I have this friend and co-worker of mine whom we shall name Mark. He's neither a newbie nor a vet rep, he's somewhere in between, I guess.
His sexuality has been in question since he first started his NHO training.
We were hanging out on the rooftop of his condo the other morning, drinking hot coco and eating pan de sal.
It was still cold and only a few people were out and about down in the streets. It was only the two of us on the rooftop. And no, dear readers, there was nothing romantic about the setting. Friends lang kami, swear (parang artista lang!).
Anyway, we were discussing how hard it is for him to keep his identity from his parents and friends who were obviously unaware of his, ummm, preference.
"Would you believe, in my previous job, I was considered something of a playboy? A chickboy?" Mark told me.
I nodded, "Well, you certainly have the looks for the title."
He laughed, "And nobody even had the slightest idea that I was doing the boss's teenaged son after shift."
He stood up from the ledge, grabbed a pack of cigarettes from a nearby chair, leaned on the wall, and looked at me, "Do I honestly look gay or effeminate to you?"
I thought for a moment, "I guess, you look "doubtful" to me."
"Doubtful?" he asked, "what the hell does that mean?"
"Doubtful. You know, kaduda-duda," I answered, "kasi naman, the clothes you wear are too fashionable to be straight. Plus, you don't exactly flirt with girls on the floor."
"That could just mean that I'm a metrosexual who doesn't fancy anyone on the floor!" Mark defended himself.
"Honey, almost all metrosexuals I know are homosexuals. Labels are so 90's!" I said, "plus, you keep hanging out with the other gay guys on the floor. You know what they say, birds of the same feather, eat other birds."
He looked disturbed by this. So I decided to console him. Just a little.
"Look, if people think you're gay, so what? You are gay!" I said, lighting a cigarette, "Eh ano ba pakialam nila? Sila ba nagpapa-lamon sayo araw-araw?"
I continued, "If they say you're gay, honey, you can't do anything about it. People will talk. Nasa sa iyo na iyan kung papa-apekto ka. Honestly, I've been the subject of nasty gossip, and I can honestly say that I have been hurt by some, but no way did I let it ruin the rest of my life for me."
He was still quiet.
I ran on, "And by the way, medyo nahahalata ko ang flirtation mo with another agent on the floor ha? Kung ayaw mo talaga pahuli na bilatsina ka, you definitely should cease and desist with that."
"Shet! Halata ba na something's going on between me and Green?" he asked, shocked and incredulous.
"Heller!! Oo kaya! Panay kaya ang email-an niyo sa isa't-isa," I explained, "Plus, may mga inside jokes kayo. Pasalamat na lang kayo di kayo masyadong napapansin ng teammates niyo."
"Eh bakit ikaw? Napansin mo?" Mark asked.
"Eh kasi ang cute ni Green eh! Hahahaha!" I laughed, "lagi ko siyang pinagmamasdan. And once, napadaan ako sa station niya, nakita ko na may email thread kayo sa isa't isa. Hmpf."
Mark was quiet again, thoughtful.
"Type mo ba si Green?" I asked him.
Mark looked at me, "I think I do. Kaso, alam mo na..."
I sighed. Haaay. Hirap talaga maging kloseta.