Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Philippines, Part 2: Gays Galore at Comedy Bar.

For the next few days as Sheila was at work, I hung low and got caught up on some writing. It was nice to be stationary and not continuously on the move. I just fell into the rhythms of the neighborhood and got to know Sheila's family. Speaking of which: Sheila's family was so hospitable and accommodating; they really made me feel at home. Tito Jojo, Sheila's uncle, cooked all my meals for me. He was like my personal chef, who would randomly check on me and ask what I would like eat throughout the day. Man, it was great. He definitely kept my bully full with delicious traditional Filipino meals, especially with the mounds of rice he would serve me. Good Lord! At one point, I had to ask him not to bring me anymore rice for the next few meals as I had stacks of plates in the refrigerator full of rice which I'd accumulated from previous meals in which I couldn't finish. Filipinos love themselves some rice. Whew!

One day Sheila's brother, JanJan, invited me to play basketball with him at the local court. Sounded great. That's something I loved about the Philippines: that the country's sport of choice is basketball. I've never seen such a basketball crazed place in my life. There are basketball courts everywhere. It was quite refreshing to see. And apparently I remind every Filipino on planet Earth of Benji Paras, a famous Filipino basketball player. I guess because we're both tall, have a shaved head, and a gotee (or did have, I should say). Sheila and Elaine were the first Filipinos to make the comparison during my travels. And every Filipino that I've met after have managed to repeat the same sentiment.

Anyways, due to my height, everyone felt that I had an unfair advantage, so I wasn't allowed to play. I was banned in participating in any of their full court games. What a bunch of girly men. So I ended up playing with JanJan in a few 2-on-2 games. I was glad that my height didn't deter JanJan from playing me; heart of a true Filipino warrior. That's what I'm talking about! Nice.

Sheila's friends from work were going to a comedy/karaoke club Friday night and asked if we would join them. Sheila asked me if it would be something I would like to do.

"Yeah, sure." I said. "Let's do it."

However, Sheila was having some internal debate about whether or not she should take me. I asked her what the problem was.

"Well, I just don't know if you will feel comfortable being in that sort of crowd?" she said.

What kind of crowd are we talking about here, I thought?

"It's just that there are a lot of gay people there and the performers make a lot of green jokes, and I'm afraid that you'll get offended."

Oh, no! Not gay people AND green jokes! Ahhhh!!!

I laughed and explained to Sheila that I have no problem being around gay people, and that I wouldn't get offended by the jokes.

She still seemed a bit hesitant.

"Look," I said, "if I get offended at some point, I'll let you know and we'll just leave, okay?" She agreed. Sheila has such a pure soul; I never even heard her curse one time while I was around her. So cute.

As we were leaving for the club Friday night, JanJan hollered at me.

"Hey, Adam," he said.

"Yeah, what's up?" I responded.

"Take care of my sister, okay?"

"I got you, man. I'm taking her under my wing. No worries, " I told him, as he was standing in the street with a few of his friends.

After Sheila and I walked into the club I noticed that there wasn't any westerners in the entire club - and it was a fairly large one, too. As we stood in the back while Sheila was searching for her friends, I was observing the four - obviously gay - performers on stage, two of which were dressed in drag.

"Oh, there they are!" said Sheila, pointing to the table located in front of the stage.

"Oh...great," I said, sarcastically and softly to myself, "Could they have chosen to sit any closer to the stage?"

All eyes were on me as we approached the table. Gawd help me, I thought.

Sounding like the character Joey from the television show "Friends":

"Look at me, the tall white guy in the club! Could I
BE anymore of a tourist?!"

Sheila immediately began introducing me to everyone as we sat down. I noticed that some of them were hesitant to sit next to me for whatever reason. However, one of her friends, Karen, a former performer at the club, went straight into routine.

"Hey, how do you find me?" Karen inquired.

"Oh, you and your friends seem really nice," I responded.

"No! You found me because I'm in front of you! HA HA HA HA!"

All of her friends began to laugh as well.


This continued for the next few minutes.

"Uh...yeah," I said, "heh....heh," as I sent Sheila a confused, bewildered look across the table with an eyebrow raised.

Oh, boy.

And just as I'd expected, it didn't take but 5 minutes for the performers to hone in on me. I was fresh meat.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

"Um, excuse me everyone," one of the performers began to speak, "It appears that we have our first foreign object in the building."

And let the games begin.

For the next 10 minutes the performers made me feel as uncomfortable as they possibly could. There was nothing I could do, so I just went along for the ride. In these situations it's best to keep your mouth shut. Don't attempt to be funny as the performers are extremely witty. They'll use whatever you say and make you look even stupider. It's pretty much a guarantee.

I said something once and he - dare I say, she? - shut me down instantly. The massacre continued as they forced me up on the stage. How long was I going to have to endure such embarrassment, I thought? And once I was on stage the verbal molestation began. One sexual innuendo joke after the next. Fresh meat, indeed. I could feel them undressing me with their eyes. They knew how to make a straight man feel out of place. Looking at me as to say, "Oh, yeahh!"

Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, they made me sing a song!

"Naw, naw," I pleaded, "I'm pretty bad with remembering the lyrics to songs."

"That's okay, we have a monitor from which you can read the lyrics," said one of the performers. "So pick a song, Adam."

"Uhhh..." I mumbled, trying to think of one. Just then, someone from the crowd yelled the title of the song "21 Guns" by the band Green Day.

And the person who recommended the song? Yeah, it was Sheila. She was relishing the moment - a little too much, if you ask me. So cold, Sheila, so cold.

That's okay, though, because I would get my revenge soon enough as Sheila was brought up to the stage next. But they really didn't rip on her too much. Instead they had her participate in some reenactment of a scene from a movie. She really got into character and was quite good. I was impressed. She played the role of a woman who was furious with her boyfriend who had cheated on her or something. That's what I could gather at least, as they were speaking predominately in Tagalog.

I was also really impressed with Sheila's singing. Yes, they made Sheila sing as well. She sang a lovely song in Tagalog. I had no idea what she was saying, but it sure sounded great. It was a pleasant surprise. I was learning new things about Sheila everyday.

Next, a live band performed and everyone hit the dance floor. Every Filipina wanted to dance with the tall white guy. Sheila took a few pictures of me. Man, I looked so out of place. I looked like a giant out there. But that didn't deter me from having a good time.

I had a great time at the club. It was an experience I'll never forget, that's for sure. Sheila's friends from work were great too, and we all took pictures outside before we left. I was having an amazing first week in the Philippines. I couldn't wait for the weekend, as Sheila and Elaine planned to show me in and around Manila and to Tall Volcano.

Let the good times roll.


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