So I have this friend whom I shall call Emeka. We have been friends for ages; right from our days as bright eyed young kids on the university campus. After graduation, right out of NYSC, he got a PTDF scholarship and moved to the UK, and has been there ever since, and we haven’t been very active in each other’s lives since then.
He recently returned to Nigeria on a short trip and came to Port Harcourt to see me, and we spent some time catching up. Eventually we got to the subject of love and relationships and I told him I am currently dating a boy whom I am absolutely smitten with and who makes me very happy. As we expectedly got talking about Le-boo, I suspected Emeka was holding back something. I probed and he said something I want to share with you guys.
He told me that he didn’t quite understand why I would subscribe to monogamy (or an exclusive relationship) seeing as being gay is practically a ticket to non-conformism. Why then would I want to play by the rules set by heterosexual, he opined. He added that he doesn’t see why a gay man would “shackle himself” (yes, he used that phrase) to one guy, especially in this country. And considering that you really cannot have happily-ever-after, what then was the point. He said he thinks that gay men should enjoy the liberties of having a relationship without subscribing to the rules that straight people set for them, and that he doesn’t see why I am punishing myself.
I thought about what he said for a while. And then I smiled and told him that he was getting it a bit wrong. I know that the media portrays gay men as horny creeps with no sense of restraint and all, but it’s not always that way (stereotype much?). I believe in choice; the ability to decide what is best for me at every time without anybody taking the options off the table. There are gay men who of course don’t believe in monogamy (the same applies to straight men) but the option should be left to me to chose that which is best for me. If I decide I want monogamy (with the guy with the cutest dimples), then that is my choice. It doesn’t mean I am a conformist or a sellout, it simply means that I chose what is best for me.
This is where I stand on gay rights/marriage equality; if gay marriage is made legal in Nigeria today, I am sure not every gay man or woman will go ahead and marry someone of the same gender. However the option should not be removed by the State. Everybody should be allowed to choose that which is best for them. So I love monogamy, maybe you can argue that at my age I have been there, done that and nothing really excites me anymore, but I choose monogamy majorly because I met a boy who makes me the happiest ever and there is no need to look outside the window when I have an amazing view inside. (Please if I am not very forthcoming with you via email and the social media, now you know why).
Some days I return home and I am too tired to lift a finger. Even the mere thought of taking some sauce out of the freezer and warming it up and maybe making some rice will seem like a herculean task. Thankfully my new neighborhood is crawling with restaurants, so grabbing a bite late at night isn’t much of a challenge anymore.
So this day I got home and headed to the restaurant and was swallowing balls of eba when I heard it.
“See as them dey shake waist… All these homosexuals in this town. Mama born wetin? E born man! What a waste of man.”
I looked up and saw two boys walking past the restaurant, completely oblivious to what was being said about them in the restaurant. I had seen them around in the area before, and Naomi Campbell has nothing on these two; the street is their runway and they own it with aplomb. The man who was saying those things continued heaping invectives on them, and all of a sudden, I got very self conscious, which I later thought was silly.
Just then, the woman who owned the restaurant spoke up: “How you take know say them be homo? Because say them dey do like woman, na him make them homo? Even if them be homo, and so what? Why you no go chop your food comot! Na so una dey put eye for wetin no concern una!”
I was startled and I looked up at the woman, completely surprised, watching her as she barreled on: “It is only God who has the power to judge anybody in this life. You sef get your own thing wey you dey do in secret. Sin no pass sin. Comot your eye for another person life, e no good. I know these boys, they are very well-behaved and respectful, and even if them be homo, on the last day, make God judge them! Shikena!”
The man with the vitriol stared at the woman like he couldn’t believe his ears. And just like that, the conversation in the restaurant centralized on the issue, as different people who’d been quietly having their dinner began weighing in on the issue. And the general consensus was that sin is sin, and no sin is bigger than the other, and that everybody should face their front.
I didn’t have to say anything. I just continued eating my cow head with a smile playing at the corner of my lips. I remember when TIERs did that poll and said that homophobia was on a slow decline in Nigeria, quite a lot of people (myself included) dismissed it. However these days, I am increasingly seeing people who say that even if they do not support homosexuality, they will mind their business and will not judge anybody. I believe progress is being made, albeit slowly!
I have read about the six-second scan; apparently when a person sees another human being they desire, they scan them from head to toe in six seconds (or there about). I have read online that it is very common with gay men, who take a very short time to scan someone and ogle them lol. I mean it doesn’t always go the same for everyone; I remember this day I nearly hit a PHCN pole because I was looking at someone and driving at the same time.
Anyway, people swear by their gaydar and I think that’s a real thing too; except mine chooses when to work and when not to work. There have been people I had vowed they are gay, only to find out I was very wrong, and there have been people I have been close to who are gay and I had no idea. On this particular day however, I went into one of these overpriced boutiques in this town to buy something, and immediately I stepped in, there was this tall dark-skinned guy who was shopping also. When he noticed my presence, he gave me the six-second scan. The way his eyes flickered over me, head to toe, I could not miss it.
I ignored him and went ahead to buy the suspenders that I came for and left. I went home for a bit and called one of my friends that I was coming over to his place since I was bored at home. He told me that he had a (gay) friend visiting from out of town. He had to let me know that because he knows how I hate to be blindsided. (In my defense, I have a long list of exes. So if I am visiting you and you have a gay guest, I’d like to know). When I got to his place, the door was opened to reveal the boutique guy sitting on the couch in shorts.
I was right this time and maybe my gaydar is not that bad after all.

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