American women never paid too much attention to me–tanned skin is preferred in the States. Things changed drastically once I arrived here in the land of likas papaya (a product Filipinos use to whiten their skin). My physical features (light skin, blue eyes, and a pointy nose) get a lot of compliments here. There are times when I enjoy the attention–no bachelor would mind being called “guwapo” (handsome). There are other times, however, when I would rather not be noticed. This morning was one of those times.
I decided to buy a radio so I could listen to DZAS (they were promoting my book this morning). I went over to the SM appliance store and chose a simple AM/FM model. Buying something from the SM appliance store is a slow, inefficient process. Everything is locked in glass displays, and they have to go get your selection from the stock room.
Someone approached me while I was waiting for my radio to come out of the stock room. He asked me a question or two about where I was from. I’ve lived here long enough to know what was happening–I was being courted by a bading (gay). Times like this are when I go into full suplado (stuck up) mode. I don’t smile, give only short answers, and don’t even hint that I’m fluent in Tagalog. This seemed to be working until the SM staff member came out of the stock room. He told me that they did not have my radio in stock, and I asked him if I could just buy the radio in the display case. The bading heard these two Tagalog sentences and became even more interested in me.
It seemed to take forever for us to get to my radio. The SM staff member picked up the wrong set of keys for the display case. My “friend” approached me again while I was waiting for them to find the right key. He asked me if I drank and went to clubs, and then repeatedly asked for my number. He told me that he worked at City Hall and could help me if ever I needed a favor. He finally went away after several refusals.
I thought I could finally get my radio once they found the correct key. We got the the radio, only to discover there was no electrical cord (in the radio or the box). I told him I couldn’t wait any longer–I had waited about fifteen or twenty minutes and the radio program was coming on soon. I came home and listened to it online.
I prefer to be polite to everyone, regardless of their background/lifestyle. Sometimes, however, I just don’t have this option.
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