FOREWORD: This episode of Love And Sex In The City takes on an issue that has been over-flogged on Kito Diaries. My intention to tackle the issue amongst Declan and his friends isn’t to spark another debate, but to show up another facet on the individual personalities of these eight young men.

On that note, I would like to apologize profusely for the delay in the continuation of the series. The muses of creativity broke up with me for awhile, but thankfully, we have reconciled and intend to live happily ever after from now henceforth. 😀 Read and enjoy.

*

“Mmm…Yum!” Yinka murmured, allowing himself a soft moan after he spooned a small mound of ice cream into his mouth. His jaw moved rhythmically as he savoured the taste, his eyes closed to shut out all other visual stimuli. “Mmm-mmm-mmm,” he said. “This ice cream is just hitting all the right spots, I’m telling you.”

There were some chuckles from our table as Paschal said, “When ice cream starts giving you this kind of pleasure, that’s when you know it’s time to get a fuck, like really fast.”

“Abeg, lemme hear word,” Yinka said as he moved his spoon over his ice cream dish, preparing another scoop. “Why do you think girls seek refuge in ice cream after a breakup? It’s because there’s a certain kind of satisfaction this piece of deliciousness gives that a man’s dick cannot achieve.” There was a smattering of loud laughter as he added, “And Coldstone clearly has the perfect recipe for that satisfaction.” He lifted his spoon. “Cheers.” And he dipped it into his mouth.

It was Sunday, and the eight of us had come around to spend the afternoon together. We’d vetoed the idea of spending the day at either Yinka’s, Adebola’s or Biola’s place, and settled instead on hitting up Dominos Pizza and Coldstone Creamery. The pizzeria cum ice cream parlour was just a couple of weeks old on Toyin Street in Ikeja, and had quickly become a draw for everyone hankering for a sugar rush ever since they opened their doors for business. And because today was Sunday, there was a beehive of activity all over the place, with customers, adults and children alike, bustling in and out, and snagging at vacated seats both inside and outside the building.

We arrived quite early, before the lunch crowd descended, and so had been lucky to occupy two tables outside, shadowed by wood-carved umbrellas and encircled by the wicker chairs we sat on. The table tops were littered with the items of our repast – cardboard trays of pizza pieces, bottles of soft drinks, and large cups of the almighty Coldstone ice cream. Yinka was on his second cup. Clearly, he’d found a new love interest.

“You’re talking of girls who indulge because of heartbreak,” Paschal said. “Shouldn’t Declan then be the one pigging out on the ice cream?”

A momentary silence descended on the table. Paschal grinned as he swept a glance over the rest of us.

“Too soon?” he asked.

“Of course!” Ekene hissed at him. “It’s only being a week. What is wrong with you sef? Does that your big mouth not know how to be appropriate?”

“No. And neither does my big dick,” Paschal shot back good-naturedly. “You want to see how inappropriate my dick can be?” His grin became lewd as he grabbed at his crotch.

“Eww!” Ekene sniffed with a disdainful wave of his hand. “Not all of us like to walk around with boreholes where our assholes should be.”

A chorus of oohs swelled around the table at the response.

“You people should behave joor,” Adebola admonished. “And Paschal, please, no more talk about heartbreak around Declan.”

“Look who’s talking,” Eddie interjected. “Five seconds ago, you were trying to break up his matrimonial home, and now you’re his therapist?”

As another mirthful uproar broke out, I chuckled and looked away from them, setting my eyes on the light traffic of vehicles and pedestrians plying the road beyond. A cool October breeze had picked up, bearing with it a strong hint of Harmattan being on its way. The distinctive smell made me think about years ago, when I was still a child, and my family always travelled home in the East for the Christmas season. There was lots of vegetation in the East, leaves that would change colours, as everything without acquired films of dust. I thought about the football games in the village, during which different clans played against each other. And then, I thought about the Christmases of my childhood.

All that changed sometime in my teenage years. We stopped travelling to the East every year. Christmas changed. The memories changed.

Everything changes, the Voice said. Everything.

I sighed, shrugged off my nostalgic thoughts and returned my attention to the table, in time to hear Jonathan say, “Guys, you realize this will be the last time I’ll be a regular at these Sunday hangouts.”

“Hear, hear!” Yinka hollered, lifting an ice-cream-filled spoon at him.

“He wasn’t toasting anything joor,” Ekene said with a laugh.

“Well, congrats all the same,” Yinka said. “By next week, you shall cease to be one of the boys.”

“Yes, and on that note,” Biola said, gesturing an open palm at Jonathan with a mock stern expression, “I’d like to have back your membership card for the Singles’ Club.”

There was some more laughter at that, as Paschal and Biola ribbed Jonathan some more. I looked contemplatively at him. His wedding was on the nineteenth, next weekend, and the nearness of the nuptials didn’t seem to have him all wound up and tense. In fact, seated here, enjoying our boisterous camaraderie, he appeared relaxed, like a man who was ready to take that eventual walk down the aisle. His eyes harboured no questions, and his expression held no doubts. Clearly, this was one gay man who actually welcomed the idea of his marriage. Then again, Jonathan didn’t think of himself as a gay man.

Yea, he’s just a guy who fucks ass, the Voice snarked.

I chuckled.

As though he’d intuited into my thoughts, Eddie cut in. “But seriously though, do you not have any doubts at all about this? You didn’t feel at all pressured to get married?”

“No, not at all,” Jonathan said with an emphatic shake of his head. “I love Chidimma in my own way. Yes, I do what I do. But I’d never let my – erm…er –”

“Extracurricular activities?” Biola supplied.

I joined in the response of loud laughter this time, as Jonathan said with a grin, “Yes, extracurricular activities – I won’t ever let them eclipse my devotion to Chidi.”

“How nice,” Yinka said wistfully.

Eddie swivelled to face him. “You too? You’re leaning towards marriage?”

“Well, let me put it this way. You see that guy?” He jerked his head in the direction of the road.

Seven pairs of eyes followed his direction, and fell on a middle-aged man standing on the other side of the road. He was average-height, rotund, with a sizeable gut that strained against his tight-fitting Tee-shirt and a badly-bleached light complexion. He was speaking crossly into his phone, punctuating his diatribe with gesticulations of a limp-wristed left hand.

“Oh, he’s so gay!” Paschal burst out laughingly.

Jonathan flinched at his words.

“As in eh, correct sister sef,” Ekene said.

“What do you mean ‘sister’, this one na madam,” Adebola added.

“And one who clearly hasn’t resigned from the business,” Biola said.

“Oh come on,” Eddie reproofed. “You guys are being mean.”

“That’s exactly what I wanted to underscore my point with,” Yinka intoned, drawing our attention back to the table. “That guy doesn’t look like he’s married. Imagine being a flaming queen, middle-aged and unmarried in this country… Your own go don finish na.”

Eddie began, clearly bridling at Yinka’s words, “So you’re saying it’s irrelevant for gay men” – Jonathan flinched again – “to seek for love that lasts from the gay community?”

“Love that lasts? Among men? In this country?” Jonathan scoffed. “Eddie, abeg grow up. Doesn’t Declan’s failed relationship tell you anything? These guys aren’t loyal. It’s better to redirect that search for love toward the fairer sex. With women, it’s much easier, less tasking, and helps you save face.”

“So bitches are loyal then, yes?” I said, arching my brow.

“Well, yes of course,” Jonathan maintained. “Often times, a woman is simply too grateful by the interest of a man, especially if she’s of marriageable age, to suddenly up and leave you to chase after a modelling career.”

That stung. And adopting the lofty tone I used whenever I intended to draw blood, I drawled, “Are you for real? You think this sort of relationship dynamics only applies to gay relationships? Honestly, sometimes, I wonder if guys like you – you know, bisexual guys, are really this dense when it comes to gay issues, or simply playing at it.”

“Hey, you guys should stop throwing words like that around!” Jonathan hissed, finally having enough. “We’re in a public place, for goodness’ sake!”

“Very well, I’ll rephrase. Sometimes, I wonder if guys like you, biracial guys, are really this dense when it comes to French issues, or simply playing at it.”

Jonathan’s scowl deepened. The others laughed.

“The thing is this,” Adebola cut in then, looking at Jonathan, “I actually envy you your ability to simply meet a woman, love her and want to marry her. I suppose that’s the luxury that comes from a being bisex” – Jonathan turned his scowl at him, and he amended – “biracial guy. For me, expecting to love a woman is probably like hoping for snow and ice in Lagos. It may happen someday, but the chances are one in a jillion. But I’d like to have a kid or two. But then, how do you have a kid without a wife in this conservative clime? And then, assume you find a willing surrogate, am I really sure I’d like my child to grow up in a home not made up of a father and mother? I mean, most of us grew up in traditional families –”

“Are you implying that a French family set-up is damaging for a child?” Eddie snapped.

“Or that single parents are incapable of raising perfectly sound children?” I added.

“No, I’m just saying, in many ways more than technology know-how, we are still quite backward in this country, and that includes the courage to dabble in institutions using a method that isn’t considered normal.” He used finger quotes on the last word. “A widowed or divorced father is fine. After all, he was married, and then his wife passed away or left him. But a man who suddenly starts having children with no ring…well, that would raise more than a few eyebrows. Some guys suggest marrying a lesbian, but something about that idea just doesn’t sit too well with me. Some other guys I know have insisted that if you get a wife, you will learn to fuck her –”

“Eww!” Ekene made a face.

“And if you can fuck her,” Adebola continued with an amused glance at him, “she won’t smell a rat, especially if you’re careful with your side fucks, and then, once she starts having babies, she will focus on them and suddenly, you’d be off the hook, free to get lost in the arms of any number of men you can find. And that sounds like a plan.”

“Yea, the kind of plan Jonathan clearly has all worked out,” Biola interjected. At that, Jonathan turned a sharp look on him and opened his mouth. Biola said, “Oh no, honey, you don’t want to clap back at me. Remember Declan is just a learner with snappy retorts.”

Jonathan closed his mouth.

“However stubborn you wish to be about it,” Adebola continued, “this is a deeply conservative and unforgiving corner of the world. If you’re past thirty-four, thirty-five, and still not married, eventually you’ll be treated as an oddity, an outcast, even by your own family.”

“Better that than to go into a marriage with the intent to deceive a woman,” Eddie said, “and live the life of a lie, because living a lie is exhausting.”

“And you would know that how?” Jonathan shot at him. “You’ve never being married.”

“I’ll remind you of this self-righteous attitude when a few years from now, you start showing the cracks of leading such a double life.”

“That’s the thing with most married or marrying French men that galls me,” I said. “I have no issue with French men marrying women, but for some of them, it feels like they’ve finally come into their own. They have ticked the ultimate society box. And then they turn a supercilious look on you, the single one and be like, why don’t you try it. That high-handedness simply pisses me off. The decision you make with your life isn’t for everyone. And that decision is not for me. And I hope to battle it out. I simply just cannot get married. I just can’t. And this is not out of any moral stand against the deceit; it’s just…I can’t stand spending the rest of my life with someone I’m not attracted to. And I am not attracted to women. To even think about fucking one…” An involuntary shudder ran through my body. “I can’t even bring my body to function in bed when the sex is between me and a guy I don’t find attractive, let alone with a woman. So yes, that option of marriage is out of the equation for me. I’ve already even started dropping hints with my family that they shouldn’t expect me to tie the knot before Fabian. And if anyone comes at me with bible passages, I’ll simply point out where Paul says in the bible that it’s not by force to marry.”

“Saint Paul said that?!” Eddie oscillated his face to me in astonishment.

“Yes, in First Corinthians Chapter Seven.”

“Oh this I have to see,” Adebola said, picking out his phone and no doubt navigating to his bible app. Ekene, who was seated next to him, leaned toward him to peer into his phone.

Biola chuckled. “Look at them, sinners for Africa.”

“Chapter Seven verse what biko?” Ekene said with a grin.

“I can’t be sure,” I said, “but the verse goes like this: Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me, it is good for a man not to touch a woman… I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.”

“You have even crammed the verses, eh, Dee?” Yinka teased. “You are not smiling with all these weapons you’re acquiring to fight the battle of a single man o.”

“Well, honey, this is the kind of battle you have to go into well-armed,” I said with a laugh.

“I think we are simplifying a complex issue,” Paschal said. “We fail to recognize that a significant number of the group we call French men are actually biracial. Many of these men do want to get married. For those who are exclusively French or are biracial but do not want to get married, their case is different. The right thing is that they shouldn’t get married. But considering the society we are drawn from, that life of being forever single can be a living hell. So it really boils down to what each person thinks is the lesser evil or more endurable hell. I don’t know, perhaps I will get married. I’m not strong enough to endure what comes with not being married. And then, after me and my wife are done settling down in holy matrimony, I’ll recommence my life on the down low.”

He finished with a certain smugness that riled Eddie.

“Oh really?” he spat. “And I suppose the fact that it is ‘holy matrimony’ means nothing to you? The fact that you and the future missis actually exchanged vows means nothing to you? Those vows are supposed to mean something, but I suppose you’d be too busy right there in the church checking out potential shags amongst the bride’s family to notice the significance of the oath you’re taking.”

“Burn!” Ekene laughed.

“Hey, Eddie, that’s not fair…” Paschal said, staring in stupefaction at Eddie. The two were close and shared a history that made it so that they never fought.

“Well, tough!” Eddie was clearly not ready to back down. “All you proponents of French men getting married make me sick. No consideration at all for the woman, knowing you’d be putting her through what is essentially a loveless marriage, something she didn’t ask for.”

“You mean like the consideration you have for your family when you obstinately decide to remain single and put them through the scorn of society?” Jonathan fired at him.

“I’m sorry, did I fail to mention that the life in question belongs to me and not my family?” Eddie turned his wrath on him.

“Yes, and life is about compromises –”

“I hear you saying compromise, when in fact, I think you mean capitulation. Because how do you make a compromise on the issue of marriage. There’s no ‘give some and leave some’ with marriage. You’re either going all in or not at all.”

“Na una sabi,” Ekene said in a singsong voice. “Me, I’m all for marriage…to my man. Whenever Moses pops the question, gurl, I’m saying yes with my luggage all packed and ready to move into my matrimonial bed.”

I laughed as I said, “Ekene and Moses, the poster children for gay marriage in Nigeria.”

“Yea, baybee!”

“I don’t even believe in the institution of marriage, whether to man or woman,” Biola said. “That institution is one of the biggest shams of modern society. Jonathan’s position comes from the group of people who need the approval of society, be it family, friends or colleagues. Luckily for me, I don’t give a fuck about what anyone thinks. My folks know that, and have learned to leave me alone. And since I’m not willing to impress my family, is it then a bunch of faceless people I’d be beating myself up for? I’d like to see that busybody who’d come and try to make me feel bad about my decision to be eternally single…” His lips curved into a small acid smile. “By the time I’d be through with such a person, he’d return to his life, ready to rethink his existence.”

There was a burst of laughter and cheers from the table.

“Abeg, you people should stop jaré,” Yinka finally said. “Leave my Jonathan for me ejo. Abi, don’t y’all know that he that findeth a wife findeth a good thing. He has found his good thing, you guys should go and find your own.”

“Come o,” Adebola interjected then, still staring at his phone, “Paschal, what are your pictures doing in a Badoo profile that clearly states your sexuality as gay?”

“WHAT!”

Yinka, Eddie and I sprang up from our seats and hurried to Adebola’s side, while Biola and Ekene leaned in from his left and right. Jonathan remained seated beside Paschal, who was staring on incredulously.

“Oh come on, Paschal, I thought you had your sexuality status at Open Minded,” Yinka said, as we peered into Adebola’s phone.

“I did. That can’t be my profile.”

“Oh it is yours,” Adebola said, “complete with pictures and –” He drew a sharp inhalation. “Is that your dick pic?”

“Oh my God, those are nudes o!” I said with a laugh.

“And that dick looks very familiar,” Eddie said, turning to eye Paschal.

Paschal didn’t look amused. His face had become a grim mask, as he gestured for Adebola’s phone. “Let me have that. Someone must be playing a very expensive joke.”

“Perhaps your account was hacked by someone with an agenda?” Jonathan suggested, as Adebola handed his phone over.

For a long moment, Paschal stared at the phone, occasionally swiping his thumb across the screen. A muscle clenched and unclenched in his jaw as he took in the Badoo profile. “No, my account wasn’t hacked,” he finally said in a voice that seethed. “This profile is new. But it is the handiwork or someone with an agenda.”

“Who?” three of us chorused.

“Andre,” he said simply.

“Who is Andre?” I asked.

“Wait, Andre – the Andre who you brought to my house awhile back to shag – that Andre?” Biola said.

“The one who threw a tantrum because what he got from you after all the fuck was two thousand naira?” Yinka added.

“Yes, him,” Paschal said grimly. “He’s the only one I remember giving these nude pictures to when we were chatting.”

“Oh wow,” I said, my laughter bubbling over. “This payback is a bitch.”

“Are you enjoying this?” Paschal said, bristling at me.

“Of course not!” I denied, struggling and failing to straighten my face from my amusement. “Enjoying this would be telling you I told you so, but you don’t see me saying that, do you?”

Just then, Paschal’s phone began ringing, the strains of Adam Levine’s Move Like Jagger floating out from the device. He started to answer the call, then stared at the Caller ID and hesitated.

“Who is it?” Eddie asked.

“My elder sister,” he answered.

“Why aren’t you answering?” Jonathan asked.

“Because it’s hard to think of it as a coincidence that she’s calling right about the same time that we discovered Paschal’s other Badoo profile,” Biola said.

“So what, his sister prowls Badoo now?” Ekene said with an incredulous chuckle.

“Badoo is not a hook-up site strictly meant for gay people, you know that, right?”

“She’s married too. Wetin married woman dey find for Badoo?”

“Will you answer the call already,” I sighed as the Adam Levine relentlessly screeched on.

“And put it on speaker too,” Yinka implored with a grin.

Paschal tapped the phone once, and then again, before saying, “Hello –”

“PASCHAL ONOME ATARERE!” a female voice shrieked audibly from the phone. “Wherever you are, I want you to get back home at once!”

Written by Pink Panther

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