Before I Became Dennis

singles 44I was arguing with a friend of mine just the other day. We were sitting out as a group, having drinks during the weekend. One of us was expecting a guy he met online who was supposed to come and join us. This would be the first time that they’d be meeting in person. The guy later arrived and I recognized him myself; tall, light-skinned, skinny, very girly and works in a bank. We’d met before but did not click; he had not seen the movies I had seen, nor had he read the books I had read. We had nothing in common, but today he was coming to meet with my friend. He joined our table, greeted everyone and the conversation continued. His host paid him very little attention and continued chatting away with us (clearly he did not like the guy physically), and I thought this was very rude.

The guy, having reading the hand writing on the wall, made some excuses and left less than an hour after he arrived. As soon as he left, I attacked Tayo (not real name), telling him that he was a prick for disrespecting someone who left this house, and spent his time to come and see him. He asked if I expected him to go home with a flaming queen and finally give strength to his neighbors’ suspicions. I told him that he should have at least paid the guy some attention, he did not have to go home with him. He hauled abuse at me too and tempers rose till we were shouting at the top of our voices.

All this while, another friend in our midst, Eric (not real name again) was quiet, like he was in deep thought, while some other people at the table tried to calm the rising tempers between Tayo and I. Suddenly Eric spoke: “Dennis, sometimes you are silly and you live in denial. You climb on a high horse, waving your gay advocate flag. And you act like you forget the country that we live in, you act like you forget what exactly it’s like. Tayo’s concerns are very valid; don’t dismiss them, because you will be lying to yourself by doing that.”

I was quiet for a few seconds as I considered what was thrown at me. I also remembered what Lothario said here some other day. And right there in that noisy bar, I began to think to myself: Before I became Dennis Macaulay, who was I? What did I believe? What did I do?

When the answers came right back to me, I did not argue any further with them.

I remember several moons ago when I was a bright-eyed student of FGC. I was in SS2 and the seniors had just left. So we became prefects in our third term and officially became the big boys. We swapped our blue pants for denims and our china whites gave way to boutique-bought ready-to-wear shirts. I remember there was a boy, he was biracial and in JSS2 at the time. His skin was like porcelain, lips red like plum, he was so fragile and so pure that I sought to protect him from seniors who seized provisions and bullied juniors. I was the library prefect and one day, I was alone with him in the library and I kissed him; his lips tasted like wine, sweet and intoxicating, and I knew I wanted more. That kiss was the first of several, until one day, when another senior walked in on us, while this guy was giving me head.

Everything changed for me from that day. This senior, who was my mate, never told a soul, as he was my friend. But he started blackmailing me silently. He never made any threats, but when you owe someone a big one, and they begin to ask for different things after that… Go figure. Over the several months we spent as seniors, I split all my provisions into two and gave him one part, along with half of my pocket money. I did all his assignments and even wrote an exam for him once. All he had to do was say “jump”, and I would ask “how high”. I needed his silence, I couldn’t deal with anybody knowing, and my mom was very active in the PTA.

I left high school unscathed and went to the university, which was liberation for me; a chance to reinvent myself and leave the old me behind. It helped that my high school was miles away from my university location, so I was happy that my secret would stay buried. I became paranoid and desperate to prove my straightness. I avoided anyone who was effeminate, as if they had the plague. I joined homophobes to throw darts at gay folks. I was a hypocrite, an idiot and a homophobic homosexual. On campus, I was a popular guy, with loads of girlfriends. I was playing the script well (or so I thought), and I had validation and acceptance. What more could a boy want.

When did I change? I cannot exactly recall, but I remember chatting with an old school mate during NYSC, and she told me that gay rumors were whispered around me sometimes during my stay in the university. I nearly collapsed with shock.

And right there, seated on the grass in the orientation camp, it hit me; in spite of all my pretence and the great lengths I went to be the idiot that I was, which cost me so many close friendships, some people still saw through me. What then was the point? What did I sacrifice all my happiness for?

So, Lothario and Tayo, allow me to say this: yes, I remember what it was like, yes I remember when I was an idiot, but I look back at those years with shame. I gave people so much power over me, that in seeking validation, I became another person. And I now regret how I lived my life back then. I am covered with shame when I remember some of the things I did, some to other gay people.

This evolution – or metamorphosis, if you like – may not be everybody’s journey or story; chestnut made this point some other day, when he said that not everybody has evolved, and not everybody may want to evolve anyways. He is very correct. For me, however, at the end of the day, it is for one to do whatever brings you happiness, whatever brings you peace. But let me say that having being on both sides of the divide, I prefer being DM. I am a better individual this way.

Written by Dennis Macaulay

 

73 thoughts on “Before I Became Dennis

  1. Dennis the menice! Lol

    I can totally relate. Not everyone has, or will ever evolve. I think that because of our social, religious and cultural backgrounds, there will always be some residue of homophobia in all of us. On some level, many of us will still see being gay as a “sin” or “bad thing”.

    That said, this is certainly not an excuse to be rude to people. You were totally right for chastising Tayo. I get disgusted with people who relate with others solely based on sexual compatibility or “what others would think”. I have many friends that are flaming queens, I love and respect them. And when I pull back from them a little in public (for fear of being kitoed), I get ashamed of myself.

    We are all people. And everytime we despise another for being who we are ashamed to be, we are simply setting ourselves hundred steps backwards. No matter how girly a guy is, everyone deserves respect at the very least.

  2. I guess the only change that is best is the good kind. Not necessarily widely accepted, but in so far EVERYONE is treated fairly & equally, you are fine in my books bruv.

  3. Bravo Dennis
    I was once like you too in the university only that I didn’t keep girlfriends nor throw homophobic jabs @ people but I made sure I avoided effeminate guys *even though I’m effeminate myself (somewhat)
    I even had to stand up to a coursemate of mine then in school when he called me the “H” word.
    When I look back @ those times, I realize how minutely ignorant I was though in present day I’m still wary of the “Flaming Queens” *owing to myy almost kito/outing episode in 2011/12.
    But I don’t hold any prejudice against them.

    • “I’m still wary of the “Flaming Queens” *owing to myy almost kito/outing episode in 2011/12.
      But I don’t hold any prejudice against them.”

      Ruby this is how one becomes prejudiced without even knowing it!

      • Being wary doesn’t mean I don’t associate with them.
        I only try to keep it to a minimum.
        Its hard enough being a Clergy man’s son and gay *mind you I’m not trying to make any excuses for myself*

  4. I have always loved myself for being gay except some periods when I was I church boy. I prayed and prayed until I learned to flap my bombom for God in praises for making me gay and keeping me from troubles associated with being straight.

  5. This is a wonderful story, a tale of self discovery. I don’t think many ever get to this type of realisation. You are a wise man.
    Life is about growth, not just in stature but in knowledge and attitude. I guess you’re further along that journey than your friends are. They are right in saying that our country is unfriendly though, I wonder how long we will use that as an excuse. Nothing will ever change if we continue that way.
    I hope in time we will all realise that the only way to live is by being true to ourselves first and then praying for the courage to face whatever comes with it. #invictus

  6. Dennis best believe you delivered some much needed truth with this piece. One thing I ve come to learn about being gay since I happened on KD last year, is though we are united by our sexuality, our journey and destination varies proportionately.

    The major cause of discord on KD, is folks such as ur good self who ve found and accepted themselves, expects the general public to do the same like its as simple as ABC. Some would take almost forever to accept the truth. Some will never. Some would accept the truth like its a sweet cup of tea handed to them by the gods, some would need a great deal of time to process and accept it. At the end of the day, it all boils down to you, ur life, ur journey, ur story.

    This piece should help shed light on the much talked about “internalised homphobia”. Some folks just ve a had time dealing with certain issues and truth compared to others.

  7. What exactly do we think will happen if every gay person speaks in support of LGBT rights and stand with each other irrespective of our mannerisms??

    1. The Nigerian government will arrest and jail/kill is all??
    2. We will all be attacked and killed??
    3. We will be ostracized??

    The truth is, the majority of Nigerians will most likely be confused about us and not understand. The few bigoted thugs will do hardly nothing because we outnumber, outsmart and yield more economic/political power over them. My grandma and grand aunts mostly don’t give two fucka about these stuff, I’m sure there are older people like them around.

    When a religious leader finds out 30% of his congregation are homosexuals; or a community realizes their members are queer, they wouldn’t be quick to show the level of stupidity that happens on the streets of Lagos, PH, Owerri, Aba, Enugu, Benin (the incidents I know of)…

    The truth is we are actually scared of the minority. And more often than not, that minority is ourselves.

    *My family is from the East though.

    • I’m glad you transitioned, Denis. Stories like yours remind me of how fortunate I am that I accepted myself very early. I agree with Jeova Sanctus. Sometimes I get so irritated at the level of complacency in our community. I’m like, “Are they not angry? Why are they so afraid? Are they not angry????” But, as you rightly said, people will go throw their journey in life in their own pace. I only wish we were just a little more unafraid.

  8. Ehm, I can totally relate to tht.. its cool, u living ur life now.. better late than never.. I can totally relate, once had a Jr friend in school, who was obsessed with bin straight..yet loves dick more than food.. and that was Europe where nobody cares whom ur fucking with.. the guy spends all his parents cash and summer cash, hosting str8 parties and etc, just to be identified as straight, yet the rumours were like wild fire.. he later, grew tired and b4 I graduated he threw us a fabulous gay party, with drag queens in attendance…DM keep doing u bro..

  9. This story reminds me of the series I just finished watching – L.A complex- a very powerful story of a rapper fighting so hard to protect his street credibility while hurting the one he loves. Right now, I don’t defend or reject, I stay quiet. I accept every form of gay people, life is too short.

    • Uh uh…Kaldrick King literally pummled the shit out of cute Tariq’s face, i was in support of his journey before that scene, heck I even understood why he did it, i think Tariq did too, but i just couldnt enjoy his character anymore after that.
      There is emotional hurt and physical hurt, but he scarred someone he was supposed to love with his bare hands just so he could protect himself?? Its one of the most selfish things i have ever seen.

      • Yeah Deola! (Why did I have a feeling you must have seen it too lol). That scene killed me. I am happy the Obama looking new guy no gree for am. That scene killed me.

        Deola… Watching all series since 1800s. We really need to organize a slumber party movie week, just us two.

    • Kaldrick king in LA complex epitomised internal homophobia.
      I felt sorry for Kaldrick though, slightly can relate to him. If only
      the whole world is easily accepting of lgbti people.

  10. Dennis, that was nice. I have really learnt a lot more about myself here onKD than in my own expereiences cos here, we share …
    Ok, your friend ignored the ” flaming queen” That was rude…all shades of it but his reasin is valid..well I think so. Going home with a ” flaming queen” will out him to his neighbours and he didnt want that. I dont see what is wrong with it. That does not excuse the rudeness though…

  11. I am very lucky. Upon all my secret trysts from childhood, I was never caught. Even from age 7. Smh. During my teenage years, I was a great pretender. I lived the lie. But today, I’ve evolved. I am no longer scared. I am bold. Thanks to exposure, and KD too. I am a better person today. Thumbs up DM.

  12. Food for thought.

    No matter how you try to hide it, people would still suspect. There is always a giveaway. It is up to you to be able to wriggle your way out of it.

    Well, I have no problem with what you have said, but I really don’t know if I’d be able to hangout with an effeminate guy. Now, don’t judge me. When I was in Secondary school, one of my closest friends was very effeminate. I had nothing to hide then and I did not know what it meant to gay. But now, I have a lot of things to hide. Everyone I know is suspecting me. I really don’t know why. It is either I say something weird or I do something. I don’t even hangout with guys when I am at home because they’d ask if the guy was my boyfriend.

    Your friend was wrong to have ignored the guy. Since you all are gay and I guess it was late. I wonder how he didn’t know the guy was effeminate sef. I am sure he saw his pictures. You can’t just hide it.

    I believe I still have a long way to go. I am not going to be an advocate for anyone when I am not even sure where I stand.

  13. Why would a guy agree to meet with another guy he’s never met when the guy in question is hanging out with friends. Thats an insult in the highest order. Telling me to meet you when you’re hanging out with friends? amadioha will use that mouth you used to say it for pepper soup.
    If you ain’t meeting one on one, you’re OYO.
    Most gay men annoy the sh*t out of me when they exhibit certain character. So he stressed and came to meet you and you ignored him and kept chatting with your friends?. What nonsense.
    It wasn’t long ago when I use to worry about such things too. I don’t do that anymore. But just like you said, not everyone wants to evolve. People are scared of change.

    • @max.. u have plenty energy bottled inside.. for a while u ve been expending them.. how are u today? Hope this Saturday brings plenty laughter to u… don’t go beating up somebody lol..cus too much energy baby.. heard u have the best jawline on KD… can we share a kiss?

  14. I’ve read all the comments and I think the ‘sister’ is in part to blame. Frankly A LOT of us have it worse with the internalised homophobia thing. Seeing the general antipathy towards ‘effeminate’ guys, I think it lies on them to tell the ‘straight-actors’, “Bros, I act like a girl” before you decide to hook up. The dick u lose that day won’t kill u. It helps u know that whoever continues chat with really REALLY wants to be with u.
    If after I told u that I’m effeminate you start preaching ‘DL’ and ‘Straight Acting’ to me to fit into ur image of ‘acceptable’, u r asking for wahala.

  15. I accepted mine rather early too. I had to.

    There was this one guy in school then that one of my friends used to make out with, but when the matter of homosexuality came up during random gists in the hostel, he would be one of the most vocal in voicing his disgust and hatred and yet the next day he would want to make out with my friend.

    I always wondered if he felt better or shittier about himself after his hypocritical hateful rants…i also wonder now if he is still the same person. It would be sad if he were.

  16. Nice piece. Am glad you have learnt to accept who you are. What we all need to know is that no matter how hard we try to hide it, people around us especially family will still know. Though most times they let you be to avoid issues but sometimes they do chip it in a way. Am using my family for example….I don’t know about others. Am the last of four boys in my home. I still remember mum advising me against sex with MEN ! Yeah she pointed that out on the day I was leaving for NYSC to the north. She said that northern men use people for ritual after gay sex and she also talked about the health part. But also chipped in that if I must have sex, I should always use a condom. My dad has actually asked me thrice if am gay which I denied vehemently and subsequently brought home my girlfriend….but he wouldn’t be fooled as he gets uncomfortable and questions me anytime a guy shows up at home even if he’s straight. I only officially told my cousin and he laughed and replied he knew all along….I asked how and he said no Straight guy loves Beyonce the way I do. Oochim. My brothers have also in one time or the other chipped in but am not bothered. Life is too short for me to worry my head over all of these again. I try to live simple and happy because oge adiro

    • Kingbey correct on most points.

      Family always know, they have had 20+ years to observe you! They may decide to let sleeping dogs lie, but deep in the hearts they know and are holding their breaths!

  17. Sometimes its best to let ppl evolve on their own pace rather than so shove it up thier faces like u seem to have been doing, (as in the case mentioned above) At the end of the day, as with most life decisions – its really abt personal conviction. Just like you had yours in camp, without force or cajoling, likewise everyone has thier own moment of epiphany. Its a private thing betwn a person and his internal struggles. It shouldn’t be anyone else’s problem but theirs . Just cause you’ve come to terms with somethings doesn’t mean everyone else has, or should have too.

    The issue of some gays not preferring effeminate guys is really just a matter of preference. Just like i for one prefer tops that are older ( way older) and I am instantly turned off by guys my age. So also, I know tops who prefer feminine guys. It doesn’t mean we all have unresolved issues, its just preference. Sometimes the answer is really just that simple.

    • I think we r missing d point here.
      DM jst meant his friend should hv bin diplomatic enough, chat d guy up,make him feel @ home n @ d end of d day,everyone goes bk to their own homes afterall they were all gay guys.
      Not every meet should end up on ur bed, nobody put a gun to ur head n said tk him home or walk hand in hand with him.
      D fact U havnt accepted ur self totally doesn’t give u d leverage to act in a disrespectful manner!
      And I agree with Max-hw would u b meeting me for d 1st time n it’d be in the midst of ur guys?

  18. Ummm Dennis…i dunno why i found this line quite disturbing? ”We’d met before but did not click; he had not seen the movies I had seen, nor had he read the books I had read. We had nothing in common”…and if i get you right the essence of this post is about you evolving, Transcending to be the new you. ryt?. But do you know that you are still as guilty as you snobbish friend?……
    Don’t get me wrong. Evolution, Transcendence is a beautiful thing, it takes you to another strata of human existence but bruh it is not without its’ own faults and badsides(each evolution process, i mean) thats why a conscious effort to leave present pedestal and understand that others are working towards thier own ascension in what ever pace prevailing circumstances they find themselves allows them to. Humans are wired thus; to be different and unique in our difference (KD is classic case study).
    To say that you’ve evolved and glory in it will be the deception of the millenia as my dear Evolution is continuous (you of all persons should know better).

    PS:send the list of your Favorite books, films and authors via FGM, so i can start preping up for our future meet.
    #Goes back to attacking workload i brought home for weekend.

    • Lol Andrevn you are silly!

      What i meant is that we met and we did not connect. I kept going from topic to topic trying to find something of mutual interest that we could discuss and I found zilch.

      Now the difference between myself and my friend is that i made him feel comfortable that day, he knew we did not connect but i was civil and polite. That is the difference!

      I faxed the list of movies, songs and books over so you can prep!

  19. This evolution – or metamorphosis, if you like – may not be everybody’s journey or story; chestnut made this point some other day, when he said that not everybody has evolved, and not everybody may want to evolve anyways. He is very correct. For me, however, at the end of the day, it is for one to do whatever brings you happiness, whatever brings you peace. But let me say that having being on both sides of the divide, I prefer being DM. I am a better individual this way.

    The people that are saying I should stop shoving my ideals in other people’s faces, did you read the above last paragraph?

  20. You are entitled to your preferences and you can do that without being rude.

    And DM, maybe you should have ignored your friend and attended to the dude since you already KNEW him. You would have chatted with him, teased him and made him comfortable. Perhaps if you were just nice to him it would have really helped.

    • Applause @ Sensei. We always manufacture excuses for our inactions and passive connivance. Before we heap blames on the mob for meting out jungle justice on another human being, we should look inwards, search ourselves and ask, “what did we do to stop it, what did we not do, are we any different from the people we accuse?”. Well, we learn everyday. Let’s hope that when this type of situation confronts us in the future, we will be courageous enough to act differently. I personally don’t have anything against effeminate guys physically but when a guy rants noisily, chews gum callously and exhibit disgusting traits like untamed harlots,Im out.

  21. I found this poignant and true: the scene where your mate told you that, despite your act, gay rumours were still whispered about you. There’s something about truth that can be impossible to suppress, no matter how great we are at pretence.

    I’ve had my own share of pretence, most of it was not about “playing straight” though. Till I realised I was living for other people. And I started to wean myself from the nonsense.

    I’m still evolving myself: I had a conversation about sexuality with my BFF last night that left me…shaken all day. He knows I’m gay and for a Nigerian straight guy he is very evolved. Not my usual kind of “cheap enemy”. Certain issues I used to dismiss, I’m now going back to study them, in case they come up again.

  22. @kendigin I totally agree with you, so many of us still see homosexuality as a sin, something that is unnatural, and having these kind of mentality alone, leads to self hate. I was with one of my gay friend the other day, and he told me that he’s tired of homosexuality, and that there’s too much secrets involved, and the burden is becoming too much for him to deal with and that he just wants to quit homosexuality, he went on and on, and dint want to stop, and I could understand his sense of frustration, it’s never easy coming to terms with your sexuality esp (homosexuality). Most people think talks about homosexuality and its difficulty has been over flogged. I will be treating issues relating to these topics, please let’s continue to encourage each other. Look out for nostrings.

  23. i never knew what it was to “throw darts” at gay people… I was the effeminate,although myn was not intentional and screamy*scoffs* It came from my mum’s gene which i wore gracefully like a royal apparel…the brow,the speech, steps,and butt…
    Although there were guys who were much effeminate than i, or fragile… i was their saving grace cos if i as much as heard you make them cower in shame, back then in secndry school, i’d tongue lash u so much,the aftereffect would hang on you for weeks. Also if u tried to fight me, i would shockingly strip you before ur forth punch(no kidding),and even if you did beat me, i had friends in every class, prefect friends, and teachers too, so i would watch with glee when your hides are thawed by the cane. So if you had 2 heads, dare me. *sits back an hums Nicki’s I am yo leada*

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