Friday, January 13, 2006

what a card

Went to a meet-and-greet “networking opportunity” (my quotes; can’t use corporate-speak seriously) last night at a bar in Manila with J, G, PH, and JR. It was run by a big development consultancy (I think that’s what they were) and was for “development professionals” (I think that’s what I am).

Unless I’m in a very buoyant mood and/or drunk at these types of things, I tend to chat with people I already know. There was incentive last night to branch out, though, in the form of a “who can score the most business cards” game that the 5 of us agreed to before we arrived (hot and sweaty after a ride on the Manila metro – I console myself in the knowledge that 99.9% of the crowd have their noses at my armpit level and not vice versa – and a walk down EDSA, Manila’s teeming cesspit of a main road).

I helped myself to about 5 piña coladas, which, on account of having no effect whatsoever, seemed rather weak. They were tasty though, and no doubt exaggerated my rugged alpha-male image.

Professionally the evening did nothing for me, but the card competition kept things interesting. I wasted valuable time spending 10 minutes small-talking to a dull guy from an insurance company (not sure why he qualified as a “development professional”) only to discover he’d already run out of cards.

By the end of the night, J and I had a mediocre 8 cards each, but it seemed it might be enough, coming in ahead of G’s 5 and PH’s 6. But silent assassin JR proved to be the black sheep, pulling in 14. The 5 of us headed off to Greenbelt for some food (it being nonexistent at the bar, despite promises to the contrary), with me cursing the insurance guy.

I redeemed the night, however, by zipping ahead of J into 2nd place via a card from the lovely Stella. She and another ladyboy beckoned me as I walked past their seats outside Greenbelt Starbucks. Stella offered me a seat but, despite the allure of these not unattractive bakla – as ladyboys are known here – I regretfully explained my friends were waiting and I was returning to Los Baños. “Then how will we be together?” Stella asked, spotting the obvious hurdle blocking our fateful path towards each other. “Anyway, txt me when you’re back in Manila,” s/he said, and – glory of glories – handed me her card, which offered a street address, 2 email addresses, a phone number, and the promise of “sexy massage”.

Assuring Stella that I would of course txt, I strode back to the others, triumphantly brandishing my trophy. J was not impressed.


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