Everyone’s Looking

BANGKOK, Thailand — “Dance with me.” His order is delivered with an adhesive stare and in a stoic tone. No distinct accent. Deep, raspy voice. But it is his deeper eyes that scream a million sexy words.

Just ten minutes earlier, he said I could call him Ray. He pressed his back on the wall next to me, asked for a light, and threw a dozen questions about what brought me to Thailand. His right hand rested on my left shoulder. His fingers tapped dots and dashes to the beat of the music. It felt like Morse code.

It is my last night in Bangkok. I swore while planning this trip that I would not leave the city without getting to see its nightlife. I am not here to score; I’m too ugly for that. Again, I just want to see. And by “see,” I mean just see. No more, no less. I have never been to a gay club before, not even in the Philippines.

“You go ahead, I’m staying here for a while,” I respond.

“Oh, come on.”

“Ask me nicely.”

“Let’s dance?”


“You’re making fun of me.”

“I just don’t dance, is all.”

“Why not? We’ve been talking here for about 10 minutes now.”

“I’m sober. I’m an awkward dancer when I’m sober,” I laugh. “Even when I’m drunk, actually. I’m awkward either way.”

“I won’t laugh, I promise,” he chuckles.

“I think I’m good here.”

“So you’re just gonna stand here, smoking the night away, turning your lungs black?”

“That pretty much sums it up, yeah.”

“That’s very — what’s the word? — sad.”

“I’m here because I just wanted to see this whole club thing. And from where I stand, I see plenty.”

“Dude,” he grins again, this time pulling his back off the wall, facing me, mastering the judging look, making me feel so naive and inexperienced. “When I asked for a light when I approached you earlier, I was expecting you to light my cigarette yourself. Instead you handed me the lighter.”

“Your point is?”

“Let’s go inside, dance with me, and THEN you’ll see.”

I reach for the lighter from my abysmal pocket and lights another stick. He gives me that look again.

“You’re not single, are you?”

“No. I have someone back home,” I answer.

“Cool. Okay.”

“And you?”

“Single, of course,” he smiles.

“And looking?”

“Everyone here is looking.”

“Not everyone.”

Everyone here is looking.”

“Not me.”

He gives my left shoulder a gentle squeeze and grins. “Everyone,” he insists, walks back inside, and gets lost in the crowd.


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