|i could go on for 40 days and 40 nights about my blog title and bore you to bits and pieces with 10,000 different ideas i actually had for the name of this blog but because of the 500 characters limit that is imposed upon this mechanism which, by the way, is supposed to promote free speech, i shall shorten it to just two words basically describing what the hell this is all about and who this hell belongs to.|
Monday, June 01, 2009
how i pinked my blue self to Pangkeng and the colleagues (part two)
there are many reasons why the gay community seem to love the X-men series of movies. the tight costumes that seem to be a staple with all our talented superheroes are a good place to start. Hugh Jackman and his biceps are an even better place to start. and i think i will start with that. recently, when the latest Wolverine movie was nearing its launch date, the train station near my workplace had this huge poster of Wolverine and his biceps. actually i would be more than gratified if it was just Hugh Jackman's biceps on the movie poster alone. but point is, it features Hugh Jackman on the front of the movie poster together with the rest of mutants featured in the movie (Sabertooth, Gambit, et cetera).
the poster in question lies right smack in front of the ticket barrier. so much so that whenever i wanted to tap my transit card to get through the barrier, i would usually fluster at the sight of Jackman and his 'come hither' look. well, it's not exactly 'come hither' per se given that Jackman is baring his claws and all, but i swear, the body says otherwise.
'What? Me?' i would say in my imaginary conversations with him on my permanent night shift days. of course, that would be the point when i walk right smack into the ticket barrier, realizing that i have been tapping my transit card on every other place on the barrier other than the card responder. 'I'm okay! I'm okay!' i would say to everyone else, especially to Wolverine.
truth be told however, the pertinent parallels between both the mutant and the gay community never cease to be a source of fascination for the latter. you have a group of seemingly talented individuals, gited even. these people are really good at whatever they are doing. successful, good-looking and most of the them perhaps well-chiselled. they seem like average joes on the surface. but in reality, they have a big secret to hide from the public. if the public knew them for what they really are, some may come to be ostracized. others may be willingly accepted, but perhaps with queer little looks on their faces.
this queer liitle awkward look is one that i've come to be familiar with in my years of telling people that i am gay. and i'm sure most gay people can relate to his. you tell someone that you think would embrace your sexuality with open arms, if not at least without the clenched fist. and the first thing they give you in this weird look on their face that speaks of many things - betrayal or perhaps digust.
the first person whom i ever came out to was a classmate whom i was infatuated with. he was funny and the class joker. and you know how class jokers crave attention. he ended up telling the whole class which really put me off for quite a while. i wasn't ostracized but i got the weird look for the rest of the year. the next person whom i came out to was an outspoken, plus-sized girl who was unabashed about her stand on human rights in its many forms. i really liked her because by just standing beside her for five minutes, you became cleverer already. she always had something good to say that you could accompany with a smirk. it could be a theory, a possiblity a rheteorical question. it helps that she's from the debate team. i told her after we graduated from secondary school in a letter, with which she later replied that given that i knew her stand on such issues, i should have told her so earlier. this encouraged me to tell more people.
and so i told my best friend from secondary school, Sunanthar. she gave me the weird look as well, but i guess she eventually came to embrace it given her studies and work in mass communications and media. the bunch of people that i hung out with in drama club during the nursing school days also came to know eventually. they saw how my ex-boyfriend and i would suspiciously hang around each other for no apparent reason (other than to have sex in school). it was all of this life experience with trying to out myself and slowly leaking the fact that i am gay, that i realized people generally don't take the news too well. well, not if you throw the whole stack of pink documents incriminating yourself out of the blue.
my parents are one such example. they didn't come to know about my sexuality through direct revelation from me. traces of porn that i left behind in the family computer back then, no interest in girls, my obsession for collecting porn in floppy disks (that was way before the existence of external hard disk drives) led them to suspicions. but what really gave me away was one fine day when they came home early one fine day during a Sunday rendezvous with my ex. what gave me away was that my boxers were worn inverted - the label could be seen prominent right under my navel. many years of reprimanding through the bible later, they eventually reached a certain tolerance. i don't tell them about my gay life and they don't ask me anything about it. don't ask, don't tell. as simple as that.
and so, it is through all this limited life experience that i've come up with a set of guidelines for myself when it comes to a social context and whether i should out myself:
1) i really do care about these people enough to want to let them know.
2) these people must have had prior exposure to some form of gay people.
3) if they have not had prior exposure, they must have had a lot of sex (i'm not sure why, but these people seem to take it better than most others).
4) no prudes.
5) no Christians.
6) not at work.
7) ostracized people seem to take it better as well. under-dogs and all that.
in case you think that i'm one of those weird people who write motivational sentences on post-it pads and stick them on my walls, let my clarify that these are guidelines that i keep in my head. i'm thinking that the homosexuality nature of having to hide so many things in life has really coloured my way of life. i keep everything in my head.
for fear of writing something in a pink pen that may poke a hole in my blue way of life.
Pangkeng and i have been working together for so long that there's nothing much about him that i don't know. or even if there's something about him that i don't know, it's most likely he thinks that it's not relevent to our friendship. now that i've got all my bases covered (phew!), let me just tell you that if you asked me a decade back who my best friend would be, the last person in mind would most definitely be a ganster/hooligan (an Ah Beng in local context) sort of chracters. our friendship seems to work for some strange reason. maybe it's becuase we are colleagues. or maybe we just seem to share the same interests - good food, cheap beer, great music - all in the pursuit of leisure. he inspired me to download and entire list of 90s music that we listened through our schooling days (boybands included) whilst i returned the favour with Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged). we bounce interests of each other and we benefit greatly from it.
when it comes to my private life though, i wasn't that inclined to share much about the colourful ex bits. well okay, i do. but i convert all the Johns to Joannas, reassign the orifices i stick my wad into, and generally change the masculine to feminine. at that particular point of time, i was dating an ex whom i did call Charissa. for some strange reason, i've always wanted to date any girl named Charissa. i'm thinking i owe this to watching too many episodes of The O.C. (ALA Marissa). but since i wouldn't even entertain the prospect of a girlfriend, i made with the calling of my ex, Charissa. this was apparently, ex. no. 5. Charissa, was someone that i would frequently tell Kegal Laughs, The Fiddy Cent Model and Pangkeng about during our course of work during the night shifts. it makes me sorely uncomfortable keeping secrets from friends, but i managed to convince myself that it was for a greater good. well, at least my greater good.
so you could imagine how i felt one fine day when The Fiddy Cent Model quickly hurried me to a cigarette break, bursting with news that was 'about Pangkeng and The Porcelain Cleavage (Pangkeng's long-time love interest who had vanished from the ward under administrative pretext). someone at the work place told Kegal Laughs who eventually told The Fiddy Cent Model that (allow me to take a breath)... The Porcelain Cleavage was sighted taking the elevator closest to the maternity ward with a breat pump (i typed breast bump by accident - insert frat boy laugh hur hur) in hand. this other colleague of ours took the same elevator as her and told her 'not to tell anyone what you saw'. i would like to say that she then proceeded to slide a slender finger across her neck with a menacing look on her face, but then, the Porcelain Cleavage just left it at that.
the girls obviously couldn't keep something as juicy as this to themselves. besides, the particular piece of news was of direct relevance to us, after all, it's Pangkeng's girl we're talking about. indeed, intense discussion were carried out throughout the course of that night shift. the facts were that there's a mother involved. there's a baby involved. and it doesn't take a genius to figure out the missing part of the equation - Who's the father? (cue dramatic and suspenseful music). that's one nagging question, the other would be - Is Pangkeng the father? (cue even more dramatic and suspense-laden music)
Pangkeng would have most definitely told me about Porcelain Cleavage's baby if he knew. and though i couldn't really confirm whether he knew, it was through logical assumption to guess that he was being kept in the dark about the whole thing. Porcelain Cleavage after all was seeing three prospective men at that point of time. though it was just a haunch, i had the feeling that Pangkeng wasn't the father.
just for the heck of it, we also came up with a timeline of sorts to give the events a certain chronological order and also to plan our budgets for birthday parties in the future. the only thing left was to figure out when the baby's birthday was. The Fiddy Cent Model had an ingenius idea for this. my hospital apparently, has an SAP application that keeps a census of all patients who have stayed or are currently residing in the hospital. a quick name search of Porcelain Cleavage's real name revealed - 'D/O Porcelain Cleavage' (daughter/of).
'Why is it that she still doesn't have a name?' Kegal Laughs asked.
another haunch in my gut, but it was pretty easy to figure this one out. 'she's a single mom,' i said with a million dollar smirk that said 'oh yeah! i got this one!'.
naming a child for most part, is always a two person thing. daddy bounces ideas off mom. mom would be there to veto most of the ludicrous names like Crystal (sounds like a prostitute), Chantel (sounds like a street worker) or Cherry (ditto). in the end, mom would come up with her own list of names, whitte them down to two and pick one. daddy merely just plays a supporting role with various nods of approval and look of disdain, by the time mommy's water bag bursts, the baby would be named. in this particular equation however, there isn't a daddy. so baby wasn't named. this entire naming thing was a theory, however. for all we know, babies in the system don't have their real names displayed. either way, it was a gut feeling that she was a single mom.
if you asked me, it was actually quite a burden keeping a piece of information that one's best mate should know. yet at the same time, i knew that it would really tear Pangkeng to bit to hear about it. but i figured that it was a matter of sooner or later. and anyways, better to hear it from good friends rather than colleagues. sooner or later, might as well be sooner right? it was thus that i started planning a dinner outing with a night of revelations thrown in.
the whole thing happened at a jazz bar. it was one of those places that was al fresco, had plenty of smoking tables, expats here and there with their foreign wives or local girlfriends, moderately-priced beer and of course, live jazz. it was humid, but the atmosphere was truly warm in terms of company. the staff were really efficient and in good company, it was really the place for an offloading of secrets.
Pangkeng and i met together before the girls. we had already prepared Pangkeng on that particular morning, stating that we had something important to reveal to him that particular night. the girls had a netball practice prior to the jazz bar dinner. so the boys decided to have dinner and drinks first. it was during that dinner and drinks that i decided to whip out a photo of Charissa and me and show it to Pangkeng. i didn't know why i did it. perhaps to cushion the blow that Pangkeng was about to receive later. or maybe i was bursting with my own telling.
i slid the polaroid of my ex and me across the table and said, 'this is the Charissa whom i've been talking about for so long.'
'fucking hell....' was the first thing Pangkeng said. i was crouched and cowering in a fetal position, half-expecting a punch in the face. but hearing Pangkeng, i knew that it was more or less a green light.
'anyways, i knew long ago already lor!' was the second thing Pangkeng said. he proceeded to explain about my blog, something which i have never ever brought up within a working context. apparently, a lot of people gay and non-gay read this blog. and it's somewhat poking a big pink hole in my professional life. not that anyone actually brings it up to me directly. but still, people know. whether this blog is a boon or a bane, i've yet to actually affirm that.
either way, it wasn't till about an hour later that the girls arrived and we broke the news about Procelain Cleavage to Pangkeng. suffice to say, his response was awfully quiet. like i said, hearing aobut a girl that he really likes becoming a single mom was something that would really tear him up. we kept asking questions to confirm certain truths and assumptions about the whole matter. but Pangkeng obviously didn't have his heart in it. he kept giving one-worded answers and responses. i'm not sure if the girls could tell because they kept pressing him with questions.
and that was when i decided to divert the whole topic so as to alleviate Pangkeng's burden. i whipped out my wallet once again and did the polaroid sliding across the table thing. 'This is Charissa...' i began.
the girls both lit a cigarette in response.
it's almost half a year now since the whole revelation and many things have happened. i broke off with Charissa. Pangkeng and Porcelain Cleavage are attached. baby Vera is now nearly a year old (just a fortnight away). Kegal Laughs is getting married (next week). and most importantly, the colleagues are pretty accepting when it comes to me. the strange thing about life is that all the secrets that you keep pretty much lead to assumptions in the minds of others.
and it's these assumptions that lead to perhaps falling outs, grieviences and other moments of misery.
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