Saturday, May 31, 2008
Last night’s fever vanished but the vacuum it left is now occupied by a splitting headache. Having read at least twenty-five literary texts (including half a travelogue book by Caryl Phillips and the Nobel lecture of Toni Morrison, lest I be accused of racism) and covered my latest book acquisitions, I had no choice but battle it out against my personal writing demons. Of late, I was on a roll collecting steamy confessions from straight males but since I cannot post their very personal notes under the pains of scandalizing the faint-hearted, I decided instead to dish out twenty quotable quotes from the same number of gay friends.
The number of quotes these friends (or non-gay ones, for that matter) churn out is by no means limited to twenty, given the extraordinary capacity of gays to restate old truths with a hilarious twist. Nor is the number of gay friends limited to only twenty—people who don’t find themselves here need not perform a lupasay since my grogginess renders my memory uncharacteristically untrustworthy. I am offering this sampling because the present statements come with the context in which they emerged. Sit back, enjoy and feel free to throw a fit.
Allan J: “Thank you for the compliment!”
This is my childhood friend’s response to the pejorative “BAKLA!” hollered by a barrio lad while we swished our way to a high school classmate’s house tucked at the provincial boundary. I remember laughing hysterically at the proud manner AJ uttered his response; it is not a mistake to put this foremost inasmuch as it was the earliest counter-homophobia stance I could think of.
Bimbo: “Ate, buntis ako.”
I overheard this while the high school boys were busy drawing architectural blueprints (yes, we gays were prevented from enrolling in crocheting class), to which AJ replied, “’Di ba pinagbilinan kitang mag-pills?”
Carl: “…Chicharong Coroza.”
I take the term chicharon to mean fat, since chitterlings—those crunchy pieces that taste delicious when dipped in spicy vinegar—are produced out of the fatty skin of (mostly) pigs. Gays’ obsession with beauty (and youth) is implied here, as calling someone stout is a reminder that plumpness is an anomaly to the body that’s the social cultural capital, and gays can be fashionably critical if this body shows little absorbed culture.
Celyong: “Bakit kailangan pa ng talent fee samantalang Best in Talent naman kami?”
This came about when this childhood friend and I cruised the benighted streets of Marikina during the power outage resulting from the onslaught of typhoon Milenyo. Two young studs from a renowned Catholic high school were surprisingly obliging to Celyong’s seductions, until they turned me off with the question, “Magkano ba ang talent fee namin?”
Edwin Buraga: “Binabalahura mo na ang mga lalaki, tinatawag ka pa rin ng ‘Sir.’”
This fact of life was uttered by my professional colleague when I told him of someone who ministered on a gorgeous guard, who in a few delirious minutes exclaimed, “Malapit na ako, Sir!” Edwin added that even as he already made verbal advances on truck drivers, sales clerks or other such straight men, they unanimously revere him through the title “Sir.”
Edwin Sanchez: “Walang himala! Ang himala ay nasa bibig ng bakla!”
During a discussion of gay beauty pageants, Papa Edwin told this one hell of an introduction. For the uninitiated, I refer you to men who have had miraculous moments with gays.
Gelli: “Propesora, mahalimuyak na ang mga paminta ng Makati kaya turuan mo na sila ng leksiyon!”
Gelli stood witness to numerous times when the straight-acting guys he and other brazen gays had been cruising would instead ask to be introduced to me, the more paminta among the block. The reference to lecture, of course, goes beyond the lessons I teach in class.
Genesis: “Kapag hindi guwapo ang nag-aapply as entertainer, huwag mo na silang bigyan ng false hope.”
cf: context of Carl’s statement. I was in Genesis’ managed gay bar when a relatively handsome guy went in to apply as macho dancer. I readied myself to ogle at the guy’s body once Genesis asked him to strip to his barest, but he dismissed him instantly, telling that all the items for entertainers had been filled up. It figured that Genesis did not find him attractive enough.
Jernon: “Kinuha ng Tatay ko ang bote ng 1.5 L Coke at hinampas niya ang ulo ko.”
This, of course, is revolting for its filial homophobia, but Jernon’s courage in confronting this truth represents all the gays’ bittersweet reaction to our constructed image in the eyes of the heterosexual world, a necessary means to accept our true selves unapologetically and, hopefully, to help combat the irrational fear for our kind.
Jerome: “Magre-reunion e saan mo ba hahanapin sina Janet Muena, Edlyn Verueco, etc?”
Gays have this funny manner of pointing out the ridiculous and this is captured in Jerome’s realization of the futility of finding our obscure batch mates whom I myself hardly remember, just so they can attend high school reunions.
Jobben: “Mababait na nga ang mga GRO sa White Bird, pag-uwi mo may dala ka pang manika.”
Methinks that gay bars seriously formulate corporate strategies because giving away dolls patterned after macho dancers is a way of getting customers to renew ties with their girlish preoccupations.
Jobert: “Bakla, ayoko sa kanya, mukha siyang hindi sincere.”
This friend of mine is the hardest to please basically because his standards rival the ever-shifting nature of tectonic plates. At one point, he told me to match him with a hung guy but that entails conducting a phallic inspection. All the cute guys he met through me are either too ripped or “gugot” (with milkteeth despite the age). Once when we were browsing the online photos of men I intend to arrange a date with him, he accused one of looking insincere.
John: “Ganyan sa office: trench coat kung trench coat, boots kung boots, turtle neck kung turtle neck ang labanan!”
John works for a call center so his and his kind’s large pay can afford them a fashion that sometimes dislocates them from the tropical setting of the Philippines. Well, to each his own gay fashion sense.
Joni: “Iharap mo sa lalaki ang pinakamagandang bakla at ang pinakapangit na babae, pipiliin pa rin ang pechay Baguio.”
I assume that our greenhorn film director’s point of reference here is a true-blue straight male who won’t subscribe to negotiable homosexuality for as long as his heterosexual desire may be fulfilled by a biological female, notwithstanding if she is ideologically ugly. I would have wanted to quote Joni’s views on drag/camp or B-actresses, but let me just lead you to www.hollerjonie.blogspot.com.
Larry: “Nalilibugan ako kay Mr. Tarlac!”
This statement is actually translated from the original Ilocano and the object of desire was a dashing Mr. University whom I had seen before in trunks, and who became Larry’s immediate superior in the mall he worked for. What’s striking in this line is the ground of universality of desire: that it can be spoken in whatever language.
Robert: “Siyempre, pinagod ko na nga ang mga boylets, hindi ko ba naman sila iti-treat ng hamburger?”
Of my childhood friends in Tarlac, Robert is the most timid and being that, he let his money talk in his behalf in order to get something that the more convincing of us can get for free. I, Larry and Celyong faulted him for it, since it was better for him to keep his hard-earned pink peso because his youth, beauty and confidence are enough to charm a potential lay. He lacked self-belief, and while he regaled me with pictures of alluring Pampango boys, I knew too well that outside the panel, these boys must be holding half-chomped Big Mac.
RR: “Kung ikaw si Antonio at Tiyuhin mo si Marc Nelson, magdala ka na ng chichirya kung maliligo siya.”
When this professional colleague mentioned that he already watched the soft porn Ang Lihim ni Antonio, he made special reference to the voyeurism scene. I did not get attracted to the actor who played the lecherous uncle, so I asked if Antonio may have Ian Veneracion, Bobby Yan or Marc Nelson for the hottie of a consanguine relation.
Ruel: “Nagpaganda ako, nagpabango at rumampa sa buhanginan kahit malamok at lampas hatinggabi na, tapos tutulugan lang pala ako?”
When I and my former teaching colleagues went on an excursion to pristine Mindoro, it was inevitable that the gays’ choices of conquest would be limited to elusive straight men, who are secondary to my colonial priorities. My friend who would eventually write for a giant media network has a more bakla sensibility, so he arranged to have the sexy straight driver accompany him at the moonlit beach when everyone else retired from travel exhaustion.
Tantan: “Halika na, bakla, may bilat nang kasama ‘yung otoko; laglag na tayo sa finals!”
When we were single, Tantan and I took on the 3 o’clock (AM) habit of cruising the streets of Guadalupe. One time, we found a metrosexual strategically waiting at a corner. Wondering that the ritual of parading ala-beauty contestants was being ignored, we discovered that the guy had been waiting for his girlfriend, meaning we do not stand any more chance at getting a straight to engage in circumstantial homosexuality.
Zazu: “Ako nga ang pinakamaganda sa Pilipinas, pero Latina na naman ang mananalo sa Miss World!”When he immortalized this line, my friend Zazu was still recuperating from a domestic breakup. I grew desperate consoling him that he’d bag a new, cuter partner soon, even alluding to the many fish in the ocean and, finally, invoking his resemblance to Binibining Pilipinas Carlene Aguilar, who was that time’s current toast among Miss World bookmakers. Never to be fooled by the fact that international beauty pageants are almost always won by beauties from Latin America, he said his piece and let one teardrop fall from his left eye.