, and I was not far older than he was. I had encountered models before that would declare their “published” age which is usually a few years younger off than what they really are. After that, the ubiquitous questions like how long has he been working there, and how he came to be there followed. I had learned that he had been there for a year already and came to be there through a friend who had invited him to check it out.

There was no nonsense with his answers. When it comes to conversations, I pride myself with two things, the first of which is I am able to tell if you’re dancing around me, and the second, being able to pry open certain people by the way I ask and manipulate the conversation. I could easily work for espionage and intelligence, I tell you.

I noticed that Warren was very cautious with his answers, not in concealing the truth, but more like saying it in a polite way that took the effort of a man with enough good manners to take him anywhere. And that’s plus points for me. We talked about other stuff, mostly answering my curiosity about the way things were at the bar, and about the dynamics of the guys that worked there.

Oh yes, we called an order for their drinks, and light beer was their choice. When it arrived, there was the obligatory clinking of drinks which they initiated, and they would help pour yours into the glass; Some of the things I would easily expect. All through this, the dancing continued. I noticed that the two ladies on the couch located at the front row right of the stage were getting wilder and more wasted. Aside from the two guys accompanying them, they were interacting with the guys performing on stage to my chagrin.

Then the bluish tinted strobes went flashing again…

As the next daring guy gyrated on stage, I asked Warren, if he ever danced that way -going all the way, I mean. Warren admits that he really is not a dancer, and his erotic dancing skills leave much to be desired which is probably why I never noticed that he was actually dancing with Kim‘s group earlier. And he said something that stuck with my impression of him.

There was a little pride in Warren’s tone when he said that he really did not have to get naked on stage, that he has proven to the management that he has his regulars that have been loyal costumers during his year there and that he was earning just enough with the way he was working there.
Apparently, when they keep a patron company at a table, they already have a fine by the hour, and they earn commission from all the bottles and glasses of drinks consumed during that time. The way I take it, with the way this guy is, no wonder why he has staying power. He has tact and honesty rolled into the accommodating package.

Every now and then, I’d try to exchange a few words with Alex and Manang Pinky who had Kim for company but the conversation with Warren was interesting enough for me not to poke into that dynamic.

UP NEXT: Behind the lights, the gyrations, and the sensual music, stories worthy of another blog post.

For now, thus spake the Barefoot Baklesa

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