"Don't do that. Don't lie. Not here. This is a gym. This is—this is gay church."—Will, Will & Grace
You know what I think? I think that gyms franchises like Fitness First and Gold's Gym are the ultimate cruising and guy-watching places for the discreet Pinoy PLU. Where else can you find a lot of cute, hunky, and buff guys to ogle at? And where else can you be sure to have like-minded gay and bisexual men congregate to a place that's safe and full of opportunities?
For the ultra-discreet guys, gyms are great places to possibly meet new guys. Unlike bath houses like Club Bath and gay clubs like Bed, you can go to a gym and discreetly get to know other PLU guys without outing yourself to the rest of the people there. Moreover, unlike surfing websites like Guys4Men and chatting on IRC, you can be sure that the guy you're talking to is good-looking and masculine instead of being deceived by fake pictures and misleading profiles. Furthermore, because gym memberships quite expensive, it's almost safe to say that the guys in the gym are not out to skim money out of you and have decent backgrounds.
If I painted an elitist view of the gym lifestyle, it's because that's the way things are. High-end gym memberships are a luxury—there are definitely much more cheaper alternatives like jogging at public parks and enrolling in cheaper neighborhood gyms (like the ones that charge only 50 pesos or so per visit). If you can afford it, expensive gym memberships are well worth the money since you can avail of the facilities for much-needed self-improvement. The perks—official or clandestine—are simply icing on the cake!
This gym phenomenon is actually quite a recent thing. Before the 2000s, the only high-end gym franchise is Slimmers World. Other alternatives are the ultra-expensive gyms found in hotels. Then the 2000s came and international gym chains like Fitness First and Gold's Gym came into the country with extensive gym class schedules, perks like Internet access, free drinks, and gym bags, and expansive locker rooms where you can discreetly eye half-naked buffed guys. Hehehe.
Let me just state that I've been a member of Gold's Gym for over three years now and I've had several great encounters already. *Wink, wink* There are plenty of things to discuss and recount regarding the Pinoy PLU gym experience and you can bet that I'll blog about them in future posts here in Discreet Manila. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, you might want to read up on McVie's Gym FAQ for a teaser of similar things to come. :)
Our gym model is La Sallian Paolo Villavicencio.