In a minute, I’ll tell you.
Dennis has his weekly rants, James has his journals, Bobby has his Behind-the-HIV-scenes series, and Pinky’s Loving and Sexing in Lagos City are anxiously looked forward to each week. I have come to realize that I, like most of us on here, witness and create rant-worthy or journal-worthy events on a regular basis. And so, drawing inspiration from these KDian literary works, this is an attempt to share with us all a few of my musings as well . . . you know, to tell you what’s on my mind. And No, I am way lazier than PP, DM, Bobby or James, and so, my musings will likely not be a weekly affair; they will be far less frequent. However, if and whenever they do pop up here, I’d love to hear your thoughts, advice, suggestions, observations, whatever you gat. Bring it on!
So, yea, that thing on my mind…
One fine, blazing hot afternoon, a few days ago, I walked into the barbershop to get a haircut. There were about two other customers who were just ahead of me, and so I had to wait for them to be served. In the shop, the TV was on at full blast and after a few minutes, a political advert came on, screaming laudations and singing praises of our dearly beloved president. And at some point during the ad, the praise-singing swung to his handling of the Boko Haram insurgency in the North.
At this point, it was as though a hidden switch was thrown in my barber’s brain. He threw down his electric clipper and launched into an animated and forceful tirade about how the Boko Haram terrorists are being directly sponsored, trained, financed and propped up by none other than the USA.
He continued (I have as much as possible reproduced his exact words and atrocious lexical structure): *shuddering at the memory* “…As Nigeria goment no gree support make dem dey do gay for Naija, then come sign that 14 years gay law, na im US goment come vex, then come dey use Boko Haram to punish our goment. Na God go punish all these useless gays…!”
For non–pidgin English speakers and those who can’t make any head or tail of that atrocity, here’s a loose translation: “As the Nigerian government refused to support the rights of gays but instead chose to enact the Anti–gay law, the US government, in a fit of vengefulness, decided to support and finance the terrorist Boko Haram group as punishment for Nigeria’s treatment of its gays. May God rain down His punishment on all those good-for-nothing gays…”
Now I have patronized this barber for a few years, and from casual observation, I can tell that he has barely any formal education. He is, to all intents and purposes, functionally illiterate. Now, here he was propagating such false tales, and surprisingly, a lot of other persons in the barbershop were fully in agreement with him. Nearly everyone there had an opinion as to how devious and insidious the ‘gay threat’ was, how gays were out to take over the world and turn every straight man homosexual, how they loved nothing more than to lure unsuspecting young boys into their ‘evil cult of homosexuality.’ I was alarmed that even some seemingly well-educated patrons – judging by their diction and appearance – were vocally supportive of these twisted notions.
I looked around in horror and revulsion, a part of me wondering what would happen if I calmly announced to the small gathering that I am gay. I was – still am – deeply shaken by the venom and vitriol I heard poured out in that barbershop on that day. Honestly, Chizzie, at his worst, doesn’t even begin to come close – trust me on this! (Love you, Chizzie *hugs you with gloves soaked in alkali*) You could literally smell and feel the hate and disgust in the air.
This weird tendency amongst a lot of Nigerians to blame gays for every evil under the sun is one of the most bizarre things I have ever encountered.
I recently came out to a good friend of mine.
We have been friends from our earliest days in the university. We actually started out as an item with her mostly carrying on like we were dating. But after a few months, I was frankly tired of the charade. I knew we weren’t going anywhere other than a solid friendship, and so I began the slow but deliberate (sometimes cruel) process of easing her out of her position as my ‘girlfriend’ and into the position I wished her to occupy – a close friend. I watched as she slowly and uncomfortably transitioned, and I was greatly relieved that our friendship survived the strain that all the weirdness put on it.
And then, all through our days on campus, she periodically tried to hook me up with “this pretty girl”, “that sweet first year chic”, “that other cute girl who would really fit you”, “this girl who has been eyeing you but doesn’t know how to approach you”… Ayayai! It was tiring and distracting, especially as I had at this point resolved to put a stop to any such charades in my life. Eventually, she probably got the memo and gave up, and for a long time after that, we were nothing but really good friends.
Eventually we graduated and shortly afterwards, she moved to the States where her older sisters live. We remained in touch despite our increasingly busy schedules, and then, about two weeks ago, I got a call from her. She was coming into the country with her fiancé; they had met in the US and he wanted to meet her family as well as perform some of the traditional marriage pre–requirements. I was excited to see my main sidekick again, it had been a while and I eagerly counted down the days till she landed in town. Once she was in town and settled, I headed to pick her up from where she was staying and we made for a lounge where we planned to chill and catch up, just like old times.
Anyway, fast forward, we were at the lounge catching up and commending each other on how fab we both looked. We pulled out some old photos and laughed over our scrawny, unsophisticated student days; and she told me a bit more about her fiancé, who was due in town in a few days. They were unable to travel together as he had a few loose ends to tie up at work. While she gushed on and on about her love life, I listened politely, well aware of the awkward one-sidedness of the conversation.
And then, just like that, she dived in. “What’s going on in your life? Do you have someone special?” I smiled and tried to change the topic, but she was relentless. She reminded me of how far back we both went, what we’d been through together. (A lot, trust me – story for another day)
And then, she hit me with, “I think you’re gay, and I want you to know that it’s not a big deal with me. I still love you like crazy.”
I made some noises and tried to deny, but looking into her eyes, I could tell she already knew. “Ok, yes, I’m gay,” I finally admitted.
I was a little upset, wondering if our relationship would be affected. But so far, I am certain that we are closer than ever. She has since returned to the States, but we are constantly in touch. These days, a lot of our time on the phone is spent catching up on my sexcapades during our university days; she now knows why I had no interest in “that pretty girl”, “that hot chick” and “that sexy babe”, and our relationship is the better for it.
The reason I mused in this direction is because on certain occasions in the past, when the issue of coming out has been brought up here, a number of KDians are of the strong opinion that it’s foolhardy and unnecessary (their exact words) to come out. Yes, I do agree that coming out carelessly and to the wrong persons can have very ugly consequences. But I stubbornly (due to personal experience) cling to the undeniable fact that when you come out to a close loved one or friend or relative, your bond with them grows (IF they can get past their homophobia).
You see, it’s all well and good to say that your sexuality does not define you. While that is true, I ask the question: What exactly defines you as a person? My answer is that no one thing can be pointed out as defining anyone. We are all a jumbled–up collection of various facets which all come together to define us as persons, and I daresay sexuality, while not a sole defining factor, is a major defining factor (I won’t bother you with further details in this direction). Anyway, I don’t see how you can claim to be close to someone who doesn’t know about a major component of who you are. Once again, I am not advocating coming out for anyone. We all live in very different circumstances; you and you alone can decide if and when and to whom you come out to, and if you must do it, please be sure without an iota of doubt that you want to do it. What more I can say to this is, concerning the few persons I have come out to, our relationship has experienced an immediate strengthening.
Oh well, what do I know?
So yea, I was also thinking about the issue of the Married Gay Man. (Shout out to all the MGMs in da house) The truth is, an overwhelming percentage of us here will someday soon or not-very-soon become MGMs; so please, no harsh judgments here. We have in the past touched on the tendency of the MGM to pontificate and put on a holier-than-thou cloak while indulging in the same ‘misdeeds’ they pontificate against.
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine (call him Iyke) came to see me. He was all moody and withdrawn and seemed lost in deep, sad thoughts. Iyke is a hopeless romantic; I could write a tome on the intricacies and technicalities of ‘How to console a young gay man who has a penchant for falling in love with much older MGMs’, using Iyke as a case study. So, with one glance at him, I knew this was yet another chapter to be added to the volume. Before long, he explained to me how his latest boyfriend (I prefer to call them DADfriends, no way I’m assigning the term “boy” to a man who’s in the same age bracket as my father) turned out to be as philandering and cheating as the previous ones. Anyway, *sigh* I commenced to playing the well-practiced role of shoulder-to-cry-on/listening ear, while he talked amidst tears.
And then, he said something that struck me; this particular MGM had asserted heatedly that he was not a gay man; he was rather a straight man dabbling in his hidden and unexplored bisexual side. I remembered then that Iyke had often described him as “not really gay” or “much more into ladies” or “I’m the only guy he does anything with.” Oh well, I guess we’ve now discovered that there are a bunch of other ‘only guys he does anything with.’
Iyke then asked, “Why is it that MGMs never cheat on their wives with other women, but instead do it with men?” That is a question I’ve been turning over in my head for some time now. Well, a dear MGM friend of mine (I know you’re reading this…love you, hun) who takes serious offence to being described as an MGM, but will concede to be addressed as an MBM (Married Bisexual Man) put it this way: “With a guy, it’s all fun and pleasure and a mere avenue for release. But with a woman, you have a potential competitor with your wife – a thing a vast majority of gay lovers cannot pose.”
What are your thoughts on this, guys?
So ok, that’s all I have on my mind at the moment. Hopefully, when my mind gets filled again with things to say, I’ll unburden them all here once more.
Written by Khaleesi