3: virtual sex and the city


Summer 2008

Dubai

In one warm summer night, four friends sat down in a roomful of incense, Reuilly Les Milets, laughs, dustied books, overhanged scarves and burgers to watch a pirated dvd of Sex and the City the movie.  All are fans of the series that both inspired and frustrated their separate lives and brought them all together that one warm summer night to pay homage to the fabulous lives of Carrie Bradshaw, Charlotte York, Miranda Hobbes and Samantha Jones, where sex and love were explored among four New York city women,  overconscious of their own lives, tickled by the fact that one of each woman reminded them of their very own Sex and the City.

(my mind wandered . . . and then this entry came into form)

I live in Dubai, where both sex and love can be bought, splattered all over its ferocious commons and trampled on inevitably in the course of its existence, henceforth, my virtual Sex and the City is living inside of me.  For the past four years living in this very compromising city, in my own little way, I have met, mingled and cursed the very possibility of love’s bittersweet promise.  Both bitter and sweet.  Love being both possible and impossible.  All self-inflicted and yes, microscopic in its appeal to indeed conquer what lies beneath the lucrative lives of my friends and family in a city called by many as the new New York.

But like Carrie Bradshaw, I am not afraid to ask:  In my early 30s, amid time constraints and highly competitive men who get insecure after three dates, is love worth finding in a place called Dubai?  Is work, money and career the new love?  Or am I simply, just the lonely hunter, believing that deep down inside, love never really exists in this new New York?

SAMANTHA lives in Elektra, my friend of more than ten years.  We were together back in college, working students at McDonald’s, pushing burgers after school.  I have seen him grow to a pulp, knowing that this self-made person made him who he is today.  Once a PR guy in Manila before going to Dubai to become a station manager in an industry that he abhores completely, like Samantha, Elektra believes in once-ago loves that can never be revived.  Also he patronizes the fact that sex, in its mightiness, is not a baptism water that can change a person’s life:  sex, for Elvin, is rebirth.  A notch jumper and some”thing” that exists to resuscitate the city’s tremendous relationship constipation that comes in three C’s:  connection, combustion and commitment.

Like Elvin, I also believe that this city is full of users and that love, in its dimensional promises is only a play in the fire.  Unfortunately, I am still stuck in its dimentional promise, devouring its colorful pains and molecular structures like a parasite what-have-you, making me a clear shadow of Carrie Bradshaw :  writer, writing and wretched.

But where is love indeed?  Charlotte York may have spitted that one out a million times in the series but in Dubai, my sister Lourdes asked herself once after about three years of singlehood and found love right here and actually moved here in Dubai (she used to work in Saudi Arabia) because of Alexandre; a friend of mine that I introduced to her in one of her holidays here.  That introduction turned her life around!

CHARLOTTE is my good friend and sister, Dess Verzosa

Lourdes or Dess as we call her went to the finest school in the Philippines, her grade point average was 1.25, with an above average IQ and was in the theatre arts (she is a resident actor for the Cultural Centre of the Philippines and have appeared on television) before she went to Saudi Arabia to pursue a career in the airlines.  A true blue good girl who gave up everything in the Philippines because she chose to travel, to see the world, instead of mending a heart that was broken by her long-time boyfriend I will derogatively call Satan.

When you meet my sister, you will initially feel like you are talking to a starlet, as she speaks in glittery lingo and can redeem even your deepest evils thanks to her melancholic yet colorful language, Christian Dior make-up and that perfect teethy smile of hers that will melt even your suppressed Margaret Thatchers.  Dess is a joy to watch because she can just pout and smile at the same time and even that would make you believe that you are indeed sitting with a goddess; honest, raw and hypnotic.  No one would believe that she reads cult books, is into paranormal study, have witnessed group sex and have seen the perils of each of her own siblings thus implanting traumas that psyched and challenged her early youth.  But why her persona into the Charlotte of SATC?  Ironically, because she is full of hope amid the darkness of her brainworks.  She believes in love and soul mates and after three long years without a man, she met Alexandre and she “knew” she found him.  I am one of their avid fans I guess.  They have been together for almost a year now and seeing them can make anyone believe that indeed, there is someone out there for everyone of us.  That fucking universal belief that is soooo hard to believe at times, but worth paying attention to, thus, Dess’ hope lingers on and her goddess smile shines deep with positivity.

I took this silly test in Facebook where you answer a set of questions and it will tell you which Sex and the City character are you.  I took it and, voila, I am MIRANDA Hobbes.  I freaked out a bit because I have always associated my jagged love affairs (and my writing) towards Carrie Bradshaw.  But no no, I am Miranda Hobbes according to Facebook; practical, nondescript, workaholic, self-assured and a disciple of tough love . . .   Deep down inside I was laughing my damndest because I know for a fact that although Miranda is not much of a writer as I am, Miranda’s character is very me, especially in terms of work and well, tough love.  Especially, on tough love.

My friend Jennifer Mamalayan is my CARRIE.

A fellow writer, dimensionally driven to dress up and surviving the bumps and thumbs in each of her own love affairs, Jing is both a child and a full-grown woman, surging through life knowing the spaces in between men and her own, thus, the voracious writing that squeaks each time she posts a blog.  Also, like Carrie, she is never afraid to ask.  As her Miranda, I am her pillar of sarcasm, shaping the most shapeless of relationships, never looking back if necessary and always thriving on, meticulous in approaching her so-called “moving on” phase.

Like me, we have been through affairs that either worked, did not work and will never work.  However the consequence, we dabbed them all, creating ultra-magnetic pursuits to fingerlick to its last bit.  Yes, Jing is such a dabber she sometimes forgets herself to oblivion but at the end of the day, there is always something to write about, thus, the journey goes on.  She has been cheated on, has cheated, been bashed good among her friends and had been in crying bouts more often than not, but in our coffee hours, likewise laughed it off much too often . It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.  Besides, Mr Big will always be around and he will be . . .

. . . as long as the journey continues.  In this city called Dubai.  Where love’s existence is still questioned.  But pursued somehow because only love, in its indefinable form, is real.

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