I nearly choked on the pizza I was eating when she asked that question, all the while, staring me right into the eyes.
I was in Abuja for (yet) another wedding, and after the wedding, I decided to meet up with Jane, who is one of my oldest friends. She is one of the two women that I have a very strong friendship with, spanning several years. We have supported each other through so many things. Now the other girl knows about my sexuality and is totally cool with it, but I haven’t told Jane because I don’t think she can handle that information. In spite of her foreign education, Jane is very religious and constantly on an opium daze that clouds her perspective on a lot of issues. The other girl sef also told me not to tell her, at least not just yet.
So there we were, eating pizza and drinking coke, and she is asking me one of the questions of the century.
Jane: I asked why we are not dating. My mom asked me that question the other day, if you and I are lovers, and I laughed her off. But then I took time to think about it and started wondering why I laughed it off.
I nearly blurted out that ‘Honey, we can’t date because I like men’, but I slapped my subconscious shut; one of those few moments when my head can overpower my tongue.
Me: For starters, Jane, we are very good friends. You are basically my sister, and changing that into something else will be very weird.
Jane: Well, isn’t that the point of being in a relationship or getting married? (At her mention of the word ‘marriage’, I suddenly started sweating, even though the restaurant was fully air-conditioned).
She was still talking: “Being with your best friend who knows you in and out, what you like and what you hate, who knows your deepest fears and all. So what’s your point, Dennis?”
Me: Well, if we become lovers and then something happens along the way, our friendship becomes damaged and we lose everything. Let us maintain what we have and continue to support each other like we do. And one day, I shall be a groom’s man as you marry a very dashing young man.
Jane: Well that hasn’t happened and I will be 30 this year. I will drop this matter for now, but just know I am not through with this issue.
I smiled and we continued chatting about her new job and its challenges, but my mind was very distant from that place. I was starting to feel sorry for her; she was clearly under family pressure to get married and she was not thinking logically. She’d probably marry any guy that comes along. There and then, I became afraid that my friend may end up with the wrong guy, and this would kill me forever.
But why do people allow other people push them into difficult situations?
It was the first Monday of the month and we were having the monthly performance review meeting, which I absolutely dread. The time we spend doing this can be put to good use; plus I still had a fuckton of stuff to do. Besides two members on my team are on maternity leave, so I didn’t have time for dreary meetings. But there I was; while my divisional head made presentations on behalf of my division, I sipped coffee and chatted with the Lipstick Gang on BBM, under the guise of taking notes on my blackberry.
The meeting went by in a blur (everything was still going to be emailed anyway, so what was the point?), and I was happily chatting away, when someone stood up with a bottle of wine to present to the regional head while another young man rolled in cartons of Five Alive juice. It was yet another wedding announcement. I rolled my eyes. And this dude just joined us less than two years ago; I mean, why are people marrying up and down?
Everybody was congratulating him while he gave them details about the two ceremonies; including details on the overpriced aso-ebi (Nigerians never miss out an opportunity to make money). I walked over to him and extended my heartfelt congratulations. I was leaving the room, was almost out the door, when I heard it.
“Segun, I am so happy for you o. You are doing the right thing early in your life, and it will curb a lot of things in your life. Don’t be like those who spend all their money on holidays and buying dogs while they slowly age.”
I stopped in my tracks. Grace, my colleague, had just thrown the ultimate shade at me! And there was no way I would let her get away with it.
So I walked over to her, leaned in close to her so my voice wouldn’t carry to everyone else in the room (they were all busy congratulating Segun anyway), and I hissed at her:
“Sweetheart, I realize you don’t have the capacity to mind your business, but I really wish you will develop it where I am involved. You are also a big coward, because you could not say those things to my face. But seeing as you threw them into the air, I will respond to you appropriately. I have a great plan for my life and I have it all figured out. You know the Igbos call a wife ‘Oriaku’, which translates to ‘The one that eats wealth’. So you see, I do not believe in the concept of marrying while I am still a hustling young man, only to end up like you and your husband. I know that you have taken every loan available in this company, even for the cooperative societies that we have here for which you have borrowed money from just to meet up, so much so that after deductions are made from your salary, you are left with nearly nothing.
“This is not the plan I have for my life, darling. So when I do decide to get married, it will be at a moment when my wife will walk into an abundance of wealth and we won’t be running around looking for money to pay school fees.”
I left her there, standing in shock. I would have given anything to turn the expression on her face into a painting. Later on, HR emailed me, saying that Grace lodged a complaint about me insulting her. I went ahead to reply HR, detailing my own side of the story. I never heard from HR again. In hindsight, I realize I went overboard, but sometimes you need to stop people in their tracks before they really cross the boundaries.
I have a dear friend who is an MGM. We were catching up over drinks the other day, and started talking about Kito Diaries, and I observed to him that he doesn’t comment as often as I would want him to do. His response was an interesting one I’d like to bring up.
He said that there was way too much political correctness on KD, and that most times, he feels that commenters sometimes just want to sound right and are not necessarily being honest.
I pressed for further explanation, because I wasn’t sure of what he meant, and he said that KD is supposed to be an accurate sample size for Nigerian gay men, but often times, what he observes on the blog is not always what he sees in real life.
He gave a few examples. He said that MGMs are often vilified on KD, like they are the worst people, and that many guys on KD swear not to want anything to do with them. But that in real life, that is not the case. The number of guys who come on to him, according to him, has quadrupled since he got married, and that in fact, many men come on to him the minute they hear that he is married. It would appear his married status is a turn-on for very many guys he meets. So he is often confused with the comments he sees. He often wonders which it is the commenters are doing – lying or being politically correct.
He gave another example about the day the issue of impersonation online was discussed; that it was only ‘Sweet Deola’ (his words not mine) who owned up that he does it sometimes. And everyone else denied ever doing it. However, it is something that happens. So, who then does it, he queried.
We argued a bit about this, and at a point, I kept quiet when I began to realize that he was actually right. Please do not turn this issue into another bloodbath, guys, but I want to hear your thoughts on this.