Sometimes I think that many gay men are irredeemably stupid and can be the architect of their own troubles. I realize that some people may not agree with the points I want to advance; however, the fact remains that, sometimes using our brains a little bit (as opposed to thinking with our “you know what”) can actually save you from some trouble.
Over the holiday season, one of my old friends was planning his wedding and he had made me promise to help him sort out his wedding shopping. I was a bit surprised when he asked because I don’t particularly consider myself stylish or in the know with what’s in and what’s out. But anyway, I agreed to go to Lagos with him and do the shopping. Now Lagos is a city that always leaves me exhausted with its hustle and bustle, plus I do not know the markets very well. Therefore, I called another friend of mine and asked him to sort-of be our guide around the markets. This friend agreed.
Now the groom is a straight man who knows I am gay (I no longer bother having close friendships with people who I cannot tell that I am gay), and he has been nothing short of a great ally. And this other guy whose help I enlisted is as gay as can be.
Anyway as soon as we landed in Lagos and set out with my friend, he took me aside and started gushing about how hot the groom is and all (maybe by virtue of “see finish”, I don’t think the groom is hot and I’m always surprised when my friends gush over him). I told him straightaway that the groom is a straight man and he should find somewhere else to quench his thirst. He didn’t believe me and said I was merely “hoarding man”. I remained insistent, reiterating that the guy is straight. He let the issue slide.
Eventually we finished our shopping and headed straight to Warri the following morning, so grateful for the help we received.
Then a few days into the New Year, the groom called me and we were talking about final preparations for the wedding; and then he offhandedly said, “I think that your friend has the wrong impression about me. He seems to think I play for your team.”
I could instantly feel the heat rising in my face. My friend had apparently gone to do exactly what I told him not to do.
The groom continued, “It appears he is catching feelings for me o, and has been subtly hitting on me, which I waved off. But yesterday, he blatantly said he liked me. It sha doesn’t mean anything. Please don’t harass him. But he should be more careful because not everyone is like me. There are dangerous guys out there who could do bad things to him.”
When I hung up, I was so angry that I had to take a few minutes to gather my wits about me. And then I began to wonder. Why do gay men always do this? Why do they often go in search of wahala? I called my friend and lost my cool the moment he answered. I screamed at him in the phone, and he must’ve understood how furious I was, because he was mostly quietly listening. I explained the implications of his stupid action to him; if the groom did not know I was gay, then he had basically outed me to the guy. I was mad because he has done this same thing to me a few times in the past and I was foolish to have trusted him and let him have the guy’s number. At a point, I asked him, “So even if the guy was gay and I told you he’s straight because he was my man, so you would go behind my back and start texting him? You really are worse than pond scum. Loyalty means nothing to you and this path will land you to great trouble one day.”
And I hung up, determined never to speak to him again.
Eventually a mutual friend called and pleaded on his behalf and I let the anger go. But here’s the thing: why do many gay men indulge in such dangerous and irresponsible behaviour? Whenever I take a selfie with a guy and post on my Instagram, they will swarm in his DM like bees. And it’d always get back to me. In fact these days, to avoid wahala, I no longer tag people on my Instagram or Facebook posts whenever I give them shout-outs, because I don’t have power for world people.
The other day, someone who follows me on Instagram followed my heterosexual colleague (because I shared a photo with him) and started asking him about his size. His size bikonu! My colleague mentioned it to me and I pretended like I didn’t know the guy or even understood what the conversation was about.
Guys, I am not a bright-eyed optimist, but I also happen to be a realist and one who never ignores the facts on the ground. In an ideal situation, if you hit on a man who is not gay, he’ll politely turn you down and move on, no hard feelings. After all, if it were a girl that he is not into who hit on him, it probably won’t be an issue. But sadly, this is not utopia where all things are perfect, as they ought to be. WE ARE IN ONE OF THE MOST HOMOPHOBIC COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD! And such foolishness get people killed. Imagine for a second if that groom was a dangerous guy and he led my friend on and then invited him to Warri, where he’d have him set up and harmed, then what? He’d now come and write his sob kito story for us to read and commiserate? (I’m so sorry, but I had to). Every time I read these heart-wrenching kito stories, I try as much as possible not to victim-blame. But the truth is that a vast majority (I stand to be corrected anyway) of these stories would be avoided if people use their heads for just a minute and do the proper thing.
We are in a very dangerous clime, my brothers and sisters, and we have to be smart. This does not include engaging in dangerously irresponsible behaviour. Please, please, I beg you guys, let’s all be safe and do the proper thing.
On another, more pleasant note, next week, I shall tell you my Grindr story (yes, I started using Grindr again, did I not say my 2017 theme is #HoeIsLife?)