almost a john.

when i heard about adult k-tv, i had to find out what the hell went on in there. it was, after all, the place where my uncles had met their 18 - 26 year old girlfriends. so, when my cousin jun-jun offered to take me there for my twenty-sixth birthday, i agreed. he asked, "what do you want? a massage or k-tv?" i was pretty sure i knew what would happen at the massage place late at night, so i thought i might take the safer route.

when we got to the club, something called asian entertainment or something, some shady looking place by the airport, an old man who reminded me of my uncle mike (all old filipinos remind me of uncle mike) shook my hand. he looked like a real pervert and he was wearing a brown sportscoat. he led us to the main room, where two girls were dancing topless on the stage. a guns and roses song was playing. "welcome to the jungle," i think.

i noticed that there were a lot of girls sitting with guys and watching the show. it made me feel a little more at ease, but not really. jun-jun, his friend percy, and i sat down on a black leather couch. "i'm surprised there are a lot of girls here," i said. "they work here," he told me. "oh," i said. after we ordered some beers (san miguel is this country's beer), jun said, "come on, let's go take a look at the girls."

he led me to a part of the room where there was a long velvet curtain. a worker pulled the curtain back and revealed to us probably thirty to forty young filipinas all sitting in a row. "you choose," he said. "what?" i asked. "choose," he said. i looked at them all sitting there, and i felt really fucking bad to be a part of the human race. here were these girls, essentially in this glass box, and if i wanted to, i could do anything with them that i wanted. i didn't want that kind of power.

a lot was going through my head. mostly, it felt like the first time i watched a porno. i was curious and lustful, but i was also filled with disgust and self-loathing. suddenly, the man with the sportscoat, i think he was the manager or pimp - whatever you want to call it - showed up. jun said to him in tagalog, "bring out the pretty ones." we sat back down and a minute later, a dozen girls from the glass room stood before us. "you choose one or two or three," jun said. "umm," i said, "that's okay. you go ahead. you just choose." "no," he said, "you choose." i couldn't look them all in the eye. these were real sex slaves and i knew it. i also knew, though, that my cousin wouldn't let me get away with not choosing. "umm, how about the third from the left," i said.

the girl came over and sat down next to me. she was wearing a black slip and blue thong. in tagalog, i asked how old she was. "elan ta-on ka'na (sp?)?" "nineteen" she said. "anong pa'naalan mo (what's your name)?" "lei," she said. jun chose a girl and percy chose a girl, too. "let's go to the room now," jun said. "what are we going to do there?" i asked. "we'll sing," he said.

we went inside a small room that had some couches. i was really nervous, and it showed. i didn't know what these filipinos did. when we entered, i tensed up when i heard someone say, "blowjob." i was relieved when a few minutes later, cocktails arrived. "what drink is that?" i asked lei. "blowjob," she said. it was on fire, and she blew out the flame. percy leaned forward so he could see me over lei. "you do like this," he told me, and he grabbed his girl's boob. i just shook my head.

i asked lei if she ever danced on the main stage. she shook her head. someone turned on the karaoke machine, and they told me to choose a song. i chose erasure's "a little respect," and i felt a little more at ease again. nothing weird was gonna happen. we were just gonna sing with some strippers. i was okay with that. jun told lei to move closer to me, and something about how she should "teach" me. she took my hand in hers. "lamig nang kamai mo," she said, meaning: your hand is cold. my hand was cold. i was shaking a little bit, too.

two guys in what looked like nurses outfits came into the room. i was really freaked out then. the first thing i thought was, these must be the guys who clean up the sperm. "you want a massage?" jun asked me. "no, i'm good," i said. the man massaged me anyway. "you relax," he said in english. lei asked why i wasn't talking. "my tagalog is weak," i said in tagalog. that's kind of been my catchphrase since i've been here.

lei was rubbing my hands, and i told her in tagalog that her hands were little, which they were. in tagalog, she replied: "of course! i'm little, so my hands should be little. it would look strange if i'm small and my hands were big!" she smelled really good and i told her in tagalog that she was pretty. she moved back and made a face at me. i wrapped my arm around her waist and she sang a song. i think it was a leann rimes or trisha yearwood song, the one that's called something like "you're still the one."

the man with the sportscoat came barging into the room. "come on, boss," he said, "time to go upstairs." jun said to me, "you want to go upstairs?" "what's upstairs?" i asked. lei laughed. "heaven," she said. "umm, maybe later," i said. i had already put it into my head that i wasn't a john. i wasn't going to fuck a prostitute, even if she was cute and even if she smelled good. i knew that if i did, i wouldn't be able to write about it. it would be something i would have to take to the grave.

percy took his girl upstairs to what they called the presidential suite. they came back fifteen minutes later, and his girl was no longer wearing her slutty outfit. she had changed into her normal clothes and her face was expressionless. i should note that percy was this big fat filipino, and i could see why the girl had such a tragic look on her face. it made me worry about lei. did she have to fuck any and every guy who came into this shithole? i wanted to save her. it struck me as absurd that by simply marrying her, i could get her citizenship in the u.s., and save her from being a sex slave. but then she would just be my sex slave, wouldn't she.

"do you have a choice when you go upstairs?" i asked lei. she told me the choice was mine. "no," i said, "i mean, when another guy wants to upstairs with you, can you say 'no?'" she obviously didn't understand my question, as she repeated her answer. "if you want to," she said. "come on," jun said. "you go all the way with these three girls." by then, another one of jun's friends joined us with his own girl, and there were a total of four girls in the room. i told him no. lei called me a virgin.

i won't say i wasn't tempted. i mean, not just two girls at once, but three? jesus christ. it was all so wonderful and so awful, such a fantasy come true, and such a horrible fucking tragedy. looking at percy, i couldn't decide who to pity more: the guy who thinks he's so unlovable that he has to pay for sex, or the girl who doesn't have a choice but to get paid for sex. the thing of it is, though, i don't think percy thought himself a disgrace, or unlovable, the way i had pictured him in my mind. he's a john because in a poverty-stricken country, money can buy anything, even people.

i had fun just sitting there with lei. "you take her upstairs," jun kept saying. "don't worry," he said, "they use condoms." he didn't seem to get it. it wasn't the potential std that scared me off. i mean, how is someone who fucks a sex slave able to live with himself? i don't think i would've been able to, even if meant making the world of fantasy, of pornography, into a reality. that didn't stop me from running my hands up and down lei's arms and legs, though. it didn't stop me from kissing her on the neck and cheek. i knew she was a hooker, but i thought it might be a long time before a girl would let me try something like this again. i felt guilty about it, sure, but somehow i reasoned in my mind that it wasn't as bad as going all the way.

when the other girls learned that it was my birthday, things got a little crazy. they took their tops off and rode me, cowgirl-style, one after the other. they rubbed their boobs in my face. one girl stuck her crotch in my face and sang "happy birthday." another girl took off my shirt and bit down on my nipple while the other girl took my shirt and started rubbing her crotch with it. the whole time, everyone was laughing. one girl, charm, started undoing my belt. "no, no," i said, and i pushed her away, but she pushed me back. "i am the one doing the touching," she said. she reached down into my pants and and started pulling on my junk. i jumped back and said, "okay, enough!" "tulog," she said aloud to everyone, meaning, "asleep." they were in hysterics. i turned red and i must've looked upset. "okay ka'lang?" lei asked me, meaning: "are you okay?" "yeah," i said, nodding.

i rode with percy on the way home. i wanted to ask him how he felt about paying girls for sex and was it necessary to do such things. instead, i just asked how much the night cost us. "it's $300US for the v.i.p. room and another $50US to go upstairs." i nodded, thinking only of the girl with the expressionless face. "that's cheap," i said. he agreed, and we didn't say much else.


Emily said...

john says "fuck the Philippines" and also "i'm amazed that a third world country has 'a little respect' on karaoke"

Anonymous said...


sprout said...

talk about hard times...