Previously on Emerald Thoughts...
It felt like someone had pushed me hard from behind unexpectedly. I stopped in my tracks, juggling the weight of the revelation in my head as I slowly turned to face him. He was staring hard into my eyes, searching for something, perhaps some leniency, as he slowly got to his feet. I gestured for him to sit back down. My head was spinning. I didn't need him to come close to me or start with his apologies.
I just needed an explanation as to why he chose to tell me this now.
He sat down slowly again, and brought his head down. “I’m sorry,” he said, his voice heavy with remorse. “I didn’t know how you would feel if I told you of my marital status earlier,” he said as he watched me sit down. I was glaring.
“You didn’t know how I could feel,” I said, “or you just wanted to make sure nothing stopped you from having your way with me."
"No," he quickly countered. "Yes. I like you as a person but I also didn't want to lose the opportunity of having sex with you. I would have told you on that first day we met –”
"Yes, you would have," I cut him off, burning anger heavy in my voice.
"I'm sorry, please. Ever since I got married, I have never had the opportunity of having as much sex with a man as I would like. So whatever chance I get, I make use of it."
"So you're saying that you love cheating on your wife..." I paused before adding, “with boys?"
He winced. He’d clearly not expected me to be so blunt. I glared at him, silently prodding him to keep talking.
"You see, I'm gay,” he said, “and sometimes these feelings cannot be helped."
"But you decided to get married, Emerald," I said.
"I didn't decide to get married, Delle. My father made me get married. It had to be done and I had no choice."
"You had no choice or you felt it was the right thing to do?"
"I had no choice,” he maintained, “and yes, it was the right thing to do. You see, in the Nigerian society–”
I didn’t want to hear it. Fuming, I got up and leaned toward him. "In the Nigerian society, it's a good thing to cheat on your wife and get away with it? Is that what you want to say? To completely live a lie, right? To deceive guys like me just because you want to fuck ass? To please society and displease yourself? To live in constant fear of your wife finding out whom you truly are? To –”
"What do you expect of me?!" he barked ferociously then, startling me with the outburst that I lost the train of my tirade.
He got to his feet and began to pace. His eyes looked teary and his voice was heavy with emotion when he finally spoke, "I know, okay? I know I'm not the best man there is. I know I'm a cheat and may forever be a cheat. I know I cannot stop wanting guys. I know I'm a coward for getting married. But this” – he turned to me and his eyes flashed – “is my reality and I can't change it. What am I supposed to do now? Chase the woman away? Throw my kids out?"
"You could have stayed true to yourself," I quietly answered, shaken by his emotional outpour. I hadn't expected him to get so emotional about it.
"But I didn't and it saddens me. Now it's past. This is the present."
"Emerald, do you think being married is the best thing to have done?” I questioned. “Are you attracted to women too? Would you encourage another gay man to do the same?"
"Too many questions,” he said. He paused to clear his throat before saying, “Well, I don't know. I believe anyone should do what they want to do. We are in Nigeria and that is that. As for being attracted to women, Delle, my wife is the only woman I have ever had my dick up for."
I sighed and turned to leave the room, to get him the water he had requested for earlier. His head was bent downwards with his palms supporting it when I returned.
"Here," I said, “take your water."
He took the glass from me and gulped down the whole glass at a go. He drank another glass. And then I got seated and cleared my throat to get his attention.
"Listen, Emerald," I began in a calm tone, "you are a good man and I totally appreciate your kind heart. I'm not judging you for who you are, but I cannot say I'm pleased with what you stand for. You cannot keep doing this and expect to be applauded. You deceived me, just like you are deceiving your wife. That's the problem here."
"And I said I was sorry,” he said wearily. It was clear he didn’t want to keep up with the conversation.
But I wasn't deterred.
"You’re sorry to who – me or your wife?" When he didn't respond, I said, "Maybe you should tell your wife."
"Ehn? Kini? Abeg, no go that side!" His tone was conclusive and his expression had turned flinty. "That is not possible. I'm sorry for this whole incident and it was a pleasure getting to know you. I don't even know why you are this way, like you are one know-it-all. You are not even the first person I've had sex with, so who are you to tell me what to do? Thanks once again and I recommend a hot shower. Marital stains are not easy to wash off."
He picked up his phone, got up and walked out of the room, leaving me staring after him as he made his way to the exit.
There goes my nice man, I thought to myself.
After a while, I stood up, walked to the door and bolted it. Then I turned on my data, logged on to Facebook and blocked him.
This is an event that took place shortly after my return from school.
My sentiment toward Nigerian gay men who are married is not in their being married. It's not even wholly in the fact that they cheat on their wives or the morality involved (who is a sexually active man to talk morality). It is the fact that deceit seems to be a word synonymous with them. No one is perfect, yes, but no one should consciously work in the path of imperfection. My problem is that they seem to see nothing wrong in being gay, sexually active and being married. They make it seem like it is normal to be MGM and as such encourage the younger ones to follow suit. Your cowardice can be turned into bravery if you encourage generations of gay men coming up to stand for the truth. We cannot keep having gay men get married, sometimes simply because that’s what’s obtainable in our gay culture.
It makes no sense.
Let's see it for what it is. Most married gay men are in that situation, not because they want to, but because they were pressured to, just like Emerald. This is the more reason why you should not defend it. Do not sanction it. This isn't about morals or casting stones, it's hampering the LGBT community. We are constantly steering our way according to the dictates of a predominantly heterosexual society and seeing it as nothing.
Isn't this why we are homosexuals? Different from them? What's the rationalization behind getting married to a woman and still being gay? Yes, society demands you get married to a woman, but I would rather stay single all my life than be in matrimony with a lady I have little or no feelings for. This isn't a strange phenomenon; it's happening, and by far better than waiting for a particular age to finally divorce her due to unfounded reasons you may or may not have conjured to back up your desire for a separation.
I do not know about the next person but I cannot encourage a gay man to get married to a woman, especially a straight, unsuspecting woman. We are firstly humans before being gay. What has happened to your conscience?
Just like the Siji’s and Lillian’s characters in Down Low (hey Santa), lesbians and gays can come together to make a pact if truly we want to shut society up. If truly we can't help but live for society. It's a whole lot better for the two in the marriage to be aware of the duplicity, than for one person to be in abject oblivion.
We should help ourselves, help the community move by truly living our truths. Getting married to a woman ultimately helps no one, not you, not the wife, and not the community at large.
And for those saying we should focus on the cause and leave out the condemnation of the MGMs, you have to understand that it's the people that would fight the cause and not some foreign body. It's us who are directly involved that should take charge and make LGBT liberation happen for us. If every Nigerian gay man and woman keeps getting married – and ultimately focusing on maintaining appearances – who will remain to fight for that cause?
Written by Delle