Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Leaving Las Vegas

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Leaving Las Vegas

Article excerpt

"Vegas: What happens here, stays here," trumpets the slogan for Sin City. With promises of more adult-themed attractions than ever before, Vegas is hell-bent on ushering in a whole new era of hedonism. The invitation to misbehave is cute, but you're preaching to the choir. Dinah Shore weekend. The White Party

Gay people already know that in order to maintain some semblance of sanity in your life, every once in a while you have to go out in the desert and act like a great big whore. But the Las Vegas desert is off-limits, at least to me. My father lives there.

My dad doesn't even belong in Vegas. He doesn't gamble or drink and has absolutely no interest in watching Celine Dion fly. He moved there from San Francisco because the cost of living is shockingly low and he loves the desert climate. Like me, he likes things hot and cheap.

But having your Filipino Catholic father live in Las Vegas is like having your mom chaperone your prom. Your anonymity is shot. It doesn't help that the Vegas hotels and casinos employ the entire Filipino population of Nevada. Maybe you don't know this, but we all know each other. My dad's on a first-name basis with everyone from the beret-wearing staff of Paris to the compact gladiator standing watch outside Caesars. If there's an Asian person walking around in a culturally incongruous costume, chances are they know Mr. Mapa and his son, the big homo.

If I were to engage in any sort of seedy behavior, like perhaps accept an invitation from a couple of really hot guys from Seattle to finish off a lid of Humboldt in their suite at the Bellagio, word would get back to my dad, and I'd have to go to confession.

This isn't the first time my father's stood between me and a good time. I grew up in San Francisco right up the hill from Castro Street, and we'd often attend revivals at the Castro Theatre. Singin' in the Rain, Mildred Pierce--you get the picture. No, my dad isn't a fag. He just has queer taste in cinema. Whenever I was with him on one of these outings I'd get cruised like crazy. …

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