Jun 29, 2011

[Blogosphere] Lessons From Gay Bars In Manila

I've only been to a gay bar (yes the sleazy kind) once thus far in my life. It was when my partner and I were on a vacation in Clark and we stumbled upon one come Saturday night. On a dare of sorts, we checked it out, stayed around for the first show and then returned to our hotel quickly thereafter.

I'm sure a lot of gay guys out there wonder what goes on at such locations. And I'm sure a lot of the curious have questions like "how do you table a guy?" or "what's allowed and what isn't" and all that, and I have to admit this is an area of expertise where this Geeky Guide can't provide much help. But I just found out that I actually have a friend who might be able to help out instead.

Lessons From Gay Bars In Manila

Enter my friend G.B. Goer, where GB stands for gay bar (obviously, hehe). He's he elusive blogger behind the blog Lessons from Gay Bars in Manila, a collection of his personal experiences as a regular gay bar patron. And we're talking the complete soup-to-nuts deal in terms of discussions of various bars, encounters with the dancers who work there (both at the bar and beyond) and whatever else might come to mind when it comes to gay bars of all sorts.

So I managed to get him to participate in a little interview-by-email activity as part of what I hope to be a regular series of features about various local blogs of interest. So let's learn more about GB Goer right after the cut

GB Goer describes himself thus:
Mid-Late 20s. Gay Pinoy male. Partly in and partly out of the closet. Grew up slightly sheltered and Catholic-school educated, ergo patronizing (and writing about) macho dancing bars came quite as a surprise. My double life: Serious Marketer by day, Serious GB Goer by night.

Why Lessons from Gay Bars in Manila?
The blog is really a collection of my experiences and learnings as a gay bar goer. It features my thoughts on gay bar going, observations about macho dancers and others working there, some anecdotes from the men themselves, a lot of the industry's secrets, and even my personal relationships with those working there, peppered with personal insights on Manila's gay bars.

Who or What made you decide to create your blog?
When I started gay bar going a year ago, I got so overwhelmed by the thrill that I started researching on the net about gay bars and the personal experiences of others. But I noticed a dearth of information. Back then, there wasn't a blog or website dedicated to this industry. There were a few blog posts here and there about their first time or one-time experiences. But I thought they didn't fully capture the craziness of a gay bar goer, something akin to the addiction that I felt.

So driving home one early December morning after a GB session, I realized why not start a gay bar blog myself. In the months hopping from one bar to another, meeting macho dancers week after week, hearing their unique yet similar-in-essence stories, and heck, even falling in love with a few of them, I felt I had enough knowledge and insight about them and the industry to write about. Good thing that it was at the same time that a couple other blogs of similar nature appeared. So it seemed like we were painting a picture of the gay bar scene.

What are your goals for the blog?
Short-term goal is really to expand readership and create a following among different kinds of readers: the curious shy virgins living vicariously, the one-time GB goer reminiscing their first time, and the crazed MD fanatics reliving a shared experience.

Mid-term goal is to become an Online Resource for gay bars. I am still working on how to do this, as I need to angle my blog to differentiate from the other MD/GB blogs. It's not a personal journal type with straight-out narrations, nor a factual listing of gay bar information. Mine started out as essays on insights about bars and macho dancers, which I think can be further edited, printed out, and published into a book.

My long-term and personal goal is to show the real human aspect of the macho dancers. I wanted to break away from the stereotypes of these men -- that they're not just sex workers, coming from poverty with no other job, or abused by their employers, gold-diggers (even if a lot of them are). If you notice, I don't even name these men, nor showing anything too sleazy like macho dancer porn. The blog is an attempt to humanize them. Ambitious, yes. Messianic, quite.

My friend with a background on psych and anthropology even said that my blog looks like an ethnographic study in the sub-culture of macho dancing gay bars. Because, yeah, it is a sub-culture, with its own terminologies, systems, habits, pamahiins, etc. And my personal task is to feature one of its aspects in single blog posts.

Who do you consider to be your primary inspiration?
Honestly, the dancers themselves. These are their stories, their lifestyles. I listen to their gossip, their friendly kanto kwentuhan, their personal views on pop culture and society, and even their serious thoughts and emotions. In how to structure and flesh out each blog post, I get inspiration from humor essays and news journals.

What one celebrity do you wish would notice your blog?
Hmmm... the good-looking moreno actor who was rumored to be a former macho dancer. Yuhh-mee! Kidding aside, I guess other gay bloggers whom I can connect to. And why not, even a book publisher.

What one piece of advice would you give to a guy considering going to a gay bar for the first time?
For a first-timer: Tabling a guy heightens the gay bar going experience (P1.5-2K as ballpark ave spend per person), but don't expect these guys to act like your side-street masseur. These guys are really more for entertainment (visual and conversational).

For a first-timer who wishes to return again and again: Don't fall in love.

In addition to the blog, you can connect with GB Goer over email or you can connect with him on Twitter. He's pretty dilligent with replies to your questions and comments and I'm sure he'd love to hear from you.

Who knows, maybe I'll try visiting a gay bar again sometime in the future. However I'll be sure to enlist GB Goer's help before doing so.
Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. I'm a fan of G.B. Goer and I love this interview!

  2. Elmer:
    I'm glad you enjoyed! And I'm sure GB appreciates your continued support.

    Just you wait - I'm bound to run a feature on your blog soon enough. =)

  3. Hi Rocky. Thanks for this blog post! I never thought of myself as "elusive." hehe! Anyway, I already linked to your feature! Cheers!

    Hi Elmer! A million and one thanks for the support and kind words! =)