Sunday, February 28, 2010

love for sale

Love for sale. What a strange topic to be discussing at 11PM (or any time, for that matter). Most people were either asleep or out drinking. For my friend and I, this was the only time we could afford to spare each other- a small two hour window for coffee on a nondescript Sunday evening.

After the obligatory his and hellos, we settled into our normal routine. It was then that my friend announced that he may be in love.

“With who?” I asked, with an excited tone that surprised even me.

“Get this: a masseur.”

I like to think I have an open mind and that there is nothing left to shock me but I must admit I was a little floored. I knew he frequented certain “spas” but I didn’t think it would come to this point.

“Okay…” I stuttered. “How did this happen?”

“I’m not really sure myself,” he began. From the look on his face, I could tell he was editing. “It all began after I broke up with my last boyfriend. I was drunk and I felt like getting a massage.”

“And then?” I asked, feeling confused. “How do you go from getting a massage to falling in love?” I’m usually a fan of happy endings but we were talking about massages, not movies so my first instinct was to berate him. But as he told his story, I felt a little compelled to hear it out before I made any rash judgments.

“His name is JR although that could’ve been a pseudo. It began with a simple massage. Afterwards, he offered to sort of fool around and I said yes. We all know that drunken decisions are not the most thought-out.” He paused, lit a cigarette and continued.

“It was strange. I’ve been with other masseurs before but he was different. He was gentle and caring. It almost felt like we weren’t just doing it. We were being intimate.

“But that intimacy came with a very steep price tag.”

“True. Be that as it may, I don’t know. When I went home, I felt really light. You know the feeling that you get when your crush talks to you for the first time? That’s what it felt like.”

“Maybe it was the alcohol.”

“I know. That’s what I thought too but then I came back a week later. I was sober this time and it was like… I don’t know. It was even better than the first time.” He had a smile on his face and in his tone.

“Better in what sense?” I asked.

“The massage was still good. We talked the whole time. We got to know each other a little more. We talked about our families, our lives… we talked about life in general. He’s a year younger than me but he’s married and stuff. He told me about his dreams and I couldn’t help but feel like he was showing me a side to him that even his closest friends didn’t know of. It felt like a first date, if you ask me. The sex was the same. It was still really gentle and beautiful. It just got a little strange when we, uh… when we kissed.”

“What?! You let a paid man kiss you?”

“It just felt right at that time. I heard that masseurs don’t kiss on the mouth. JR did and it was mind-blowing. Hands-down, best first kiss ever.”

“Okay. That’s weird.”

“I know! Wait till you hear the next part. I gave him the usual amount and a couple hundreds extra. I was feeling a little generous. He refused to accept it. They say money can’t buy you love. Apparently, it can. I have.”

The story continued with more details I’m not sure I can write about. They saw each other a couple more times. It seemed to me like my friend had found a new vice. JR started charging him again and my friend was spending a lot of money on this new love of his. Honestly, I was baffled. I didn’t even know where to begin. This was just wrong on so many different levels.

“I don’t know what to say. I mean, it sounds really good but if you think about it, maybe he’s just really good at his job. Good customer service and intimacy are two completely different things.”

“I know but if he was just faking it, it was worth every centavo. Growing up, I had a firm idea on the types of people who went to places like that. Never in a million years did I imagine I would become… one of them.

He was right, too. He had a good job and he looked okay enough. He was never without dates. I never imagined he would be the type of person who would have to pay for sex, let alone do it repetitively. I shut up after that. It was apparent he was convinced to continue this… whatever with his masseur and if it made him happy then I should let him be.

“Don’t look at me like that,” he said. I guess he minded that I bit my tongue. “Money’s not the only currency, you know.”

“What do you mean?”

“We’ve all paid for love. We’ve all been paid for love.”

“I’ve never…”

“Yes, you have.” he interrupted. “In one way or another, we all have. Your last tryst is a perfect example. Don’t tell me that was love. You only liked the attention. I paid JR with money. You got paid with attention- lots and lots of attention. In theory, everyone loves for love’s sake but at the end of the day, our selfish side prevails.”

“With all due respect, I’m not sure I agree with you. There was more to my last thing than just plain attention. We genuinely got along. Sure, we had a strange ending but we had a lot of good times together.”

“It ended when you weren’t getting the attention you felt you deserved.”

Ouch. The truth hurts.

“I don’t know,” he continued. “What I do know is we often love for all the wrong reasons. Some people love because they’re lonely. Others do it to get ahead- no pun intended. Some do it for revenge. You’ve done it for attention. JR does it for money. I don’t really know where this is going but I think I owe it to myself to at least give it a few more tries before I dismiss it as nothing.”

“Just be careful, okay? You never know these days.” On some level, I understood him. In this city, everyone’s looking for love and if my friend thinks he’s found it then I should be happy for him.

That night though, as I lay sleepless in bed, I felt a bit unsettled. There was a question in my mind that I couldn’t afford to ask. I looked to the night sky for some clarity. I noticed that the moon was on its last quarter. It looked like a toddler’s unfinished project. Convinced that the answers were elsewhere, I closed my eyes and went to sleep.

Have you ever wondered what price you’ve paid for love?

Photo Credit: Daily Mail

The Corrs
Talk On Corners


  1. "I’m usually a fan of happy endings but we were talking about massages"

    My massages always have happy endings, Nyl. But that's not the point, is it?

    Srsly, humdinger of a post. I'll be eagerly awaiting the responses.

  2. "money's not the only currency, you know ..."

    -- best line ever.

  3. hmmm naiintriga na ako sa mga masahe na yan ah. matry nga.

    i kid.


  4. kung pwedeng pagsamahin ang lungkot at inggit, ito yun.

  5. “We’ve all paid for love. We’ve all been paid for love.”

    ang deep naman ng realizations and reflections ng friend mo. but, he has a very good point though.

    now this made me think, how much would a person pay for my love? joke! lols

  6. @rudeboy ~ haven't seen you here in a long time. haha glad to see you're back.

    your massages always have happy endings? oh my, mister. you've been a very, very bad boy.

    @ternie ~ awww.. that's sweet. sana ako din. hehe

    @bernadette ~ thanks, teh. :D kelan tayo makakape? bawas na yung coffee babies.

    @engel ~ uuyy.. you know what they say about jokes. lol

    @petiburges ~ bakit ka naman nalungkot? at bakit ka rin na-inggit?

    @lee ~ i'm sure you'd fetch a heft price. lalo na't you're not really for sale. :D

  7. love is never a choice. otherwise, it isn't love. if cupid hits us with his clumsy arrow, we've got no choice. money or not. of course, the other point is that money is just a symbol of exchange fundamentally. but sometimes it stands in for something else -- power, security, etc., -- and that is the danger of the mix with love and money. all IMHO.

  8. @LOF ~ and as always, your humble opinion is very welcome here. :D

    yes, love is never a choice. you can never choose to love someone even though you really, really want to. what i do know (and experience is a bitch but she's a pretty good teacher) is though you may choose to end love, love decides when you're ready. :D

  9. oh yes, most definitely! once there is a little bit of doubt, then its all just a projection and then choice enters into the whole thing.

  10. seems like money would indeed make the world go round? Can we not love and be loved without money involved?

    just asking...

  11. pag uwi ko ng pinas hahanap agad ako ng masseur LOLLLLLLLLLL

  12. @LOF ~ precisely. so like most things, there will always be something you can't manipulate. in this scenario it's love. there are, however things you can introduce to change your scenario. if u cultivate doubt, love will end.

    @glampinoy ~ sadly in this day and age i'm not sure it's possible. money will always be an issue because we are often either always without it or are in pursuit of it. it's all in the politics of love.

    @mac ~ daming naiintriga ha. lol

  13. hmm..i wonder...

    let me think.hahaha

  14. well, what did u come up with? :D

  15. if you cultivate rice, you will get rice. if you cultivate corn, you will get corn.

  16. and a scene from St. Elmo's Fire just popped in my head....

    You don't think you pay for love? Oh you pay. - Miss Pearly Gates

    Money is not the only currency...

    true enough... kasi naman madalas sakin, nasusukat sa haba ng .... bwahahahahahaha

  17. Happy endings are not free.

    You don't think you pay for love? Oh you pay. - Miss Pearly Gate
    ~ cant agree more!

  18. @LOF ~ so are u saying that doubt = end of love or that the two are not related at all. sorry, i got a little confused. note to self: stop replying to comments first thing in the morning. i was literally in bed as i wrote my previous responses. lol

    @YJ & chyng ~ ma-google nga. i've heard the title before. di ko lang maalala where.

    @YJ ~ "kasi naman madalas sakin, nasusukat sa haba ng .... bwahahahahahaha"

    sa ano? sorry, di ko gets. hihi

  19. at first cupid's arrow is very useful, and then the real work comes. sometimes there isn't anything further and real love is needed to see that and to break things off. but work is needed to further cultivate a relationship -- that is also real love. but if you water the seeds of doubt, you get doubt. if you water the seeds of the relating, you get relationship.

    cupid's arrow strikes us somehwere very primitive and unconscious in ourselves. and when we come to our senses, then we have the possibility to relate to that part of ourselves -- and we have to make a decision about the other person and whether to continue relating. but what happens is that when the magic wears off, that primitive part of us disappears and then we blame the other person as though he was at all responsible.

    doubt is useful but then it goes in a less useful direction (imho) and that's where the danger begins. doubt can be used in service of love and it can be used in service of something else.

  20. I don't have any problem with paying for love except that it can get pretty expensive in the long run. Hence, I avoid it like the plague. Now, if I'm earning as much as Manny Villar, that's a different story. Heheh

  21. @LOF ~ i think for my last relationship, it was in service of something else. perhaps my fears or something like that. i don't really know. besides, it's all moot now. *emo*

    @andy ~ sa long run lang naman. haha it's nice to live in the moment.

    it would be nice to get my hands on some of that villar money. :D

  22. story telling is really exquisite. the subject sobrang well presented. very lovely!

    --- --

    in fairness sa friend mo..ang sakit sa ulo. listen ka sa isang knta ni sarah mclachlan, world on fire..

    that's the price of love, i guess

  23. you're too sweet, dave. :D

    i actually know that song! :D love sarah lalo nung time na yun. before u want me 2 ever existed. lol not that it's a particularly bad song but.. you know what i mean.

  24. i wouldn't be too hard on yourself. generally, we don't need a dictator riding us too hard for living! if you don't do then how can you reflect. that's what they do in grad school. (on the other hand, if we are still discussing this phenomena in this way five years from now as though a day had not passed, i'm voting for the dictator.)

  25. haha you're forgetting (or perhaps i never told you) that i started really young. it's been a decade of repetitive cycles. fears and doubts always get in the way. i think it's time for the dictator. i will gladly take on that role- both dictator and dictatee. haha self-imposed exile, anyone? j/k

  26. hahah! perhaps you are forgetting that i too started really young. sometimes we need to walk every inch of ground in order to really know where we have been. =P

  27. that's true metaphorically and in real life. no wonder i trip a lot. i rarely look where i'm going. haha

  28. Ganyan talaga. pangit man pakinggan pero at the end of the day, everyone's got to pay.

  29. as she says: " is a maze and love is a riddle..."

  30. whoah.. that is a very heavy statement.. Gosh..

  31. waaaahhh. seriously, ti sis tough?

    either the masseuse really likes your friend or he does his job very well...

    ang hirap pa rin!!! waaahhhh!

  32. @martin ~ true. iba iba lang binabayad natin.

    @LOF ~ ahh lenka. *big smile*

    @tim ~ heavy ba? i thought it was very thought provoking.

    @erik ~ mahiap talaga. i think it's all about acceptance.

  33. Speaking of Lenka: "I want my money back. I want my money back. I ant my money back." LOL.

  34. i should write a post about lenka. it seems everyone likes her. lol

    ps. why are u still up? u have class in a few hours.

  35. @cb: you know i'm using that song to help me do my writing. its very helpful when put on repeat.

    @vg: "just enjoy the show." =P

  36. yeah, i remember you mentioned it sa facebook. haha i like her other songs too. trouble is a friend is my early morning bath song. :D

  37. I was stubborn about it. I wanted everything for everything, was willing to gamble if needed be. This has caused me misery in the past, so I shifted to self-preservation and probably would remain that way for a significant amount of time.


  38. Ah well I don't know what to say....... (nagcomment pa rin talaga hahaha)

  39. @manech ~ but he who risks nothing gains nothing. i dunno, manech. i was in a little shell for close to two years too. i got hurt when i came out but i think medyo worth it naman.

    @glentot ~ kanta nalang tayo ng lady gaga.. eh eh. :D

  40. i made a big smile, too when lenka was mentioned. hahaha

    ahh...that girl and that song is becoming a cult.

  41. Geek, you introduced me to her. Remember that post of yours? :D

    Nyl, habits, habits. Don't worry, I'm very rarely late in coming to work. It's either I'm at the office on time, or you know... LOL.

  42. Oh, I wish money is non-existent. =))

  43. @andrei ~ thanksz! :D

    @darc ~ mahal! sobrang mahal! haha that annoying song is playing in my head. hihi

    @geek ~ andami talagang fans ni lenka. hihi

    @vic ~ inaalagaan ko lang referral bonus ko. haha gigisingin kita araw araw if that's what it takes. lol

    @ronnie ~ wouldn't that be nice? andami ko lang naiisip na bibilhin ko. hihi

  44. gosh. kakaiba to. he should guard his heart muna baka niloloko lang xa. or baka gusto rin nya mag paloko? hehe.

  45. sabi nga nila, walang maloloko kung walang nagpapaloko. haha ayoko naman siya i-judge. i'll leave everyone to form their own opinions. hihi

  46. and i watch showtime. haha. ano sabi nila about fti? di ako nakanood kahapon. :(

  47. love, lust-sex, (some) money: they go swabe hand in hand, citybouy.

  48. napag-isip ako rito. what are my reasons for falling in love? hindi ko pa alam ang sagot. o maaaring alam ko na, ayoko lang aminin. :)

  49. "but he who risks nothing gains nothing."

    Yeah. Or inversely, everything for everything. :)

    Funny you mentioned about shells. I think it'll take one tough, patient, and persistent cookie to break into mine. :)

  50. @mike ~ not 100% sure but i think they're performing one of these days. and inannounce yung concert or something.

    @cio ~ there goes that 'swabe' again. lol yes, they definitely go hand-in-hand. mga things na we can't live without. haha

    @aris ~ kung ano man yun, i'm sure it can't be that bad. haha pero i get what you mean. may mga bagay na tulad ng sabi ni april boy 'di ko kayang tanggapin.' hehe

    @manech ~ true true. but just like that post of yours where you warned someone, for most people a statement like " I think it'll take one tough, patient, and persistent cookie to break into mine. :)" seems more like an invitation. lol

  51. And I think I'm slowly seeing it that way too. :)

  52. careful careful. everyone loves a good challenge. :D

  53. I know. But I'm make sure I'll be extra super duper tough when someone dares. :)

    Ooooh. I'm grinning right now. :)

  54. same here. haha grins are funny things. they embarrass me the same way farts do.

    you're replying uber fast. i sent u an email. didjagetit?

  55. So many puns. I love it!

    “Money’s not the only currency, you know.”

    Yup. In my world, sex is another. LOL.

    I like this post. But love is love. Undefinable. Inexplicable. A little bit overrated too. LOL.

  56. @LOF ~ what's with the zap? lol

    @apol ~ "In my world, sex is another. LOL."

    may ganyan talagang effect? haha

    love is overrated. makes you wonder why we even bother. haha

  57. Nako Nyl, affected nanaman ako sa post mo. :))

    Ever since I decided I was old enough to be "in love", I've always had this view of love as something pure, selfless, and all that. But now I realize there's more to it than that--more good stuff, but more bad stuff too. I guess I'm in the love market too. :P

    But hey, love is still the best thing in the world for me. More often than not the price is kind of worth it. :)

  58. @rz ~ haven't seen u in a while. :D

    yes, it's pricey but most of the time, worth it naman. funny lang kasi some people pay less, some people pay more. like most things, it's never fair. haha

  59. its an expression of social awkwardness... similar to the personal awkwardness of a *blush*

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  61. ang masasabi ko lang:

    everybody's searching for intimacy.
    everybody's searching for intimacy.
    at wag natin kalimutan ang oooooooooooohhhhhoohhhhhh.

  62. ano ba yan sablay pa. eto pala:
    everybody's searching for intimacy.
    everybody's hurting for intimacy.

  63. fans club ng the corrs? haha

    i love this song.

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