Monday, October 20, 2014

SAHC: the commercial model

Nathan rightly predicted that a blog post would appear regarding another batch mate of ours after that FB add. LOL

Clarence was one of the truly handsome batch mates. And he knew it. He was always so well-groomed, so porma... so metrosexual even before the term existed. I don't even recall him being athletic. He was just maporma. He gained 'fame' when he starred in a commercial for sardines. But other than that, he was a regular student, one of the straight guys with his barkada, with their pre-occupation with girls, etc. So he wasn't one of those who was considering having a relationship with any of us girls.

My only 'encounter' with him was unpleasant. I remember being asked by the Principal to go to their class (he belonged to another section) to announce something. Being still very defensive about being labeled as bakla, I knocked on the door quite abrasively. There was no teacher around. When he saw me at the door, he walked up to open it in a very attention-getting fashion, pa-cute and pa-porma. In a modulated voice, he asked me how he could help. He was obviously trying to be charming to this bakla at the door, in front of the class.

I was incensed. I barked at him and just mouthed off my announcement. I quickly turned around and marched away, indignant. But I could remember him saying something and the whole class erupting in laughter.

I didn't know what it was. Nathan later told me that when I answered so meanly and turned around, Clarence turned to class and said "suplada!" (bitch) That made the class roar.

Funny how this small situations become embedded in my mind, how such casual words thrown out could have such long-lasting impact!

Recently, he added me on FB. And surprisingly, instead of anger, I felt kilig (sorry. no English translation!) He was actually still quite handsome, based on the photos. So I messaged the group in Viber to share my feeling. Yes, middle-aged fags still feel kilig.

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Saturday, October 4, 2014

The PLU Catholic. The Start.

I have started to start small. I believe in letting it grow organically. Or through divine intervention.

I created a secret group in a social media network. I figured that the first step would be online, to make it less 'intimidating'. I will post some of my previous blogposts there. Then I start inviting friends and raiders who may wish to be part of it.

An online group breaks geographic boundaries, noting that some raiders who responded are not Manila-based. If you would like to be part of it, send me an email.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

SAHC: the soccer jock

I had a vivid dream about a high school bf. We were finally hanging out, after all these years of totally no communication (roughly 30+ years). And it was light and great. It was nothing erotic, but admittedly, there was that kilig. I recall talking about our friends and just having a good time. Then I woke up.

I'll call him Chris. He was a soccer player in high school. He was a transferee (as I recall), from one of the provincial 'branches' of the school. Academically, nothing impressive. He belonged to another section of the batch. You wouldn't have noticed him right off. But if you looked closer, behind the glasses and the (sometimes) untidy uniform coming from playing lunch soccer games, he is actually quite handsome.

It happened during third year high school. This was the time that the batch 'transformed' to being quite accepting of relationships with the gay batch mates.

(for a more comprehensive take on this, see this post.)

As far as I remember, I was the first among the beki barkada Chris approached. I cannot even recall the first encounter. I'm now wondering how our paths could have crossed: different sections, different social groups. But it happened. He started taking an interest in me, talking to me after class, getting my phone number, going out on dates (Saturday afternoons).

I was enamored. He was handsome, athletic. He had the build, naturally broad-shouldered, tapered hips, strong and muscular thighs and legs. He was good-natured, too. And the beki barkada found him attractive, too. Peer approval. actually Peer envy. The best reason. LOL

We became an item. I do have memories of Saturday afternoon with him at his house, in his parent's bedroom, listening to popular jazz (popular then) and canoodling, tickling. One particular time, I actually fell off the bed. And he peered from the edge, looked at me, with his mischievous smile and disheveled hair. He was so gorgeous that picture is stuck in my mind.

Faintly, I remember it wasn't perfect either. There were tampuhans. Maybe too many. Soon enough, we called it quits. Maybe I did. I can't recall. But what I do remember was that it was not a good break-up. We stopped talking. I think he was the last boyfriend I had in high school.

Chris went on to have relationships with other bekis. One was from this lower batch. Then eventually, with two of my close friends from the barkada, in succession. I don't know who came first: was it Nathan or Romee? One of that carried over to college, I am guessing. But both didn't last too long. The peculiar thing is that both Nathan and Romee were so into him that years after their relationships, they were still pining for him. Romee had it worse. Decades after, he would still be talking about him and what transpired even as Chris continued on as a straight man, married, with family.

Fast forward to present-day. We have all gotten over Chris. But we still fondly recall the euphoria of our joyous high school days, and Chris would always be part of the conversation. Social media brought us back to being in touch with our straight batch mates. Romee would become the beki most immersed in batch alumni activities.

One time, he told us that Chris found his way into the batch' FB page. He started adding up class mates, including Nathan and Romee. Based abroad, with wife and kids, he was stable, actually successful. He was eager to keep in touch with Romee and Nathan.

At the start of the year, he came home to celebrate his silver wedding anniversary in a grand way. He made sure he invited Romee and Nathan. We were all curious about how they would be introduced to the other guests. But beyond that, we all have been curious how all of our straight classmates feel now about what happened during high school. How did they 'rationalize' the relationships they had with us? Did it lessen their 'masculinity'? Or were they in denial of it? The presence of Nathan and Romee at the wedding was going to answer some of those questions, hopefully.

I must hand it to Chris. He treated both of them specially. He made sure that there would be a catch-up dinner for the three of them before the wedding. According to Nathan, Chris was so genuinely happy to see them. And there was no denial of the past. He talked about what transpired in the past so naturally. But more importantly, he was just happy to be in touch and to know what was happening in their lives.

During the wedding reception, he was introducing them as his ex boyfriends. Seriously. He would tell his wife and son, his relatives that he had a gay past "nung naging bakla ako". It would actually be said in jest. People would laugh. I guess there was some incredulity in the story because Romee and Nathan were not exactly straight-acting. Actually, far from it. But nobody asked questions. My friends didn't feel uncomfortable either. Chris made sure of that. He also touched base with some other bekis from the barkada. Well, except me.

I don't know if he still carries a grudge. Or because I use a different handle as my personal FB account and made it hard to find. I have seen his FB profile appear on my page for a while. I even checked it out to see how he looks. He looks his age. But you could still discern some handsomeness somewhere.

I've held out in trying to be the first to add him. A part of me wants him to do it first and another part is actually scared that he might even reject me as an FB friend #pridechicken. So I'm still weighing things.

Chris, many years after, has proven why three of us were smitten by him. He has shown that he really is a wonderful guy, so comfortable and relaxed and cool about high school life. He would always be a highlight of that part of my life.



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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Pining

I was back in Baguio City last week for work. I had a whole morning and afternoon to myself. So I tried to be spontaneous and checked out some 4square suggestions.

I had breakfast at 50's Diner along Leonard Wood. I was here years back with a date. Hihihi. The place remains stuck in time. And so is the menu. Haha. The food I got is nothing to rave about (Pancake sandwich) but I had it 'deconstructed' so it was served as pancakes with sidings. hehe.

Then I made the mistake of deciding to go to the BenCab Museum after. Yes, a mistake because Asin Road is under major repair. There was like 500 meters of rough road. I feared for the belly of my lowered car. Expert chauffeur managed to navigate with minimal grating.

I must say, though, that the museum was so worth it, starting with the place itself. The modernist building looks over a valley.


The sight of the luscious foliage was already inspiring.



The art on display blew me away. Though I am no art critic, BenCab's own works just moved me. I love his palette choices. To my untrained eye, his works didn't seem to come from one person.


See how those yero rooftops take on beauty in geometry.


She is not the famous Sabel, BenCab's muse. I love that expression on her. "I am not here. I am somewhere else."






This reunion filled me with longing. They all bury their faces into each other.

The gallery also displays works of other artists. It had a 'masters exhibit' featuring national artists (Joya, Magsaysay-Ho stood out for me). And, I believe some up and coming artists as well. I managed to capture one was he was putting the finishing touches to his work. This brings to mind 'Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.' But this time, the fruits are the victims. (Which they really are?)


That brief visit made me want to indulge my eyes in more art. I'll ask c3 to accompany and do some gallery/museum hopping soon.


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Friday, September 12, 2014

The PLU Catholic: What next?

Sorry for the delayed follow-up to the posts. Life got in the way. LOL But now that I have some me-time, I'll continue percolating this idea. I received a few responses to the query, all encouraging.

I wrote my friend-priest about it. Even sent him the posts and the survey summary. He liked the idea and pretty much encouraged me to pursue it. He would have been perfect as the spiritual director or guide of the group. But he is based abroad. And he was quite unsure whether he could actually lend his time for it. As he explained it, he enjoyed our personal conversations about matters of faith, because we were friends. He felt comfortable expressing his 'viewpoints'. But 'leading' a group of PLU's is another matter for him. He wouldn't know how his superiors would react if they found out. He suggested looking for other religious who may be so inclined. Maybe not even priests but laity who may be sufficiently 'trained'.

I guess I have to look for that person if I want to pursue this. I'll keep you posted.

Uhmm you know of anybody?




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Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Results, Dear PLU Catholic

Throughout the years of my blog life, I would occasionally post thoughts on my Catholic faith. At other times, it would be my interpretation of a gospel reading.

I have noticed that not a few of the raiders would actually read these posts. Some would even comment, agreeing or otherwise. So I felt that my posts on faith strike a chord in some of my raiders. So I posted the survey as a way to confirm whether some of you out there are like me, travelers in this journey of [Catholic] faith.

The Survey Results

To those of you who replied to my questions, first, a big Thank You. It was gratifying to hear from you. I summarize the results:

Half of the respondents felt the need to deepen his faith. 30% have joined a Catholic community (either a Church group or a charismatic community) to continue deepening his faith. A tenth does some meditative prayer.

50% wished to be part of a dyad, a group, or even a community that would help them know and understand their faith better but with no judgments, no admonitions.

Questions to be asked a Catholic priest include teachings on homosexuality, Catechism and some other matters on dogma.

One or two wrote about their spiritual journey. I really enjoyed that. I wish I could post them. They were quite inspiring.

In general, I was able to hear from you, fellow travelers in this journey. You noticed how I carefully avoided citing the actual number of respondents. Lol There were 6 of you, assuming a unique individual per response. I was glad to note that 3 of you were looking for someone or some people with whom to discuss their Catholic faith. You are the people to whom I was specifically addressing the post.

The Background

Even as I attend the services and/or actively pursue my expression of Catholic faith, I still wished I could belong to a circle who understands the unique combination of Gay + Catholic. Within that circle, I would share my insights on the faith, as well as learn from the insights and experiences of others like me. Perhaps that circle would also have an outreach, an outward manifestation of Catholic charity.

I shared this with one of my dear friends over dinner, because he had always been quite devout as a Catholic. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that this also resonated with him. He even knew of other PLU's who felt similar stirrings. My friend was even more active in his faith. He would attend recollections and retreats, or organize personal ones. He told me about the non-judgmental priests and nuns he had encountered during such activities.

In short, I found a kindred soul, a fellow traveler. And together, we wondered whether we could be part of a community that embraced both being gay and being Catholic, and everything else in between.

The Big Idea

So now, we wondered if we could just set up one instead of looking for one. A community of believers with whom we can regularly share the experience of being Catholic and gay. That community would have an explicit objective of helping each other deepen the faith. We hope that we could come across a Catholic priest to guide our discussions. It should be a safe haven, with no judging or labeling.

From time to time, there would be organized retreats or recollections. We can even take up some advocacy, some outreach.

Though I would have wanted less structure, I am imagining that the regular group meetings would be more like 'book club' gatherings. We all read certain books or chapters ahead of time as assignments and discuss when we meet. I remember the Jane Austen Book Club movie and how they just talk about one book at a time, try to relate or even critique it. And in the process, they get to know each other better.

There isn't much yet. I am open to comments. But, would you be interested?

corpcloset@gmail.com




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