I HAVE three things in common with former president and certified macho man Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada: the same birthday, facial hair, and the constant presence of women. But while he may believe being constantly around women is a good thing and could be a much needed boost to one’s masculinity, it’s a situation I have ambivalent feelings about.
WHAT’S in the Filipino male’s mind? What is he looking for in a partner? Wonder no more.
We found out that the Filipino male likes his woman mabait, which is the generic term for kind, which really means agreeable. Or quiet? Timid? Pinoys also like their women “maganda (beautiful),” which means “maputi (fair-skinned),” “matangkad (tall),” and “payat (slim).”
MORE BAD news: the workplace is not the only area where the babied male is not doing so well. Marriage and parenting consultant Dr. Maribel Sison-Dionisio says the preferential treatment boys receive at home while they are growing up is one major cause of marriage breakdowns. She says that since many boys were not raised with a balance between play and discipline, the lack of discipline is brought into their relationships as adults. “In marriages, many men are found to be irresponsible,” she says, adding that the tendency to go easy on boys is now “backfiring.”
AS A young girl, Mercy Abad would be woken up every day before dawn, primarily because she had a long list of chores to go through. But decades later, what she remembers in particular is that while she and her two younger sisters were busy doing their assigned tasks, their brothers remained snug in bed, fast asleep. And when the boys woke up, “it was my job to fix their beds,” recalls Abad, adding that in most homes then, boys and men were “waited on hand and foot.”
SAY the word barako and immediately three meanings come to mind: the strong-flavored and robust brew of the liberica coffee; the sex-driven adult male boar ready for breeding; and that certain brand of Batangueño, the rough and tough Filipino male from the province of Batangas. All three possess virility, strength, fearlessness — yes, even the coffee, whose flavor practically leaps up from the cup and straight onto one’s tongue. All three carry within the pride of the Batangueños, who claim these qualities exclusively as their own.
I DON’T generally think of myself as vain, but then there’s this incident I remember from high school: some friends and I were assembled at my house so that we could all ride together to a party. As we were getting dressed in our Spandau Ballet-inspired finery (then the height of fashion), one of the barkada produced, from out of the depths of his bag, a can of mousse, which none of us hapless males had ever seen or even heard of before. Naturally, we all had to squirt some into our hands and smear it on our hair. Not knowing that we were then supposed to blow-dry or otherwise style it, we left the house feeling snazzy, while looking pretty much the same as we had prior to applying the mousse — at most, our hair was a little damper, vaguely crispy in texture, and certainly stickier than before. But we felt utterly transformed. We felt guapo.
AS THE youngest of the three Leyba children, McLauren gets pampered in the manner all bunso are in a Filipino family, including being able to share bedspace with his parents. And up until three years ago, bedtime meant going through a peculiar ritual to help induce him to sleep: snuggling against his mother and rubbing one of her ears, a soporific massage that she would also give him.
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