home           about           blog           archives           domain           exits           ask

Mixtape: The Bed Is Unmade

i     Open Rhye
ii    Sextape Deftones
iii   Pull Me Down Mikky Ekko
iv    Burning Desire Lana Del Rey
v     Beauty School Deftones
vi    Flawless The Neighbourhood
vii   Do I Wanna Know Arctic Monkeys
viii  Counting Autre Ne Veut
ix    Easy Now Sir Sly
x     Here In My Room Incubus
xi    Prehistoric Now, Now
xii   Into Dust Mazzy Star
xiii  Feel Real Deptford Goth


Now estopped from sleeping, so this mix happened.





I am rarely so moved by an album as to compel me to write about it the moment I finish listening to it for the first time.

Woman, by Canadian/Danish duo Rhye, couldn't have come to me at a more opportune time. And it's so funny that it's titled as such, because there couldn't be a better time for one's femininity to be adored than at a time when one is weakest and incapacitated by this very woman-ness. (Ha. Subtle.)

The songs are so clean and so crisp, in both an aural and conceptual sense. The beats are put together so evenly, almost like an exact science, and there is a precision in the lyrics that evoke a calculated, but slightly quivering honesty. There is a sense of quietness and of calm all throughout, but it is contrasted by the bold declarations of emotions that permeate through the entire album. And just rightly so. It was written at a time where Mike Milosh, who does the surprisingly gentle and soft vocals, was falling in love with the woman who will eventually become his wife. "Open" and "The Fall" are such great openers; and the album aptly ends with the title song "Woman" which is a litany of adoration to the beloved, and a flawless one at that. It is not entirely a love album, in that there are no grand gestures and fireworks here, and it is not entirely a sex album, because there is no overt objectification of the flesh.

Perhaps, Woman is better described as an album of intimacy. It is about the shake between the thighs, the sound of the sighs, the shape left on the sheets, the scent lingering between fingers, and the riffs that play in between. It is all of those quiet moments, and the loudness with which they ring inside our chests. There is a softness in the way affirmations leave the mouth and the skin, without so much the need to declare a permanence -- only an attachment.

And sometimes, that's enough.


A few minutes into the short conversation I just had with a good friend, she finally decided to cut to the chase.

So... what? What is it, then? It's complicated?

I laughed, because it's easy to type a colon and a series of closed parentheses as a response to quips of such kind. I laughed, because what else is there to say? What else is there to better punctuate that? I laughed, not because it's funny, but because for the first time in a long time, it was no longer true.

No, actually, I said.

...it's simple.


On being pursued

Twice already in the last three weeks, while studying in Kenny Rogers Katipunan, I was approached by a waitress with a dessert in tow, claiming they were from a "guest" who "appreciated my beauty." This, followed by several attempts of the waitress to get my name and number (upon the request of said mystery guest), is something that has never happened to me before, especially not while in the middle of a super cram session on a Friday night.

I suppose the first natural reaction to something of this sort would be that of being flattered. Of course, to be given a compliment - and with a chocolate mousse and ice cream, at that - is always nice. To hear that someone "appreciates your beauty" is definitely something that will make any woman feel extra special. How many times do you hear a person telling you you're beautiful outright, no questions asked? For someone stressed and in the middle of a panic attack, that is not a bad thing at all.

To be honest, my next reaction was to immediately think of people who would go out of their way to surprise me like that. At least two people popped in my head. But then, knowing how much they know me, they should know that I am not exactly flattered by such gestures, especially when I am enjoying the comfort of being inside my own private bubble. I don't like being surprised like that, because I never like being put on the spotlight. Even on the context of being alone, say, in my own dorm, I don't actually appreciate people suddenly popping up and coming over with a little surprise. It's nice, and it's appreciated, sure, but it involves a certain level of arrogance that says, "I am here to surprise you and you should be flattered."

And see, this is precisely the reason why I never really entertained the idea of being "pursued."

It doesn't flatter me. It makes me feel that someone is expecting me to reciprocate just because I got a nice gesture. I don't want to be indebted to someone I didn't choose to be indebted to. I don't want to feel thankful for no other reason other than society expects me as a girl to be thankful for guys who give me that kind of attention. There is a certain expectancy for me to feel kilig and giddy because I am on the receiving end of such a "sweet" act. But then again, why should I? Is this person expecting me to come over to him and let him sweep me off my feet, just because I was "lucky enough" to be noticed by him?


On a somewhat related note, I saw this Facebook post spreading on my feed, and it really got me thinking. Someone commented on a Globe ad that featured an image of a teenage girl with the caption, Today, I will ask him out. It said:

Advertisement gone wrong. Women, you are meant to be pursued! If you pursue men, you will pursue them for the rest of your life. God designed you to be pursued and not the other way around. Ladies, you are worth waiting for. So wait. ‪#‎worththewait‬ ‪#‎chill‬ ‪#‎value‬

I would like to give this person the benefit of the doubt, and think that he meant no actual, conscious and deliberate intent to put down an entire gender. I do believe he was only trying to send out what he thought was a good message.

But see, this is what bothers me about this.

There are people out there who actually think that "Women are meant to be pursued!" is an entirely good message to send out. The idea that a girl would ever entertain and consider asking out his crush is looked down on, like it's such a wrong thing to want a guy and go after him. And worse, to use God and proclaim that he "designed" women to be pursued is just downright insulting. Where is that in the Bible? I came from an all-girls Catholic school and I don't remember ever reading "Thou shalt not chase after men," ever being quoted. I don't understand why there has to be a dictation of how one gender should act, and how another gender should react to it.

This kind of thinking goes against the idea of attraction which I subscribe to. One could say that I was raised in a pretty conservative family, because both sides of the family are religious, church-going, rosary-praying, pilgrimage-site-visiting Catholics. However, I'd also like to believe that being an only child and growing up particularly close to my parents, I was raised pretty liberally as well. Whenever my parents, aunts, lolas, and I exchange stories, we never really shied away from topics such as crushes, boys, and love. My mom is considerably open with me when it comes to things like these, and I really, truly appreciated that, because I grew up exposed to these kinds of realities, and have (ideally) been given the right information to make the proper decisions when it comes to these things. My parents have always taught me that I should be responsible when it comes to dealing with my feelings. I shouldn't let one person dictate what I feel, and I shouldn't let too much emotions (or hormones!) get in the way of my judgment. They remind me that choosing to be with someone goes beyond just looks or "sparks" - because being with someone takes more than just that. It also means respect and complete appreciation of the entirety of this person.

That being said, I think they've always trusted my judgment when it comes to the kind of men I liked. And I appreciate that they never deliberately stopped me from being attracted to someone, just because he came from a certain background, or that he doesn't pass their standards, etc. They never reprimanded me for having crushes. (In fact, sometimes I think they even truly encouraged it - and encouraged it well - to the point where I was asked, "Kelan ka ba magkaka-boyfriend?" some time ago in college. Haha.) And most importantly, they never told me to just wait around.

When I tell them about how I became textmates with a boy, or how I started talking with someone on Facebook, they don't give me the "You are meant to be pursued!" talk. Nope. They give me the "I hope that guy is okay," talk (coupled with my mom's "Let me see his picture OMG HE'S SO GWAPO!" talk). But they aren't concerned so much about who texted who first. And that, to me, makes a world of difference.

Because that means I am respected for the choices I make in the kinds of guys I want. Attraction is a two-way thing - it cannot be forced on you. And no amount of chocolate mousse, or flowers will ever give that to you. When I like someone, it will be because of the way he talks and the way he listens. It will be about the way he explains how beams work, and how this particular kind of metal is too expensive for a low-rise condominium. It will be the way he replies when I ask what a conduit system is, or how certain cars work. It will be the way he treats his girl friends, and his mom. Or his sister, if he has one. It will be in the way we both laugh at the same jokes, or watch the same shows, or quote the same lines. It will be because we connect - and it will be so much more meaningful than a cup of chocolate ice cream.

And besides, would boys really want that? That a girl fell for them because they showered them with gifts? Wouldn't you want to fall in love (or "fall in like" if, you know, you're taking things slow) with a girl who appreciates you for your charm and humor, and not for your ability to whip up pick-up lines and ask waitresses to deliver desserts to pretty strangers?

I guess, for some boys, that's the game. The thrill of the chase. "Girls are meant to be pursued." Ooh, it's such a challenge. Let me win you. You will be my prize.

While the idea of being someone's reward is laudatory, I don't think I'd want that. I am not a person to be pursued, because if that is the case, then I will be left with boys who think just. like. that.

When I got those desserts, all I could think of was, "Is this what it's like to be pursued?" You're put on the spot, the waiters are expecting so much from you, and all they want is a sweet yes, or your number, or even your name - all for this "sweet" guy "thoughtful" enough to "pursue" you. You're left with almost no opportunity to say no because that would mean being called a bitch or suplada or downright ungrateful. Am I not entitled to that "no"?

I am, of course. And I did say no. I said I was uncomfortable with receiving things from strangers and giving my name. I had to pretend I had a boyfriend (which they asked, by the way) to somewhat put it to a stop. I was very cordial and told the waitress to extend my thanks, so I'd like to believe I wasn't rude. But it was kind of rude the way he kept sending the girl over just to pester me with details when it was very clear that I was in the middle of something important.

And yet, society - like this Joppet guy - expects me to be flattered by such attention because I was designed to be chased by men.

Isn't that unfair?

There is a certain level of injustice in the idea that girls have to settle with the boys who approach them, while guys can go after the girls that they really, truly want. Why should I choose only among those who texted me first? Or sent me ice cream? Don't I have the right to go after the person I like too?

And besides, what is so wrong about that?

It's fine to wait - for that text, for that call, for that random FB message - but what if I don't want to anymore? Why should anyone tell me otherwise?

Initiating the first move is not degrading of a woman's worth. If anything, I think it makes a girl more powerful. A girl who initiates the conversation is willing to go for what she wants - and that is because she already knows what she wants. And isn't that the kind of girl you want to be? Boys, isn't that the kind of girl you want to have? The kind who is in charge of herself and will not wait around for things to be served to her on a silver platter? Because things don't get served to you on a silver platter. You don't wait for the universe to send you the guy right outside your doorstep.

No, sometimes, the universe will bring you the boy, but it won't give him to you. And the best you can do is just deal with the circumstances. Perhaps, yes, a little waiting around on your part will be necessary. (In fact, maybe a lot of waiting around will come into play.) And there is nothing wrong with that. But you shouldn't have to settle for waiting around when you think it's time to strike the iron - if the universe has done its job of making it hot for you, then what the hell are you doing still holding it?

Today, I will ask him out. Or not. I don't know. It's up to me and my feelings. But don't tell me what to do or not to do when it comes to the way I deal with the people I'm attracted to. And don't go dragging God's name into it, for crying out loud. It's several paragraphs later, and nope, I still don't recall ever being told in the Scripture that I should never make the first move.

To quote from the most independent and strongest of the Disney female characters I know, Megara from Hercules, "I'm a big girl, I tie my own sandals and everything."

I'm a big girl. I'm designed to make my own decisions. Leave me alone, and let me handle my own... affairs.


Oh universe,

and your mysterious ways.