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)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sa Fezlaboom ng Malars, Na Super Kalurkey!

I haven’t been to Malate in a while, so on the way there for the 2011 Black Party I was wondering how much it has changed. We were off to meet our friends at the Love Yourself (LYS) booth.

The parking lot where I always park my car was still there. The attendant was still the same guy; he greeted me with a “Long time no see, ser!” after leading me into a parking spot. He didn’t bother to give me a parking ticket anymore; he knows I’ll never leave without paying.

Most of the familiar establishments were still there. However, the crowd felt a little thin, especially on the “straighter” areas of Malate. Just a few minutes past midnight, the volume of the crowd is usually at its peak.

The intersection of Nakpil and Orosa was closed off for the Black Party. I like to think of that particular spot as the intersection between the straight Malate and the gay Malate. That’s where the sexual lines blur, and the only orientation is to have fun.

The party was in full swing. We missed a performance by one of our friends (Von, hahanapin ko ang video sa YouTube, hahaha!) But the LYS hunks were out in full force. People were dancing on a stage erected at the intersection. And folks were having their pictures taken at the LYS backdrop. A little later, with the party in full swing, they switched on two bubble machines positioned on both ends of the booth. So fab, so gay.

Then it occurred to me that despite this intersection’s blurry reputation, most discreet gay guys will still never dare step into Malate, most especially during a big event such as the Black Party. For them, it’s a place and occasion for guys who are mostly or totally out. They would still rather prowl the more discreet places like The Fort, Greenbelt, Resorts World or Tomas Morato. For them being seen in Malate is a red flag of confeeeearmation. Kalurkey!

And I remember what Tony said about creating spaces for gay guys to be comfortable in. Which made me wonder, is there a place where discreet gay guys can mingle with out gay guys? I don’t mean a big event, like Big Fish events, where straight people are also in attendance; rather, a place exclusively for gay guys of different states of self-acceptance to be accepted as they are.

Or maybe I dream too much. Maybe discreet gays will always steer clear of the out-and-about ones. They will never interact with each other in the outside world, because to be seen with the out-and-obvious is another form of confeeeearmation.

Meanwhile, we can only intersect furtively in the dark or online.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cold Comfort

My friend Leigh and I had lunch at Masseto, a swanky and chi-chi resto in Salcedo Village. As what happens with most long-time friends who haven’t seen each other for months, such an occasion is marked with good food, much laughter and heartfelt sharing of significant life moments that happened in between meet-ups.

She has been going through some emotional stuff recently, so by the time dessert came along we were deep in conversation, occasionally taking a break by asking for more water or, when the waiter handed us the dessert menu, ordering Salted Caramel Ice Cream and asking that it be split in two, since we were both quite full.

When dessert came, she was struggling to keep her emotions in check. She had already taken off her glasses and, at one point, covered her face with her hands. Still, she bravely continued her narration, while picking up her dessert spoon. I also picked up mine. She was talking while she scooped a bit of ice cream, and placed it in her mouth. I absentmindedly mirrored her movements, all the while concentrating on her story.

We both tasted the ice cream at the same time.




Suddenly everything stopped. We both died as the ice cream melted in our mouths.

“Oh my god, Leigh!”

Ay putang ina. Wow!”

Shet Leigh, ang saraaaaaaap!

And right there and then, we forgot all about her situation. We were oohing and ah-ing and marveling at the thick texture, the way the ice cream had already melted on the sides, and how the sugary residue clung to the back of the spoon.

Great food can be that powerful. Even for just a few seconds, all is well in this world.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chasing Stars

For the full short story, go to:

* * * * *

Dean Francis Alfar’s short story “L’Aquilone du Estrellas (The Kite of Stars)” is an amazing tale of unrequited, one-way love. (SPOILER ALERT: Read the full story first if you don’t want to read the spoilers below. Because I’ve quoted in italics all my favorite passages from the story.)

The story is about Maria Isabella du’l Cielo falling for a stargazing young man. When told that he only has eyes for stars, she thought of a plan for him to notice her. She approached master builder Melchor Antevadez with a strange request.

“What I need,” she began, “is a kite large enough to strap me onto. Then I must fly high enough to be among the stars themselves, so that anyone looking at the stars will see me among them, and I must be able to wave at least one hand to that person.”

“What you need,” Melchor Antevadez replied with a smile, “is a balloon. Or someone else to love.”

She ignored him like most love-struck fools do, and insisted on a kite. Finally the master builder gave her a list of materials he needed; to complete the list would take sixty years. She accepted the task without hesitation.

Melchor Antevadez squinted at her. “Is any love worth all this effort? Looking for the impossible?”

Maria Isabella gave the tiniest of smiles. “What makes you think I’m in love?”

Melchor Antevadez raised an eyebrow at her denial.

What makes this story extra melancholic is that Maria Isabella hired a 14-yr. old butcher boy to accompany her in her task. After sixty years they came back with all the materials; the great grandson of the master builder had taken over from his late great grandfather’s shop. When Maria Isabelle was being strapped onto the kite, she tells the butcher boy (who had grown into an old man already), “This is certainly no time for tears,” Maria Isabella reprimanded him gently, as she gestured for him to release the kite.

And she never realized that the butcher boy had loved her all this time.

As she rose, he sighed and reflected on the absurdity of life, the heaviness of loss, the cruelty of hope, the truth about quests, and the relentless nature of a love that knew only one direction.

I wish I had read Dean Francis Alfar’s “L’Aquilone du Estrellas (The Kite of Stars)” when I was younger; it would have saved me a few years lost in stupidity.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Patience And Memory

“What is patience? It’s 86 missed calls just so that on the 87th, D will wake up and not be late for work.”

Even as I was typing it, I could already anticipate the responses for that Facebook status and tweet: “That’s so sweet!” And true enough, I did get those on Twitter. On Facebook they were able to write longer comments. But what I really just wanted to point out was how surprised I was that I reached 86 missed calls.

* * * * *

D knew that if he relied only on the alarm in his phone, he’d continue sleeping; that’s how deep his sleep usually is. Thus his need for me to be his alarm clock.

One time it took me more than an hour to wake him up. Afterwards I told him how stressful it was for me since I personally felt responsible for waking him up. We eventually agreed that D would supplement my call with an alarm clock; meanwhile, I promised I will not stress myself out if D took long in waking up.

Because D is on the night shift, I’d end up trying to wake him up while I’m driving home from work. I’ve turned this task into something advantageous for me. The drive home is already tedious due to heavy traffic; this task keeps me preoccupied. I’d use an earphone so I can put the phone down (handsfree!); thanks to redial, I found it much easier to call him up with just a press of a button. (Still, hitting an all-time high of 86 missed calls was something I never expected.)

Someone reacted, “I’d have muttered ‘bahala ka sa buhay mo’ after missed call #3 or #4.” I did think that a couple of times in the beginning, especially after going past the 10th call. But I could never get myself to just drop it.

* * * * *

In our opening ice breaker exercise during our planning session last Wednesday in Tagaytay, we were asked to say 5 things about ourselves that is not so well-known in the office. Without thinking much, I blurted out that: [1] I have a 21-yr old boyfriend; [2] who’s my very first, and I, his; [3] that we’re celebrating our 14th monthsary on that very day; [4] and I already texted him but he hasn’t replied yet; [5] because he’s most probably asleep, since he works nights as a call boy. In a call center. LOL. It was the first time I announced it so publicly and to such a big group. They all cheered and clapped. I think I was squirming with inner delight.

Afterwards I proudly texted D about it. Last night he corrected me: “Hon, ano ba?! 16 months na tayo!” Oh no, senior moment.

I may be his alarm clock, but he’ll be our almanac.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Are You Open To It?

An open relationship is not for everybody. Both parties should be able to handle the fact that their partner hooks up with other guys. Not everyone is capable of separating sex as just a physical act versus sex as a physical expression of the love between two people.

It doesn’t mean that persons who can handle open relationships are better or more mature. It just means they have a different point of view or a different set of values from those who cannot imagine sharing their partners with others. This is also true vice versa.

So to those monogamists who feel sorry for the ones who are in open relationships, don’t. I’m sure those “sluts” are having just as much fun and satisfaction as those “prudes,” albeit in different ways. To eat his own; err, to each his own.

The Prude Fabcast, Part One

After our “Departures Fabcast” (aka “Pigsa In The Perineum”), we focused on our special guest, Paul aka Iamtofuboy.

I first met him online; I follow him on Twitter and we’re friends on Facebook. He had said before that he has always wanted to meet the Fabcasters and to take part in a Fabcast recording.

So when Migs and Gibbs co-celebrated their birthdays, I invited Paul to the party. There he met CC, Tony and other members of the peanut gallery. During the course of the night, he actually mentioned to me and CC that he was a prude, and he viewed it as some sort of “problem” for him. So we thought, hey, that can be the topic for the next Fabcast.

So now here’s the first of a three-part discussion. Because this was recorded on the same night as the “Departures Fabcast,” don’t be surprised if our running gag for the night continues on the following episodes!

Download this fabcast (right click and save)

Music credits:
“Ooh La La” by The Wiseguys
“Like A Virgin (Live)” by Madonna
“Sho Nuff” by Fatboy Slim
“Why’s It So Hard” by Madonna

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kirk Versus Bane

You have Chris Pine, who was such a hottie as Kirk in the Star Trek reboot. Then you have Tom Hardy, who sizzled and stole all his scenes in Inception. For me, it’s a nosebleed movie! Even Reese Witherspoon, who I find an excellent actress who’s easy on the eyes, is suddenly relegated to the background, along with Chelsea Handler and all those explosions.

If I had my way, Chris and Tom would dump Reese and just get it on with each other.

Lessons In Love

What I have learned from being single for 44 years.

Romance is over-rated. 

Love comes in several forms, like love of country, love of friends or even love of self. But the most popular form, and the one that fuels the entertainment industry, is romantic love. I bet romantic love is responsible for more than half of the output of the entertainment industries.

Romance is very charming and quite addicting; I suspect the same tingling sensations of the nerves and that rush to the brain that one experiences when one is on a drug-induced high are the same ones experienced when one is madly in love. (Romantic) love is insane.

However, romance’s giddy high can never really be sustained for long. Even the body adjusts to a drug’s potency, and soon one’s regular dosage is not enough for a hard-core drug user. But why the persistent popularity of romance? Because it is the most high-inducing state. Because it lends itself well to plots and cliffhangers and happy-ever-afters. Because romance is all about the hopeful beginning. Rarely does romance tackle the nitty-gritty middle; all the more they would want to avoid the emo-inducing end (unless it is but a step towards a new romance).

After the easy, cheesy beginning does the real work of love begin.

Love needs to be redefined.

Often the younger ones would define love as a feeling: “I am in love.” Sometimes they would go philosophical and claim that love is a state of being. Being what? Being in love, which is just another way of describing one’s emotional state.

But here’s something I realized: More than just an emotion, love is a choice. Because feelings, no matter how strong they are at the start, do wane and evolve. What happens after one loses that lovin’ feeling? If love was just an emotional state, many marriages wouldn’t have survived for so long.

I believe that love is a combination of feeling and of choice. The two compliment one another, like the way nature and nurture seem to be inexplicably linked as the causes of homosexuality. Without the initial feeling (“I’m in love!”), there will be no initial interest. But during the times when emotions wane, or the relationship encounters stormy waters, then the choice of loving a person will hopefully keep the relationship going until the storm passes.

Love is outward-directed.

So many times I hear the following: “I’m gonna make you love me.” “I want him, and I will do anything to get and keep him.” “He’s the one for me.” “Why didn’t he choose me? Why did he go for that fugly guy instead of me? I’m so much better for him!”

In all of those sentences the speaker is considering only what he likes. But love isn’t selfish. Love takes the Other into consideration. If there is no reciprocation, why stay and try to force something? There are plenty fish in the sea; move on. (I blame Hollywood for all those romantic comedies wherein persistence wins in the end. If he is just not that into you, don’t waste your time. Life is not a rom-com.)

The irony of love.

For the longest time I had a hard time attracting guys who were also attracted to me. So I wondered what was wrong with me. I tortured myself with questions and self-doubt. Am I not good enough? I’m not that bad-looking, and I am fairly smart; so why am I still single?

I was also told that love should be selfless; love is more about the Other than the self. In fact, I even had this (romantic) notion of “killing my Self,” or putting my needs last, as a way of preparing myself for Love to come into my life. What a silly mistake that was.

The irony of love is that one needs to learn how to love oneself first before one can be capable of loving someone for the long term. Nothing is more unattractive than a guy who is so desperate to be loved; no matter how well one hides it, that desperation always manages to seep out like flop sweat. The moment potential partners sense it, it’s game over.

Years before I met D, I always saw myself as unlucky in love. Either the guy I like doesn’t like me back, or he’s not available. But after I became partnered, suddenly there seemed to be more guys interested in me. I don’t think I was just being oblivious before; I was desperately in search of a partner, remember? So what changed? I lost this “need” to be with someone at all costs. I had become more relaxed, more at peace with myself. And I guess that made me more attractive. (Either that, or there are more daddy- and chub-chasers these days. LOL!)

Love yourself and others will love you too.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Departures Fabcast

“Ang galing ng script ng Fabcasts ninyo!”

Someone made a comment about the Fabcasts, saying he was amazed at the script. What script? Our Fabcasts are never scripted; we just have an idea of the topic, and the things we will touch on. But we never write out a script, or even an outline. It’s a good thing that several of us are used to facilitating group discussions (Migs, for example, is excellent at doing that; that’s why he always acts as host); that way, there’s always someone who steers the conversation back on track. But often we do go off-tangent with our side (and snide) comments. And that’s when things get really rowdy.

The following Fabcast is a clear example of that.

It was supposed to be a short Fabcast addressing several departures from the Fabcasters and the peanut gallery, AJ’s death being the most permanent one. But because of one small “matter” that blew out of proportion, this whole episode BOILED down to PRICKING on Londonboy’s unfortunate condition. We couldn’t help it.

(Even I couldn’t help it while producing this particular episode. At the end of this episode, you’ll hear Rihanna singing, “Oh-NA-NA, what’s my name? Oh-NA-NA, what’s my name?”)

It’s another riotous recording by the Fabcasters and the peanut gallery, composed largely of us having fun at Londonboy’s expense, while all the while trying our best to go back to the topic. Warning: If you listen to this using headphones while in a public place, beware of suddenly bursting out laughing.

Click on the link below and enjoy!

Download this fabcast (right click and save)

Music credits:

“Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO
“Cheers (Drink To That)” by Rihanna
“Ha Ha Ha” by Eraserheads
“What’s My Name” by Rihanna

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Of Apples And Oranges

Nope, this is not about the late Steve Job’s company, or his death.

In a recent Fabcast recording (to be posted soon!), a topic was raised during our discussion. It was about the de-coupling of sex from relationships. What is this “de-coupling”?

Thanks to our Catholic background, we were taught early on that sex should only happen in the context of one particular kind of relationship--marriage, or in the Church’s strict definition, a heterosexual union between man and woman. Now this is where the coupling of sex and relationship happens: Sex should be done only within a context of a loving (and an officially recognized) relationship. And to further cement this coupling, sex outside of marriage was declared a sin, while the myth of “sex is better when you do it with someone you love” was perpetuated.

So the de-coupling of sex and relationship simply means this: That the value of sex is not inextricably linked to a relationship. Sex can be valid (and even be of value) even when it’s done outside of a loving and officially recognized relationship.

Anyone who’s been a follower of The McVie Show knows that I do not see sex outside of marriage a sin, so that’s all I will say about that. So then let’s go back to the myth of “sex is better when you do it with someone you love.” Myth, you ask? For me, it is. I have had sex with someone I love, someone I like, someone I lust after, and someone I was first ambivalent at the start; yes, I have had sex with a variety of guys for various reasons in different circumstances and occasions. And the following are what I have learned and realized through the years.

The value of sex is affected by the person you’re having sex with. We ascribe more value and meaning to an activity because of the person we’re with during that activity. For example, a mundane morning walk feels extra special because it is done with a loved one. Notice how we describe it: “The walk became extra special because you were with me.”

However, it speaks more about your loved one than on the act itself. The walk remains a walk; it remains the same number of steps, you see the same sights, hear the same birds chirping and feel the same wind blowing had you been walking alone or with, say, a casual friend.

Because sex is an activity done with a partner (let’s leave solo masturbation and orgies or anything above threesomes out of this first), it becomes more difficult to distinguish the value of sex from the relationship you have with your sexual partner. But after having sex with numerous partners, of known but mostly anonymous identities, in bathhouses, saunas, massage parlors and even dark public places, I began to appreciate the value of sex in and of itself. I think the de-coupling happened naturally; after all, I never had a chance to have sex with someone I love, just always with a hook-up for the night.

And then I met D. After experiencing sex with someone I love, I can safely say that, yes, there is a difference, and the difference is D.

Which brings me to my second learning. Comparing sex with different people, given the different levels of relationships with them, is unfair; it’s apples versus oranges.

So in the end you go back to asking yourself: What is my motivation for having sex? How do I look at sex, and what value do I attach to it? If you believe that sex should happen only in the context of a monogamous relationship, then good for you. But don’t be surprised when it seems that every Tom around you seems to be getting it on with the Dicks and Harrys of this world.

I personally believe that sex can be enjoyed in and of itself, especially if it’s between two consenting mature adults. Let’s face it, Nature (or God, if you want to be religious about it) made sex so enjoyable; in fact, in certain cultures the orgasm is akin to reaching Nirvana.

But however you choose to view sex, let’s respect each other’s choices. After all, it’s apples and oranges; some prefer apples, others oranges. And then there are those who’d rather have fruit salad.
Hey, it’s never too late to change one’s view of things.

Friday, October 07, 2011

They're Amazing, Just The Way They Are

"Charotelang DPWH, umappear ka, vhaklur! Magpa-feel, magpa-sense ditey sa Guadalupey.
Witiz shokoley ang undangchi ditey, sa fezlaboom ni Mars na super kalurkey!"

The Sexworkers Fabcast, Part Three

“You dress me up, I’m your puppet.
You buy me things, I love it.
You bring me food, I need it.
You give me love, I feed it.”

Here’s the third and final part of the rambunctious and opinion-ladened Fabcast.

Here we introduce Boy Toy. He was silently listening to the discussion during the first part, but then he started asking questions by the second part. On the third part he takes center stage, asking questions and giving his opinion, considering that he himself personally has friends who are, in his words, “high-class prostitutes.”

Here we also touch on the different values of people and the different reasons why someone will or will not engage the services of a sex worker. We also take a look at the way the sex industry has evolved through time; the older generation reminisce on pre-digital hook-ups. Towards the end the members of the peanut gallery weigh in their two-cents worth on the whole discussion.

It’s interesting how people reveal their values and their way of thinking when the topic of discussion is such a divisive and controversial one.

Click below, enjoy listening and I hope you get something out of this discussion.

“But look at my hopes, look at my dreams
The currency we spend.
I love you, you pay my rent.”

Download this fabcast (right click and save)

Music credits:
"Rent" by the Pet Shop Boys
"Rent (live)" by the Pet Shop Boys

The Day The Apple Died

First came the shock, along with the reposting of the news. Then the condolences and the accolades came. And because Steve Jobs is a very quotable guy, the quotes followed. Soon to pop up are the jokes and the spoofs (in fact, I have already seen one cartoon; it’s cute, actually).

But one message that was passed on yesterday caught my eye: “Steve Jobs was born out of wedlock, put up for adoption at birth, dropped out of college, then changed the world. What’s your excuse?”

Something about it didn’t sit well with me. Besides, not everyone who changes the world changes it for the better. So in a huff I riffed off that message and came up with: “Hitler didn’t advance beyond secondary education, failed to enter art school, was tried and sentenced to prison, but rose to power then changed the world. Do we excuse him?”

Then I promptly forgot all about it.

The next day someone commented: “you mean, excuse the genocide? how you could possibly even ask this question.”

Toink. Memo to me: Not everyone who views my Facebook has a wall similar to mine.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Wasak (Like My Eyeglasses)

When I opened my eyes I saw the floor on my right. I moved my head up and to the left and saw a bit of sunlight. I turned to glance at my right arm, which I had used as a pillow. There were small ants crawling on the bed, some climbing onto my arm. I crushed a couple with my thumb.

I remember Jade, Tony and Calvin helping me up to the second floor of Playroom and plopping me down on the bed. Tony even took my shoes and socks off. Prior to that I heard Calvin say that he found the missing lens of my eyeglasses (which fell when I was staggering out into the courtyard outside Playroom) and had put it back in place. Too bad the lens was scratched and the frame banged up pretty bad; I need to get a new pair.

Minutes before, the three were looking over me as I hugged the toilet bowl; I had thrown up in the courtyard, so they decided to bring me to a more appropriate place to upchuck my dinner, two bottles of Tanduay Ice and all those soju shots (I lost count) I pumped into my system earlier that evening.

We were partying in Playroom Friday evening because it was the despedida of Dean, who was flying to Japan a week from now for work. Dean wanted the party to be like the bacchanalian Fabcaster parties of old--lots of soju and lots of friendly fun among the guests. But this party had videoke and three shirtless, muscular servers going around serving shots of soju to the guests. Who could resist them? I never really was a videoke person; I am not that good in carrying a tune, and my voice isn’t exactly of singing quality. And yet there I was singing this old 70s song, “Bluer Than Blue.” (I had no idea who added that on the playlist, but it seemed I was the only one who knew that song. But this was before Corporate Closet arrived, hahaha.)

And that is why I found myself at 8:30 Saturday morning outside of Playroom dazed, sluggish and out of sorts. My head felt heavy, my t-shirt stank of dried sweat and I still had to drive myself home.

Good thing traffic wasn’t too heavy, and the weather was a bit sunny.

When I got home I immediately hit the shower. While soaping myself, I discovered that someone drew an erect penis on my right bicep. Cute.

I swear I’ll never get that drunk again.

(Yeah, I always say that.)