Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Post-Fabcast After-Thoughts And Musings

The most recent Fabcast was one of our liveliest and most polarized one yet. Of course we ended up laughing and still friends; I think we’re all mature enough so that even if we disagree, we do not to take things too personally.

After the record button was switched off, Tony mentioned something which surprised me. He even blogged about it: “Migs’ reaction wasn't a surprise to me, knowing his tendencies and background when it came to such a multi-leveled and morally polarizing question. What did come as a surprise to me was McVie’s stand. I truly thought that he would have resonated more with Migs’ thoughts on the matter since I knew McVie has reservations about personally paying for sex.”

Yes I do have reservations about personally paying for sex, but my reservations are not of a moral nature. I never had a problem paying for sex before. And when I say “before” I mean back in the 80s. I first started exploring the joys of gay sex in dimly-lit movie houses. Then as I made more gay friends, they introduced me to massage parlors. Lakan was the parlor of choice (we found Datu a bit more expensive).

What weaned me out of sex-for-pay was my discovery of the bathhouses. There I would just pay for the entrance; after that, I can have all the sex that I want. The currency wasn’t money; it was face-value (or body-value or both). What thrilled me more was not the power my money wielded, but the desirability of my physical looks. I wanted to know: in an environment where “ganda lang ang puhunan,” how would I fare?

As I quickly found out, my desirability level fell squarely on the middle of the Bell Curve of Pinoy Male Physical Beauty. There were even days when my desirability level fell dangerously near the lower-tier of the curve; times like those, my ego took a hit. But soon enough I learned to accept things and adjust my expectations. And eventually I discovered that there were good days and there were bad days; most days fell somewhere in between.

So when I say that I now have reservations about paying for sex, it’s simply this: I’d prefer someone who will have sex with me because he wants to, and not because he was paid. I am turned on more when I know that I turn him on too; if someone is paid, he need not be turned on by me for sex to happen. For someone who voluntarily chooses me, the sex is most likely consensual; for someone paid, the sex is most likely a duty or a chore. (Of course, there are exceptions. Maybe for someone like Boy Shiatsu, some really hot, hunky clients may be more like perks of the job instead of just being a job!)

As I’ve stated in the Fabcast, I don’t have a problem with having a sex worker for a boyfriend. Of course there are other factors to consider before choosing someone to be a partner, but for me the equation is simple: I know I am capable of being in an open relationship. And in my mind it is only a thin monetary line that separates a boyfriend-in-an-open-relationship from a boyfriend-who-is-a-sex-worker.

That is why I called out Migs for his condescending tone when he said, “Congrats!” and, earlier, when he called Gibbs “plastic” and the two of us as, “kayo na ang mabait, kayo na ang kumakalinga sa sex workers.” My capacity to consider a sex worker as boyfriend material does not make me a “better” person from someone who can’t; it just means I see sex workers in a different way from Migs. I didn’t question Migs’ different point of view; why couldn’t he accept mine?

8 comments:

Tony said...

sige nga, kung magkaibigan pa rin kayo ni Migs, hawakan mo nga tenga niya. lolz!

"And in my mind it is only a thin monetary line that separates a boyfriend-in-an-open relationship from a boyfriend-who-is-a-sex-worker." I actually never thought about it that way but it is so clear and simple and makes sense!

palma tayona said...

PART 2

I simply do not understand why, all of a sudden, the question got twisted into the context of having a sex worker as a ‘jowa’ when it wasn't even part of the question's premise anyway. Automatically, Miggs reaction sadly mirrors many a gay person's bias towards sex and relationships.

Being gay, if juxtaposed against the majority of what is termed as being normative - I am referring to the heterosexual majority, we have to redefine sexual relationships in a different modality. We cannot, by nature of its norms and social functionings and definitions adapt that of which exists with hetero-relationships. A good example would be, gay people cannot bear children within the relationship: two men doesn't make a child, nor does two lesbians. Hence the option of adoption and/or insemination or surrogacy comes to facilitate a couple's need to have a child. Another example is open relationships (as you have noted in your capability). Gay people, with the absence of a moral, prescribed institutional contract of marriage, have this 'looser' binding in relationships - especially with gay men. By nature, man - whether gay or not - is polygamous. Too many anthropological studies have cited this. I remember one sociologist mentioning that marriage is a social contract that helps in 'reigning in' this tendency of men to biologically 'fly the coop when the itch hits him.' Hence, there is this slowly shaping norm of maintaining 'open relationships' in the gay community. I have known many gay couples who have been together for years and they have opted to have 'open relationships' at either one point of their lives together or all throughout which, although initially was a struggle for them, later on served to work for them, and eventually became a sort of way to keep the sexual component of their relationship alive and interesting.

What is the point of my discourse above? This is my observation. We, as a people, are very much Catholic, subject to its centuries-old inculcation of teachings of guilt, moralistic uprightness, and heaven-and-hell formation. I see in Miggs condescension and outright shutting off from developing emotional connections with people who are engaged in a very basic human frailty - the selling of sex. Who are we to fault them for being who they are? Unless one is measuring them with the rod of christian morality - they are as human as anyone else is. Besides, in the eyes of hetero-societal norms, aren’t we, being gay, already faulted our selves?

I am sorry if I put my view here in your blog Joel and not in Manilagayguy. I am so honestly disheartened, that as the blog of Migs progressed, all I read and see is the same trap of Catholic condescension and moralistic definitions of what being gay is. Let me be clear, I AM NOT AGAINST IT - that kind of moralistic thinking exists simply because we are incapable, as a catholic people, to go beyond this two-faced modality. That is what we are - gay or not. HOWEVER, I am sick and tired of reading materials that do not go beyond this belief system. I was hoping before that manilagayguy.com would serve as a beacon of forward thinking - taking up issues outside the context of this Christian guilt and seeing LGBT people, society and thinking as is – outside the norms and forming its own texture, character and system that will compliment its needs and not predicated by the vast majority of guilt-ridden Catholicism.

Alas, methinks that can only happen several lifetimes from now, or maybe never as far as Philippine society is concerned. And while we still live here, we might as well do with what we have OR fight against it.

Boyshiatsu’s question, a very simple one indeed, opened up a can of worms. And these worms are still wearing the dark brown cassocks of guilt-ridden prancing holy men with their altar boys in tow.

Amen.

Thank you for indulging me here.
Daniel.

palma tayona said...

PART 1

I sorely wanted to make a comment on manilagayguy.com but realized I'd rather keep my mouth shut there (or my keyboard still)... UNTIL I read your afterthoughts here.

I too share the same thought regarding sex workers. I have no issue with them and their profession. I live here in Pasay, just a few meters away from Club Bath, two other bath houses and gay bars, a myriad of girlie joints and nearer still to where male AND female prostitutes live. I have become friends with many of them, shared beer over long conversations and hearty laughs, listened to their sob stories and have been, although reluctantly at first, been 'accepted within their inner circle'. In their eyes I am like them, a queer and rare specimen of humanity - an artist who speaks and interacts in their language – who openly admit that I ‘prostitute myself through my art’. Plus some of them know, I am a gay man who is an anti-thesis of what they usually identify as gay - that being the flamboyant, parlorista, gutter-mouth type who also acts as their occasional pimps.

I too do not pay for sex. I share the same thoughts that to do so would mean I would be hiring someone to do a chore for me. To put it in the context of my being a male with an ego the size of Luzon - to pay for sex would be a big upper jab on my gut. I understand fully too that my male virility - as nature predicates - has a definite clock that has a battery that can run out. When that time comes, I would gladly put my towel on the rack and simply say that I have had my fun in the sun and it is time to let the others do the rolling. But while I still have it, I intend to enjoy it on a consensual basis and not because someone will do it with me as a duty.

I never viewed prostitutes or sex workers with the moralist condescension as Migs sadly has, nor have I looked down upon them. I see them as I see everyone else. We all have our different stories to tell with the accompanying struggles, joys, pains, elations, hopes and fears: and it isn't in anyone's role to judge (unless you are paid for by the state to do so in a court of law) who is better or not. (The long threads in response to manilagayguy's posting shows too much tongue-in-cheek righteous judgment and condescending statements that to write a saner view would either make them quibble or sharpen their claws in retort.)

When the caller in your Fabcast asked that question, "How do you view us sex workers?" I would be giving the same answer as you and Gibbs gave. It is just a job, and he is simply being human to seek for a means to survive - like an accountant would or a lawyer or, like Miggs - a corporate person. The only way I would say that what they do is 'wrong' is in the context of our existing legal laws. As far as I see it, legally, Boyshiatsu's not breaking any law (but I have to confirm with a lawyer friend for finality). Our existing legal laws on prostitution don't fully cover selling sexual services over the internet - yet. And besides, if I were to twist the definition of prostitution, aren't WE all are prostitutes? We sell our selves and our skills. We are all providers of some sort of service. The only defining difference between sex workers and us is that the former sell sexual services.

......

joelmcvie said...

DANIEL: Thank you for commenting here and not in Migs' site. You see, you guys just heard the recording (and an edited one at that). What you guys didn't hear or see are the stuff that happened after the recording and in the days after.

Which is why your reaction prompts me to write a rejoinder of sorts. I will post it ASAP.

TONY: Of course it makes sense! Sinisingil na nga ako ni D every time we have sex; pang-tuition daw. ETCHOS! Hahahaha! (Haylabyu, hon.)

Demonyitong Promdi said...

tarush ni Daniel ah..Nosebleed sa Ingles..walastik na pambihirang kainaman..

but I tend to side with you guys, everything that Daniel and you McVie stated are all true..sex workers are human and are doing a job..well I don't want to be redundant...

but Amen! I say to you Amen!

pak! ;D

Rygel said...

hindi ko ata kakayanin na sex worker ang partner ko. parang lagi nalang ako magseselos nun... pero yung part na "baka iwanan nya ang trabaho nya dahil sa akin" is really tempting :D

icarusboytoy said...

i wonder if i am classified under the tag 'sex worker' hehe

Ariel Kenneth Ampol said...

Hi McVie!

Natunton ko ang blog mo (well, not for the first time) dahil kay BoyShiatsu. I had fun reading his exploits. But, at the same time, I saw the human side of a sex worker. Before him, I would think of the masseurs I avail of as mere boy toys. Through Kenneth, I got to see how human sex workers are (that is, they *are* human) - taking down problems, wrestling emotions and trying to close the gap between their reality and ideal. It was a character development of sorts.

Taking that, I most definitely have to agree with you. Having such knowledge of these people, you'd have to be a little dense to not sympathize with them and to look beyond the "morality" at the surface. Reading Kenneth's blog enriched me in that I learned to separate the things a man does from his inherent "goodness." And so has this fabcast.

It was wonderful enriching myself through your blog.