**Now, just so you know, this is a long post. I could have divided it into several posts for economy, but that senseless publication will be the death of me. Leaving people hanging out there almost got me punched once. I was in high school then and...
The People In That Table
The date was set to begin at four pm. I was unfashionably late by around thirty minutes, not because I wanted to, but because Salcedo Village was too big, and the taxi driver was too stubborn to stop and ask for directions.
There were five people in that table, and four of them had glasses. That includes Ms. J-Zaf. And aside from my person, there were three other fan girls in that table. QSDN works in a bank. Cochise_miz is working for one of the finest call centers around and has been at it for six years now. Sad_ism has lived in Singapore for two years now and mentioned "yogurt business" several times that afternoon. I remember their online handles more than their offline names. No, wait, the truth is I forgot their real names and left it at that.
Now I thought the most intense conversation I had over alcohol was with this tattooed frat guy. We talked about withdrawn Christianism, the occult, the end of the world in 2012, leftists, and Anton Szandor La Vey¹. But all that was weather talk and a flaccid penis compared to the Peter North-ish discussion which took place with this incredible group of fan girls. And that's because of the honest truth that they all spoke in uninterrupted English.
Seriously, there wasn't enough English in the world to accomodate that table! They asked questions in English, answered questions in English, joked in English, and ate their liver pate in English. The way they dispensed English on that table was an extravagance of Imeldific proportions. It was that serious, I tell you. I mean, who uses the word "dilapidated?" In a social situation? Offline? In the third world? In the Philippines, of all third worlds! But then, we do have The Mistress of the Universe in our humble quarry. We needed to rise to the occasion, so I reckon there's nothing surprising about all that effort. On the other hand, I didn't even try to measure to their generous English excesses. I work in a call center, and I speak in English if and only if I have a headset on. I don't talk it outside my billable hours. So I talked homo instead.
What We Talked About
We talked about real hot rugby players slash electricians, walks on cemeteries, Bembol Roco in Maynila sa Kuko Ng Liwanag, sports (yes, sports, but it was real brief), our online handles, vaginismus and John Lloyd Cruz, Hayden Kho and who was the worst partner he had in those videos, David Celdran and one of the Pangilinans, trains, India, the Chinese, taxi drivers and their crazy monologues, saying "Brush" instead of "Cheese" when having your picture taken, baby powder on your husband's eggs, and Twisted 9. Twisted 9 will be red, by the way. No metaphors there; it will be red.
Yes, it was a mouthful of talk, but there were still the expected pockets of awkward silence. Those were, of course, properly addressed. She had us prepare five questions each. And there's a snap snap snapping loud fag in the ranks. Plus, there's nothing like having a common denominator, like Jessica Zafra, to keep the group interested. But there were still the expected pockets of awkward silence, and we can't help it. Because some of those moments represented awe.
Would you look at that, I can do cheesy!
And I must admit that I was almost out of talk during the last hour, but that wasn't because I've ran out of things to say. It's just that the wine got to me.
The wine got to me. My constitution's built to withstand the local P150 a liter brandy. Anything in the higher end gets to me, and that Kier² (sounded like it) got to me. We also had these cute gay biscuits which were puffy and sweet and of varying pastel colors. It was what that faggot John Lapuz would be in his next life. The liver pate was an anemic Reno Liver Spread. And it was fantastic, and it had leaves and a grape for presentation. And there was another bowl of bread, for the pate, and it was splendid in its quiet interior design.
Now a gay guy, particularly a loud and out-there gay guy like the one "standing in front of you," has a ready term of reference to address the one they're speaking with. For women, it's usually any of the following: "ateh, teh, ganda, mader, mammee." A man is "kuya, daddy;" the fresher ones go by "baby;" the fresher strangers are "Jason, Michael, Eric, John, Iking" and so on until we get the name right, and then we are rewarded with an acknowledgment. That invariably never happens, but we keep at it because it's fun. An acquaintance, especially when I forgot their name, is "fren." The same term of reference is used on real friends. The only difference is that it is pronounced with a distinct sweetness on the inflection, "fre-een," and, by then, it is endearment.
I addressed Ms. Zafra as "Madame" all throughout that afternoon. If you should remember, they all spoke English while I spoke Homo. I was all smiles and "Hello Madame!" when I got there. And I went like "Thank you Madame!" when she gave me this autographed book (which I wasn't expecting, by the way). And then I was "Kakaloka naman yan Madame!" when inspecting her curious Castle Ring. Nobody in that table seemed to address that reference, and I kept at it, and I was pleased.
And I was all the more pleased because I'm finally sitting with the one female I've been sincerely trying to impersonate all these years. You can see I'm too pleased. I smile a lot in person, but when I'm in the Awful Presence of the Mistress of the Universe, I let it all out. Teeth, gums -- all out! They were so out there that I swore I heard the seams of my mouth rrripp. Now if this was a painting, it will be oil on forehead. And T-zone. And cheeks. And I'd like to thank my sponsor, Petron Unleaded, for the retouch.
The Mistress of the Universe
The Mistress of the Universe was wearing this dress that's got this shade of violet to it. She also had this red scarf wrapped around her neck, a pair of brown fabric earrings, and I remember this gold-plated ring with this miniature castle on it. Castle. Ring. Her hair was thick, wavy and framed her face because it fell from both sides of her face, and it made the signature rimmed glasses all the more pronounced. And before I forget, she was wearing this crazy ring with a castle on it.
The Mistress of the Universe was subect to fits of sneezing that day because she was recovering from a cold spell. But that didn't stop her from surprising those four fan girls that was her captive audience that afternoon.
And we were!
Contrary to what I was accustomed to, there wasn't a trace of venom about her person! Everything about her was a pleasant surprise, most especially if you've been following her near-toxic material with eagerness. No, she wasn't wicked. She was armed with the best manners, a ready smile, and a firm handshake. No, she wasn't snarky. She spoke in this almost baritone that hummed of energy. There's nothing condescending about the way she talked; there is this spirited intonation which was common to both singers and storytellers alike. No, she wasn't a bitch. She was a generous and accomodating host, and she gave everybody books, autographed books at that. And, to top it all off, she also shared a writing tip.
She said that one should have a pet subject, something that only he can write about because he knows it like the back of his hand, and he will never run out of passion and material.
Meeting one of the greatest people in your estimation is the reality check I needed as a blogger. I've been blogging for some time, and I've this following, one fan, and I think I've got it made when I started earning from it. "Hell yeah" is the word until I'm in the same table as The One Female I've Been Sincerely Trying to Impersonate all these years. She's got several Palancas, books with an insane readership, real influence, and a newspaper column; I've got this blog with a Page Rank of 2. I can't be any more humbled than after spending an afternoon with what can be one of my greatest influences. You can't be any more grounded than that. Otherwise, you are coffee beans.
Grounded. Coffee beans. Get it? Hello?
Being a gay jerk is my pet subject, and I was never clear on that until she said it. I thought I was just being a dick all along.
And I'm beginning to love the closet-nerds all the more this time around.
¹Anton Szandor LaVey was the American founder and High Priest of the Church of Satan as well as the author of The Satanic Bible.
²The drink is actually called Kir. It's white wine with creme de cassis.
³Got this from Glentot of wickedmouth.com