Mention malate among one’s friendly gay circles and one is bound to get an image of steamy dancefloors gyrating to Madonna, kylie or gaga music (whichever is the toast of the season), streets turned fashion ramps for the night to cater to the cruising, vamped up (hair gel, lipgloss, foundation, please) and psyched up (move over, Gloria Diaz, ako na ang pinakamagandang hayup sa balat ng lupa) gay man out and ready to spew his venom to willing, writhing victims.
If ever jean grey, professor x, or madam auring happens to cruise the streets as well, they are bound to get the same vibrations from the sea of gay men who flood the gay mecca this side of the metro : Nobody’s more beautiful than i am. I am the goddess of beauty incarnate. Watch my hips sway, my eyelash curl... and tremble.
It seems that the gay experience is not complete for the gay urbanite without one ever having set one’s foot in this seething, see-and-be-seen hub of gay activity even for once. And some say that once the clubbing bug has bitten you, there’s no turning back.
Not for me.
I’ve been to malate only twice, before having met my better half of four years. the first time i was there, was to drown out my sorrow-laden heart with the noise of the dance floor. I just suffered from my first serious heartbreak, and the dance floor became a convenient place to just loose myself and not think of anything else that will make me remember. The second time, were months after said heartbreak, and the place wasn’t the same sorrow-vanquishing place anymore. Instead, it transformed into some ferocious monster that makes one feel a bit lacking, a bit empty, as one made swooping surveys of the men bathing in the eerie light of the dancefloor lights, making out behind pillars and dancing on the ledges.
The only time malate became fun for me was when the volleybelle group that my partner belongs to (a group of gay men having the passion for volleyball), held annual street costume parades during Halloween. It just felt right, roving the streets of malate with someone you feel right with. For three years, we cheered the fabulous gay men in their group whip it out, clad in exquisite costumes they themselves made. Now that was fun. Hehe.
Last june we found ourselves amidst the rainy environs of malate, taking part of the white party celebration--our first together. Yes, the usual throng of self absorbed men was there, parading themselves while looking for potential victims to prey on. Nothing seems to thrill me anymore. I was kinda hoping it would turn out like the Halloween nights with the volleybelles, but nope, it just seemed like one boring fashion show after another.
That night, I found myself thinking : Getting old? Hmmm.. maybe. Pass by, young men with ego the height and scale of mount everest. i have love with me and beside me, and i haven’t met him in malate.