Sunday, October 31, 2010


I met fellow blogger OutedNarnian last night, which was a lot of fun. We met for dinner at Greenbelt, waited for a couple more friends, and moved to Barcino for wine and conversation.

At some point, I asked my friend Reggie if he wanted to hang out the next day (that's today).

"I can't. I'm still thinking if I want to meet this guy from the gym."

"Ah ok, that makes sense."

"Isn't the rule 'Bros before hos'?" OutedNarnian asked.

"Of course not." I added, with a small chuckle, "Friendship will always be there. Sex won't."

Nothing like wine to make us all one with the universe.

Photo taken here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


The first time I told JT I loved him, he asked me if I knew what I was saying. It was too soon he said, and he was afraid I was too caught up in the moment, not realizing the full extent of what I said, the commitment underlying the simple declaration. He told me that maybe I made a mistake, that maybe I didn't really mean what I said. He gave me an opening to take it back.

I didn't, because there was no need to. I loved him then, and whether he loved me back wasn't the issue. It was the truth and I needed to say it. I thought that he loved me (and he did) but more than that, I needed to take stock of what I felt, and I realized my pride was a small price to pay for something as important as having his love.

And this is what I learned: we sometimes sacrifice the possibility of our happiness for the illusion that our arrogance has more value than what it is really worth. Why do we put too much importance on our pride? Our dignity and self-worth are not necessary sacrifices before the altar of love, but our pride, at least the part that teaches us the lie that no one is truly worthy of us, is.

It is necessary to put up walls sometimes, but it is rarely a good idea when it comes to love.


Love is not sacrifice, and it is a mistake to equate the two. Love is not the annihilation of the self, and to believe that it is necessary to lose one's individuality in order to satisfy the whole is to mistake love for slavery, and to love is never to be a slave. Love is the elevation of the self, where the sum of the parts are greater than the whole, but the parts are already whole in themselves. If you are looking for love idealizing the emotion as the pinnacle of self-sacrifice, then you are not really looking for someone to love; you are a slave looking for a master. You are incapable of love; an incomplete man or woman cannot claim to love someone when they are incapable of loving themselves.


You laugh at the idea of soulmates because the concept was not written in a dusty book that a bunch of old men has declared was true. You emphasize the silliness of the belief in a one true love, because the belief wasn't repeated every week for an hour at a day declared to be sacred. You admonish the difficulty of believing in a kind of love so lacking of proof, thinking how silly it is to believe in something so utterly untrue.
Yet in the same breath you talk of faith, and how faith necessarily means believing in something that has no proof. As if faith was a concept only applicable to a religion thousands of years old. As if love wasn't older than the religion you so easily profess your faith to. 

I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm just hoping you appreciate the irony.

Photo taken here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

First Date

I once dated this guy named Jason, a part-time model who was in a commercial for a popular facial wash a few years ago. It was a semi-blind date; I saw his commercial, so I knew how he looked like, but he had no idea how I appeared at all. For all he knew, I could be troll with a huge wart on my nose, but he agreed on the date, so I figured the person who set us up probably told him a lot of good things about me. We agreed to have dinner in Cafe Breton.

The moment I met him, I immediately thought that he was much better looking on TV. It surprised me just how short he was. A friend once said that commercial models tend to be shorter than ramp models, but I didn't know they could be that short. But he was cute, and I figured the date could still lead into something more interesting and fun.

When he saw me, he immediately launched into a tirade about how the taxi ride going to the restaurant was so horrible. The rant took a while, and it kind of set the tone for the rest of the date. He was pissed at everyone. I tried to act more upbeat, but he wasn't buying it. Our conversations felt awkward and contrived.

In the middle of dinner, a friend texted me that him and his boyfriend were hanging out in a bar in Greenbelt, a 10-minute walk from where we were. He asked me if I wanted to meet up. I figured the date couldn't get any worse, so I thought why the hell not? I asked Jason, and Jason said ok. I told him that if he didn't mind, I'd prefer to walk to the bar because I didn't want to go through the hassle of parking all over again. Jason said he didn't mind, although I did notice the shadow of a scowl on his face. I dismissed it, and thought it was probably just my imagination.

So we met with my friends, and had a few drinks. Jason was still in a dark mood, and at that point, I stopped caring. It was a first date for pete's sake, it's not supposed to be that hard. If he wasn't willing to have fun, there was no point forcing him.

On the walk back, he told me he was pissed at me because, he said, first, I made plans with friends even though I knew we were on a date. I told him that's why I asked for his permission first, and when he said yes, I took that at face value. There was no reason for me to think he was lying. He said, notwithstanding, I should have known it was rude in the first place. I didn't really want to argue, but I thought that him teaching me about manners was the height of irony. But I figured silence was my best friend.

Second, he said that he was angry because I made him walk to the bar. I told him I asked him about that too, and he also said yes, so I took that at face value. I didn't even know him that well; there was no reason for me to think he meant something else. He said I should have known he was already very tired from the horrible taxi ride he endured to get to the restaurant. He said I should have already taken that into consideration, and I should have known he'd be too tired to walk. I remained silent, mostly because I just wanted the date to end, but also because I didn't want to argue with him anymore. I thought of how stupidly difficult he was, and that for someone I've met for the first time, he acted too much like a longtime boyfriend. It was annoying beyond words.

The whole experience made me want to swear off dating models completely. If he was representative of the bunch, I figured I'd be better off dating adults. The date wasn't so much a date as it was babysitting a 12 year old. Looks can only go so far. At some point, we're going to have to have a conversation, and talking with someone who never stops whining is really just torture. Maybe the date would have been much better if he just kept quiet and looked pretty.

Photo taken here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Trading Up

Over ice cream in a popular dessert place in Makati, James told me an anecdote that touch on a peculiar aspect of dating which all of us who've been playing the dating game for a while can probably relate to. The story revolved around a friend of his named Patrick, a successful and wealthy executive, who was single and looking for the love of his life. At some point, he dated a guy named Franco. It seemed they got along splendidly; their personalities meshed well together, and they enjoyed each other's company. With the relationship itself, at least with how they interacted with each other, it appeared that they had no problems.

The only obstacle they had, really, was that everyone thought that Franco was not within Patrick's league. He was not a looker, or successful, or blessed with a charming personality that could have made up for all these lack. In short, he was woefully average; there was nothing about him that was extraordinary, except for the fact that he seemed perfectly average in every sense. Patrick's friends had no idea why he was dating the guy, and outside of the fact that he really liked Franco, it seemed that Patrick had no idea either. Because he gave his friends' input on the people he should date a great deal of importance, and also because he believed that what they were saying were true, he decided to dump Franco. It wasn't a bitter break-up, but of course Franco had ended up with a broken heart.

Fast forward a few months later, Patrick learned that Franco was dating a guy named Benjamin. Benjamin was a popular banker who was even better looking, wealthier, and more successful than Patrick. Patrick couldn't understand what happened. The reason why he dumped Franco in the first place was because he felt he needed to trade up, so to speak, and irony of ironies, Patrick ends up alone, while Franco traded up from him. He thought the whole thing bewildering.

Now this anecdote is interesting for me because, when I was still dating, I always fell into this trap, where I was never contented with the one I'm with, and always kept a roving eye on a possible trade up with someone "better" than whom I was already dating at the time. Here's what I learned from those experiences: that is the worst possible way to date someone. It's not a matter of being with someone within your league, at least in the superficial sense; it's about being with a person you love. You either like someone or you don't; you either love someone or you don't. If you put too much stock on the unimportant things, thinking that there is only a particular pool of people you could draw from whom you could date or fall in love with, you limit yourself unneccessarily. I've since learned that falling in love (or "like" if you prefer) is always a tricky thing, and better to accept the experience as a gift, than look for problems that weren't even there in the first place.

Photo taken here.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What's in a Name?

I was walking through the mall one day when I heard my name being called by an unfamiliar voice. I turned around and saw this guy walking towards me with a big smile, his hand extended. I shook it and realized, to my embarrassment, that he knew me quite well, and that I couldn't remember him at all.

You know how there are people who are bad at names and good at remembering faces? Or who are bad at faces but good at remembering names? Well, I'm neither. I'm one of those unlucky bastards who are bad at both. Which is hell for someone as socially awkward as I am. I'm already bad at small talk, why would the universe add the fact that I had to fake-know someone into that equation?

This situation is a regular occurrence in my life. I would meet someone whose name and face I didn't know or recognize, but who would talk to me with such obvious familiarity that I knew I was going to hurt his feelings if I suddenly asked how I knew him. So, as confrontation-averse as I am, I would usually stand there hoping the conversation would end soon, and that whomever I was talking to at the moment would never realize I was only fake-knowing him.

This is a mistake. Here's why: there is a small window of opportunity where one person can still ask another person his name, and how they know each other, without being rude. It's definitely in the first five minutes of the conversation. After 20 mins of talking, it's just weird, but still doable. After the initial conversation, the window is gone. The next conversation will not only be weird, but if you ask him his name, he will probably feel humiliated and awkward, and you will be a jackass.

Which is why I now have countless acquaintances who I keep bumping into whose names I still don't know, but who I recognize now because I keep remembering them as the people whose names I can't remember. I actually have several "friends" I fake-know, and who I sincerely hope never ever realize I've been fake knowing all this time. Sometimes I give them fake names in my head. "Oh my god, it's orange-shirt guy. I need to act like I'm looking for something really important in my bag so that it seems like I didn't really ignore him; I was just busy looking for that something important in my bag that may or may not be able cure the world of cancer."

So, going back to the anecdote, there I was, feeling like a fool, hoping the conversation would end soon before he realized I was really just faking my way through his stories. I figured I could still give him a couple of minutes before I excused myself to go.

That was, until my friend came along and joined us. And of course the polite thing to do in that situation is to introduce them, and I would have wanted to do that, except I couldn't because you can't introduce your friend to a (practically) nameless stranger, and not if the stranger assumed he wasn't a stranger in the first place.

So a moment of silence. Awkward, awkward silence. I stood there grinning like an idiot because I knew both of them were expecting me to introduce them to each other. More silence. I decided, fuck it, let's do this.

"Hey, this is my friend Mike," I said. Period. Finito. I knew there was a second half to it, but really, I couldn't just pick a name out of a hat right? I mean I could, but that would be rude. "Patrick, your name is Patrick? Are you sure? You look like a Peter to me," I might have said.

Another heartbeat of silence. Then the guy looked at me, smiled sheepishly, and introduced himself to my friend. I smiled back, and tried to make my face look like I knew his name all that time, but that I only didn't know how to make proper introductions. Which I realized would also make me look like an idiot. There was no winning this thing.

Photo taken here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I had dinner with a few friends recently, who I haven't seen in a while. I have to put that in context: we used to see each other every week, and this time we haven't seen each other in a month or so. I guess I simply missed them. They are my family in the city.

I've always found the notion of family interesting, in the sense that it seems to imply so many things: love, first of all; responsibility; affection. A mother, and a father. Perhaps a son or a daughter. And we hold it like a shield against any other idea; that is, we assume that a family is incapable of not being loving, or responsible, or caring, or that it necessarily requires a mother and a father, along with some of the more superficial trappings we associate with the idea. So we are always surprised or angry when a family isn't like that. You are supposed to be like this, you say, because a family simply is like this. As if families are always created in the same cloth, and in the same pattern. As if families cannot be as different or multi-dimensional as the human beings that comprise them.

But what about makeshift families? The type that you create when the ones you were born into are far away, or are too busy, or simply do not care. The standards aren't the same of course; we cannot assume anything, they aren't real family in the first place. But what is a real family anyway?

For those of us who are naturally inclined to be something else, and pressured by the current social context to be nothing less than similar, we are chained, and we rebel because we have no choice. Some rebel quietly, secretly, afraid of the consequences of their rebellion. Some do it openly and proudly, one big giant finger to the rest of the world. And then there are those who simply live, and hope that they may be left alone in peace at least.

We are different (not in the fundamental things I hope, at least in our capacity to love), because of the choices we make. We assume families have to be something our minds conjured, and what is real have a tendency to fall short of what we imagine. I believe it is the same with everything else. We assume an ideal, always, so, in the same way, we are always surprised or disappointed when the object that symbolizes the ideal proves itself to be something else.

Growing up different from everyone else, I've always thought that I needed to fit myself into the mold everyone expected of me. I was taller than most; therefore I had to play basketball. I was male; therefore, I had to be sexually attracted to girls. I was baptized a Catholic; therefore, I had to believe in a rigid set of rules or else I'll go to hell. The chains chafed, and my initial confusion at the barrage of expectations metamorphosed into resentment, some depression, a sense of having to always prove something to the world, and anger. What the expectations did was to complicate me as a person who might have led a simpler life if the expectations weren't there in the first place.

(I'm only guessing of course; who knows what problems I'd actually encounter if I never had to face those expectations from the start.)

So, going back to the concept of family, I don't know why we put so much pressure on ourselves, and on each other, to fit into this mold that we created in our heads. Which isn't to say that a family shouldn't be loving, or caring, or responsible; but I'm saying that maybe if we open our minds a little bit, we can at least imagine that maybe all a family needs to be considered a real one is to be loving, and caring, and responsible. Nothing else. Why do we put so much importance on the superficial trappings anyway?

Photo taken here.

Friday, October 1, 2010


It was 8 years ago when I found myself staring at a phone number I both did and did not want to call. I was still living with my parents then. I was lying in bed, in a small bedroom half-cloaked in darkness, the only light coming from a small fluorescent bulb hanging above my nightstand. I remember my heart pounding, and the voice in my head saying I shouldn't do this, this could only end in disaster.

I should have listened. But I didn't. I didn't know if what I felt was love; but back then, I thought that it was. It was a craving, an obsession over something I knew I couldn't have. But I hoped that, over my otherwise flawless arguments, I was wrong; that this, whatever it was, could work.

I found myself dialing that number. It was a unique experience; I felt like I didn't own my body. I was both waiting for him to pick up the phone, and watching myself wait expectantly. I could feel my heart pounding still.


"Hi, it's me."

"Yea. What's up?"

"I really don't know how to begin."

"I can't stay long. I'm kind of with...someone right now."

"I'm sorry. I just need to tell you this."

Silence. I held my breath for what seemed like an eternity until he said "ok."

Everything came out in a rush. "I know you're in a relationship right now, but every time you are with me you keep telling me it's not working, and I feel like we have something, you know? And, and I was hoping that, that once you get a clear head, a clear idea of what you really want out of your life, you'd realize that he's not right for you. That I am, that more than anything, I want you to be happy. I can make you happy."

He did not respond. I continued, "I guess what I wanted to say is that, at the end of the day, I hope you realize that I am the better choice, that I am the better man. I hope that you could see that you should pick me. Not him. He doesn't see you the way I do."

"He doesn't love you the way I do," I also wanted to say, but I stopped myself before I embarrassed myself further. I knew his answer even before he said it, even before I finished talking, even before I dialed his number.

"I can't deal with this right now." He was trying to keep his voice light and upbeat. I realized he was putting on a show for whomever he was with at the time. "I'm just busy right now. Let's talk later ok? Ok? Thanks for calling. I appreciate it."

There were no fireworks, no epiphany. Nothing on the other end. The complete absence of any reaction from him humiliated me. How pointless that whole conversation was; how useless.

Then it struck me how silently a heart can break. And how the silence of one heart breaking into a thousand tiny pieces can be so deafening.

I realized what I forgot. He was my first love, but I wasn't his. Perhaps love wasn't even there after all.

I placed my phone on the side of my bed, closed my eyes, and tried to sleep. I hoped that everything would be better in the morning.

Photo taken here.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...