back to the vacuum



why did i bother to come back, i wondered as i searched the smoke drenched bar -- filled with sweaty kids dancing to the band's version of pitbull's americano -- for somebody nice enough to go home with.
there were about a hundred kids inside the bar, 17 and up, all genders, wearing their weekend uniform: cut off denim shorts and skin tight blouson for most of the girls and jeans and shirt for the boys.
it was a bar for middle class kids. most of them were speaking in english or a mixture of english and filipino. latest model of cellphones and iphones on their hands.

***********
amid the crowd, one guy caught my attention. chinito. tall, lean with spiky hair. he was in black jeans, red checkered shirt with the sleeves folded up to his elbows.
i was in my weekend best too: dark jeans (d squared), black v-neck shirt (ck), cardigan (rl) and blue sneakers (paul smith).  no underwear.
i smiled at him. he gave me a cold stare.
my first rejection for the night.
somehow it dampened my spirit.
i wanted to leave but it was raining.
so i decided to stay for a while, regretting my decision to come back to this bar.
earlier i left to go to another bar. but it was boring there. not much (young) people.

*****
at almost 2 a.m., the rain stopped. i left.
i walked in search for a cab, as elusive on a rainy night as cute boys in their 20s.
i kept walking. the streets were filled with people, mostly drunk, who were on their way home. or to a motel. or to another party which i was not invited.
after a few minutes of walking, a bar caught my wandering eyes. insomnia. (i thought this was the same bar along nakpil years ago when malate was at the peak of its popularity and where gorgeous kids from the super upper east side, bohemian artists, wandering writers, penniless poets, frustrated actors would hang out.) 
it wasn't.
there were a lot of koreans outside, smoking cigarettes, talking, drinking.
i went in.
the receptionist asked me to pay the full entrance fee even if it was already late. almost morning.
because curiosity has gotten the best of me, i paid.
inside was seoul, in party mode.
there were plenty of cute koreans in their 20s. some of them were with their filipino friends, others with their filipino girlfriends.
the kimchi invasion, i thought. first, the korean telenovelas on our homes. now their citizens enrolled in our universities to learn english.
it's cheaper here, of course, than say going to the united states of obama to study.
of course i luv kimchi and other korean food.
as far as i was concerned, korean food has always been here, way ahead of their telenovelas and their well-dressed, shiny youngsters.
the dancefloor was full, so i went out.

*******


more walking.
i stopped to buy mints from a hawker.
another boy was buying cigarettes. edible enough for the night, in shorts, jacket and flipflops. no, i take that back. he was good looking enough to be on the cover of candy magazine.
i followed him inside another bar.
a few minutes later, i was sitting in a table with him and his friend, drinking san miguel lights.
we talked about important things after the usual introduction such as rising inflation in china, the federal reserve's reluctance to buy more government bonds, how the new imf chief could revive the european economies, greece's downgraded credit ratings, and why most economies were still flushed with liquidity.
more talk.  i was getting anxious.
it was already 15 past 4  but they haven't agreed yet to come home with me. or at least candy boy.
in fact, candy boy was more interested in the girls at the other table than on talking to me, the fallen star.
it was his friend, cigarette boy (he was always smoking even inside the bar, ignoring the fact that it was no longer allowed and he could end up in jail for doing so) who kept the conversation alive.
if only you were as cute as candy boy, i thought.

****
ah the irony.
kung sino pa ang gusto mo, sya pa ang ayaw sa yo.
in english, if you are fat and in your 40s, be prepared to spend more to get the guy that you want.
at 5, the bar was about to close.
candy boy was willing to go home with me only if cigarette boy would go too.
but cigarette boy was reluctant. he wanted to go with the girls from the other table. yes, candy boy was able to chat with them and got their names and numbers.
tired, sleepy and drunk, i told them i was going home.
with or without them.
i went outside.
it was nearly 6.
the sun was hurting my eyes.
a taxi stopped and i got in.
sleep.
sleep.
sleep.
when i woke up, i had 10 missed calls and five messages from candy boy, asking where i was.
the messages were sent at around 6:30 to 7 in the morning, when i was already in the dream land.
12 hours ago.
stale as the wine and cheese that i left on the coffee table the other night.

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