“Biro lang” – An Overanalysis of The Martyr’s Ultimate Response

“Biro lang,” would never mean the same again. It’s so ironic how the phrase used to make one realize that the acts that just transpired between persons are nothing to be taken seriously, a phrase that usually connotes laughter and fun, can just as equally be a truly sad, sad phrase. It struck me as odd that “biro lang”, a phrase i have used my entire life, carries so much truth and honesty in between its lines, and yet I’ve never really stopped to read them. Somehow it had always been just that fun phrase for friendly musings, and yet, if used in such a certain appropriate manner, can mean so much more. More, here, in the sense where the fairy tale is taken away from that ubiquitous romantic movie, and the guy is suddenly forced to accept the harsh reality that maybe, just maybe, he might not get the girl in the happy ending after all.



So where exactly does the martyr fit into all this, you ask? He’s the one who said “biro lang”. He’s the hero in the aforementioned movie who chose rationality over fantasy, when he made his choice not to delve in the possibility of love, when asked of the romantic tension between him and his leading lady, in order to salvage what little closeness he has with her, the ultimate dilemma whenever love is concerned, one of his dearest friends. Yes, unconventional as it may seem that a happy ending is not what’s in store for this so-called romantic movie, it seems like the mind ruled over the heart in this story, not exactly the element plot twist most producers look for in a good romantic movie. So what made this hero opt for misery instead of one shot at a possible life of happiness brought about by love? Simple. Uncertainty caused by the lack of visible signs. Practicality made it easy for the mind to dictate to the heart to let this one pass, it seems. The guy would much rather settle for comfortable, laughter-filled friendship, than awkward, tension-filled acquaintance. Yes, truly a classic martyr’s love story.



Here’s a scenario. Boy meets girl, and boy goes crazy. Boy gets close, girl acts nonchalant, even somewhat remotely irked by the mere possibility of a hovering relationship. Boy tries to pretend everything’s a joke, jesting about his concealed affections toward her, girl keeps him at bay and retaliates, using his issues with a different girl as ammunition. Boy keeps up charade, perfectly content with their constant flirting, and girl finally notices, she’s not stupid, after all. So what does boy do when girl pops him the “ano-ba-talaga” question? Boy confesses, right? Wrong. Boy thinks, overanalyzes the situation, and in world record-breaking speed, delivers the martyr’s most unceremonious ultimate answer – “biro lang”.



There are many possible reasons why the martyr would choose to act on impulse like that and opt to lie about his feelings. But the one thing that easily comes to mind is fear. Fear that he might get rejected. Fear that she would not return his sentiments. Fear that they might drift apart afterwards because of the would-be-present malice she would incessantly associate with his motives. Fear that in order to uncomplicate things, she would much rather choose not to speak with him ever again, and keep the tension-filled air around them unresolved, his own heart left a-flutter, dwelling on the things that could have been. Fear that he might lose whatever it is that they have right now, never to be brought up again in any conversation, not even as a common household joke. It is so easy for the martyr to keep up his pretenses if the happiness of the one he likes is at stake. It is so easy to focus on rationalizing the situation and coming up with the less adventurous (in other, more simplistic terms, safe) solution to the pressing matters-of-the-heart. Martyrs are no risk-takers. They would rather settle for something at their own expense unless the path is completely cleared of any and every obstacle that blocks it. Sometimes, however incomprehensible it may seem, they would be contented by seeing their special persons happy, not bothered by such trivial issues as that of their own measley, stupid affections. Sometimes the martyr finds it alright to love that one special person just along the sidelines, and not bother to be on center stage. This is what the martyr does, apparently, no explanations necessary. After all, he considers the world of her, and to the martyr, that is justifiable reason enough.

Academy Award-winner Angelina Jolie once said in her scandalously delicious movie, Original Sin, “You cannot walk away from love.” If this is really the case, then to the martyr, love will just be, always and forever, a never ending chase.


~ by iamnotfrodo on October 12, 2005.

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