It's not so long ago (not even a year, I think) when I was first told that I look intimidating. It was my good friend, Anna Fegi, who told me that. She said the first time she saw me, she felt that I didn't like her. That was not the case.
Sometime last month, over dinner with Dan and Jing (Anna's sister), I somehow mentioned that in passing. I told the story in jest, of course. Coz I really believed at that time that Anna was an isolated case. I was sure 9 times out of 10, people thought otherwise. Then Jing said, "Alam mo, totoo. Kahit ako, medyo matagal bago naging kumportable sa yo. Kasi parang ang taray mo."
His name was Bertrand. Filipino. We were laughing at the top of our lungs in the VIP lounge when he barged in and said, "Pinoy kayo?" Ok, so I thought the question was stupid. We were all chatting in Filipino when he overheard us. Only someone who dind't know the distinct sound of our language would not think that the group was entirely Filipino. Putting it simply, it was such a dumb way to say "You look like a happy group. I am Filipino too and I'd like to join you." Still, I was among the first ones to introduce myself and offer a handshake. I was cordial. We invited him to dinner at Law's the Friday following that Wednesday night. Friday noon, I saw him on two of the sites I frequent. I sent him a nice, polite message asking whether he was coming to dinner. He ignored me. Totally. He read both my messages and refused to answer. Now, that's rude. As if trying to insult me even more, he, until now texts and calls my friends on Wednesdays and Fridays asking what plans we have for the night.
Hearing the story, Law said something like, "Alam mo kasi, Rye, it takes a while before people actually warm up to you. Mukha ka kasing suplado."
"Ako?!?" I was shocked.
Steve said, "Yung neutral face mo kasi, masungit tingnan." Then he said that there are at least 3 people he knows of who have told them the same thing.
Then Josh added, "Oo. Nung bago nga ako akala ko di mo ko gusto e."
A 15-minute (or so) discussion on how people perceive me ensued.
Tuesday. Just this last Tuesday. In the middle of the show, while I was sitting on the couch waiting for my cue for the next number, Pro (one of my newest favorite straight guys), was pacing back and forth almost in front of me. I looked at him blankly. I had no particular intentions in doing so. I just looked. Then he saw me. He asked me what was running in my head when I looked at him. I said, "Nothing."
Then he said, "Alam mo, Rye, kung di kita kilala, matatakot ako sa tingin mo. Kasi parang any moment, sasampalin mo na lang ako."
Honestly, people.. I am a sweet, loving person. I may have sarcastic remarks and sudden bitchy outbursts to throw at anyone at times (and "at times" means when I'm tired, or hungry, or when I've had more than two caps of Hydroxycut in less than 4 hours), but I am a kind-hearted person in general. I swear. Ask my friends and they will attest to this.