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)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ang Pagdadalaga Ni McVie, Part 2

Part 2: Let’s Talk About Sex (or Being Sex-positive)

I started getting interested in sex during high school, when I’d see my male classmates pouring over girlie magazines and I’d be turned on peeking at their hard-ons.

Shortly after that I had my first sexual encounter. It was in a movie house in Cubao with a total stranger. In high school I started watching movies on my own (I discovered the joys of watching a movie again and again and seeing the reaction of the crowd during different showings, but that’s for another topic altogether). One day I was watching alone in Quezon 2 (back when there were no malls, movies were shown in stand-alone theaters; however, those theater owners saw the value of having more than one screen, and so that started the trend of having Quezon 1&2, Coronet 1&2, Remar 1&2, etc., but again that’s for another topic) when a guy sat next to me. That was the beginning of my movie-cruising years. Then I discovered massage parlors, but part of me was (and still is) put off by monetary payments and negotiations.

It was when I discovered bath houses that I really let loose my inner slut. At first I felt a pinch of Catholic guilt after a particularly raunchy time in the bath house. Over time that guilt disappeared, but it wasn’t because I forgot about it. As I experienced encounter after encounter, I asked myself if there really was anything wrong with it. We were both consenting adults, we knew what we were getting into, and (eventually, with the advent of HIV) we also made sure we played safe. So I asked myself: What’s wrong with responsible sex between two consenting adults?

Some people would say that only sex with love can reach ecstatic heights that casual sex cannot. Or that sex with love has more meaning versus casual sex. That may be true for certain people; heck, it may even be true for most people.

However, sex defies surveys and popular choices. Sex is about finding out what you enjoy the most; even better, sex is about two individuals satisfying one another. (Yes, most casual sex partners tend to just worry about their own satisfaction. But assuming that both parties fairly mature, and both are looking out for their own needs, then most likely the negotiations will produce a win-win situation.) Physical satisfaction may sound limited, but those who’ve experienced what endorphins can do will attest that the satisfaction goes beyond physical.

And assuming that sex-with-love really is the most mind-blowing of sexual experiences, what about those who aren’t in relationships? Casual sex, especially the raunchy, sweaty, heart-and-waist-pumping kind, can reach heights of ecstasy too. It may not be the same, but it sure can be quite toe-curling. Don’t believe me? Perhaps you haven’t been getting much.

So what does being sex-positive have to do with being gay? Our choice of sex partner is the very definition of “homosexuality,” but sex between two men (or two women) is still quite the taboo. We should be allowed to exercise our gayness without the stigma.

That includes the scorn that we get from our fellow gay men. An active sex life is seen as slutty instead of healthy. Again, I ask: So what’s wrong with being a slut?

So you’re contented with having occasional sex. So you prefer sex only in the context of a monogamous loving relationship. So you think the ass is purely “exit only, no entry.” Fine, well and good. But don’t force your views on everyone. Don’t put yourself higher than everyone else. Not everyone thinks that every sperm is sacred. Sex need not be limited to the procreational kind; sex can also be recreational. Sex is a matter of motive and taste, and in taste there’s no dispute or dictatorship.

And just because I am a slut because I have more sex than you doesn’t make me a lesser person. It just means I work harder. It just means I’m comfortable with the idea that 2 responsible adult males can decide to engage in a physical activity that will result in a lot of sweat, physical exertion, possibly some soreness in certain parts of the body, and a general feeling of euphoria after the deed. If it sounds like I just described two men playing tennis, well, there you go. Recreational sex is just like playing tennis, except that one shouldn’t hit the balls too hard.

George Michael had a hit song entitled, “I Want Your Sex (Part 1)” and the following lines really resonated with me:
It’s natural,

It’s chemical (Let’s do it!)

It’s logical,

Habitual (Can we do it?)

It’s sensual,

But most of all...

Sex is something we should do.

Sex is something for me and you.
Sex is natural, sex is good.

Not everybody does it,

But everybody should.

Sex is natural, sex is fun,

Sex is best when it’s one on one.

Well okay, so I don’t always agree with the last line (hey, don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it), but you get my point.

(Up next, Part 3: All You Need Is Love)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ang Pagdadalaga Ni McVie, Part 1

One of my biggest struggles in accepting and loving myself was my very narrow definition of a gay man. Gay equals bakla equals Dolphy’s Fefita Fofonggay equals Roderick Paulate equals all the loud beauty parlor hairdressers screaming over the shrill whirl of hair blowers. I didn’t and couldn’t identify with them, so what did that make me?

Eventually I learned about straight-acting (or at least straight-looking) gay guys, and I found a way to wrap my head around the idea that I can be gay and yet not end up with plucked eyebrows. (At some point I did start plucking my eyebrows, but that was already me well into my journey to Fag-bulousness. More on that later.)

Having a positive role model that I can emulate was not my only struggle. I had a lot of hurdles to overcome in my journey to becoming comfortable in my own skin. Let me tackle them one by one in a series of episodes here in The McVie Show. Let me call this mini-series, “Ang Pagdadalaga Ni McVie.”

Part 1: Losing My Religion (or On Coming To Terms With My Faith And Religion)

My struggle to make sense of my faith was fundamental in my development as a person. I had to reconcile my sexual orientation (a homosexual) with my religion (a Roman Catholic).

Part of the problem with religion, especially among us Filipinos, is that we’re brainwashed with it from birth until we start thinking for ourselves. So the struggle is against more than a decade of imposed belief and behavior. Thank god for puberty; for most of us, it’s the time we question things taught to us. Unfortunately for me, I was never the rebellious kind, so my questioning started much later.

I was told that homosexuals were sinners and doomed to damnation. So I had two choices: be a faithful Catholic and stop having sex and falling in love with other guys, or leave the Church’s fold. At that time I wasn’t willing to be a non-believer, but I also didn’t want to become celibate.

My breakthrough happened during my fourth year high school retreat. In agony, I confessed to the Jesuit priest who was hearing confessions about my homosexuality, and I asked him, “Father, am I doomed?” His answer stunned me. He said that while the Church’s current stand on homosexuality hasn’t changed, he personally believed that it was God Himself who made me homosexual, and that He loved me unconditionally. Hearing it from a priest reassured me; maybe, one day my Church will stop looking down on me and my fellow queers.

Eventually I heard of more Catholic priests (not just Jesuits) who privately believed differently even though they publicly towed the Church’s official line. But eventually I got tired of waiting for changes to happen in the Church. And given my increasing disappointment with the Church’s stand on several matters, I decided to drop my religion. Besides, I was non-practicing for quite some time already. I still believe in God, but mine’s different from the Church’s. I still have my faith, even though I lost my religion.

(Up next, Part 2: Let’s Talk About Sex)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lead Us Out Of The Dark Ages, My Lord

I think it’s crafty that the Philippine Catholic Church built into their belief system the idea of humility and obedience as a way of making sure their followers tow the line. How? The story of Satan’s Fall shows how pride and disobedience led to the former angel’s descent into disgrace.

Humility and obedience, such a powerful combination. You cannot question authority or teachings, because to do so would be disobedience. If something doesn’t make sense, you should have the humility to accept that some teachings really do not make sense.

I am not surprised that such mentality is espoused and even flaunted by our bishops. Their call for an investigation on the 159 professors of the Ateneo de Manila University who declared their personal stand for the RH Bill is, for me, a sign of the Church Hierarchy flexing their supposed muscles. This, despite the fact that the Ateneo president already clarified that the University’s stand is similar to the CBCP, and that in the classrooms the stand of the Church against the RH Bill is also taught.

What seems to get the bishops’ goats is the fact that the University allows dissenting opinions to not only be discussed openly, but for faculty members to make a public stand that’s contrary to the Church.

I can understand it if the Church wants pre-school and even high school kids of Catholic institutions to be fed the Church’s line. But here’s where I disagree with the bishops: by college level, the students should be encouraged to think and decide for themselves.

After all, as adults we eventually grow up. Life and Experience will teach us that not everything Mommy and Daddy said is true. There is no Santa Claus. Religion is the opium of the masses. And love stories don’t end in “Happily Ever After” with fade out; instead, they continue on with new complexities and complications alike.

One of the reasons why I stopped going to mass was because, as I grew older, the more I found the parish priest’s homilies too simplistic. It’s as if he was talking down to an 8 year old. More and more the mass became irrelevant to me.

I humbly believe in a God who is not irrelevant nor detached from reality. He is a God who makes sense, who appeals with Reason, not Fear. He may not come down to do miracles first-hand like in the Old Testament, but He shows His hand through other people’s actions. That’s the God I choose to believe in, a God that exists in the Now and not in the Dark Ages, a God that is different from that of the Philippine Catholic Church.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

McOp Page

Robert Blair Carabuena mauls MMDA Saturnino Fabros

On tape, it was very clear. Carabuena went overboard in his anger over being flagged down by MMDA traffic enforcer Fabros. That is what most of us saw.

I understand the anger that viewers felt against Carabuena. I also understand that many will vent out their outrage at him. But some reactions went overboard, forcing Carabuena to shut down his online accounts.

Aside from the cyber-bullying, I also was appalled that many Netizens immediately casted Carabuena as “bad” and Fabros as “good,” as if the whole story could be simplified in black and white, rich versus poor, Nora/Sharon versus the world terms. But instead of in glorious Widescreen Stereophonic, the story is byte-sized, viral-ready, and primed for snap-judgement.

But the video only showed the physical abuse. Where’s the rest of the story? That some people made extreme snap judgements after seeing an incomplete picture is what worries me the most. Didn’t it occur to people to ask first if there really was a violation or not? And would people have reacted the same if the situation were different? What if the traffic enforcer was seen trying to extort money, causing the driver to flare up? I even wonder exactly to what extent of the situation did the TV5 crew witness.

Yes, the truth of what happened may be as simple as what was already reported: a driver commits a violation, an enforcer flags him down, an altercation and over-reaction occurs. Yes, Carabuena should be taken to task for his behavior. It was uncivilized and unthinking, and what I find alarming is that certain netizens reacted likewise.

Tito Sotto plagiarizes US blogger

First, I will not bore you with a blow-by-blow retelling of the events.

Second, the issue of plagiarism is different from the issue of whether the RH Bill should be passed or not. I will discuss only the former here.

When it was first pointed out that parts of Sotto’s speech were plagiarized, I was still open to the idea that maybe Sotto and his staff didn’t have any malicious intent of passing off someone else’s words as their own. Perhaps in their haste they merely forgot to cite their sources.

But the subsequent non-apologies and statements of Sotto and his children wiped out any possibility that they made a mistake. Instead, their backpedalling and arrogance made it clear that they do not grasp the crux of the plagiarism issue, which is intellectual dishonesty. Furthermore, their reaction shows a severe lack of humility and courage to admit wrongdoing. Worse, if they truly believe that their excuses are valid, then it shows a serious lapse in, uhm, basic logic.

I find such behavior unworthy of a senator, which is why I’ve stopped calling Sotto as such. For me he was always the weakest comedian in the TVJ triumvirate, and given his performance in the past few days, he should also retire from comedy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


So there’s this list of 20 Things Your Most Annoying Friends Do On Facebook. It’s obviously intended as a humorous post, yet I have to admit that some of the examples cut close to the bone. It’s not that I have annoying friends; instead, I have friends who do annoying things on Facebook. My particular peeves:

3. Vaguebooking
Urban Dictionary defines “vaguebooking” as the following: “An intentionally vague Facebook status update that prompts friends to ask what’s going on, or is possibly a cry for help.” I prefer that you go direct to the point. Now, if vaguebooking is your form of online landian, then it becomes all the more annoying. Grow some balls, boy. I actually have more respect for blatant flirting. At least we can just focus on how well or how style-mo-bulok you conduct your flirting.

4. Unsolicited Check-Ins
I really don’t get Foursquare or similar apps. I really don’t care where you check in or who the mayor is of some establishment. They are useless information.

6. Vanity
Self-obsessed, self-serving, and self-explanatory. OMG, if I could name names....

7. Song Lyrics
I must admit I have done this in the past, and my reason for doing it is to highlight a song’s message because it resonated with me at that time. But lyrics that come out of the blue and without context? What’s this, The Singing Bee? Name That Tune?

9. The Twitter Sync
Guilty here, sometimes. This is so easy to do with TweetDeck. And especially annoying reading on TweetDeck.

19. Mundane Posts + Exercise Bragging
This is a sub-genre of the “Vanity” post, but focused on the minutiae of running, dragon-boating, and sepak takraw. (In fact, I might actually be more forgiving of sepak takraw since I don’t know much about it.)

20. Redundant Links
I must admit, sometimes you can’t delete the URL because the linked article doesn’t appear in your post. I blame slow internet connection for that.

So there! I can live with the rest, like political rants and the occasional third-person. Come to think of it, I’ve not un-followed anyone yet because of such peeves. I suppose I can live with the annoying online habits of my FB friends after all.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Posh: The De-Spiced Girl?

So tell me what you want, what you really, really want.

The Spice Girls spiced up the London Summer Olympics 2012 Closing Ceremonies with their performance of two of their hit songs, “Wannabe” and “Spice Up Your Life.” Those 30-somethings who grew up with Ginger, Posh, Sporty, Baby, and Scary were in a tizzy over this reunion. They marveled at how the Girls looked so fit, and how Scary seemed less scarier.  However, most noticed Posh’s stand-out performance.

Yes, she stood out. At times, it was as if she was dancing to the beat of her own drum.

(I said a) who do you think you are? (Raise your hands, unless you’re tired.) 

Some kind of superstar? (And if you’re really tired, put your arm all the way down.)

You have got to (join the other Girls, girl!)

Swing it, shake it, move it, make it, who do you think you are? (Oh, NOW you make the gesture.)

Trust it, use it, prove it, groove it, show me how good you are. (Okay fine, just pose away.)

Others have pointed out that Posh has always portrayed herself that way, acting all aloof in their videos and concerts. Well gee, when did being “posh” mean being “aloof”? In fact, I suspected her act was a convenient way to cover up her not-so-stellar singing skills.

But I guess nowadays she can really make it her schtick. I won’t be surprised if she’s also Rich Spice, what with her clothing line plus her husband’s earnings. So yeah, I can see why she acted like she really didn’t need this Olympic gig.

Stop right now, thank you very much.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bourne To Be Alive?

"Para, mama!"

The Bourne Legacy is the fourth film of what I’ll call the Bourne franchise, even though Jason Bourne was barely in this latest. Yes, Matt Damon’s face appeared on television, but that’s all. But his name is mentioned so often in this film that his moniker deserves a spot in the end credits. Oh okay, it’s already in the title. So, yeah, fine.

If it weren’t for the fact that the last third (or is it half?) of the film is set and shot in Manila, this film wouldn’t have interested me at all.  What kept me interested and intrigued with the first three films was Matt Damon’s portrayal and the fact that his character was on a mission of uncovering his identity. That, and the slow discovery of just what Bourne is up against is what gave the first three films their added kick.

This fourth installment feels like one long set-up for an extension of a franchise. It’s like the creators thinking, “Okay, what happens to Bourne if Damon decides to leave?” Unlike James Bond, Jason Bourne can’t easily be replaced by another actor. So instead of replacing Bourne, they made  Bourne-alike. Or rather, Bourne-alikes, since as their promotions state, “There was never just one.” Great set-up for the studio, really. If ever Jeremy Renner gets tired of playing Aaron Cross, they can always find a new super-agent to follow.

Replacing an actor to play a familiar character is tricky, and will depend largely on the basis of a character’s popularity. But replacing a character to continue a franchise may even be trickier; in a sense, it’s a spin-off. Sadly, the new characters here are not that compelling or engaging at all.

Norton: "They made me go all the way to Manila just to shoot this scene?!"

As much as I like Renner’s performance, Aaron Cross comes across as someone so equipped to take down the Program single-handedly. So it was difficult to empathize with him when you know that he’ll out-Swarzenegger his opponents. Hello, 80s action films! Rachel Weisz huffs and puffs mightily in the acting and running department, but it’s a bit bothersome when the only reason why I like her is because I didn’t want any harm to befall the woman who kicked The Mummy’s girlfriend’s ass. Her shining moment in the movie was when she blurts out, “It’s in Manila, the Philippines!” I bet in all screenings of the film, that line alone will get a rise from the local audiences. My favorite character was Edward Norton, who attacked all of his lines like they were from an Aaron Sorkin script. His Eric Byer looked like someone who’s way in over his head but bought his own bullshit so that he doesn’t realize he’s way in over his head. Which makes his blustering hilarious to watch.

The chase scenes are well-shot and staged, and I have never seen the squalor of Metro Manila look so colorful onscreen. Only Hollywood production designers and cinematographers could turn “grit” into “picturesque.” Please elect them for local government, stat!

Squalor-chic for a Hollywood chick.

The downside of a Manileño watching this film? It’s seeing the chase jump from Pasay to EDSA to Marikina to El Nido, Palawan in a span of a cut! Yeah, those unfamiliar with the locations will see one seamless chase scene. But while my viewer’s mind can accept the location leaps, my driver’s mind wasn’t so keen on the film’s creative license. Oh, and no traffic cop can be that skilled (and so fit!) on a motorcycle.

Does the movie succeed in keeping the franchise alive? After all, there was never just one. So does it make me want to watch further installments? Oh, I don’t know.

Gay Fail?

It’s a common sentiment I hear, that many or most gay relationships fail. Which got me wondering, “Relative to what?”

Let’s examine things. If you look at the straight population, you’d see that many straight men and women go through several relationships before they end up married. Now let’s examine the married ones. We hear of unhappy marriages and marriages that have ceased to be, but remain one by name only. Why? Because divorce is not allowed in our country. So while they may remained married, their marriage has all but failed.

So if we really look at it, many relationships, gay and straight alike, fail. In terms of absolute numbers, there are more failed straight relationships than there are failed gay relationships.

But let’s examine further the idea of a “failed relationship.” What constitutes failure in a relationship? Furthermore, what constitutes a failed gay relationship? We live in a society where gay marriage is not allowed, and gay relationships aren’t encouraged. The odds are stacked against us, yet we forge on. And when a relationship ends, does it mean it’s a failure? What if both parties agreed that they’ve outgrown one another? What if one wants to move to a new direction, and the other agrees to let go of him? Where’s the failure in that?

And we even question the validity of monogamy, that Holy Grail model of straight relationships. What is the value of monogamy? Is it relevant to gay people? Or maybe more pointedly, is it relevant to the couple concerned, regardless of their sexual orientation?

If two people come together and enrich one another’s lives, if they become better persons because of their union, then that relationship had value to both parties. And even if that relationship ends in a not-so-friendly separation, a bad break-up does not negate the beautiful connection that once was.

There’s a difference between a relationship that failed and a relationship that ended. Not all relationships end in failure, and not all relationships that end are failures. Some relationships end because it’s time for one or both parties to move on into a new era of their lives.

In the end, it is not the quantity of time but the quality of the relationship that is more important.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Break-Up

In my journey of accepting who I am, one of my biggest hurdles I had to contend with was my religion. Mind you, I said religion, not faith. Because I have no problem with my faith. I do have a problem with my Church.

I disagree with the Catholic Church on their views regarding sex and sexuality. It’s appalling how medieval and out of touch the friars, er, I mean, the priests are with what’s really happening in the world right now. If the Philippine Catholic Church wants to remain out of touch with the rest of the world, as Bishop Bacani proudly stated in a BBC interview, then all the more I’m skipping out of the fold.

I first heard of the phrase, “Love the sinner, hate the sin” back in high school. At that time, our first-year homeroom teacher told us that’s how the Church viewed homosexuals--so long as we don’t commit homosexual acts, then homosexuals are okay. Took me almost four years to shake that idea off. Nowadays I do not see having sex with a man as a sin, and I most certainly do not hate it. In fact, I fucking love it. And so do certain priests, given the numerous sex scandals that rocked the Church in recent years.

For the longest time I’ve stopped going to Mass. But I still identify myself as “Roman Catholic,” especially in official documentation. It’s time I put a stop to that.

Monday, August 06, 2012

On The RH Bill

In a few days the Senate will vote on the RH Bill. Meanwhile the war between the Pro-RH and Anti-RH forces rages on. I honestly think that it’s already too late to convince someone to switch sides. I believe that most people already have their stand on contraception.

For me the fight on the RH Bill is not about whether contraception is the lie of the Devil. Rather, I believe that the battle over the RH Bill is shaping up to be a battle of separating Church and State. It is a battle against the tyranny of the feeling-majority.

Sadly I’m not confident that our senators are smart enough to see the real issues behind the RH Bill nor courageous enough to not succumb to the Church’s blackmail tactics. If the people decide on the RH Bill, the Church will be in for a rude shock.