I just don’t mean any phone call. This was the call from mummy dearest. It was the one call that most gay men dread; the call that comes from some member of the family, when they want to bring up the issue of the big M.
One of my cousins got married recently and he is about the same age as me. I did not attend because I have started skipping all extended family related events, so that when the pressure starts, I shall only have immediate family to deal with. I have also started drawing lines with immediate family, but that’s story for another day.
Anyway, so mummy dearest called me and the following conversation ensued:
Mummy Dearest: Did you hear of Ifeanyi’s (not real name) wedding? Nna, you did not come…
ME: Yes, I had an exam that day, I could not make it. (Big lie, I was with Mrs. Macaulay)
MD: The weather is so hot these days, my car AC is not working. So driving under the sun is hard. Your sister’s kids are growing really fast…
Let me tell you something about my mom; if there is an “elephant in the room” that she wants to discuss, she will keep running round the matter in circles, not knowing how to approach it until you help her bring it up. On that day however, I decided that two can play that game, as I already knew where she was headed. So I determinedly let the lead be hers to take.
MD: Nwa m, let me just say what’s on my mind. (GBAM) You know you and Ifeanyi are age mates. His wedding sef, it was his family who rallied round to make it happen for him. You are better off financially than he is, and I can also rally your sisters and brothers, and we can help you bear the cost of your wedding. Think about it, oh nna m.
ME: Yes mummy, I will think about it.
MD: There is this nurse sef that I know, very pretty and well behaved, she is a BSc nurse sef –
ME: (Cutting in) Mummy, I have to check what I am cooking. (Another big lie, I don’t cook) I will call you back tonight. (The third lie)
MD: Ngwa, I will wait for your call, but think about what I just said.
After I hung up, my heart was heavy. The dreaded call had finally come and the pressure would build from here. I sat to ponder what my options were going forward, and I came up with a few scenarios.
- Pack up and fun, just like my dear Khaleesi says; flee to somewhere far away. I however love Nigeria and, in a weird way, I still feel a strong connection to Nigeria. So NO, this may not be the option for me.
- Live the lie, marry the pretty BSc nurse and do the white picket fence with 2.5 kids. However she would be miserable and I would be miserable. My misery would spiral into depression, and seeing as I am dangerous when I am depressed, I would wake up one night and kill my wife. I will then go to jail for capital murder and my 2.5 kids will grow up without parents. Nuh-uh!
- Marry a lesbian. I do know a few of them whom I can play the happy couple script with. The only problem would be that it would be a lie, and I would become the guy who allowed other people write his own script. No, I have listened too much to Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’ to do this.
- Get a paid mistress who would have kids for me – as one of my friends recently did – and have a bit of validation from friends and family. This would have been great, if not for the fact that I don’t want any kids of my own. So NO to this option as well.
What then am I left with? Single at 40? Living with my three dogs and two cats? The pressure would be crazy.
So I have decided that I will come out to my family. Not today. Not anytime soon. But sometime in the future, I will sit down with them and let them know. I will tell the truth and get them off my back. And if they decide to stay with #TeamDennis, then it’s fine. But if they decide to walk away, it’s fine too. They won’t be missed.
This will be my journey. Everyone should chart theirs.
Written by Dennis Macaulay