The Filipino Love Story: The Kilig of Being Uninterested

Turn on the television, watch Filipino movies, listen to the radio, then you’ll know that a successful Filipino love story starts with the kilig of being uninterested.

When a love story begins, the woman has to be uninterested in the man. If she is already interested, she has to pretend that she’s not. The man feels challenged, so he will do everything in his power to conquer her.

If god forbid the woman shows premature interest, then she will be relegated to the role of slut or the psychotic contrabida who will try to ruin the lives of the girl and boy bidas.

There is a silver lining though for women who pursue men. If she pursues him, then she falls out of love, then he’ll become interested and he will pursue her. Only then can she fall in love and live happily ever after.

I remember a G-mik episode when the character of John Prats calls up the character of Heart Evangelista. He confesses that he likes her; she pretends that she doesn’t know what to do with this information, slightly leaning on the safe side of completely uninterested. When she puts down the phone, she screams with delight. She’s totally in love with the character of John Prats; she’s just not allowed to show it yet.

Hollywood glamorizes the patient male lover who will wait until the end of time for the woman he truly loves. Girls have to get over it and move on. Then again, there are some love stories that go “I’m crazy about you; I’m crazy about you too. Then, let’s figure out if this will work.” Simple. No mind games. They talk, they go through certain experiences that challenge the relationship, but there is no bogus play of being uninterested.

Sometimes Hollywood empowers female characters. In the last season-7 episode of CSI, Sara asked Grissom out. He refused. She said, “Why not? Let’s have dinner. Let’s see what happens.” No harassment. No shame. No hysterical reaction. Later on, Grissom changed his mind. They ended up falling in love.

When Vilma Santos was interviewed in Magandang Gabi Vice, she made a comment saying, Ang lalake todo suyo sa simula pero kapag kasal ka na, yung babae ang todo suyo. So is this how a Filipino love story progresses? You’ll be endlessly pursued by the man, then when he conquers you, when he possesses the coveted “jewel,” you are no longer interesting, and now you have to bend backwards to keep him. If you are only interesting if you’re not interested, doesn’t this defeat the purpose of falling in love?

If women are only pursued if they wanna say no, isn’t that more reminiscent of rape than a love story? Maybe that’s an extreme comparison, but think about it, if men largely feel that “rejection is an aphrodisiac,” then isn’t that the mentality of a rapist–I want you because you don’t want me, and I’m going to force you to like me, and I know you will cave in, you’ll like it. 

I don’t want to pretend I’m uninterested. I want to be like “I like you. Can we figure out if we will work out as a couple?” The mystery shouldn’t be if I am interested or not. The mystery should be getting to know who I am. If a guy is continually interested in getting to know who I am, then that can sustain us for life, and we can die in love.

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