Let The Slow Clapping Commence

Photo courtesy of tumblr.com

Photo courtesy of tumblr.com

Greenbelt apparently is a haven for expats. And where there are expats, you will also find the — how should I say it delicately, uhmm, you know the girls in skimpy dresses or short shorts with matching f**k-me heels? But just to clarify, not all of them are prostitutes, the other half actually are girlfriends/wives of the expats.

Sunday night, my friend, Ryan and I decided to brave the rain for some much needed alcohol fix. We were supposed to meet at 10 at Distillery but apparently, they’re closed on Sundays. So then we headed to Greenbelt, which not surprisingly, was still abuzz. The rain has stopped then but the air was thick with humidity. My shirt was drenched in sweat and my hair stuck to my nape. I was in my usual shirt and sneakers combo. For someone on a nightout, I looked like I just finished an intense workout.

After a quick dinner at Cucina Andare (pretty much their version of banchetto) we went to look for a bar and settled for Spicy Fingers at Greenbelt 1. The place is nice if you’re into red decor and somewhat pricey drinks. Uhmm, yes, don’t go there wearing red. You’ll blend with the couches and you could easily be mistaken for a server and/or crew.

Quite naturally, Ryan and I surveyed the surroundings and realized that we were in a place crowded with expats and their significant others, Filipina dates/girlfriends/wives. Now this is the part where I have to duck because you’ll be throwing rocks and tomatoes at me but I would just have to put it out there. I’m one of those people who make fun of Filipinas with foreign partners, especially those with cringe-inducing older partners. My friends and I refer to said expats as “pangkabuhayan showcase.” I guess the nearest translation of that is a source of livelihood.

Of course, not all of these interracial relationships are fiscally motivated. I do have friends who have expat partners without the economic factor being the forefront of their love stories. For this post, I won’t be using the current nationwide statistics of these unions because I’m too lazy to research the numbers. Instead, I’ll use the crowd at Spicy Fingers.

So most of the couples there were American and European men, mostly middle aged with Pinay partners aged early 20s to mid-30s. Roughly. There were also a group of Indian couples with Filipino friends. Or maybe they were Turkish. We could hardly tell. There were only 3 tables expat-free, Mine and Ryan’s, a yuppy couple’s and a group of 4 girls. To be honest, we don’t really know the reputation of Spicy Fingers. For all we know, they’re really a famous hotspot for interracial nightouts. But anyway, Ryan and I couldn’t help talking about these couples. We both admitted we were being judgemental in thinking these women are all after money and/or getting out of the country. And at the height of meanness, every time we see a Pinay-expat couple with age/looks disparity, we would do the slow clap. Too much age disparity deserves a slow clap with standing ovation. That mean.

You see, Ryan and I truly are not just ignorant, prejudice pricks because soon after, we launched into a socio-economic discourse of these relationships. Yes, we poke fun at these Pinays but how many among us see them as women who gave up the traditional romantic notions and instead decided to be pragmatic and made sacrifices just to provide for their family, help send their siblings to school, help a sickly relative get proper medical treatment, help parents build a house with a roof that could withstand typhoons and so on and so forth. Isn’t that noble than, say, marrying your childhood sweetheart and still asking money from your parents because you’re short on rent? Of course, I’m not saying that my example is a representative of most Filipino couples. What I’m trying to point out is that my Filipino couple example isn’t a butt of jokes, but those interracial relationships are.

I can’t help feeling sad looking at these girls who were mostly my age. Can you imagine being young and sleeping next to someone older than your father? How about relocating to your husband’s place where the sun does not show up for months? Most of all, how would you feel knowing that your family and friends talk behind your back about how you married your husband so you could get a green card and/or send your brother to college. Also, as is always being pointed out, these women actually help the economy, mainly due to remittance.

But I really shouldn’t feel bad for these women. What do I really know about what they think when they lie at night? Why do I even think that they are sad and wish for a different life? For all I know, as they lie next to their husbands at night, the last thoughts they have before drifting to sleep is how grateful they are for the life they live.

I don’t want to preach about how we should probably lay off on the jokes and the slow clapping. It’s not my place to do so. Besides, I know I’m still gonna make the jokes and do the slow clap. But I hope we try to see them in a different light, too. How about respect for their choice? How about appreciation for their wisdom and courage? But geez, I wish they would lay off on the skimpy dresses and the stripper heels.

 

*For Tasos. When I fell for you, the thought of you building my parents a big house in the province didn’t even cross my mind. I did daydream though of us and blue-eyed kids in a classic Greek house. Lol.

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The Things About Women I Want To Tell Men

This is a list of some of the things I want to tell men. I don’t claim to be the voice of women, hence, I used I in the title. This is for the men who are/were friends, boyfriends, friends with benefits, husbands, colleagues, practically every man out there who has to deal with women

Photo courtesy of girl.com

Photo courtesy of girl.com

1. Don’t compare me to other women. Not to your exes, friends, your sister/s, especially, not to your Mom. I am my own self. I have my own flaws and strengths. My identity may have some characteristics like the other women in your life, but I am not them. I am me.

2. You don’t need to carry my purse. I won’t be using it if I can’t carry it myself. But please do hold the door for me and help me carry my grocery bags. There’s four of them for crying out loud.

Photo courtesy of owned.com

Photo courtesy of owned.com

3. I am sure that The Smiths, Led Zeppelin, The Cure and the others whom I forgot, are great musicians, I just happen to not be a fan. Please don’t judge me for that. Also, I would appreciate it if you keep a straight face whenever Taylor Swift comes up on my playlist. Her songs are catchy and gives me good vibes. I listen to Radiohead, too, and U2, Oasis, Vertical Horizon, Mozart, and yes, boybands. And please don’t start a lecture on your rocker chick friend’s musical influences. Just because I like Taylor Swift doesn’t mean I’m gonna start writing songs about my exes and how douchey they were. On the second thought…

4. I think it’s sweet that you let me have my way with a lot of things but still keep your spine intact. A spineless guy isn’t hot at all. (This applies to women, too.) You don’t need to take charge of everything but please do have your own conviction and do stand up for it.

5. There’s so much more about women than shopping, makeup, boys and clothes. We’re just like you, complex human beings. We also care about the environment, the lack of efficiency in the government, the plight of OFWs. We can even discuss the economy if you want. But personally, I’d rather not get into physics even if CERN has just confirmed that it indeed has discovered the Higgs Boson. Not that I won’t be amazed if you can discuss the God particle to me. But seriously, many women I know think geeks are hot.

Photo courtesy of funmeme.com

Photo courtesy of funmeme.com

6. We value communication. If you don’t appreciate getting text messages every 15 minutes, please say so. If there are certain topics that you think are off-limits, then tell us. Just don’t keep everything bottled up. If you don’t like that resto or this movie, speak up. Sulking is for 5-year olds. We can’t read minds. And second guessing rarely yield good results.

7. Most women pride themselves of their outfit, meticulously chosen depending on the occasion and the people they’re with. Hence, don’t be so narrow minded as to judge them as slutty and ask them to change just because you think guys would be ogling her. But if she is wearing a see-through top and a barely there skirt to church, then please talk to her. She may be needing more than just a discussion about appropriate outfits.

Photo courtesy of zipmeme.com

Photo courtesy of zipmeme.com

8. Most women value friendships. If you are her friend, she’ll do everything in the name of friendship: help you with your paper, give you advice for that chick you want to date, help you find a gift for your Mom, get drunk with you when you get dumped and help you bury the dead stripper. I kid, I kid. If you are her boyfriend, the list even becomes longer because more or less, she thinks the universe revolves around you. So please let her spend time with her friends. She loves them too, y’know. And they make her happy. And of course, you want her to be happy, too.

9. Do take note of important dates. Technology has made it easy now so you don’t have an excuse to forget birthdays and anniversaries. She doesn’t need gifts (well, she does like them) but do take the time to celebrate it with her. It doesn’t have to be expensive, you just have to be creative.

Photo courtesy of tumblr.com

Photo courtesy of tumblr.com

10. When you suspect that something is wrong because of her silence, don’t force her to unload. Assure her instead that you’re willing to listen once she’s ready to talk. And when she does, do listen and try to stand in her shoes. If you still don’t get it, tell her so and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

11. When she’s irritable due to PMS, work stress, traffic jam or hunger, be patient. She can’t be sunshine every time. Same goes for you, right? Remember that time she was quiet and kept out of your way because the Celtics lost (for the nth time)?

12. While your girl friends are okay with you checking out other girls while you’re hanging out with them, your girlfriend won’t be as forgiving. That’s tacky and disrespectful. Your girl friends might also have the patience to listen to you rave about the endearing qualities of Megan Fox, Maria Ozawa, Angelina Jolie, et al., but don’t expect the same for your girlfriend. Hey, she chose you even if you’re not a fraction as hot as Matt Scannell.

Photo courtesy of jambase.com

Photo courtesy of jambase.com

13. This list does not apply to all women. Also, this list does not have everything you need to learn about women. But it would be nice if you would take note of some of these things and appreciate more the women in your life and give them the respect they deserve.