Macho Dancer Issues

HIV And Macho Dancers

HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS (HIV) is a serious problem and is on the rise in the Philippines.  Amongst those more vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections are the macho dancers, virtually lowly-educated and poorly aware of the dangers posed by these diseases now crippling thousands of Filipinos today.

There are dancers who reluctantly give in to the desires of sex-starved people, homosexuals in particular, and it is when they come into unprotected genital contact with strangers that they are at risk of contracting Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, HIV, and HPV.  The fourth is transmittable through oral sex, which act causes throat cancer.  Strippers who constantly engage in oral sex will eventually develop throat cancer.

Strippers are encouraged to practice safe, protected sex and to get tested for STDs on a regular basis  to check if they are infected.

Unknown to the public, Club Mankind regularly conducts HIV tests for its macho dancers and the Gonogran commends the establishment for going the extra mile for its over-worked entertainers.  Let’s hope other male entertainment bars will do the same thing for their employees.


PozziePinoy Is A Must Read

Photo courtesy of (the official website of The Project Red Ribbon Care Management Program)

THE GONOGRAD and the Gonogran support PozziePinoy Blog (the official site of The Project Red Ribbon Care Management Program hosted on, which is a must read for all Christian, Buddhist, Agnostic, and atheist islanders who have access to and the means to use the Internet.

PozziePinoy focuses on the dissemination of information on Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome in the Philippine archipelago and information on clinics and hospitals providing tests and treatments and also provides counseling and assistance to financially-needy HIV-AIDS patients.

Sexually active persons, including expatriates and macho dancers, are thus encouraged to visit the blog from which they will learn a lot about the dreaded sexually transmitted diseases, the locations of centers and clinics that provide testing for HIV and AIDS and venereal diseases, the experiences of those people the blog has touched and helped, and about its volunteer programs.

HIV is on the rise in the Philippine Islands, yet more and more people continue to remain ignorant of the repercussions of promiscuity and engaging in unprotected sex.  What is more shocking is that the infected persons are getting younger.

It’s about time we cut off their penises, oops, I mean, we educate the islanders on the importance of safe sex, abstinence, prevention and early detection of the sexually transmitted infections and venereal diseases, and of seeking treatments at the earliest possible time.

Should anyone wish to contact PozziePinoy, its e-mail address is   It can also be followed on Twitter @pozziepinoy.

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

“FAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTEMPT and if you don’t get it, poor you” was my friend’s text message to a macho dancer, who was pestering him with numerous messages peppered with requests for eat-outs, pleadings for him to visit the bar and for permission for the dancer to visit him in his rented apartment.

He very well remembers his mother’s advice to him given back when he was still in secondary school.

Familiarity breeds contempt.

Strip bar managers and macho dancers must heed this warning.  Patrons ought to learn this by heart.

Rule number two applies especially when you are in the bar.  Strippers must keep their distance, keep to themselves and don’t invade the customer’s privacy, which he values so much.  The patron will request a dancer to join him, if and when he likes.  If he has been alone for an hour, don’t you ever tell him to table (local strip bar parlance for asking a dancer to sit with or join you at your table) you.  You wait for him to make the move.  Again, if he needs some company, he will readily inform the manager about it.

I, for one, don’t like a bar executive who joins me at my table and starts with me with queries about my job and love life (hello, I did not come to this place to talk about my personal life), nags me to get a dancer to sit with me or a private room, where he thinks a stripper and I can have some privacy (do you want us to have some intimate moments in there?).  Most local male strip bar executives are devoid of etiquette and it’s sad when you are deficient in it.

Sometimes, a person just wants to be alone, to be by himself and he hates it when other people deprive him of that basic right.

Macho Dancers Are Not Prostitutes

I AM not an apologist for the macho dancers but I beg to disagree with those who hold the bigoted view or pursue the argument that the macho dancers, the local strippers that is, are actually prostitutes.  They are not.  I bet these narrow-minded people have not been to male strip bars and have not tabled, spent time with and talked to strippers.  I wonder where they get this false notion that these strippers are actually callboys and macho dancing is simply their front for their trade.  What’s with these people who pay actual commercial sex workers, yet malign male strippers and label them as prostitutes, a serious allegation which the dancers cannot believe and accept.

Does one become an instant prostitute if and when he agrees to have sex with a person for a fee?  Does a stripper become a prostitute simply because he agrees to be sucked by a homosexual patron for an agreed fee?  Would you call a macho dancer prostitute if he agreed to perform oral sex on a male customer for five thousand pesos (just over $100 US Dollars)?

This is the common mindset of the local cops who are damn too narrow-minded, too self-righteous, too ignorant.

Perhaps, there are people out there who don’ t really understand the dancers and their choice of work and envy them.

Macho dancers are not prostitutes.

Poverty and Macho Dancers

I’VE been thinking if it’s really poverty that drove these macho dancers or strippers to where they are now.  Poverty per se is there but it is incorrect to point out it’s the reason they are dancing and stripping for dough.  I say it’s one of the factors for most of the dancers, but it is a different case for a few of these entertainers who held other blue-collar jobs or did menial work prior to working as strippers.

Many nocturnal entertainers (my euphemism for the local male strippers) have no education to speak of beyond secondary school and they are the breadwinners in their families or helping their parents make ends meet.  There are those who have a child or children of their own to feed and support and, at the same time, they are obligated to contribute to their parents’ limited finances.  Quite simply, they are feeding many mouths.  It’s tough for them but they survive somehow.

Then there are those much younger dancers, in their early twenties, who are actually single fathers.  As such, they work hard to provide for their child or children’s needs.  Their world is their offspring and their sacrifices, first and foremost, are dedicated to the fruits of their well, lust.  Pardon my terminology but that’s how I see it.  But Philippine male strippers should not take offence because it’s the truth and even their own kind admit to their promiscuity.  The strippers’ parents were born into poverty and they, the strippers, are buried in poverty, too.  I see the cycle of penury there.  I know they want to free themselves from the shackles of poverty but, unbeknownst to them, they have brought poverty upon themselves because of unwise decisions like getting into a relationship with partners who have no ambition in life other than to meet “Mr. Right”, hit it off with him, and get preggy, siring children, and developing vices.  Now their own children are born into poverty with no safety nets.  This is sad and painful, especially for their offspring.  I read somewhere that if a Third World person was born into poverty, chances are high that he will stay in poverty.  Can relationship or marriage not wait for men?  Why settle down at 19 or 20?  Why sire a child here and there?  Then you hear them whine about the big mess they created.  I don’t like to hear that.

But it’s nice to note how these men work harder to meet their daily needs.  In a way, their perseverance kind of inspires me.

In the case of a few macho dancers, stripping seems to beacon to them as an alternative employment which promises huge income every single night, but is actually a myth.  Take the case of a cute, young man, a hillbilly from Eastern Philippines, who went to the national capital, Manila, to find work.  He hoped to be employed as a waiter in a restaurant but landed a job as a counter crew at a famous home-grown fast-food restaurant somewhere in Quezon City, a suburb of Manila.  He earned about $8 US Dollars each day and worked so hard in his job for six straight months.  After this period, he was told his contract could not be renewed.  This was devastating for him.  He knew deep inside he was pretty good in his job and wondered why the company would not take him in again (The local industry practice is to hire new people to replace workers who have worked for four or six months.  This way, though illegal, the company does not spend so much in terms of work regularization benefits).  Faced with the prospects of going hungry and broke once his savings ran out, he job-hunted.  Besides, he thought of his family he was helping back home in the province.   He job-hunted, and fortunately for him he landed yet another job, this time, as a grocery bagger.  It was the same story for him.  There was no job security.  After five months, he was jobless anew.  He had to find work; one that would let him stay in it for long, if possible.  His room-mate or casual acquaintance told him about the possibility of working as a model or dancer in a male strip bar where he was employed.  He could earn better, if lucky.  Or, he could earn just enough.  Reluctant at first and apparently dead-tired of job-hunting in the big city, he said “yes” and it was not long before he started stripping like the rest of the guys in the club.  It was really no big deal for him.  At least, he claimed, he was earning and could earn more on what he could “lucky nights”, those nights when he got “tabled” (local strip bar parlance for being requested to sit with a customer) and earned $10 to $20 US Dollars on top of his nightly allowance of about $5-10 US Dollars.  “Not bad,” he thought to himself.  Months later, he was able to send money to his parent.  He was happy about it.

I know someone who was a fisherman by day and a macho dancer by night.  He decided to strip at night because his earnings were not enough and he wanted to save up for college.  Whether he finally reached his goal, I have no idea.

I know several men who used macho dancing as a vehicle for reaching their dreams.  You see there are people from the television and movie industries who occasionally visit strip bars and it is in these unlikely places called macho dancer establishments where they get to discover the potentials of some persons who are later given their big breaks.  These few men are the lucky ones.  They are on their way to a brighter future.

Just last month, I met this good-looking macho dancer who told me he stripped simply because he was curious about the big money his stripper-friend boasted about.  His curiosity was unprecedented, I guess.  I salute him.

I am not encouraging jobless young men to give macho dancing or stripping a shot but, if getting a decent job turns out to be tougher than expected and working as a stripper is the only available employment you see in the horizon, then by all means go for it.  It won’t make you less of a man, anyway.

For The Sake of the Ratings

IF a particular news reader-cum-television host has a penchant for making an issue out of a macho dancer bar, you, as a patron, must begin to suspect that the latter must be a member of the purple corps, a painful truth he declines to accept, that he must have an abhorrence for the strippers, whom he has found tough to convince to make love to him, that he must have envied those hunky, gorgeous dancers who have the fortitude to work as such…which was, and is, his frustration in life…

There are people who project themselves as messiahs for these boys and men they have always claimed “were trafficked as prostitutes”, yet these same upright-walking apes offer no alternative employment to these nocturnal entertainers whose circumstances in life drove or compelled them into this kind of work.

These arrogant, self-righteous media people and the police condemn macho dancing and equate the latter with prostitution, but they have no gall to openly condemn the activities and atrocities of those Indio insurgents in the countryside because they are damn terrified to bother and touch them.  Besides, talking about insurgency does not up the ratings.  Helping, or shall I say telling?, the police to launch a crackdown after crackdown on macho dancer bars causes the ratings to skyrocket, which is, of course, best for the program.

Eighty-percent of the Philippine islanders are damn poor and will continue to remain poor, and what better way for numerous impoverished Indios to temporarily forget about hunger pangs and other problems than to watch news programs tackling social issues to which they can relate.  There is this thirst for something shallow and there are television programs that feed on this thirst.  Which is why the content of their reports always comes out as shallow.

But raiding a bar and making arrests do not solve the problem.  In fact, such actions only contribute to the arrested persons’ problems.  Little does the world know that the arresting officers extort money from the apprehended persons.  The police employ intimidation (we will ask for media people from this and that station), incarcerate them beyond the time stipulated by law, will cite provisions of a certain law relative to nude dancing, and will proudly announce there is a city ordinance banning lewd dancing, what not.  Oh, but they can’t recite from memory and read the arrested persons’ Miranda Rights, which they copied from their mother country, the US of A.  Worse, they probably don’t understand what “You have the right to remain silent, and anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law, that is, if you, the arrested person, opt to give up that right to remain silent.”  Oh, how pathetic they appear when they try to read them their Miranda Warning from a piece of paper!   That’s the consequence when you imitate another culture!

So macho dancing is a criminal offense while extortion is not illegal!  Amen!

If macho dancing is a crime, then owning a cache of firearms as a member of a secessionist group in a more impoverished part of Catholic Philippines must be an awesome thing to do.  This is because you see on television that the Catholic government simply lets them be.  Hmm, I might as well join this “state-licensed” armed organization as a foreign mercenary and, then, during fight lulls, I will visit strip bars.  I think I will like this idea.

And to the television moralists:  Can you feed the strippers and the people who depend on them?  You can’t even make a difference in the lives of those starving, illiterate mountain dwellers!

Macho Dancer: The Underpaid, Exploited Night Worker

THE enduring myth is that the Philippine macho dancers, those bikini brief or skimpy shorts-clad male dancers at establishments called male entertainment bars or mistakenly known as gay bars, make a lot of money, enough to make them instant rich guys.  But the painful reality is the dancers receive only a measly allowance called budget and can hardly make both ends meet.  They seem to live a hand-to-mouth existence.  These macho dancers are underpaid, working only on a commission basis.

A macho dancer’s (MD) standard budget varies amongst the different macho dancer bars in Metro Manila.  A standard budget can be 150 for a few Makisig boys, 250 for some Adonis erotic dancers, and 400 for several Big Papa strippers and non-strippers.  Their earnings are augmented with cuts on drinks when they are fortunate to be tabled and with tip money if the customers are willing to shell out some cash for the tabled performer’s company and time.  Do all customers who table dancers give gratuities to the latter?  No.  Only a few do.  Most customers or guests are content only with buying drinks for the dancers because they get commissions on their drinks anyway.  Macho dancers can also receive cash rewards from customers who are amused, entertained, or who enjoy certain dance shows or performances.  Remember the sabit thing?  Sabit is a cash reward.  Macho dancers who dance with enthusiasm, life, and confidence are rewarded with cash, which the customers tuck into their bikini briefs or shorts.  But then it RARELY happens that a dancer is given tips or cash reward by his customer or customers.  Only generous guests do that.  Most of the time, a dancer gets nothing and relies only on the commissions he gets from the drinks he downs.  Some bars give 100 pesos per macho dancer or male dancer drink ordered, while other establishments grant 80 pesos.  Still others offer only 60 pesos per male dancer drink.  Adonis and Club Maginoo, reputed to be the more popular and more established macho dancer bars, can only give a 50-peso cut on each male dancer drink, to think a single macho drink at either bar costs a whopping 450 pesos.  The painful truth is that a huge percentage of his drink commissions goes straight to the pockets of the waiter who serves the dancer and his guest, the bartender who thinks he should also get a share of the dancer’s meager earnings because he thinks the dancer owes him one for preparing his drinks, and to the manager who sits him with a guest.  The dancer is a milking cow in the macho dancing world.

Then there is the bar fine cut or VIP room charge commission that he is entitled to if and when he is selected but then it happens only once in a blue moon.  Besides, virtually all macho dancers detest the idea of being taken off the bar for obvious reasons or chosen for a private show in one of those tiny units called VIP rooms.

Most self-righteous people including self-styled moralists condemn these nocturnal workers arguing they “always have a choice” to find a better job.  It is easier said than done.  In a Third World country like the Philippines, where people breed like rabbits, jobs for secondary school graduates or college drop-outs are a miracle waiting to happen.  It is even much harder for those armed only with some college education or vocational training.  Discrimination of all sorts is prevalent in that small, impoverished country south of Taiwan.  Do you think these macho dancers wanted to be dancers in the first place?  No.  Circumstances forced them to work as such to earn a living so they could bridge hunger.

Many of these men were duped and lured by floor managers, majority of whom are effeminate or transvestites, who promised them huge earnings each night they came to work and dance naked or half-naked … and dance to no end… before a captivated crowd.  They are amongst the most exploited workers in the so-called male entertainment industry but the bar owners, the floor managers, and the bar operations in-charge counter they do not exploit these workers.  They argue that the dancers are obligated to help generate income for the bars which undeniably stage nude shows involving some dancers who are forced to participate against their will.

It is true that circumstances goaded these men to enter the macho dancing industry.   Abject penury, the desire to improve one’s economic status, the absence of an employable skill, the pressure to support his parents and siblings or his own family, or the difficulty of getting a new job after failing to renew his work contract with a fast-food restaurant or a convenience store forces a young man to try his luck in a macho dancer bar.

Rather than end up as a bystander all his life, an unemployed, out-of-school youth in his late adolescent years (17 or 19), is convinced by a persistent mama sang, who “sees” a potential in the young man, to try his luck as a guest relations officer (GRO) or an MD.  If he is taken as a GRO, it won’t be long before he joins the rest as a dancer.

A recent high school or a vocational training graduate finds it extremely difficult to land a good-paying job and decides that a stint as a guest entertainment officer (or relations officer) or a dancer/model would be a better option, a move supported by a friend/dancer and a bar manager to whom he is introduced for audition.

A young man who has run out of money with which to pay his college tuition and has a tough time getting a job which imposes no restrictions on acquired college education or prior work experience, on the applicant’s height, appearance, or even background is convinced that his only way out of his current situation is by working as a macho dancer.

A roast pig store worker, who happens to have good looks, the height, and an athletic body, is “accidentally” discovered by a macho dancer bar floor manager who happens to be a customer at the shop where he works.  The manager hands him his business card, encouraging and convincing the shocked guy to no end that he can earn double, or even triple, the amount he earns monthly in his current employment.  The young guy seems impressed and, after much thought, he quits his job, contacts the manager, and shows up at the establishment one evening for an audition.

A country boy thinks that he can earn more as a macho dancer than as a farm help or as a full-time tricycle driver.  So he sets out for the metropolis (Metro Manila) in search of a macho dancer bar which may take him in as a performer.

The manager employs the same tactics while window shopping, hoping he can spot or bump into someone he thinks has what it takes to be a macho dancer.  He lies to the innocent man, he flatters him, he impresses him, he convinces him, he nags him, he tries to win his trust, he dupes him, and if he can hypnotize him, he will not hesitate to do so.

It seems there is no job in sight that pays a minimum wage, prompting a man in his early or mid-twenties to turn to his friend hoping the latter can help him get a job, even if the pay is low, as long as he earns.  Little does he know that his good friend turns out to be a bar dancer and he convinces the job-seeker to give macho dancing a shot despite the meager income he gets.  It is better this way, than go hungry, he tells his unemployed pal.  Hesitant at first, the desperate young man finally says “yes”, and on a scheduled evening, he will show up at the bar for his baptism of fire into the world of macho dancing.

Never mind if he is not “macho” at all when he starts working.  Never mind if he is small or lanky or a bit flabby.  Never mind if he is not pleasant looking.  He can “reinvent” himself along the way.

It is true those gifted with great looks and endowed by the Gods have an advantage over those who are not fortunate enough to be attractive.  The gorgeous and the hunky guys are the luckiest amongst them since they are going to be an instant hit and earn more dough.

The naive or uninitiated soon realizes that everything works differently in the establishment he joins.  His earnings, acquired through hard work and constant shedding of sweat (it is terribly hot on stage thanks to the numerous lights on the ceiling), are not all his to keep.  He is obligated to share them with different persons he works with in the place.  He “owes” it to them, as they say.  If he does not give them something, he is certain he won’t be introduced to guests on the succeeding nights and they will despise him.  He has no choice but to share some of his meager earnings, leaving only a small amount for him to take home and whatever is left of his income is not even enough to make both ends meet.  Now, he realizes he is dancing so others can earn since the bar owner does not give them fixed salaries.  He labors for others to survive.   He does not only tire his body to feed himself and the family members dependent on him, but he also feeds the floor manager, the waiter, the bar tender, and even the props man or woman.  He unknowingly allows himself to be exploited by the bar owner who continues to rake in more and more money at the expense of his workers. Such is the reality in the macho dancer world.

It won’t be long before he finally grapples with the shocking, heart-breaking reality that besides his own family, some extended family members, and himself to support with his meager income, he has to help the following folks survive in this dog-eat-dog world:

Floor Manager (FM).  The term “floor manager” is synonymous with “pimp”, since he “parades” and “offers” the macho dancers to interested guests for their selection.  A successful attempt to let a dancer sit at a guest’s table means money for the persistent floor manager who does not only employ flattery, lies, and a lot of convincing, but who also will try to move heaven and earth to get a guest or customer to “table” (or invite) a dancer to join him or her.  The dancer is now “obligated” to give the floor manager a share of whatever he earns for spending time with a guest who may sexually harass him, if he turns out to be a perverted customer.  In the event the dancer declines to give the manager some cash, he is on his way to loosing favor with the manager.  The manager will label the dancer “ingrate” for not “recognizing” and “appreciating” the former’s “so-called efforts” to get him a customer.  The “disappointed” manager will now have a “valid and a justifiable reason” to NOT introduce and “offer” the same dancer the next time guests come to get dancers to spend time with them.  The manager will likely destroy the dancer’s image and reputation as a performer by making up baseless stories about him and his work attitude.   This is to the disadvantage of the innocent macho dancer whose only fault is not sharing his measly earnings with the floor manager on one particular night.  When this “black propaganda” intensifies, the poor dancer will lose customers, and regular and potential ones, brainwashed and duped by scheming floor managers, will now table new dancers.

Waiter.  They move around on the look-out for raised hands, which gestures mean new or additional drink/food requests, the check is needed, they need to go on errands for the guests, or they need to handle inquiries or complaints.  They race up and down if the bar is a two-story establishment.  They shuttle between the guests’ tables and the kitchen or the bar area, they buss plates and eating implements, they move or lift tables and chairs, and they check on each occupied table.  The waiters claim they are the second most overworked macho dancing bar workers, after the macho dancers themselves, yet they do not receive a regular and standard pay, except a nightly allowance of 50 pesos (an allowance is referred to as budget).  However, some do get 100 pesos a night.  No different from the floor managers, they indirectly demand a share of the dancer’s earnings, explaining they wait on tables and serve guests and dancers, whose every possible request the waiter will act on.  Both the waiter and the floor manager assume that a dancer earns a lot from tips every time he gets tabled by a guest.  Such is a myth and the reality is far worse.  The painful truth is that the dancer’s drink commissions go straight to the pockets of the waiter who serves the dancer and his guest, the bartender who thinks he should also get a share of the dancer’s meager earnings because he thinks the dancer owes him one for preparing his drinks, and the floor manager who picks him for a customer to table.  The  dancer is a milking cow in the macho dancing world.

Bartender.  There is not a night that you do not see a bartender with a frowned face.  The man behind the bar-counter seldom grins as if to say it is the end of the world for him.  But he tries to smile back or actually reciprocates your gesture when you flash a friendly grin.  His job is pretty easy, just making sure he prepares and serves the right drink or the requested beverage and logs each drink ordered.  Whatever the waiter requests as long as the product is available, he grants it, preparing drinks for the customers and the “tabled” dancers.  He seems relax standing or sitting behind the counter, sometimes with a kitchen staff, but most of the time, all alone.

Because the dancer engages the services of the bartender through the waiter, the former is now obligated to “pay” the bartender by giving him whatever the dancer can possibly spare for him.  That is the unwritten rule.  Anyone amongst the dancers who dares to challenge this rule is, in effect, “wasting” his chances of getting “tabled” by customers as the bartender, the waiters and the floor managers will now connive to paint a bad image of the dancer and fabricate malicious and damaging stories about him, which they will relay to any customer who may fancy that particular dancer. The dancer will be rejected and the brainwashed customer will choose a new and different dancer with a supposedly “clean” image.

Disk Jockey (DJ).  The disk jockey or DJ is the man responsible for playing the music and songs when the dancers perform one after the other.  The DJ and the dancers coordinate with each other, making sure that the performers are not behind schedule as far as stage presentations or performances are concerned, that the dancers know who dances next, that copies of the songs are submitted to him.  Occasionally, you hear a disk jockey kind of berate a dancer for a sloppy performance or for even a simple mistake, like the failure of the dancer to take off his shirt before he goes on stages.  The former receives instructions from the dancers concerning their choice of songs, when such option is available or granted, though almost always, the dancers dance to the tune of whatever songs the DJ plays even if such songs sound detestable and bad.  When a guest requests a dancer to dance for him, the DJ readily grants such a request so long as he is informed ahead of time, and before the requested performance is carried out.  Most of the time, dance requests are coursed through any of the floor managers or the floor manager himself overseeing the guest and the tabled dancer, and he, in turn, informs the DJ of the request.

The disk jockey has no salary and relies only on an incredibly small allowance given by the bar management.  And how small is small? We are talking about 50 pesos here.  His earnings are augmented by “donations” from the dancers who feel obligated to help him.  The former, along with the floor managers, the waiters, and the bartender, is a financial burden to the dancers who barely survive on their nightly earnings.

Wardrobe Man.  In certain macho dancer bars, management maintains a wardrobe man or woman, whose responsibility is to take care of the dancers’ costumes, including the dancers’ scheduled performance.  For this job, he receives any amounts of cash the dancers are willing to give him.  Instead of the bar management giving him a basic salary, it is the dancers who are “given” the responsibility of “paying” him for his services.

Bar Owner.  The Bar Owner, too, is a financial burden to the dancer.  Through the bar in-charge, he collects monetary contributions to defray the costs of production props, securing work permits and the drinking water supply.  One Quezon City-based macho dancer bar does not offer free drinking water to its dancers.  Everything seems to come with a price.  He not only complicates a dancer’s life, he also deprives him of what is legally due him:  no Social Security benefits and state health insurance membership, for instance.

Instead of the owner owing the bar dancers a debt of gratitude, it is the other way around.  He wants that the macho dancers “worship” the owner as a god or goddess, and what better way to show such homage to him or her than to plant a kiss or two on the opportunistic bar proprietor or proprietress, short of porking him or her.  He or she does not fail to impress upon the dancers the false reality that without him or her they, the dancers, won’t earn.  What an evil thing to say to the very people who labor from mid-evening until after sun-up, or worse, until almost 8AM at one particular Quezon City-based macho dancer establishment, just so the bar generates revenues.  The macho dancers allow themselves to be exploited by bar owners and floor managers in exchange for a small work allowance, which sadly and disappointingly cannot even allow one to survive on a single day.  What can you get with a 200-peso nightly work allowance?  At some macho dancer bars, 150 pesos is the basic nightly work allowance given to the poor dancers.  And if you think 150 pesos is the smallest amount one can get paid for dancing all night, think again.  At Quiapo-based Apollo 14th KTV Disco Bar and Resto, a sprawling, dark and hot place located in the basement of an old building, 75 pesos is what a few dancers receive each night.

The owner, upon the constant advice of his OIC, stands pat on his decision to not grant a salary to the bar dancers, waiters, and managers.  The only salaried bar members are the OIC and the doorman.  The rest rely on drink commissions and on gratuities.  Standard monthly salaries are frowned upon because giving such will only affect the owner’s monthly net income and he does not want to incur additional operating expenses, a large chunk of which is the regular police protection payment.  The lesser the expenses, the better it is for the owner to earn more and continue to be rich.  The no-salary-for-the-macho dancers-policy is justified as “legitimate.”  The proprietor does not care about the welfare of the dancers.  His law is plain and simple: you dance, get “tabled”, drink and drink more when the guest agrees to buy him drinks, and earn money for the bar, and if you don’t like your job, by all means, pack up and leave for good.

The owner owes the macho dancer a debt of gratitude for the latter works and enslaves himself for the establishment to earn.  It is not the other way around.

How much is left of the dancer’s earnings?

Maybe 200 pesos, 250 pesos, 300 pesos, 350 pesos, or 400 pesos.  If he is tabled and given a tip money of say, 500 pesos to 1,000 pesos, he goes home with his budget and tip money while his drink commissions are left with the floor manager who sits him with the customer, the waiter or waiters who serve him and the guest, the bar tender who prepares his drinks, and the disk jockey who plays his songs.  If his tip money is not secretly given to him, that is the floor manager or waiter sees how much is handed to him, the FM and the waiter will get a large chunk of his dough.  If he happens to be a dancer at a particular Pasay City-based male entertainment place, he is expected to share at least 500 pesos with the floor manager who gets him a customer.  Whew!  500 pesos means much to the dancer and the floor manager has the nerve to demand that he be given that amount.  If he gives anything lower than 500 pesos, the floor manager will feel bad about him.

A macho dancer’s life is tough; it’s full of hardships and challenges.  Each night that he is outside his home, he faces danger and uncertainties.  In his work place, he projects a happy disposition but behind that happy face are sadness and worries brought about by the circumstances he is in.  He has several mouths to feed and expenses to shoulder like a sibling’s tuition or his own tuition fees if he is studying, electric and water bills, and installment payments for his motorcycle loan.  He is bogged down by all these things, yet he has to work just so he can earn a measly amount and, in the process, is exploited.  If he is lucky to be tabled by a generous customer who tips him, he knows for sure he has something on the table for the next two days.

He is a human being, too, and deserves to be treated as such and with respect and dignity.