Friday, March 30, 2012

Believing Like A Boy

I remember when it was still so easy for me to trust my heart. I miss those days.

Last Sunday, I listened to an eighteen-year-old boy tell me how he was falling for a guy he just met. In the past year, he’s had seven relationships, all of which ended when the other guys have had their way with him. He was broken-hearted after each one, particularly after realizing that those men he entrusted his heart to were really only after sex. And yet there he was once again, all giddy while he was telling me about how sweet and smart and kind this new guy was. He did not care that they met only a few days before. All that mattered was that his heart was once again skipping beats whenever he heard that guy say his name. And I couldn’t help but notice how his eyes glimmered with hope that this guy might finally be the one he’s been waiting for.

I would normally just dismiss that boy’s feelings as just another impending heartache. He’s just a kid after all, naive and easily fooled by the empty promise of a happy ending. I, on the other hand, have several years’ worth of stories that can pop those stupid floating hearts. Life had repeatedly hammered into my head that love is not about butterflies and fireworks, but rather a contract that needs to be pinned onto the wall and reviewed every day that I wake up.

But there was something about the way that boy told his story that captivated me. The way his eyes sparkled, the way he couldn’t help smiling whenever he said his guy’s name, and the way his voice was laced with hope were just too beautiful for me to turn my eyes from.

“He makes me happy. That’s the only thing that should matter, right?” the boy asked me at one point.

“Do you think that’s enough?” I asked, throwing the question back.

“I think so. Yeah, for me it is. I know that I don’t really know much about him but it just feels right. I should be scared. I should be cautious. But the more I think about it, the more I feel that it’s okay. Falling for him is not such a scary thing after all.”

“I see. So you’re sure that there’s nothing to be worried about,” I said.

“Yeah. It’s never been in my nature to hold back when it comes to these things. I give it everything I have. That’s the only way I can do it,” he said in that determined voice.

That was when it became clear to me: that boy is exactly how I used to be. What he said basically summed up how I’ve been handling my relationships up until last year. I jumped at every opportunity to fall in love and start the walk down the road to ever after.

But I eventually stopped being that boy. I kept stumbling onto dead ends until finally I just gave up. Quota na ako, as I once put it. I gave up on the idea of a magical love story and accepted that everything is fleeting. No one else was up for a lifetime of love, it seemed. People who looked for relationships were in fact only after a constant backup fuck-buddy or a safety net from a life of solitude when they grow old. Or you’ll find one of those few people who’re also looking for a happily-ever-after, but then you find out that everything else about you two is a mismatch. The only way to be happy, it seemed, was to settle.

That’s why the boy’s story was so enchanting. The way he believed that he had finally found the one, it was like finding a part of me that I’ve lost. It was the part that had scarred my heart beyond recognition, that changed me to who I am now, but it was also the part that once made me believe in pure, innocent love. I know I’ve already dismissed that part as nothing more than a phase, a gateway to reality, but somehow, I still keep hoping that this unbelieving and calloused version of me is the phase, and that the Nishiboy who once believed in true love will turn out to be the reality.

But I’m afraid the boy will have to wait a little longer for his true love, because the guy he has fallen for this time is just like the ones before him. He will have to deal with heartbreak yet again, another scar that will never heal. I can only hope that he doesn’t give up on love just yet and that he doesn’t turn out to be someone like me, who treats love and relationship as a contract to be renewed, already too scared to entrust his heart to promises of forever.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Nishiboy Singing Breakeven

Here's a video of me singing Breakeven. This was taken a couple of years ago when I was still in my first job. We had a recreation room with a videoke machine, along with chess boards, foosball, xbox and other toys. Of course, it was the videoke machine that first broke down from overuse. Here, you can see that the song got cut after the first chorus. I tried it three times, but it was always the same. I think it was one of the first symptoms that the machine was already failing.

The girl you can hear in the background is Honey, my best friend after college.

* video removed. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What's Your Number

1. How many sexual partners have you had in the last three months?

Wow, I thought. It really drops it on you right from the first question.

My friend H and I were answering a survey on sexual activity. We’re both pretty open on the topic of sex but the questions in the survey still made us cringe. Although we were both aware that our own conquests have been steadily on the rise lately, putting a number on them makes the picture uncomfortably clear.

“Do you think blowjobs count or is it just the fucks?” I asked H. He pointed to question number two in reply.

2. How many of those did you have penetrative sex with?

Oh crap, so there’s no way of trimming the figures.

“This is impossible, how am I supposed to remember all of them?” I sighed, throwing my pen aside.

“Just give an estimate. That’s what I did,” H offered.

I stared as the ceiling and began attempting to recall the guys I cruised or hooked up with. I must have stayed that way for a while because H suddenly snapped his fingers at my eyes.

“Fine, let’s do it by month,” he said. “How many were there last December?”

Ah, that just might work.

“Well,” I started, “that was the month when I was at my most active at cruising. I went there three times in a week at most, I think.”

“That makes twelve in a month.”

“No wait, let’s say I averaged twice in a week. So eight.”

“And how many guys did you get every time?”

Memories of group action suddenly popped up in my head.

“Let’s say that I only had one,” I said while trying to keep a straight face. “Then let’s add, say, two more for hook-ups that weren’t from cruising.”

H looked like he wanted to prod but decided against it.

“Then for January...” I started as my eyes went back up to the ceiling. “I cruised less that month, probably just went there six times. Then add two more for the random hook-ups.”

“That’s just about the same as December,” H said. “And what about last month?”

“Hm, February... Ah yes, I’ve already stopped cruising in the hotspot by then,” I said, nodding slowly.

“Why do I get the feeling that the number is still roughly the same for that month?” he said.

“Well, let me see... I got one from Grindr, one from PR –“

“Wait, I thought you didn’t have PR?”

“I made one last month. My first time.”

“Ah,” he shrugged. “And then?”

“Two from a mall, two from another mall and one from...somewhere.”

“Somewhere,” he laughed. “Oh, the fun of random hook-ups.”

“I hate this survey. So how many are there in all?” I asked. I’ve been avoiding adding the numbers up in my head since the beginning of the survey.


“Woah, really? Wait, let's count that again.”

“No, I think you’ve rounded it down enough times already.” H said. “That’s quite a lot, Nishi.”

“Oh come on,” I protested. “You know that’s just a fraction of what other guys get. You know, the ones who really put themselves out there.”

“I meant it’s quite a lot for you.”

I opened my mouth to say something but couldn’t, and ended up just letting out a sigh. Yes, it was indeed a lot for me, considering how I once concluded that I wasn’t built for casual sex. That was after the first time I explored the world of hook-ups and nameless encounters. I thought I had left that world for good, yet there I was again. It’s not like I haven’t been warned. Someone told me that the wind could shift back. And so it has.

Oh well, I might as well enjoy my stay, for however long it would last this time.

“No other choice but to own up to it,” I told H. “It was my choice to do those things, after all. It’s just right that I claim them.”

H started clapping his hands and standing up slowly. I threw my pen at him and we both laughed.

“So how many did you write in number one?” I asked H as we folded our survey forms.


“That’s a fucking lie.”

“Yeah, it is.”