The Choices We Make

Dear Elly G,

So this is why that night was epic. Not only did you write, produce, direct and star in your own version of The Best Party Guest Ever, you also got hugged by a guy you are attracted to. And not just a boring, wimpy, ass-out hug either. A hug tight enough for you to feel his back muscles and biceps. We all know this is how you get your kicks – lingering physical contact with handsome, fragrant men you have a big crush on! After all that, I can only imagine the amount of pudding in your panties if you somehow finagled your way into XX’s arms at our looming high school reunion. I feel like someone would have to stand by with a defibrillator in case things got spastic. After the heady rush of that dinner party and its subsequent ending, ending up in a VIP booth with free drinks in a nightclub straight out of a Baz Luhrmann fever dream could only be the icing on the cake.

(Speaking of cakes, coming out of the kitchen with a candlelit cake, coyly singing Happy Birthday? Not the star of the night, my fat ass. If you weren’t, you certainly earned points for trying.  You do realize you just negated your claim to being self-conscious when you channeled your inner Marilyn, right? If I had been at that party, I would probably be Janeane Garofalo.) Read More »

Terminal Illness

I don’t quite get why we have to pay for the terminal at the pier.

I’m being disingenuous of course. It’s obvious what the fees are for – the x-ray scanner and the people who man it, the seats, the two large flat screens of almost nonstop travel tips (“To avoid getting seasick…”), washrooms, seats, air-conditioning. What I don’t quite understand is why passengers with tickets have to pay to get into the terminal before they’re granted entrance to said terminal.

The moment you enter the Dumaguete seaport, Read More »

The Lobster Quadrille

If you’re casting about for a movie to watch this Valentine’s Day, save your money, time and sanity and forget about Fifty Shades Darker. Get on Netflix and watch The Lobster instead. I know, it’s been out for a few months and I’m tardy to the Netflix viewing party, but better late than never, I always say. Featuring Colin Farrell, who channels Christian Bale’s paunch from American Hustle, it’s the ultimate Valentine Movie, suitable for viewing each time that silly naked angel with a bow and arrow makes its inevitable appearance and tries to make all of us feel inadequate at love and romance.

Why anyone would choose to leave someone who looks like Colin Farrell – even a near-sighted, sad-sack, porn-stached Colin Farrell – is beyond me, but this is exactly what happens. He soon finds himself in a hotel with 45 days to get boo’d up, otherwise he’ll live out the rest of his days in the sea. The Lobster is billed as a comedy, which is restrictive and fails to give one the whole spectrum of what it’s really about. The humour is there, but it’s humour of the very black, twisted, sad kind. Nowhere is this more glaringly obvious than in the frantic forest hunt where everyone tries to capture a loner to enable them to extend their stay at the hotel in the hopes of buying them a little more time to find that elusive perfect match.

In the Philippines, we use the term “firing squad.” If you have no one on Valentine’s Day, you may as well be taken out to the back and shot. Which is the fate of all the loners in this movie – the ones who don’t willingly submit to what happens if they fail to couple up by the deadline end up being hunted, by the very ones who are about to take their place. It’s a scene rendered in excruciating slow-motion, an allegory for frantically swiping right.

The Lobster exists in a “dystopian” society where people who aren’t paired up are considered animals. I use quotation marks, because it isn’t dystopian at all. This is what real life can sometimes be like. The propaganda is everywhere. No man is an island. Two are better than one. Three’s a crowd. Strength in numbers. Even Ricky Martin says nobody wants to be lonely.

The movie is a scathing indictment of something most of us are aware of and struggle against, but end up tolerating anyway: we will always and forever be partially defined by whether or not we are one half of a significant whole, because society thinks there’s something inherently wrong with single people. To most, single people are like empty subway cars: full of exciting, limitless potential until the doors open and we realize there’s poop. Or vomit. Or a malodorous hobo sleeping on the floor. While this myopic view is thankfully changing, it’s still glaringly prevalent. We sentence single ladies past a certain age to  a life of knitting and cats, or aging bachelors to waning years left balding and alone in an apartment that smells like feet.  It’s the reason well-meaning people ask if you’re in a relationship. Saying no too often to this question marks one as odd. Never mind that solitariness can, is and should be a choice. We don’t always have to be with someone, but people will always wonder why.

Bee My Valentine

That bloody bee is back at it again, tugging at all our heart strings with a trilogy of Valentine’s Day ads. I salute the evil genius behind the Kwentong Jollibee Valentine campaign. Well played, sir. As if I don’t struggle enough to curb my emotional eating, this comes along and convinces me true love tastes better with an an upsized glass of pineapple juice and an extra box of Peach Mango Pie.

While “Date” is emotionally shattering and “Vow” is unintentionally hilarious (all I could picture after that twist was Jorah Mormont in the friend zone), it’s “Crush”  I enjoyed the most.

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