Long-term City of Manila resident Gregory Dorris met dancer Jorge Amparado sometime in 2002, at a gym in Malate in the City of Manila, “at a time when my partner of 14 years and I were slowly falling apart,” Gregory recalled. “For months, I’d been occasionally noticing Jorge. He was the hottest guy in the gym – incredibly toned and muscular, tall, perfect brown skin and a big toothy smile.”
Jorge smiled. “I was a Tae-bo teacher back then, and every Sunday, during my class, I sometimes see Greg outside the studio watching my class. It was my first time to see such a handsome man.”
One day, making conversation, Gregory asked Jorge how he stayed so fit, and “he told me he’s a ballet dancer with Ballet Philippines. A few days later, I saw him at Starbucks with a cigarette and a huge Frappuccino, totally shattering my preconceived image of him, so I stopped to chat and asked how he could be treating himself so unhealthily. I don’t recall his answer, but I do recall that the date was June 24, 2002 – it was Araw ng Maynila. We’ve been together pretty much ever since, and (had) our 10 year anniversary in (June 2012).”
“I, for one, do not know that exact time or day when I realized I was in love (with Gregory),” Jorge said, though “soon after we dated, I felt that we are for life.”
Gregory seconded. “When did we know we were in love? It’s hard to say because it didn’t happen right at the start, or even months later. It didn’t occur suddenly, and I think neither of us really realized that we were falling into a stable, caring relationship.”
Instead, said Gregory, “the evidence was building to indicate that we were in love: we wanted to spend all of our time together, we started naturally calling one another using terms of endearment, and, in his case, he began to introduce himself to people as my ‘wife’ (and while this did make some uncomfortable, I knew it was his way of playing what he knew to be the more responsible role: the mother, the glue, the wife, as opposed to that of the father, the philanderer, the absentee parent).”
As a couple, Jorge is realistic in his assessment of the challenges they face. “In this relationship, temptation is always there,” he said. “It is, therefore, up to me and to him to really be strong (to make this) relationship work to last. We do whatever it takes for us to make this love work.”
Gregory, for his part, expressed his belief that as a gay couple, “I don’t think the challenges are much different from that of straight couples. We have to work and pay bills, manage finances, maintain the house, et cetera,” he said. At least for them, “social acceptance isn’t a concern.”
Gregory said that they “want to travel together if given the wherewithal, and enjoy our time together.” This is, added Jorge, “to embrace the future and enjoy the relationship now” mainly because, for him, “what is tomorrow is what you do now.”
There are other plans, too, like making newer friends. “I think I speak for Jorge when I say we want to gain new couple friends and open our home more often to our friends,” Gregory said.
For now, though, Jorge expressed his appreciation of what they have. “The best thing for me in this relationship is having the chance to know, care and love a special person that, for me, will be with me in my lifetime,” he said.
And for Gregory? “I am secure in Jorge’s love for me, and I love that we end each day in each other’s arms.”