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It was the summer of 2001, on the same overcast midday much like today, when, without thinking much of the consequences, of how that single clandestine acquisition would shape my life for the years to come, I found myself holding a pirated compact disc, a video of two men mating. With their poles erect, and ready to maim the other in the butt, the die was cast, and no longer would I find joy watching porn actors fucking their sluts.
I recall coming from Manila Times for the OJT orientation that summer. It was still early to go home, so an Avenida stroll would preoccupy me for the rest of the afternoon. There, below the Carriedo Station, men stood next to huge cardboard boxes of Marlboro cigarettes, waiting for passersby to stop and make discreet inquiries. At times, they would softly say, "Boss, M2M.." to male shoppers, hoping the code gets deciphered. By instinct, the right people read it, even when M2M used to be that pop duo, whose songs Mirror Mirror and Don't Say You Love Me were the staple of radio stations.
Now back to my story, I was gliding casually, only stopping to check the stands selling bootleg cassette tapes of Freddie Aguilar and Florante, when, one of the sentries approached me to offer his wares.
"Boss, X." A lean guy in his late twenties wheedled, hoping I was the right customer. I feigned ignorance even when I know the sinfully pleasing goods he was selling. I asked what he got, and from nowhere appeared VCD covers of naked, muscled men.
"This guy meant business." I thought.
I would have to admit that memory betrays, when the march of time blurs how the events of the day came to be. Of how, I always thought of the seller as a part-time prostitute, of how he asked me to follow him to a nearby vacant lot where he kept the video discs under stacks of hollow blocks, and of how I was trembling inside when I handed over the 120 pesos for a copy, whose content I have no guarantee of ever working on my desktop computer.
The details of the narrative might have changed, but I always knew it was the beginning.
Six months before my confession on Pinoyexchange, and a year after my first procurement, I already roam the dingy alleys of Hidalgo in Quiapo for my gay porn fix like a pro.
And time has come to once and for all, jettison the gay porn collection and erase hints of their existence on my personal effects.
Cum coated and with surfaces heavily scratched from countless playbacks on Windows Media Player, there is no doubt some of them no longer play at all. The age of Dial Up is long gone, and with the advent of faster internet connection, streaming and downloading of gay porn takes mere minutes to complete. Instant gratification for free.
...Mamimiss ko rin yung mga oras na nagsisilid ako ng gay porn sa pagitan ng mga straight porn na binibili ko sa mga naglalako sa Quiapo. At yung mga pagkakataon na nagsasama ako ng kaibigan sa suki para sila mismo ang makapamili ng porn na bibilhin nila. Nandun rin yung tiyambahan kasi wala namang paraan para i-test yung mga CD na iyong pinamili. At higit sa lahat, hahanap hanapin ko yung isang yugto sa buhay ko kung saan kailangan mong magtago - ng iyong sarili, ng iyong paghahanap ng kalinga ng isang lalaki, at yung thrill sa tuwing makakatagpo ka ng kapwa nagtatago - na higit na straight-acting sa iyo. Sa panahon ng Wechat at Grindr, Xvideos at Lifeout, it's very easy for gay men to get their fix...
More than anything, my nephews are growing up and in the years to come, they might find the door of my room open and in their curiosity, accidentally discover the secret stash of epektos still hidden under my bed. Much as they have the joy of picking their sexual preference at the right age, I would never wish the idea spring from me. Thus, against my sentimentality,
The compact discs I have kept for so long will have to go.
Discreetly and without a trace.