April 17, 2016
I should be very pleased with how Bangkok handles its party city aura. To have a truly enjoyable night out in this city, you must be out by 7:30 pm and getting tipsy by 8-9:00 pm. Go out later, say, 10:00 pm, and you miss the best seats (ones that let you ogle with minimal effort) and people in the crowd are already on their way to sobering up. This teaches you to schedule your nights out responsibly. But do you always want your nights out to be scheduled properly? You do not.
In Manila, you text friends at 10:00 pm and tell them, ‘I’m in the cab now and on my way!’ while you’re stepping out of the shower, secure in the knowledge that they will believe your claim of being stuck in eternally horrific EDSA traffic – they know how it is and they will spin the same yarn about traffic. You shower at a very early 10 pm if you feel like being punctual, for once.
You arrive at your pre-party bar, usually Barcino or Distillery at The Fort, profuse with apologies. Mostly, no one cares and your friends would even commiserate. By 12, you go to the Main Bar whose bouncers are at their most alert and from 12-1 midnight, Manila party peak hours. At 12 in Bangkok, you’re on your way home telling your party companions in Line that you had fun! In Manila, you call in sick for work the next day because there’s no way you would want to make it to the office after partying ‘til 4-5:00 am. Here, you drink 5 cups of coffee and you’ll be fine.
I should be very pleased because, like my daddy, I believe that conversations beyond 12 midnight cease to make sense – I’m okay to separate from friends when the conversations start to get punctuated with yawns. He had a more cutting phrase for it but the essence of his belief is that you’re bound to find yourself deep in bullshit, enjoyment-free conversations if you stretch your drinking sessions when the beer stops tasting like heaven (if it ever did) and starts to have the consistency of vomit water.
During this year’s Songkran, I was home by 12, very safe and quite dry. I wasn’t shivering in my soaked shirt and shorts and not delirious with naughty glee from the water-splashing extravaganza. My face was chalk-free and my feet were just sufficiently yucky from Silom’s muddy sidewalks. On the contrary, last year was truly gross and dirty. Songkran 2015 had us crawling our way through Soi 4’s gropefest and debating the merits of going home while things were just beginning to get interesting. But that’s nothing compared to Songkran 2012. Tiger beer in hand, I was destroying Caucasian men and women in Soi 4 with my powerful water armalite, demolishing fellow tourists left and right.
What’s fun now is thinking about an alternate Southeast Asian universe where Manila is the kind of city that you never want to leave, is much better in handling its tourism affairs, and a festival equivalent to Songkran draws tourists in droves and Manila people enjoy 5-day vacation on top of the numerous holidays already imposed upon these islanders’ lives. Because they have time to vacate the city, they do so without being burdened by a woeful airport and airport personnel.
I’ve only been to a few Songkrans and I hold no authority on fun, but it looks like the joyousness is drying up. As long as there’s water and soaking-wet voluptuous people in white shirts or shorts, there ought to be no lack of joy for people who delight in such a sight. I don’t know if Songkran is getting repetitive for me or the festivities have really been watered down so that the water fights seem very controlled and less outrageous, but it doesn’t feel as fun as it used to. This year, Songkran was just sexy.
February 23, 2016
I didn’t think it was my straight friends’ duty to come to my defense when Manny Pacquiao so famously said very ignorant things about gays and animals. I didn’t think I was entitled to their charity because it’s not as if I have been very supportive or vocal about causes that any of my friends – gay or straight – may have wanted me to support. I’m sure, though, that if it had been any of their basic rights that were suddenly called into question, I would not have acted so callously.
On the other hand, straight and “straight” friends who urged/are urging everyone to just move on from the issue as there are more pressing problems that are more worthy of discussion than Gay Problems are just as awful as MP. I could have lived without that kind of admonition to practically forget about the fact that for years, my peoples have been denied civil rights. I could have lived not knowing how they feel about their fellow human beings not enjoying the same rights as them.
I have around 600+ FB friends, so I know there’s bound to be a few profiles who would say shit like ‘Move on!’ or ‘What is your problem?’ or ‘If one man’s words can shake your beliefs, your beliefs aren’t too strong to begin with’ or some shit. What a waste. They’re about as wasteful as those who didn’t think to just use plain and fewer words to expose the homophobia that runs in their hateful, spiteful veins. Them and the sports fans/Pacquiao fans who don’t realize that if he wins, takes a seat in the Senate, votes against a cause they fiercely support and believe, and uses the book of Revelations as the basis of his decisions, they will be very sorry, and it would be too late. I’m not a fan of stupid-shaming (although it is often fun to read) but it is hard to deny that stupidity and lack of patience for the art of thinking is what’s causing all this.
Also hate those who have nothing to say, but thought it worthy of their time to write 2,000-word essays about how everyone should just respect everyone’s opinion. It’s the equivalent of wanting to shush everyone who are raising valid points about granting certain people some basic human rights, and knocking yourself out writing an essay that says nothing and wastes everyone’s time. This issue reveals something rotten about their personality, specifically their inability to see beyond the Pacquiao fanaticism and into the sheer stupidity of his comments and the seriousness of the matter.
I realize I’m not making brilliant contributions to this discussion myself, but this affects me as a person who might want to marry a person with dick someday, and I just need to say that I’m not going to take any more shit words and phrases from ‘friends’ who are expressing opinions that are shit. I truly do not want to become the kind of angry writing person in the internet who adds so many words so he can… add more words. Fiery discussions are on their way out, but it won’t stop here. To friends who are aware that I occasionally post feelings up in here, stop pretending people like me don’t exist in your life.
February 22, 2016
When ‘Brokeback Mountain’ came out in 2005, I loved it so much that I bought the soundtrack even though I never really liked country music. I thought that if I could at least play the score at home, I would be reminded of what such a beautiful movie made me think and feel when I first saw it. If it had been a love story between a man and a woman, I would not have bought the album but it’s doubtful I would have liked it less. But then, it would have simply been a film about two adulterers cheating on their spouses, and therefore would not have been as tragic and as touching.
Incidentally, tragedy is what makes ‘Brokeback’ an unforgettable, moving movie-going experience. This may be such a dramatic way of describing it but if you’ve actually seen it in a theater, you’d know that it definitely is an experience in as much as a movie with two men kissing induces hysterics, hoots and howls in the audience is an experience.
‘Brokeback Mountain’ is depressing but it’s the kind of gutting you want to relive. I want to do the same for ‘Carol’ which, although not half as tragic as ‘Brokeback’, is just as devastating.
The film, adapted from the Patricia Highsmith novel The Price of Salt, takes place in the 50s when it was tough for lesbians to be openly affectionate with someone they love (I don’t know this for sure but it seems like it). Carol (Cate Blanchett) and Therese (Rooney Mara) meet in the toy section of a department store where the latter works as staff. Amid the frenzy of the Christmas season, when eager-to-please mothers and overworked retail store attendants can’t help but cross paths, the two lock eyes and sparks instantly fly. They are lipstick lesbians in a conservative decade, so much of their dates have to be done in a manner befitting two criminals conspiring to unleash unspeakable crimes on their unsuspecting victims – Carol’s semi-estranged husband and daughter, and Therese’ live-in boyfriend. There will be struggles ahead.
The pacing and acting are languid and understated. You wait for Carol and Therese to get it on but all you get, at least in the first hour, are furtive glances and cautious touching of hands. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara do not have big acting moments, except for one in which Carol snaps and cuts through the lawyers’ argument, and snatches her husband’s attention away from everyone to tell him to fuck all the lesbian accusatory shit as all she wants is visitation rights. The most touching scenes, though, are when Carol and Therese hold back on their emotions, so that when they find themselves alone in a motel, they hug and kiss as if someone might pop up and handcuff them, and hold them forever as captives in straight world prison.
Much like ‘Brokeback’, ‘Carol’ has gay characters fighting for their right to love. To say that someone is ‘fighting’ for the right to love is to risk sounding like song lyrics from a 90s boyband (specifically a 98 Degrees song). But Carol has actual battles: for the custody of her daughter and for the defense of her mental state, seeing as her lesbian ways were viewed as symptomatic of ill health.
It sounds a bit too much to say that Carol and Therese are ‘fighting’ for their right to love, but that is what is going on in films with and about gay people not being allowed freely to make out publicly, not even if they do it classily. Having bought but never read The Price of Salt, I feared it would end the way most of these types of films end: with someone getting raped, murdered or banished in a mental hospital. None of these potential endings are inconceivable; it’s a Patricia Highsmith novel after all. Fortunately, neither Therese nor Carol commits suicide.
I’ve always felt that lesbians have entirely different experiences in matters of forbidden romance. Even though I’ve known some lesbians, I never really felt like us and them have a shared struggle for the probably idiotic reason that girl-on-girl displays of affection raise way less eyebrows than boy-on-boy ones. But, to paraphrase a Lisbon sister, clearly I’ve never been a lesbian person. It might also have to do with the fact that I’ve never heard or read as many coming-out anecdotes from lesbian friends and acquaintances as I have from gays. Movies have been informing me about lesbians and ‘Carol’ has just told me that I’m wrong, and that in fact we have the same struggles and difficulties. What a beautiful reminder this is.
December 11, 2015
Jessica Z and Stephen K
Jessica Zafra and Stephen King both believe that I (and also you) should write a thousand words a day. Stephen King suggested very graphic images of how to create thousands of words a day that could eventually lead to tens of thousands of words a week, and then hundreds of thousands of words a year. These suggestions, not surprisingly, require the lack of another human being in a closed room, with you typing away in your writer typewriter. ‘On Writing’ is truly a book about how to be lonely and you could perfect the art of lonelying yourself by following Mr. Happy, Stephen. King.
Writing one thousand words or more a day does not sound intimidating especially right at the moment you hear it told or when you’re reading about a book about writing. But then you get off the writing workshop and/or you put down the book about writing and there are so many things all of a sudden. Just the very thought of opening the laptop is enough to make you let out a smelly groan. It’s so nice to imagine productive days, days that overflow with feelings magically outlined on paper, or, if you’re devoted to fiction-making, all of the feelings you have ever felt during the day are words now owned by characters in your fiction. But life sometimes does not permit you to be the ideal Person Who Has Written and Written Well.
There is also probably no limit to the amount of excuses one can make to justify 1000-words non-creation. Aside from job and tiredness, there is also hunger, hate, vanity, jealousy and other writing person feelings. And also, as very cool people up with the times would say, BECAUSE BOOKS. And fresh show downloads and new DVD purchases – things that taketh away from precious writing time.
Since I am a person who functions superbly in what Douglas Coupland in Generation X calls a structured environment (or something) I find that I could never be without a job that wants me in its loving arms from 9-6. I do not battle the demands of a job and the image of an exhausted office employee, an image so maligned by those for whom the freelancing life is the ideal, I no longer associate with oppression. Oppression is such an ungrateful bastard term for something that gives what I need and want. I do not anymore question the sanity involved in having a 9-5 job (which less structured environment persons find unappealing – which they’re very much entitled to the thought of) because, come to think of it, it is one of the more reassuring life states to be in – employed.
There is also societal pressure to have better looking bodies so some days, working out at the gym takes up time that could have been spent writing the next Palanca non-winner that I would never ever submit.
I’ve been meaning to ask certain borta-writer friends of mine how they balance the obsession with having abs and writing but they just might think I’m crushing on them or something.
One could write more than a thousand words each and every day in this life just listing the number of things, and each item’s explanation, for the lack of a consistent daily, ideal, precious 1,000 words.
Social Media The Destroyer
It’s boring to see social media get blamed for the lack of long, carefully thought out missives about various issues that occupy the common and uncommonly opinionated man, and also incorrect because SM does in fact bring out the wordsmiths in all of us.
I want to call on my Facebook friends who used to be blogger friends to ditch Facebook maybe forever and go back to blogging. But my persuasion ‘game’ is not very strong so I don’t pursue this pursuit. This is the sort of foolish, low ideas I occasionally have that I’m proud to have kept for as long as I’m taken by the next great idea.
Having Facebook and Twitter is a blessing and a curse. Some people handle their multiple social media accounts with flair and are probably making the best use of one of mankind’s most maddening inventions. People who are good in SM get something from their feed and immediately form opinions that the rest of us could immediately love or loathe. Myself, I find that what works is to not quickly opine on each and every single that happens because I don’t always trust what comes out of my mouth.
Diarized Confessions of a Chronicling Memoirist Versus Fiction Making
If your fiction writing is poor and you are a writer who is rich in feelings but poor in imagination, you are probably keeping your shelves stacked with really fat diaries filled with things no decent human being should ever have to read.
I don’t think that detailing my daily commute or my OFWy epiphanies would be of any interest to anyone so mostly, I keep them to myself. But, a year ago, I moved to Bangkok and felt like my experiences in here could mean I’ll be rich in anecdotes and turn me into an interesting human. But I still am not.
A person I just met once told his dog who (which?) was barking at my creamy soft legs: ‘Ignore him! He’s not interesting.’ My self-esteem got instant comedy. I may have looked amused on the outside, but on the inside, I was crying real tears of both shame and amusement. Shame that I would allow people to say such things to me, and amusement because it truly is funny when someone meets you for the first time and decides you are uninteresting.
The circumstances do not matter; a person I just met saw through me and labelled me accordingly and I can’t say that I disagree.
There are life experiences that I could sprinkle with hyper-hyperboles and attempt to prettify with pretty prose. Lots of real life experiences can be turned into fiction that certain people might love or hate. From things that happen in real life, but that would require imagination – powerful, interesting, fully-realized – and lots of work.
Sometimes, that’s all I have, feelings, which I want to talk about.
I asked some of the workshop friends if end-of-day diaries are included in the 1,000 words a day ordinance and was told that they’re not supposed to be. It’s so unfair, but it’s just as well. Imagine living in a world where the feelings of people, both interesting and you-want-to-strangle ones, are all up in your face. Picture a society where every single person that ever crossed your path tells you all about their day, their innermost thoughts, their take on issue, both big and small and big. Unimaginable!
December 9, 2015
Because why would they? Nose bleed is what happens when a person gets punched in the nose, or when the brain is too stressed beyond human capacity, so blood can’t help but ooze out. It’s what happens when you’re Carrie and teenage girls are mean to you. Nose bleed happens in other instances that have nothing to do with speaking a certain language imperfectly. Thais don’t have the jokey nose bleed the way Filipinos do when they are suddenly made aware that upon speaking to someone who speaks English beautifully, they, native Tagalog or Filipino speakers, fail to match the proficiency and the beauty of the proficient English speaker, which is such a Filipino thing to do and feel.
I have to say, though, that there is nothing wrong with feeling inadequate with one’s unspectacular English-speaking skills, which compels one to make a nose bleed joke. I’m saying this because I’m a coward who feels the need to make a disclaimer, and also because I really think there is nothing wrong with coping with a perceived deficiency. That coping mechanism happens to be cracking a nose bleed joke which I’m not sure if people are still doing. I sure heard a lot of it in my former office when certain native English-speaking (sometimes, non-native speaking) executives pay us a visit for the sole purpose of hearing us speak English beautifully. Of course, they couldn’t care less about how we speak (or maybe they do which should explain the visitations), but that joke got cracked a lot (eg, ‘I have to take Katarchina to dinner tonight. Nose bleeeeed!’ etc.).
I’ve thought about it, deeply, and realized that being good English communicators does great wonders for the country and its people. If it weren’t for our relatively stellar English proficiency, we would probably be less adaptable as a people who feel the need to grace all corners of the earth with our presence. We probably wouldn’t be one of the most human resource-exporty country in the world, which we are. More importantly, I probably wouldn’t be here in Bangkok doing what I’m doing and loving the shit out of not being in the Philippines where things can be sometimes not so great.
It’s frightening to imagine Filipinos not being such good English speakers because if we didn’t have that, we would have much less, but maybe we would have something else. All that would be left would be our world-class resiliency and singing voice. Horrific. We would just be hospitable islanders who make laughable signages that other excellent English-speaking people would ridicule us for. Since we are such great communicators, we do this to ourselves. If we weren’t the occasionally vicious grammar Nazis that we often are, we would probably find alternative ways to be cruel to each other. The nose bleed joke is therefore essential in perpetuating our strong English communication culture.
I sometimes fantasize about a Philippines that is peopled with Pinoys who would speak Tagalog at least 95% of the time, the way Thais, and presumably other Asian nations, do. I just wish we were less obnoxious about this proficiency.
But who am I kidding? I used to find hilarity in those emails passed around containing jpegs of atrociously worded signs in China or any other country that doesn’t revere English the way we do. But I have changed and my humor leans towards other brands of jokes now. I still find hilarity in playing with open and closed vowel sounds and that might never fade. I used to sing LFO’s Summertime for this very reason (‘New keeds on the black had a banch of heets, Chinese food makes me seek. And I think it’s fly when the girls stop by for the sammer, for the sammer.’).
Thais, and presumably other nationalities who don’t give much thought (ie., give zero fucks) about their English proficiency, don’t have nose bleeds of the variety that is caused by English-speaking deficiency. In place of petty nose bleeds, they have hypertension when some foreigner has the nerve to engage them in conversations that would require more than yes or no answers which, in the absence of English language knowledge, they opt to answer with a nod or a shrug. This is wise as it keeps them healthy and free of nasal blood flow.
In truth, non-native English speakers (eg., Thais) might only be slightly peeved, or some of them might actually feel like this lack of superb English communication skills poses a major barrier to achieving potential greatness. I once asked a Thai if non-excellence in English is something that can get you ridiculed in Thai society, a reason to have your Facebook post screencapped and showcased to ridiculer’s own feed to be liked because shittily-worded compositions in Facebook are hilarious. I forgot his exact words but the meat of what his answer was that Thais ridicule fellow Thais for other reasons. And even though he was just one person, I believed him even though he was attractive and probably doesn’t get ridiculed for much so embarrassment is probably not something he experiences regularly.
Some Pinoys, on the other hand, make cracks about lost apostrophes and misplaced commas. Sometimes it’s well deserved such as in instances where the grammar crime is committed by someone with heinous thoughts. Sometimes, you can’t help but be on the side of the grammar criminal. It’s strange but an understandable phenomenon. Think about it: If little notes about turning off the faucet in our public bathrooms were heinously worded, where would we be?
November 15, 2015
When I was in high school, there was widespread fear among boys related to masturbation. The fear has to do with the frequency with which it was done and the potential resulting harm for those who came up with abnormal numbers. Sophomore year is Biology year, so questions on the dangers of jacking off are often raised. This is the time in a boy’s life when it seems alright to ask your biology teacher to kindly specify potential risks involved with rabid jacking off, ie, are we in danger of emptying out our ball sacs if we do it twice or thrice a day – what a regular boy would otherwise think of as perfectly regular intervals. This isn’t a question I myself would ask so I was grateful for other boys’ curiosities as it allowed me to keep asking questions about things not involving me or other boys’ penis.
Even though I didn’t ask this question myself, I can’t deny that fear has not been sowed in me concerning that topic. I may not have had the balls to ask if my ejaculate could possibly run out (a question which would appear bastos at first but has formed in every boy’s mind in the school I went to) but the fear associated with that possibility, I took semi-seriously; for one whole year, I noted all the days in the year when I jacked off. I put an asterisk on all the days I did because it would have been silly and useless to put ‘masturbated’ as planner entries seeing as that word is too long and too obvious. It simply would not have made sense to write even jakoled in the planner because it just didn’t feel right. Planner intruders would have been very suspicious of that habit so I cleverly employed asterisks.
When you become an adult, you shouldn’t have time noting days when you masturbate, even though all it takes to do it is an asterisk. Doing so could only lead to a sharp drop of your self-worth, although if you’re doing such a thing now, or something similar to it (maybe the number of sex partners you’ve been collecting?), it’s never too late to stop and benefit from a slight self-worth rise.
I have more important things to note in my planner right now because I’m a grown-up who can do whatever he wants, mostly. I don’t put marks on my planner anymore to indicate days when I do the essential, but I make sure to write down the number of words I committed to paper every day. The goal is 1,000 words because Stephen King and Jessica Zafra’s workshop notebook recommend it. It’s not so hard especially if you’re filled with feelings. But some days, you just can’t have enough of a fuck to sit down and have a feels-fest with paper/Word. Some days you are like Beyonce – totally fierce and fabulous but utterly incapable of writing original content.
This year’s planner does not suffer from silly little compulsions to detail ejaculatory habits, but highly inconsequential little things are still very much a part of most entries. From this habit, there is no immediate amusement and when my own writing is failing at bringing me amusement, I cease seeing the point. I simply go blind as to why anyone would want to write 1,000 words every damn day! There is no joy to be had from seeing ‘abs, chest’ or ‘abs lite’ in my tiny planner, and since the planner is very tiny, there is no room allotted for any meaningful thoughts and feelings, and most importantly, no amusement derived from back-reading.
To meet the self-imposed 1k words a day, I sometimes write movie and book reviews which are not really proper reviews. I try my very best not to disappoint my reader – myself – because myself is such a ruthless, vicious critic but only to its favorite art – itself. I don’t cherish the times when I go back to my reviews and think, ‘what a lousy person this is who writes!’. The same thing applies to my big notebook of thoughts and feelings. I put nasty things in cringe-worthy things in there. I put ‘gay!’ or ‘ulul’ in some entries where they are most rightfully deserved. The main advantage of doing this is obvious – when you are super vicious to yourself, you feel as if no one has any right to do it to you.
I could attempt to write a short story for each day that I’m alive and not convulsing in the asthma wing of some hospital. I’m not incapable of stirring up drama involving non-fictional characters in my life, therefore, if I get desperate enough to do it I could really stir a big one up and milk the experience dry. I could do this and I know it. Stirring Turds could even be the title of the resulting short story collection that would result from the milking.
Minor inconveniences that plague the middle class life are always victimized by unwarranted middle class people’s milking, so why not commit and perpetrate that type of victimless crime?
Since I’m evidently a nice person, I wouldn’t be able to write fiction about people I care about. This is exactly why I need more people in my life that I really could never care about. There are a lot of them already, for sure, but I forget about them fast.
How about mining the Facebook timelines of your friends for fiction material? I don’t know if someone’s already had this idea so bravely said out loud before but if you’re a struggling fictionist looking to win your first Pulitzer and this idea wins you Pulitzer or money, leave a comment for the thanks.
I would do that myself but that would mean more time on Facebook than I care to spend. I love spending time on Facebook but spending more than 15 minutes in it is not going to produce any of the following: great short stories and wonderful, calming feelings. But I could be wrong.
July 30, 2015
How many times have you wondered how interesting a stripper’s life must be? If you’re the kind of person whose answer to that is ‘745,876 times’, know that “Magic Mike XXL” is not going to make you stop wondering. In the first place, there’s no reason why you should. The reasons for your fascination might be unceasing for a variety of reasons, but if you find that all these essential questions about the Male Stripper life is beginning to get cumbersome, you can just sit back and wait for male asses to pop.
The men of Magic Mike lead fantastical lives of road tripping, women-pleasing, and cash-bathing. Mike, Richie, Tito, Ken, and Ernest are fine examples of male strippers who earn their wages and value what they do. We all know those kinds of male strippers make tons of money but in this movie, they swim in dollar bills.
In the sequel to one of the best male stripper movies of all time, there is an attempt to provide insight to the guys’ personalities: Mike is committed to his business but is not really finding joy in it that he takes Ginuwine’s Pony playing on the radio as a sign that he should join the boys on their trip to the very real Stripper Convention. Richie who is allegedly hung like a horse, is having a real male struggle: he hasn’t had sex in months, a confession that he validates by reminding everyone of his dick’s enormity. The rest of the guys have mildly interesting things happening to them as well and they talk about those things in what feels like eternity, as if to tease you and me. These are some very chill male strippers with some very chill problems. The movie is too classy to make mountains out of these strippers’ molehills. Make no mistake: the road to stripper-con is filled slight inconveniences. On one of their pit-stops, they hang out with wine-drunk cougars and make them feel worshiped, and while a scene like this could have played out like a cheap segue into a who-called-the-hot-plumbers strip extravaganza, the guys’ wine session with the cougs (led by a short and captivating turn by Andie McDowell) turns out tender, fun and sweet.
Maybe I’ve been seeing the wrong male stripper movies, even though the last one I remember seeing was “Magic Mike” part 1. These were the exact same thoughts I’ve had when I first saw Magic Mike. Strippers who aren’t dirt poor, who are not deprived of skills other than dancing in colourful briefs, thongs and things, could make a living other than dancing for thirsty and curious women, but not necessarily out of choicelessness. This is a movie that respects the people’s right to see a stripper movie who are not all solely motivated by the obvious rewards of cash. The cash is indispensable but above all, stripping is fun and beneficial to everyone. Maybe, the strippers from my own native land lead the same interesting lives, and I was just too caught up in my own life to bother with the lives of people whose profession I do not share (but appreciate).
If there’s one essential element to the stripping profession and lifestyle that “Magic Mike” movies capture, specifically XXL, it is that the job of a stripper is to hold people’s attention hostage; they are fascinating onstage the way they ought to be and Mike and the guys’ boy band banter is no less entertaining.
After succeeding viewings in DVD, my thoughts have not really changed about the women-baiting, cash-bathing world of Magic Mike. If it wasn’t for my own life effectively taking over my healthy interest in stripper films, I probably wouldn’t have stopped searching for the truth. As it happens, I haven’t seen many stripper movies since Channing Tatum first bared his ass onstage with the equally unmoveable yet moving asses of his on-screen buddies Joe Manganiello (whose I Want It That Way sequence in this sequel is too great), Matt Bomer and Adam Rodriguez in the first Magic Mike; precisely the reason why to this day, I am left unenlightened. And that is okay.
“Magic Mike XXL” is exactly how movies about male strippers should be: fun, glorious and with the right amount of baby-making 90s R&B jams blaring in the soundtrack. It’s hard to think of the last time a movie about strippers let strippers be strippers. There is simply no answer to be found as to what constitutes the stripper life, unless you go and see the riveting and confused stripper documentary “La Bare” in which real life male strippers talk about their lives. Where a movie like “Magic Mike” sort of builds mystery (or at least maintains it) for male strippers, that must-watch documentary destroys it. As the saying goes: Your life, your choice of male stripper film.