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While waiting for a Cebu I.T. Park-bound jitney before dawn today, I saw a group of eight middle-aged women gallivanting about Pelaez Street and the corner. I felt safe that, at least, there were people around me—and they were ladies—as I headed for work, considering that gays seem to be the favorite targets of the city’s trying hard mobsters.

I don’t really take the jitney from that area—it’s just that the first ride I was on had a mechanical problem and the passengers were told to get off. The women were jabbering among themselves in their own language. When they noticed me standing across the street, I heard them trying to send a message, but I just ignored their gesture since I started feeling a bit jittery already.

And then three of the ladies couldn’t help calling me: “Pssst, chicks ta, Kuya. Sengkwenta lang! (Pssst, chick here, Sir. Only for 50 pesos!)”

I didn’t know how to cry “No!” because their coquettish stares unnerved me that I wanted to run if only it wouldn’t stir their frustration. I pretended not to have heard anything, but then they kept on and on for three times. Finally, I was able to say “no,” trying my very best to sound masculine, because my fear was that, once they found out I was gay, they might cross the street and make a scene to jeer at me.

But what puzzled me, to say the least, was how on earth they didn’t have a clue that I wasn’t what they were looking for, in the first place. I would’ve wanted to give them a good slap in the face and say: “Hey, I was just crowned as the most beautiful woman in the world three nights ago, and now you’ve mistaken me for a paying stud. How dare you?!” But there was already a jitney coming my way.