As if things weren't grim enough last evening--what with the loss of my longtime companion and hat--an evening at the net cafe turned out rather more interesting than planned.
As I came in the door, I was hailed enthusiastically by what appeared to be a group of young ladies. This is pretty normal for the Philippines where everyone greets foreigners with great ado. I waved back and headed to the front counter to arrange my computer. Where things diverted was when I approached them, and it turned out that they were guys in drag--with different relative levels of success in their ladylike appearance.
As I sat down at my computer, it was obvious the degree of fascination that I was subject to, and I answered questions about my age, country, and marital status. This also is quite normal in the Philippines where it appears to not be considered rude to ask questions about age and 'where is your missus?'
That was also okay, although after a few minutes of this I did try to signal that I wanted to focus on answering emails rather than questions. The girls/boys moved off to other pursuits, and all seemed to be calm. Then one of them came back. She/he was certainly the one who most appeared to be a woman, quite pretty in fact. She sat down next to me and quite forwardly asked me if I would like her/him to join me in my room that night. She/he asked me if I would like that, and suggested that she/he could fulfill my sexual dreams. I guess she'd/he'd gotten quite familiar with that line, as young Filipinos of both sexes and various orientations spend quite a lot of time online practicing sexual innuendo, 'cyber', and generally looking for a mate from a more prosperous country.
But how to answer such a question, or rather the inevitable follow up to my "No", the "Why". Considering that I wasn't even entirely sure of this one's gender--but had plenty of suspicions due to the fact that he/she (a) hung out with a bunch of less successfully dressed transvestites, (b) had a sort of modulated voice that didn't ring entirely feminine to my ears, and (c) most women in my experience are not quite so forthright when they want to bed you... generally engaging in 'engrossing' conversation until they are in your room and in your bed is considered a more proper move.
I was, strangely enough, concerned not to hurt his/her feelings too much. I didn't know if she/he identified as a her or him; I didn't know if it would be proper to just say outright that my orientation doesn't swing that way. I found, rather, that the simplest and most accurate answer was probably best: that I had quite a serious relationship going on back in China and thus was not currently available for one-night stands. That seemed to do the trick and she/he and her/his friends disappeared into the night looking for other sources of fun.
And now, it seems that odd/bad luck runs in threes. I'm feeling dizzy, feverish, and suffering in the bowels. That didn't stop me from visiting a coral-stone church today that possesses the largest bell (cast from coins) in Asia, but I do worry about my plan to cross the restive seas north of here on dilapidated pump-boats while ill. We'll see how that goes!