Monday, October 31, 2005

my “eligibility” as a foreigner partner

Still groggy from sleeping at 5 and waking up at 6 to catch my 8am boat trip to Cebu, I lazily lugged around the supermarket in Ayala around twelve noon to run errands for my brother. With my stomach grumbling of hunger and my bodily systems nearly shutting down of fatigue, I was a walking zombie in a UP shirt. I was dying to get done with my chores so after circling the supermarket a gazillion times, (I couldn’t find the object of my brother’s obsession --- kropek) I gave up and looked for the counter with the shortest line. While waiting for my turn, I realized that the three persons ahead of me were all senior citizens and foreigners. I looked to my left and I saw another aged foreigner. I looked behind me and saw the same thing. “What the…?” I started muttering at the back of my mind. Is it their feast day or something? Because they were swarming around the place. But the picture isn’t even complete --- not without a Filipina either linking arms with them or HHWW (holding hands while walking). At that moment, I could only think of two words: sugar daddy.

Don’t blame me for harboring harsh thoughts. I had an unfortunate experience with being judged as an eligible partner for a foreigner. Once, I went to a salon to get my kinky hair trimmed. Trying to establish good customer relations, the haircutter, a woman, started talking about rebonding my hair. Acting good-naturedly, I rode her small talk and asked for the rates. She answered, “Four thousand pesos.” Probably sensing that I swallowed a huge lump of saliva after she mentioned the price, she quickly added, “But for hair as short as yours, it can go for two thousand five hundred.” Rushing to end the topic (before her crazy ideas start to seep through the deepest recesses of my brain), I said, “Okay. I’ll save up for it.” Silence. Suddenly, as if a lightning of inspiration struck her cerebellum if not desperation, she offered her unsolicited advice: “Marry a foreigner! You know, foreigners like Filipinas with a beauty like yours.” I tried to smile as sweetly as possible although deep inside I was dying to strangle her alive. But I said nothing and miraculously, it worked. She resumed her job without another word, while I suspiciously kept close watch of what she was doing in case she would snip off my ears in vengeance for ignoring her.
There’s no wrong with what she said, I realized later. Some foreigners are hunks, like Tom Cruise or Keanu Reeves but the image that flashed in my mind when she said that was an old but filthy rich foreigner. In other words, matandang mayamang foreigner na madaling mamatay (I invented the foreigner part). Those are what they call the “prerequisites” in looking for a partner. I remember my cousin who decided to stop going to school for awhile after shifting courses twice or thrice already. She enthusiastically babbled about her envy towards her neighbor: “Blah blah blah is soooo lucky. She married a foreigner. I’ll just marry one, too.” In that case, foreigners should really drop by our country more often. With more and more women looking up to them as saviors from damnation and as hope from their poverty-stricken condition, the demand for them here is high. If in their countries, they are already considered surpluses because of their old age, here, they are the prime commodities in a disillusioned “love” market.

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