Mar 31, 2009

Would you wear an earring on the right ear?


Do you wear an earring on one ear? If yes, on which ear do you wear it? Did you know that there is supposedly some rule that says that straight men wear earrings on the left ear and gay men on the right? (And some people mistakenly extend this rule by saying that bisexual men therefore wear earrings on both ears.) I find it actually amusing that I’ve heard of this “rule” back when I was a kid and still unsure of my own sexuality.

If you search the web and various Q&A sites, you’ll find that while many people are aware of this supposed convention, most are in agreement that it is ridiculous: men—gay, bi or straight—should feel free to wear any number of earrings/piercings on any ear they want (or even any other body part). I think there used to be a period in Western history wherein men wearing any earrings at all were considered gay, but I think the modern era is already past such foolishness.

Then again, I think the knowledge of such a rule is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Unless you have any other particular reason in wearing an earring on one ear or the other, I think most men who do not want to identify as gay (like the vast majority of discreet PLU guys) would choose to wear their earrings on the left ear. I mean, why would you want the drama, the gossip, and the teasing that comes with wearing an earring on the right ear, right? Well, if you actually observe guys with one pierced ear, you’ll find that almost all of them are pierced on the left.

So, what do you think?

Mar 29, 2009

Discreetionary: panic buying


panic buying

panic buying [PA·nick BUHY·ing] noun 1. A behavior done by a person in places for socializing near their closing times, characterized by a lowering of that person’s standards for interaction. etymology: from the economic concept of panic buying in which the connecting idea is that of a buyer’s perception of shortage or an expectation of reduced market supply.

When I first encountered this term in the PLU context, I immediately understood what it meant. Although the real economic panic buying means that people buy lots of stuff and the PLU version does not at all mean getting lots of guys, both concepts are similar in that there is an expected shortage of supply (i.e., the bar or club is closing soon). This is especially true for guys who haven’t scored yet. You can observe this all the time in bars, clubs, bathhouses, and even in gyms!

Unless you’re a really lucky person, I’m sure you’ve felt the urge to engage in panic buying even if ultimately you retain your pride and decide to remain scoreless instead of lowering your standards. I guess the motivating factor behind panic buying is that there’s an expensive entrance fee to a place and that your goal is to score and you haven’t scored yet. If your goal in going to a venue is different or the entrance is cheap or free, then there would no panic buying at all.

I’ll admit that I’ve done my own share of panic buying. Hehehe. :-) If you want an informative discourse about panic buying, check out the latter half of this conversation between McVie and his friend.

Mar 26, 2009

Take the 2009 MSM Sex Survey


Thanks to AJ, I learned about the 2009 MSM Sex Survey. It’s a survey for men who have sex with other men (MSM) in Asia. The results of this survey will help researchers analyze trends regarding sexual practices, beliefs, and knowledge of Asian PLUs especially with regard to HIV and AIDS. The survey is completely anonymous and would take about 15–20 minutes of your time. I encourage you to take it.

Yes, one big problem with this survey is that the respondents are completely self-selected (assuming that they only have the website and word-of-mouth to rely on). It’s unlikely that the survey will manage to get a random or representative sample of the Asian MSM population. But that’s the nature of polls that target PLUs; the problem of getting a good sample should not discourage you from participating. Any data is better than no data at all as long as the people who analyze the results mind the caveats of the sampling strategy.

Mar 23, 2009

Gay Sex in the 70s is a must-see documentary


Gay Sex in the 70s poster I said in my very first post that the three most important milestones I consider in the history of gay people in the last century are: the Stonewall Riots, the recognition of AIDS, and the mainstream rise of the Internet. Spanning the time period between the first two milestones, between June 1969 and June 1981, is the 70s. And boy, what a crazy decade that was! Well, what do you think happened after the centuries of repression that’s been violently released by the Stonewall riots and before the grim realization that unprotected sex has fatal consequences? Lots and lots and lots of gay sex. And that’s what the straightforwardly-named documentary Gay Sex in the 70s is all about. (See the official website.)

If there’s one word to describe this decade, it would be hedonistic. In a soundtrack filled with disco beats, Gay Sex in the 70s takes us back to that hedonism as told through the eyes of several gay men that lived back then in New York City and survived to tell the tale. Many reviews have said that this movie would be enlightening to younger viewers and boy was I ever enlightened! I had an inkling that gay sex was prevalent but I never imagined that gay sex was shockingly common back then. Sex occurred in abandoned piers, at the back of trucks, and along alleys. It happened at the backrooms of gay bars, in the dance clubs, and in the bathhouses that were open 24/7. Gey men even had sex publicly in Fire Island Pines, which seems to be the New York City–equivalent of Puerto Galera except that Fire Island looks like a more upscale gay paradise.

I’m actually quite disturbed by the recklessness of gay people back then when it came to sex and even drug usage. (I guess this is because of hindsight and the fact that I grew up in the age of AIDS.) Unlike straight men who might get girls pregnant, there seemed to be no adverse consequences to having gay sex back then. Even when they contracted STDs like gonorrhea, they just took antibiotic shots and rared to go back to the cruising scene as soon as the symptoms were gone. Gay men disdained condoms then and would be so addicted to sex (most of it unprotected) that it even affected other parts of their life. Sex was the norm—until they started dropping like flies. The media at that time called this unknown disease as the “gay cancer” and it was then that HIV and AIDS was discovered, to the horror of everyone.

Watching this film, I’m now not surprised that Christian fundamentalists latched to the conclusion that AIDS is a “gay disease” brought down by God to punish the homosexuals. I think that’s patently false, but one cannot avoid the likely conclusion that the unbridled gay sexual revolution in the 70s played a huge role in the spread of AIDS outside of sub-Saharan Africa. Anyway, the movie avoided ending itself on that depressing note by stating that the sexual energy was instead channeled into a positive form of activism whereby gays took charge in spreading information about AIDS, caring for AIDS victims, and basically making AIDS awareness and prevention strategies what it is today.

As far as documentaries go, Gay Sex in the 70s is not as polished as say, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth or even Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911. But the content of the film is what really matters and I heartily recommend PLUs everywhere to watch this. It’s very eye-opening and provides much needed perspective to the history of gay people. The movie is currently showing at Robinsons Galleria and I think it’s screening for only one week until Tuesday. Please do watch it if you can.

Mar 20, 2009

Guys4Men: the end of an era


So Guys4Men, possibly the most popular PLU personals website for the Philippines ever, bid goodbye to cyberspace last Wednesday without so much as a bang, having migrated its hundreds of thousands of user profiles to PlanetRomeo, also known as GayRomeo. In an announcement posted on the home page last month, admins of Guys4Men, which is popular in Asia and North America, said that they would be joining forces with PlanetRomeo, which has a strong following in Europe. I didn’t think that this was “joining forces” as much as Guys4Men throwing in the towel and letting itself be “acquired” by the other website.

I once tried GayRomeo last year but I find its interface too cluttered and its overall look too conspicuous. I preferred Guys4Men’s simplistic and almost bare-bones interface much better. Plus all that white makes the website less likely to attract attention from people around you in an Internet café or a coffee shop than PlanetRomeo’s blue-filled I-am-not-surfing-at-a-serious-website screen. (Then again, PLUs have learned to recognize G4M’s screen from a mile away.) One thing from G4M that I will particularly miss is the calendar. That’s where I primarily get my info about upcoming events and movie screenings. PlanetRomeo has no easy equivalent.

Guys4Men will be much missed.

Mar 16, 2009

BB Gandanghari and reinforcing stereotypes


The transformation of hunky Rustom Padilla to the beautiful BB Gandanghari is one admirable thing deserving of praise. Finally, Rustom became true to himself about how he felt and became a she. (Too bad for Carmina.) I can imagine it was hard for Rustom to grow up in a homophobic environment, what with a commanding father and brusko brothers like Robin at his side. I guess living far away in the liberal parts of the United States did him good.

However, as admirable as Rustom’s coming out and subsequent reinvention into BB may be, I fear that this episode will only reinforce stereotypes about non-heterosexual guys and possibly strengthen the stigma and ridicule against non-effeminate gay guys.

Philippine society as a whole has quite a backward view on non-straight people. Most Filipinos view gay guys as men who feel that they are women trapped in a guy’s body. This is reinforced by the plenty of out gay guys in showbiz, the sashaying gays that populate beauty parlors and salons (hence "parlorista" gays), and the numerous gay beauty contests in every town in the Philippines (see the movie The Thank You Girls and even Sagwan for a representation of this propensity for gay beauty pageants). With another example in the form of Rustom Padilla, especially since Filipinos knew him before as this macho leading-man actor in plenty of action films, I can see his transsexual/transgendered state—the terms can be pretty bewildering—as further raising confusion in Philippine society regarding people who aren’t straight.

I think the root of the problem is that there is widespread misunderstanding regarding the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity. The former is concerned with what gender you are sexually attracted to while the latter is about what gender you identify with. (Of course, it’s not as simple as this, but it suffices for the sake of discussion.) A man can still identify as a man and behave in a masculine manner but still be primarily attracted to other men. Sounds familiar?

So, I hate it when people automatically ascribe effeminate or female qualities to guys who just happen to be attracted to other guys. Just because the traditional role of females is to be attracted to males does not mean that men who are attracted to other men wants to become females or hope to take on feminine roles.

So what do you think? Do you agree with my observations? How do you think we can help Philippine society understand the colorful PLU world?

Mar 12, 2009

Epitome’s themed nights


As far as I am aware, Epitome is the only local bathhouse that has themed nights. I think Epitome took a leaf from other foreign gay bathhouses like Towel Club in Singapore and Hong Kong (visit the website—it’s one of the most tasteful gay-oriented websites I’ve seen). Towel Club has its special nights like Beefcake Thursday—special rates for gym members—and Speedo Sundays—for guys who like trunks and underwear.

Like Towel Club, Epitome has its own special themed nights. Currently they are Oooh La La Mondays, Lights Out Tuesdays, Wild Wild Wednesdays, and Undergears Only Thursdays. These special nights are aside from their usual drag comedy and sing-along shows on Friday and Saturday nights as well as their extended opening hours during Sundays. I’ll describe below what you can expect during these themed nights in Epitome.

Oooh La La Mondays

Oooh La La!

Exactly 10PM, 11PM & 12 Midnight, Epitome highlights an Exciting, Exhilarating, Expressive GoGo Boy at the Gym Area

On Mondays, Epitome has a striptease number performed by a macho dancer at the gym area divided into three parts. The first part starts at 10 p.m., followed by the second part at 11 p.m., then a finale at midnight. Each part lasts for less than 5 minutes and its only during the finale where the dancer bares it all.

My verdict? Skip the show. Why bother looking at a gyrating man when you can possibly have real sensual fun with other patrons? Then again, I’m not really a fan of macho dancing so those who are into such form of entertainment might like this night.

Lights Out Tuesdays

Dark Hallways, Dark Rooms, Dark Maze, Dark Steam Room, Dark Outdoor Heated Jacuzzi, Dark Gym, Dark Shower Areas...

MEN Bonding in the Dark!

Tuesday nights are basically just your regular nights except everything is darker and most areas are lit only by candlelight. Epitome is already dark in the first place so you can already imagine how much darker it will be.

I’ve tried this themed night twice. The first time the video room had no blue films playing so it practically doubled as another dark room. The second time there was a screening of blue films (as is usual) so it was not entirely dark; most guys then use the video room area and the adjacent hallway to check each other out.

“Skin Night” Wild Wild Wednesdays

Be Vulnerable. Be Daring. Be BOLD.

No Underwears allowed, No Game, No Play

Only Wednesdays at Epitome takes you to a different side of bath house experience... SKIN Night!

This is the kinkiest themed night for Epitome. It basically has you in the bath house naked, save for a gym towel (about 1 feet by 2 feet) for modesty’s sake. I might say that this night is for the exhibitionists and the voyeurs among us; it’s definitely not for the self-conscious or modest people.

I have to emphasize that the towel is really small. Unless you’re an inordinately slim guy, you cannot wrap the towel around your waist. You can cover your crotch and your buttcrack but you need two hands (one, if you’re clever, but it requires sticking your elbow out). So most guys just content themselves with covering their crotch area and leave their butts naked for all to see. A few daring souls simply just hang the towel on their shoulder and strut around naked.

The problem with this night’s setup is that the small towel is simply not large enough to dry yourself with should you wish to take a shower—the staff won’t give you any big towels for bathing purposes. Be forewarned.

Undergears Only Thursdays

Reveal your hottest, sexiest, hippest thongs, boxers, briefs, trunks

This Thursday themed night is essentially the same as Wednesdays, only this time, you’re allowed to wear one piece of lower underwear. Epitome markets this by encouraging patrons to wear their most sexy briefs, boxers, trunks, or even thongs.

Since this is just the more modest version of Wednesday’s theme, the same caveats regarding using the towel for bathing purposes apply.

Hope that guides you if ever you've been curious about the numerous event listings posted by Epitome’s management on Guys4Men about these nights. :-)

Mar 8, 2009

Sagwan was pointless

1 comment.

When I saw the cut version of Sagwan at Robinsons Galleria last month, I found it pointless. And upon reading the comments left by viewers on these two posts over at the Hot Men in the Philippines blog, I knew why. Take out the frontal nudity and gratuitous sex scenes (that many viewers commented were simply blatant exploitation on the part of the producers and the director) and you're left with a movie devoid of substance and plot.

Sagwan also demonstrated some of the limitations of the digital film medium. I don't know why the producers of the film scrimped on the technical details of the filming but the version they showed in the theater was uber-pixellated—it seems that the resolution used was like 320×240, which is YouTube quality. I wish they've gone with 720p HD-quality at least. Another problem is that they should've known that digital films are projected using digital projectors, which distorts colors and bleeds the bright spots in the scene. As a result, the messages written by Cecilia, the mute character, were not visible at all. You can actually feel the palpable disappointment of the viewers when the big screen is filled with Cecilia's notepad but you can't actually read anything at all!

The movie isn't complete crap. The cinematography is the single best thing going for the movie and the choice of the picturesque Calauag town in Quezon as the setting veered the movie away from crappy Hugot territory. (Yes, Hugot is the gay indie flick I least liked and I hope to never see a movie that breaks Hugot's record.) Another likable aspect of Sagwan is the presence of the two gay pimps who provide great comic relief.

I'll just leave you with this acute and insightful movie review by the Bakla Reviewer.

Mar 4, 2009

Marc and Rovilson on Forbidden Questions


I don’t normally listen to Mo Twister’s morning radio talk show with Mojo Jojo and Grace Lee on Magic 89.9. I find Mo pretty arrogant and having strong—yet uninformed—convictions regarding gay guys. It also doesn’t help that Mojo, the gay co-host of the show, often does not help set Mo straight. But as it happens, I tuned in to his show this morning and heard the announcement that his guests for this week’s Forbidden Questions (an extremely popular, yet controversial, segment where he asks very candid questions and outrageous dares of his celebrity guests) were Marc Nelson and Rovilson Fernandez. Well, I couldn’t pass this up since I have a big crush on Marc Nelson and a little one on Rovilson. (It’s a given that most gay guys find Marc very hot, but I have this thing for skinhead dudes and Rovilson is a hot one at that.)

One regular dare they ask of their male celebrity guests is to have the guy kiss Mojo Jojo. Now Mojo is a lucky bastard since he was able to kiss some of the hottest guys in showbiz. (Then again, he would also be kissing not-so appealing men like Gary Lising.) Anyway, for this morning’s show, it was Rovilson Fernandez who was in the hot seat and he did it.

The highlight of the show, however, was Marc Nelson’s dare. He was to do a lap dance in his underwear in front of Mojo. Well, Marc did do it and Grace Lee was screaming the whole time while Mojo was flabbergasted with excitement. I wish I were in Mojo’s shoes that morning. Hehehe. But given the choice between Marc’s lap dance and Rovilson’s kiss, I’d choose the latter. :-P