FOREWORD: The first part of what I have to say is unrelated to the story below. I just want to quickly say how much I appreciate every contributor who sends write-ups for the maintenance of this blog. I can’t be grateful enough. However, I have recently gotten curt emails from a couple of contributors, expressing their displeasure with me for not instantly putting up their pieces after receiving them. They were also of the opinion that because I didn’t respond to their emails after I received their materials, I must not think them good enough. And then, they rounded up by instructing me not to bother publishing their articles.
Both suppositions are wrong. First of all, if I think a piece does not measure up, THAT IS WHEN I WILL respond with an email, informing the contributor of what I think is wrong. If I do not reply, it can only mean one thing. That I have read, approved, edited and drafted the write-up for future publication. Secondly, with the exception of ‘Love And Sex In The City’, ‘James’ Journal’ and ‘Bunkside Frenzy’ which are episodic and have to be published every week, every other write-up gets in a line. There are only seven days in a week, and a lot more articles than that. I urge my contributors to be a lot more patient and understanding. Everybody wants to be heard, and that is the medium this blog provides. That objective has not changed.
The second part of what I have to say is about this episode of Love And Sex In The City. This episode was inspired by a conversation I observed and participated recently in with a group of acquaintances. It is a conversation of sorts, expressing a difference in opinions concerning one of the random issues plaguing the Nigerian gay community. So after reading, it would be nice for you to express your own opinion in the comments section, so we can all learn and understand the varying views. Thank You. 🙂
I shrugged, and before I could respond, Adebola intoned, “What’s the big deal about that? Straight guys kiss gay guys all the time.”
Yinka turned to him. “Maybe it happens to you all the time –”
“It does happen to me all the time,” Adebola preened.
“But how many times,” Yinka barreled on, “have you gotten hot and heavy with two different straight guys in the space of one month, eh?”
Adebola had nothing to say to that.
Yinka turned back to me. “First Bryson, then Kizito. Sweerie, you have to give me your babalawo’s contact, ‘cause lawd knows there are a bunch of rulers I’d like to bend in my workplace.”
“Slut!” Biola interjected. “Aren’t you supposed to be married?”
“O-PEN RE-LA-TION-SHIP,” Yinka said, enunciating every syllable in the words. “Look it up, it actually means something.”
“That you’re a whore when your nyash should be in one place, no?” Biola retorted.
An outburst of laughter broke out amongst us. It is a constant toss-up who was the bigger bitch between Biola and Yinka. My money is always on Biola.
All of us, six in number, minus Jonathan – who had a pre-wedding errand to run with his bride-to-be – were gathered for our regular Sunday hangout at Yinka’s place. These get-togethers were something we usually indulged in as many Sundays as our individual schedules could permit. We would congregate in one person’s house and, amidst either a heavy breakfast or light lunch, we would disseminate whatever happenings were ongoing in our lives. It usually involved lots of laughter and the trading of gossip. Since Yinka and Adebola are the only ones in our group who have accommodations of their own, they acted as hosts on different days of the get-togethers. Jonathan has a place of his own too, but it will be a cold day in hell before he will play host to this many homosexuals in his place, friends or not. We’d long since stopped being offended by his paranoia that our congregation at his place could somehow out him.
“By the way, now that Bryson has proven that he likes to swing our way,” Biola said, looking askance at Adebola, “do I have madam’s permission to pursue him aggressively?”
“I won’t even wait for thunder to fire you before I set you into blazes, if you try it,” Adebola fumed. Amidst more laughter from us, he continued, wagging a finger at me, “I should even be very upset with you, Declan, for all this mess.”
“Me – mess? What are you talking about?”
“Well, Bryson is no longer picking my calls and I’ve texted him several times about getting together. Pikin no wan give me face at all-at all,” he groused.
“Abegi!” Eddie burst out. “What is he feeling like sef?”
“Like the hot, hot guy that he is?” Biola said, fanning the fingers of his right hand dramatically over his face as if he was flushed.
“Seriously, guys, I really like that guy,” Adebola said, “as friends,” he hurriedly added when our meaningful glances fell on him. “But now, he’s acting like he doesn’t want that friendship to continue, and it’s all Declan’s fault.”
I opened my mouth to give a vehement protest, but Ekene had already jumped to my defense. “That’s hardly fair, Adebola. No one pushed your boyfriend to chook his dick inside Declan’s pussy.”
“He’s not my boyfriend!”
“I’m sorry, isn’t he your friend who is a boy?”
“You no well, Ekene.”
“Takes one to know one.”
“Adebola, ease off of Declan jaré,” Paschal cut in from where he was seated beside Oscar, a friend of his who accompanied him here. I knew him vaguely, but I wasn’t sure if his relationship with Paschal went beyond the platonic level. I still wasn’t talking to Paschal, hadn’t said so much as a hello to him since I walked in through the door and found him lounging on one of Yinka’s settees. And he was still struggling to get back into my good graces. “Both he and Bryson are consenting adults, and any mistakes made should be about them, not you.”
Stung by the unintended censure in Paschal’s remark, Adebola rounded on him, his eyes flashing, “You can stop trying now, Paschal. Just please, stop embarrassing yourself. Declan still won’t forgive you just yet.”
“Whatever, this morning gist isn’t even about Bryson,” he returned, waving a dismissive hand and turning to me with a smile that aimed for charming. “It’s about the homophobic Kizito smacking one on Declan. Tell us, Dee, how was it? You were about to give us the gist before Yinka interrupted.”
“You should think twice about carrying on with that gist, Declan,” Adebola said to me, his seething stare still on Paschal, “unless you want to wake up tomorrow and see all the details splashed on the front cover of The Punch newspaper.”
Everyone else howled with laughter. I struggled to keep my face straight. Paschal and Adebola scowled at each other.
“Anyhoo!” Eddie cut into the ruckus with a smirk, “So, DeeDee, what’s next now? What are you going to do about this? I mean, before, you knew you hated his guts, even though you were attracted to him. And that was because he gave you reason to dislike him. But now, he’s gone and kissed you, things can’t be the same. What are you going to do?”
“Ana ajukwa aju?” Ekene said. “Is that even a question? Hia! Declan hasn’t had good sex in such a long time –”
“Actually, I had sex last Sunday at that party Yinka took me to in Ajah –”
“With some random stranger? That doesn’t count biko. Go get that hunnay into your bed and get busy. Your bed, his bed, you don’t have to be choosy. And he likes you well enough to have made the first move. So this might graduate into something serious. Because, sweetheart, your shobosho needs the kind of constant cleansing mine gets from Moses.”
There were chuckles all round before Eddie cut in with some asperity, “Wait first, who says Kizito has to top Declan? Why must it be like that?”
“Uh, because Declan is Bottom?” Yinka lifted his brows at Eddie.
“That’s not my point. I’m just saying, why do straight guys who get converted have to always be Tops? Why can’t their gay sexual experience be to be a gay guy’s bitch?”
“Because Tops are scarce commodity, and there are too many Bottoms in the market,” Biola supplied with that straight face he usually wore to accompany his sarcastic deliveries, which had us all laughing uproariously again.
“Seriously though,” Eddie said, not looking amused by Biola’s rejoinder. “I don’t get this predilection that every straight guy who suddenly takes a fancy for gay sex must do while humping away from the manly” – he added finger quotes on the word – “side of the lovemaking.”
“It’s not always like that,” Adebola said.
“But it’s the norm,” Eddie maintained.
“You just want to argue unnecessary argument today…”
“You people should leave Edidiong alone; he’s just looking for material for his next blogpost –”
“Oh, come on –”
“Why should it matter,” Biola cut into the fray. “Tops, Bottoms, Versatiles – all these labels give me a headache, seriously. Why should it matter, really? We, the gays in this country, get so obsessed with drawing distinctions amongst ourselves, and yet we have a problem with the distinction society is drawing between us and them.”
“I feel like you’re warming up to another one of your legendary debates, Biola,” I said, smiling.
“I didn’t start it, Eddie did. And it simply galls me, this tenacity we have for distinguishing our roles in the bedroom. You have to be Top. You have to be Bottom. You have to be Versatile. You have to be – in fact, the labels have gotten ridiculous these days. I came across some guy’s profile on manjam the other day, and it said: I’m a Versatile Bottom looking for a Top guy for sex, love and serious relationship. I’m not even going to go into the unnecessary and stupid separation of his wants – sex, love and serious relationship.” He made a scoffing sound.
“He’s simply advertizing for any guy who will chook his nyash, chook his heart or stay for a long time, chooking both of them,” Yinka sallied with a grin. And we dissolved into gales of laughter again.
Biola didn’t join in; he waited resolutely until we were done with our mirth before he continued, “I was going to say, how did these labels get so stupid? Versatile Bottom? Seriously? What is the difference between that and a Bottom? And I can only assume there’s a role called Versatile Top, what is the difference between that one and a Top?”
“I think,” Eddie began, “a Versatile Top refers to a Versatile guy who tops a Bottom, and craves a dick up his ass, even though perhaps he has a problem with getting fucked all the time.”
“Such a guy needs to work on his confusion, and know what he really wants,” Biola snapped.
“All this Versatile this and Versatile that though,” I interjected with a chuckle. “Shii is just ridiculous. I’m with Biola. Such TBs are simply confused. Identify your role and stick with it, I say. And if you swing both ways, please remain the Versatile that you are. Don’t be adding appendages to it.”
“Gbam!” Paschal agreed exuberantly. “Two things are involved: It is either you love to do or you love to get done. Abeg, they should stop confusing us. Versatile bottom, wharrisdat one?”
I thought that was funny, but I fought against laughing along with Yinka, Ekene and Adebola.
“Look, this shouldn’t even be an argument,” Ekene intoned. “I just think a Versatile Bottom is someone who plays both roles, but enjoys the bottom part more, while a Versatile Top is the other way round. Most Versatiles however are usually Versatile Tops because they prefer to get on top rather than spread their ass for someone else. They may only do that occasionally.”
“I have seen a lot of wannabe Tops and so-called Versatiles who can ride a dick more than the self-proclaimed Bottoms o,” Paschal crowed. “Like this one guy I met on Badoo –”
“Yes, yes,” Biola cut in caustically, “we don’t need to know about your sex life and the guy with enough space in his ass to accommodate that monstrosity you call a dick.” He looked pointedly at Eddie as he fired that salvo.
There was another outburst of laughter, and Paschal’s face shuttered into another scowl. He knew better than to engage Biola in a spat; Biola would totally eviscerate him. Only Yinka has the guts to try that guy’s bad mouth.
“Eh, eh! It have do abeg!” Eddie said, pulling up his shoulders in an exaggerated pose of pomposity. “So what if I’m the only one here who could ride Paschal’s dick, ehn? It shows I’m a Major Bottom.”
“I’m sorry, did he just say Major Bottom?” Biola said, widening his eyes theatrically. “Please speak that no more, Eddie, before it will catch on, and then we’ll start having Versatile Major Bottoms and Versatile Major Tops, and Major Versatile – oh my gawd! The possibilities are endless.” He effected a shudder as the rest of us convulsed with laughter.
“But come on, guys,” a voice piped up. “All this drama is unnecessary, if you ask me.”
We turned and our stares fell on Paschal’s friend, Oscar. He was this nice-looking guy with a complexion that was such a bleached fairness that the hair on his head was also a halo of light colour. And he wasn’t even an albino.
“Nobody asked you,” Biola said cruelly.
Oscar turned to him, bristling noticeably and said, “You are someone who sleeps with dudes, and yet you have a problem with labels and feel something must be black or white, no room for variants. How ironic.” His lips twisted, and Biola’s eyes flashed with affront. Oscar barreled on, “If someone lied to you about his role, that doesn’t mean such roles don’t exist. Last I checked, it’s a preference.” He dropped a heavy stress on the word. “It’s odd for you to feel you know what’s in someone’s mind or how they should act in bed. Seriously? TBs may lie about so many things, as is it seems to be our prerogative in this country, but does that mean all things are false?”
“You are so far off my point I wouldn’t even be able to find you if I used a telescope,” Biola said scathingly. “Seriously, climb down from that preacher’s pulpit you just climbed on. I mean, really, who even brought this one here.” He waved a hand at Oscar in a deprecating gesture. “Last I checked, this our Sunday affairs was about friends coming together, not friends and attachments.”
Bitch, I thought amusedly while shaking my head.
“Ah-ah, Biola, no be fight nau!” Paschal burst out in defense of his friend.
“Instead of insulting me,” Oscar interjected with a calmness I didn’t expect him to feel, “why don’t you tell me what your point is.”
“Haven’t you been in this room the past five minutes,” Biola replied waspishly.
“His point is,” I cut in hurriedly, my attention on Oscar, “that labels are useless. He means that if you feel you have to attach an appendage to your role as a Versatile, it speaks to some complex issues. We don’t need any clarification. If you’re Versatile, be Versatile. Saying you’re Versatile Top or Versatile Bottom or Versatile Power Bottom – Hia! That seems like overkill. And quite too much of a mouthful.”
“Let him who has not being fucked or has not fucked a guy before be the first to cast the stone,” Yinka chipped in impishly before he, Ekene and Adebola started giggling.
Those three sef, they never seem to have any serious opinions.
“Labels are useless?” Oscar sounded outraged. “What is Versatile in the first place? Someone’s name on a certificate? It’s a definition of a precise range of functions. If it’s the ‘mouthfulness’ of the label that is the problem, tell the person to explain what he means. I’m sure it’s not rocket science. If someone says one thing and does something else, that’s different. But please, let’s not mock or ridicule a fellow gay.” He paused before adding, “And we keep forgetting that it’s all a preference.”
Our collective gazes swiveled from him to Biola, expectant, positive that he would come back with a crushing rejoinder. And for a fleeting moment, it seemed as though he would. He glared at Oscar, the muscles of his face tight, and his nostrils flaring with the force of his angry breathing. And then, the moment passed, and he turned to Yinka and said heavily, “I suddenly realize I need a stiff drink. Abeg, Yinka, wey that your fridge and the martini wey I see inside am last week?” He knew the fridge was in the kitchen, and he followed his words with a stomping gait out of the living room.
“Me, I don’t give a toss what anyone thinks or feels, just as long as my libido is satisfied,” Adebola said with blithe self satisfaction in the wake of Biola’s departure.
“Is it not how the other day, when we flew to Port Harcourt and didn’t have to come back to Lagos until after two days, that night, me and a couple of other TB flight attendants went clubbing in Rumuola. I met this guy in the club who had muscles everywhere, and he picked an interest in me. Me, I was still trying to decide if I liked him, but he was all over me. Chatted me up, took my number, all that jazz. Wanted to even follow me back to my hotel room sef. But, ah, I’m not a slut like that o. Those my two colleagues were eyeing him, so I passed him on to them. And they returned with the guy to their hotel room. And the next day, they started telling me that the guy – this same muscly guy – was asking them to fuck him.” He was smirking at this juncture.
“Ehn, can you imagine,” Ekene exclaimed, with a clap of his hands in disbelief.
“Yes o, they were like, ah, we wanted you to do the same to us o.” That got some laughs. “They were just lamenting about how messed up the sex was.”
“And the point of this your gist is now what?” I said wryly.
“Eh-eh!” He waved an open palm at me. I was grinning. He was too. “Don’t come and start forming Biola for me, with your point-of-this and point-of-that. Even if I am talking off-point, leave am like that.”
“I just feel like some people attach this Versatile ish,” Ekene said, “because they feel somehow depreciated in self worth. You tell someone you are Bottom, and it just feels like you’re somehow less because of that. But, mehn, to be Bottom no be beans. In fact, it’s a blessing, I hear. I heard the other day that Bottoms hardly suffer prostate cancer, because the dick goes in there to do the massaging and other things.”
There was a chorus of ‘You don’t say!’, ‘For real?!’ and ‘You can’t be serious!’
Ekene nodded, and had opened his mouth to add to his claim, when Oscar interjected, “Please, there is no scientific evidence to support that dick rubbing against the prostate helps to prevent prostatic cancer.”
Ekene instantly bridled, and Paschal laughed, roaring, “And the doctor speaks.”
“You’re a doctor?” I queried.
“A final-year medical student,” Oscar conceded.
“Then perhaps you can’t be too sure of your opinion,” Ekene snapped. “Do your research abeg.”
“I don’t have to. You said it, it’s up to you to back your claims up. Produce a link to one peer-approved scientific study that even implies such.”
And for the second time that afternoon, another one of my friends glared with speechless anger at this Paschal’s friend. Ekene looked like he would love nothing more than to throw a resounding slap across Oscar’s smug face.
Recognizing the escalation of tensions in the room, I suddenly said in a singsong voice, “Okay, guys, enough of all this drama. Whether Top, Bottom, Versatile or all of Versatile’s brothers and sisters, sex is still the same. It’s meant to be enjoyed, and we should all endeavour to have lots of it when we can.”
“Say it like you mean it, sister!” Eddie whooped, and sashayed over to Yinka’s stereo. A few clicks later and the opening strains of Beyoncé’s Baby Boy skipped into the atmosphere. Eddie whooped again, and began to move his hips in undulating twists to the beat of the music, while hollering the lyrics in tandem with the pop singer’s flawless vocals. His enthusiasm was infectious, and before long, everyone else had leaped to their feet and was shimmying to the music.
I was bopping one side of my hip against Ekene’s when I felt a slight vibration in my jeans pocket. It was my phone. I fished it out, thinking it was a call. It wasn’t. However, the green icon of a new message on my Whatsapp was glowing. I clicked it open, and read the one word that popped up on my screen.
That was it. Two words. From a number I didn’t recognize.
But I was too spirited to ponder the message, its implication or whoever the sender might be. At a swipe from my thumb, the message was deleted. Gone. Never to disturb me again. Right?