Thursday, March 30, 2017

Be Our Guest

Undeniably stereotypical though it is for a gay man, musicals have always been a thing of mine. From the more current favourites such as Hairspray and Book of Mormon to the more relatively obscure ones like Brigadoon and Showboat, I've loved them all equally.

Well... almost. A handful do get a special place in my heart with memorable showtunes that I  know by heart and have sung a dozen or more times all alone to myself and infrequently to quite an unappreciative audience. After all how can you possibly not tag along with the mutinous Sister Maria as she hurries up the oh-so-picturesque hillsides of Salzburg to break into song?

Or even that funny girl Belle as she walztes into the village waking everyone up with a hearty Bonjour?

Though of course our imbecilic censorship board did try their level best to spoil our chances of ever seeing the live-action retelling of the animated classic Beauty and the Beast due to their oddly homophobic stance. Just a little change, small to say the least, a little tweak in the tale that outed our suddenly homo-possible Le Fou - which our censors all feared might tempt the entire gullible audience into a heaving den of orgiastic iniquity. There really was something there that wasn't there before. Kill the Scene, they said! Kill the Scene! Irreparably foolish indeed?

Le Fou : Wait a minute, you didn't know I was gay?
Gaston : Even my horse knew. 

Yes, if only the Enchantress had seen fit to turn the imbeciles into monstrous beasts for their extreme prejudice.

But then as everyone knows - seeing how the news of the hasty, uncalled-for censorship propelled our nation into international disrepute yet again, then somebody bends ... unexpectedly. Almost magical, you would say.

Though I've always been dubious of live-action remakes since it's already been done beautifully before, I found myself immediately moved by the simple scene where Emma Watson wanders through her little village as our Belle to lament over her provincial life. Unfortunately as I realized several moments later, not everyone shares my ardent enthusiasm for the show - and even fewer knew the words to the songs.


Of course that didn't stop me from belting out Be Our Guest with the suave Lumiere - though I sensibly refrained from standing up for an encore. Like she had done more than two decades ago, our brilliant and brave Belle won me over irresistibly. Even better now that she made sure she didn't just stand by while her Beast was taking his undeserved lumps from the resident villain.

And yes just as our homophobic censors feared, the hints that Le Fou is most certainly gay have become far more overt - though still subtle enough that you can blink hard twice and miss it - but hey, we already knew all that even way back in 1991. Took him almost two decades but Le Fou finally realized he deserved much better than the abusive narcissist Gaston, even with his biceps to spare.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Inadvertent Proposition

With gender diversity being hailed everywhere from crusty old firms to the uppity gentlemen's clubs, there are decidedly few places left thoroughly doused with a hearty splash of testosterone. Though the number of females marching in have been steadily ticking higher, they are still an uncommon sight in the open gym environment, probably one of the last heaving bastions of outright machismo.

And still fiercely heterosexual.

Or at least that's what the grunting fist-bumping straight boys tend to think.

Changing times however mean their more astute gay brothers know far better; generally finding each other out in the crowd with even the rustiest of gay-dars followed by those subtle nods of cordial recognition. Generally though the gay gymgoers, perfectly at ease with being discreet, tend to blend in perfectly with the rest of the hetero herd, sending out the occasional high fives and bro roars with the best of them.

So covertly concealed are we that some of the straight boys tend to let their guards down enough to blather on loudly about the nitty gritty details of their lives in the apparently safe sanctum of the weight room. Of course I never actually realized how cheerfully unconcerned they could be till this afternoon when I was assaulted with the most lascivious overture I've had in years.

Unfortunately I doubt Delicious Danish meant a single word. At least not in the way I would prefer. Think I have mentioned before how delightfully tempting this young gentleman could be; from the top of his ruggedly shorn head to his meaty thighs. Quite a few would love a bit of this luscious Danish I'm sure.

Care to join me for a little bit of heat?

Though none would have gotten the oddly lewd solicitation I got as we headed to the showers.

Danish : Done with the day? 
Paul : Heading out for an appointment in a while. 
Danish : Oh, I've started up the heat. 
Paul : What?
Danish : Why not join me in the sauna? 
Paul : Wait. What?

Utterly oblivious to the hidden undertones, the blithely handsome fellow just repeated it with a dead-pan expression. Such a wickedly naughty phrase so dangerously fraught with meaning. Not that he even realized, poor fellow, how close he was to being violently shoved into the confined sauna to contend with the carnal consequences of his inadvertent proposition.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Miss Independents III : D.I.M.

Since I count most of them as my dearest friends, this wouldn't be the first time I've talked about Miss Independents. Not only is there a specific song written only for them, I've also added my two cents on the problem; just take a look at Part I and II. Probably wouldn't be the last post as well since they tend to come up with the most thought-provoking situations.

A crucial theme common amongst them all is the remarkable notion that Miss Independents must do it all on their own. Not only does it feed into the inexplicable Maidophobia that I've also mentioned before, the oft-repeated feminist mantra on self reliance and self sufficiency practically precludes them from asking for help from anyone.

And apparently nixes any shockingly pre-feminist thoughts of accepting it either.

So you can imagine my consternation when I eavesdropped on this curious conversation. Faced with the choice of being given a lovely ride home or blindly groping her way back on her lonesome, our Miz Independent gave an utterly unexpected reply.

Miz Independent : Don't pick me up! I can do it myself! There's no need to drive over to fetch me.

She wailed, 'No. No. No,' while interspersing that by insisting, 'I Can Do It Myself.' Recited it enough that it became almost like a compelling chorus to a song.

Call it the D.I.M. Syndrome - or the Do It Myself Syndrome; newly discovered infectious disease that seems to affect most young Miss Independents of a certain age rendering them physically and mentally incapable of accepting help. Any offer of aid is immediately repudiated with a vehemently impassioned nay followed by the pridefully repeated 'I Can Do It Myself' mantra.

Man, if I offered help, would she automatically react with a slap? 

While I was listening in though, I kept wondering what's wrong with graciously receiving the assistance offered? Does this possibly lead back to the mighty self-sustaining feminists insisting on doing everything on their own?

Don't believe me, try opening a door for them.

Yes, I can certainly do it myself but why would I want to when there's someone else all too willing to do it? Does saying yes mean I'm incapable of ever doing it myself? Does accepting help make me somehow weaker or more submissive?

No, it doesn't.

And if you think it does....  well fortunately, I don't have to articulate myself in all that many ways since the absolutely riveting Matthew Hussey already does it beautifully. And obviously looks quite good doing it too!

I mean, those arms. Seriously. He could pick me up anytime he wanted to.

Friday, March 17, 2017

From BFFs to Strangers

Friendship is an interesting thing. Sometimes it takes just a moment for relative strangers to click into the best of friends. Perhaps something in the air but there's a certain chemistry, maybe even a sense of telepathic simpatico between two that makes them immediately suited to be best friends.

Best friends forever?
Or at least till someone walks by? 

Rare though do we find the opposite happening where erstwhile friends get instantly dropkicked from the shining summit of compadre crag down the frightening slopes of brief transients into the forgotten depths of faceless anonymity. Yet when it comes to closeted individuals, it happens often enough. For them, there are always the so-called 'gay' friends comprising of those flirty fabulous fags and their hag stag dependents. Basically those in the know.

And then there are the supposed those who know not. As in the sadly undiscerning few they blithely assume ( usually erroneously ) have not deciphered the cryptic code of their covert campiness as yet. So obviously the fags must always be screened and hidden from the few for fear of the ship overturning.

David : Oh my friends brought me. 
Paul : Oh who! When do we meet them? 
David : Oh not friends. Colleagues. 
Paul : Oh. 
David : Oh not colleagues. Acquaintances. 
Paul : Oh. 
David : Oh not acquaintances. Strangers. 
Paul : Next stage would be people who don't really exist, right? Imaginary friends? 

Really. Didn't take more than five minutes for best friends to turn into relative strangers that he used to know. At least we know who turned over their friends and family to the Gestapo at the simple snap of a finger.

Just like Gotye said it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Pecah Tongkang Syndrome II

Pecah Tongkang.

First of all there's no such colourful phrase even in colloquial Malay so don't bother searching for it. Perhaps the closest I can think of would be pecah tembelang but for such a colossal secret, just a handful of rotten eggs certainly won't do hence we all co-opted the phrase and changed it into a sunken ship instead.

But like any enormous sea vessel traversing the treacherous seas, there are always hidden shoals that no one can possibly predict. Just like in real life, closeted boys delicately pilot their ship of scandalous secrets past a serpentine snarl of shoals, sandbanks and shallows hoping beyond hope it doesn't smash, shatter and sink causing a startlingly shameful scene.

Yet it does happen.

Even with the most cautious, experienced helmsman, accidents do happen unfortunately. With such a rickety old ship, visible chinks tend to manifest regardless of the tender loving care given. After all in any crowd, it's sometimes quite hard to recognize who definitely knows, who has already shrewdly guessed - and who actually doesn't know a whit about the gay elephant in the room.

You. You broke the pact, you owe him a consolation waffle. 

So there's always the inadvertent spoiler.

Sometimes unwittingly from the closeted boy himself. Easy enough to let your guard down when you think you're in safe waters. Those are the times when the biggest gaffes tend to happen. No matter what you do though, little by little, those little chinks tend to grow wide enough to eventually sink the ship.

Honestly you can't hide a secret forever.

Which is why we've offered our friend a consolation prize instead. These days whoever breaks the code has to buy him a consolation waffle. Sometimes a pancake when the waffle isn't available.

I guess it's better than nothing.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Definitely Maybe

With the ever-present, all-ubiquitous cellphone at hand, appointments don't stick as much these days. Granted there doesn't seem to be much need to preplan anything beforehand since it's as simple as typing out a quick message to find someone wherever they are at any time of the day.

Not to mention there's always the even more intrusive GPS tracker for the budding stalker as well.

However for old-timers like me who were brought up in the technological stone age, not setting the time and place does frequently leave me exasperated. Way back, when hardly anyone short of spies and tycoons had box-sized cellphones, we all had to make strict appointments on where and when to meet with perhaps a twenty minutes leeway, give or take. RSVP and make sure you're on time. Sashay over a precious minute later and you'd find the party people utterly gone, leaving dust and glitter in its wake. 

Paul : So are they coming over?
Friend : They said maybe they'll hang here?
Paul : I'll be waiting with bated breath.  

Unlike what I'm starting to find these days where everyone hangs back waiting with their breath bated, utterly loath and unwilling to fully commit till perhaps five seconds before. With everything and everyone within a roaming connected zone, it's easy enough to change your mind even till the last moment. Which reminds me of a certain troublesome wild goose chase I had a few years back. 

Paul : So where are we meeting up with them for dinner? 
Felix : Oh, wait. Think it's at Restaurant A.
Paul : We are about a half hour early but we can always wait there. 
Felix : Sure let's head over. 

Ten minutes later. 

Felix : Wait, they have changed their mind. They are heading to Bistro B. 
Paul : Which is down the road? 
Felix : Maybe a block or two? 
Paul : Let's go. 

Ten minutes later. 

Felix : They don't like the crowd there. Now they're crossing the road to try Cafe C. 
Paul : Let's go then. 

Obviously our search for the missing Carmen Sandiego went on for quite a while. Apparently assuming our cellphones would keep us connected no matter what, the texting generation blithely changed their minds according to whim and fancy - preferring just that little bit of convenient flexibility no doubt - leading us all on a terribly unwelcome fugitive hunt. Near the end I could have gladly shot them.

Evidently the increase in connectedness only leads to people leading a far more noncommittal life. Rather than committing the more common Frequent Freaking Flyer, there's not even a yes or even a no but just that vague maybe... Not even an old-fashioned rain check but just a check. 

So you can imagine my horrified expression when a friendly millennial told his friends this the other day. 

Friend : Not sure about dinner yet. I'll see how it goes. Let's play it by ear. 


RSVP isn't a dirty word. Make the fucking decision and stick with it, dammit.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

The Third Party

Whenever we hear the faint, tantalizing whiff of scandalous adultery, for some unfathomable reason moralizing fingers are quick to point the blame wholly at the third party. Regardless of sexual orientation, that has remained the prevailing thought - that the scheming third party has maliciously slithered over from the foul depths to despoil the sacred sanctity of said marriage.

I however have always thought differently. If it's a consented monogamous relationship, I would censure the partner who strayed instead. Don't be so quick to rain derision and disdain on the femme fatale, or homme fatale as the case may be; we tend to forget the much maligned third party made no sweet promises to anyone involved.

However the unfaithful partner did repeatedly; and subsequently broke that solemn pledge.

So don't give me utter bullshit about being tempted to stray. Never fall on the lame, utterly cliched excuse of not being able to help it. Short of being locked up together in an elevator for days on end, there's always time and reason enough to nip that little illicit crush in the bud before anything wicked blooms.

So who's to blame now?

Turns out I'm in the ostracized minority here though since some of my friends are all too willing to blame an entire host of people before placing the responsibility solely on the two involved in the relationship.

Paul : If I remember correctly, by tradition the person who introduces the happy couple also gets a red packet. 
Barbara : Oh I wouldn't want to bear that responsibility. 
Paul : Responsibility? 
Barbara : Of matching people together? If it doesn't work out, won't they get the blame? 
Paul : For what? It's just telling two people they should meet. If they don't work their relationship out, they should just blame themselves.  

Ouch. When a relationship implodes, even the hapless matchmaker gets shot down in the devastating hail of blame. Who next? The bartender? The work colleague?

So who's to blame? 

Seriously though, where do we get this horrible idea of blaming everyone else for our own foolish mistakes before blaming ourselves first? Man up and take the shot. If we decide the relationship is failing, it's entirely our fault and no one else's. There's no attributing it to the neighbour, denouncing that third party and certainly never crucifying the matchmaker.

Face it, there's only the two of you in that relationship. Flounder or fly, it only depends on the both of you.