Macho Dancers

Macho Dancer Bar And Gay Bar

I FOUND myself standing in a corner inside a train coach two days ago.  A tall university student (I saw his photo ID) stood on my left, blocking my view of the outside through the glass door, while two women stood in front of me, their backs pressed against my body.  We were packed like sardines.  From the opposite corner across the aisle, I heard a female voice ask “Is it a gay bar or a macho bar?”  She said “macho bar” by which she meant a “macho dancer bar.”  It was a good thing she asked that intriguing question.  Her female companion’s “I don’t know” and “they are the same” replies did little to help clear the gray cloud hanging over her head that day.

I felt obligated to answer her question and I hope that one of these days she gets to discover this blog.

A macho dancer bar is a strip bar.  It is a Philippine creation, which is unique in its own right and way too different from the mainstream strip bars in the West (this includes cosmopolitan city-state Singapore) in that it features straight dancers and strippers who are and should be macho enough, if only to give justice to the establishment’s name.  Its Western counterparts feature homosexual or bisexual entertainers.   A macho dancer establishment is not a gay bar.

Though it’s called a macho dancer bar, one is surprised to discover non-macho men amidst genuine macho men.  Why and how did this happen?  Bar managers take in who they deem look pleasant even if they are without gym-sculpted bodies to speak of in the first place.  That problem can be fixed along the way because the new dancer can later work out in the gym.  Similarly, macho men who are not even eye-candies are taken in too.  But what is even more surprising, and disappointing if you will, is management hires chubby guys as well.  You may think this is an injustice but this is the industry practice.

The gay bars scattered through the Philippine’s metropolitan capital territory, which comprises the capital Manila and fifteen other cities and one town, are not the same gay bars that are found in the West.  The local gay bars are, of course, frequented by gays, transvestites, and bisexual men and do not feature strippers unlike their Western counterparts.  While one occasionally sees strippers, which happens when there are important events being organized, the gay bars remain plain gay bars.  Brave members of the pink community visit such places to unwind, to meet people and find new friends, and cruise.  Yes, cruise.  Which is pretty normal, of course.  One does not go to a gay bar to watch macho dancers.  You go to a macho dancer bar, instead.

In the West, gay bars feature gay and even bisexual strippers.  In fact, these entertainers are much sexier, more gorgeous, more handsome, and cuter than the local straight strippers.

Just this morning a friend of mine asked whether one of these macho dancers is actually a closeted homosexual or bisexual man.  Good question.  It is possible that there are gays amongst them but tough to tell which ones are.  And customers do not walk into a strip bar, sit at a table close to the stage and start pinpointing which one is gay.

Now to that lady who asked the question, I hope I have satisfied your curiosity.

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It’s Lust At First Sight, Baby

“I LOVE YOU, ALREADY,” the effeminate patron told his dancer-mate who chuckled on hearing his guest’s words.  If the former was dead serious about his feelings for him, the latter considered his assertion a result of drunkenness, if not, mere infatuation.  Many a macho dancer bar customers suffer from infatuation overdose and many more appear to have a tough time recovering from it.

Mistaking lust for love is dangerous, mind you, and discovering and eventually fixing this emotional blunder at the earliest time are important.  Homosexual patrons get attracted to and fall for male strippers faster than their female counterparts and, in the end, most of them fall prey to financial predators.  This is not to say all macho dancers are suckers for dough and will do anything in their capacity to milk money from the people they are in a relationship with.  That’s a sweeping generalization.

So it was that the sissy customer would always seek out the object his affection, reasoning he was in love with him.  But the apple of his eye was unaware of this and could not fathom his guest’s “Cloud 9 experience”, despite the numerous instances in which he told the stripper of his “affection for him.”

It’s lust at first sight, baby.  It’s not love.  Of course, there are people who believe in love at first sight, but millions more do believe in lust at first sight.

As a guest, you expect “some kind of sweetness” from your dancer-mate.  As a macho dancer, it’s also his responsibility to reciprocate his guest’s display of niceness, fondness and courteousness and his actions should not be interpreted in such a manner that you, the customer, think the stripper loves you too.  No emotional attachment, please.  Nothing personal, either.  Just doing his job.  Hope that makes everything clear.  Don’t cross the red line; and there is one and the bar patron simply needs to be aware of it.  The moment he crosses the red line, the consequences are terrible, but it’s not our present intention to attempt at exhaustive treatment of this issue.

It’s damn lust at first sight.  There’s no question about it.  Is it because his face looks boyish, angelic, pleasant, cute, handsome, or attractive that you think you like him?  And because you like the good-looking macho dancer, you think, or shall we say feel, you love him, already?  You lust after him.  Come on, anyone lusts after the person he likes.  It happens to anybody.  It’s normal.  But to say “it is true love” that you are feeling toward him and to express “I love you, already” is crazy.  If it’s not love, it surely is infatuation, which is the cousin of “true love”.  But if it’s not love, and it isn’t, it certainly is lust.  There is no question about it.  Lust is normal.  But to let concupiscence rule over you and dictate your actions to the extent that you start sexually harassing the stripper is not normal anymore.

It’s imperative upon macho dancer bar customers to learn to distinguish between lust and love.  This is not to point out that you cannot find true love in an unexpected place called “male strip bar”, because a male stripper is also capable of showing true love toward anyone.  But you can’t find and catch true love at twelve midnight in a male entertainment bar.  No, you can’t.  But lust?  You can find it anywhere and anytime.  Just be careful.

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!

Just A Single Drink Order Throughout His Stay

HE entered the bar at 10pm, when it had just opened and when management had yet to put on shows.  But his presence was no big deal.  He could wait, the managers thought, or he would have to wait.  They knew him and whether he knew they knew him he had no idea.  What mattered to him that night was that he was in the bar to watch and enjoy his stay.

The entertainers saw him.  Those who had just come in and had walked past him did recognize the familiar figure occupying one of the seats fronting the stage.  They twitched their lips, raised their eyebrows and shook their heads.  There must be something about this customer that elicited this kind of reaction from the strippers.  The floor managers seemed to share the same view.  What could it be?  Even the in-house disk jockey could not contain his displeasure the moment he saw the guest.  The music in-charge, as the DJ was also called, began mouthing euphemisms directed at the latter, who unfortunately had no idea he was the target of his utterances.

One of the waiters reluctantly went to get his order.  The guest said he would get a drink in just a moment and waved the server away.  The good waiter winked at his fellas and chuckled as he left.

At last, after what seemed like a fifteen-minute wait, the bar folks started to put on a show courtesy of a pleasant-looking, gym-toned macho dancer of average height who danced to the tune of Usher’s OMG.  And that was when he ordered his obligatory first drink, consisting of two San Miguel Beer Light bottles, which set him back one hundred eighty pesos.  Between sips, he seriously watched the dance show, occasionally flashing a smile or two at the performer, and appeared glued to the stripper’s crotch, at one point when the macho dancer started taking off his white tank top.  This guest was interested in the dancer’s thing.

As the clock struck 11, the bar began filling up, and it would not be long before it would be full house at this small, popular macho dancer bar.  At midnight, it was difficult to accommodate new arrivals and management had to be ingenious.  Strippers took turns performing, waiters were busy taking and delivering orders, managers had their hands full with regular guests who could not even table their favorite macho dancers and the masseur-cum-janitor was busier than ever, hoping to cash in on the crowd.  It’s a Friday night, mind you.

While the rest of the customers continued to order drinks after drinks, including food, our first guest stuck with his first beverage order and never ordered anew – to the dismay of the waiters and managers.  But then they knew it was stupid to get him to order a second round of drinks because they knew he would not do so.  To the suggestion “Would you like some company”, he answered a firm “no.”  Whether he was a spendthrift or not nobody knew.  They always speculated he was but just could not prove it.  “Hayaan mo na ‘yan! (Just leave him alone!), shouted one dancer.

The disk jockey began his mockery again, eliciting chuckles from the strippers and waiters.  He was hoping the guest could read between the lines of his statements.  The DJ was disappointed again but not surprised.

It was now 2am.  Five hours had passed since he came in.  It was time to leave.  He was seen going to the restroom and, afterwards, conferring with the waiter who took his order.  The cash he left was enough to cover his expense and the change, a few coins, was intended for the waiter.

He Is One of A Kind

INDEED, he is different in numerous ways.

He likes to be comfortably seated in an area that’s neither too near the stage so he appears conspicuous nor too far for him to miss a good view of the stage activities.  Because he loves good entertainment, which is the reason for his presence in the bar, he always pays close attention to the shows management puts on.  Good entertainment comes first.  Tabling a dancer comes second.

This customer is biased against serious-looking entertainers but enjoys the company of dancers gifted with winning smiles.  Quite simply, he does not table strippers who do not grin no matter how gorgeous and attractive they are.  All-cast shows afford him the opportunity to spot guys worth “tabling”, if you will, as do the boys’ unguarded moments when he discovers their personalities.

He also knows which strippers don’t like to spend time with him and who, instead, wait for their regular guests who, they believe, give bigger tip money.

This patron doesn’t harass his table-mates and he tells them this in advance through a floor manager.  He doesn’t like to be petted either.  He just doesn’t like the idea of seeing an entertainer placing his arm around his guest’s shoulders or resting his arm on his lap.  He keeps a distance.  When sitting at a coffee table-type table, he and his stripper-mate are seen sitting opposite each other, an arrangement which does not work for most macho dancer bar customers who enjoy being locked in an intimate embrace with their table-mates.

He opts for fruit juices instead of alcoholic beverages, which choice causes eyebrows to raise.  On rare occasions, he asks for a chocolate drink which he alternates with instant coffee.

He doesn’t smoke but is comfortable with a smoking stripper.

This guest is generous with food orders for his tabled macho dancers, even granting the occasional food requests of waiters themselves.  You may not be aware of it, but there are waiters who sometimes ask for free food to be shared amongst themselves, especially at times when they have not supped yet and are starving.

Everyone loves him, preferring him to other customers for many different reasons and, by “everyone”, we mean the macho dancers.

If the latter are most comfortable with him, there are bar folks who hate him.  But “hate” is too strong a word.  Perhaps, “dislike” seems more appropriate.  These critics are the floor managers.  But it’s wrong to generalize them as his “haters”.  Their only issue with him is his refusal to leave tip money for the floor manager who handles the strippers he tables.   He has valid reasons, he claims, for not tipping a manager, who, in the first place, is not his dancer-table-mate.

He gives tip money when and where needed.  And he is damn generous or he can elect to be frugal in the wink of an eye.

He is popular with the macho dancers of his favorite strip bars yet he always maintains a low profile.  His presence in other establishments of similar nature, which places he seldom visits, intrigues the staff who starts becoming curious about him.

If and when he senses boredom has set in, he requests a skilled dancer to perform and both boredom and sleepiness begin to vanish.  For the dance show, he pays the performer and he pays him well – with no strings attached.

This guy can exit the scene unnoticed even by the manager assigned to handle his needs or his table-mate.

He shows up in a strip bar because he wants to have a good time, to watch, to be entertained, to meet people, to make friends with the strippers and waiters, and to observe.

One bar owner is awed by this customer’s idiosyncrasies while one bar manager calls him “the best customer” she has ever met.

He is one of a kind.

Remembering Pretty Boy Macho Dancer Bar

This photo is the property of the Gonograd Resident

The business name was attractive but at the same time deceiving.  The young entertainers were not pretty boys, only average looking but they were courteous and humble.  The location was kind of dangerous, which must have scared some potential customers who would not risk their precious lives for some erotic shows, as the macho dancer bar was housed in a building on a dimly-lit portion of Quezon City’s notorious Aurora Boulevard.  Pretty Boy Entertainment Bar was more famous with the lower-class crowd for its occasional live male-to-male sex shows, the same shows staged by those smaller similar bars found along Manila City’s Rizal Avenue.