SUITS AND TIES (Part 6)

SUITS AND TIES (Part 6)

Some people come out in a well-thought-out Facebook post. Some others come out in a response to a flippant question posed by an inquiring loved one. And yet others come out during a session of grave issues with family.

But no one, I’m willing to bet, has ever come out through closet doors held open by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Well, maybe Binyavanga Wainaina. But yea, I can safely say that my coming out was propelled by Nigeria’s most celebrated writer.

For some time, I’d been feeling very dissatisfied with my work and life. This disquiet made me withdrawn, as I pondered on all the things I felt were not going quite like I wanted them to. I embarked on a daily introspection, looking into my life, searching my soul, bleeding my mind. I scoured the internet for materials to read and learn the ways of self improvement. And because I hate my job, I worked on my CV and began strategic submissions in my mission to seek what I hoped was going to be a positive move elsewhere. I felt overwhelmed with my resentment for this workplace, this insufferable environment that tasks you of your time and effort, leaving little or nothing for any path of self development or possible advancement needed to make me a better professional.

It did not help that most of these people I worked side by side were some of the most toxic and vocal crop of individuals whenever it came to issues of sexuality – an issue that just happens to be a major definition of who I am.

I was unhappy, and my unhappiness led to a reserve that my colleagues noticed and remarked on. But I didn’t care. I simply existed at work; I stopped living there.

All that changed a few days ago.

In the past year or so, I’d noticed that anytime Chimamanda Adichie’s name came up during office interactions, a small number of the females reacted with thinly-veiled antagonism for the woman. They never said anything to betray themselves as detractors of Adichie, but I could sense they didn’t like her or what she represented.

On this fateful afternoon, during a lull in office work, a female colleague was tinkering at her computer, and came upon a picture of Chimamanda. Glancing admiringly at her, she said, “This lady has an almost perfectly pointed nose.”

“Who?” another female, married and the star of this impending show (who we shall call Missy) asked from her work station.

“Chimamanda,” the first woman said, pointing at her computer screen.

“Let me see,” said Missy. She got up from her seat and went to the other one’s side to look at the image. Nodding, she said, “And she’s pretty. It’s just that she’s a mad woman.”

I was a silent witness to their exchange, up until this point.

It’s just that she’s a mad woman.

Something ignited in my head, a primal desire to lash out at the origin of such derogation. I respect, love and admire Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie very much. Her writing delights and inspires me, and hers are the works I consume with the kind of voraciousness I reserve for chocolate. Quite simply put, she’s my role model, and to hear such malignance thrown at her unimpeachable character made me want to do more harm than the Beygency would do to the Queen Bey’s haters.

“Stop it right there, Missy!” I said then, turning on my seat to face the two women, the steel in my voice drawing their attention to me. “No, no, no. I refuse to sit here and listen to anyone speak such derogatory words about a woman I adore so much. What you said is unacceptable. I won’t take it from you or anyone else, I don’t care who.”

First there was surprise on Missy’s face at my outburst. Then her expression became guarded as she said, “Why are you being paranoid about my remark?”

“I’m not being paranoid. This has nothing to do with paranoia, and everything to do with what is acceptable and what is not. And what you said is not acceptable.”

“I have my reasons –”

“Whatever your reasons, I don’t care!” I lashed across her protest. “You don’t make such callous comments about people. You won’t like it if you knew someone was saying such about you. And so, I won’t have you say such. I won’t take it!”

She drew herself up to her full height, a subconscious statement of the disparity in our statuses. “JBoy, do you realize you’re in the office?”

The call to order in her question was tacit. This woman was senior to me by a few years, in level at the organization, and in the duration of employment. That one question was intended to put me in my place.

But I was in no mood to be shushed like some Bingo. All the rage I didn’t know I had in the time I’d spent the past few months internalizing my personal issues was suddenly simmering, like boiling water threatening to unseat the lid of the pot to erupt in scalding spurts.

“Yes, I know I’m in the office. And I know why you’re asking. So don’t feel obliged to remind me.”

“Shouldn’t you ask me why I said what I said? I have my reasons for saying she’s mad.”

“That is your problem. My own problem is with you saying that about someone I respect.”

“If you’re really upset that I called Chimamanda Adichie a mad woman,” she finally began to bridle, “then you’re a mad man.” This she spat in my face, jabbing a finger at me to enunciate her point.

At her words, I gave an ugly little smile. She had finally descended to my level.

“Oh really,” I sneered. “I’m a mad man too, am I?”

“Yes!” she screeched. “Because it has been obvious from the word go that gay talk around here makes you either uncommunicative or aggressive. And why does that surprise me, when you claim respect for a woman who should know better. Why will an African, a daughter of the soil like Chimamanda Adichie sit somewhere and say she’s in support of the gay community? Why would she be in support of what the gay fools are doing?”

“That is her opinion. She’s not harming anyone with it. Why not let it be? Why does her opinion turn you into such a raging bitch?”

She drew back, appeared to file away the insult, before firing on. “I won’t let it be! I can’t. She’s a public figure, and should know better. Because of the position she occupies, she has great influence on people, and if she keeps expressing those abominable opinions, people will begin to se abnormality as norm and evil as good. Men and women who look up to her” – she made a sweeping gesture at me – “will either become gay or accept it as a good thing. For her to know this and still say the things she does make her raging mad.” She had turned into a spitfire, and was shouting her words.

“Look at you,” I sneered, waving my own hand at her. Just listen to yourself. Who do you think is madder between you and her? Obviously you don’t know anything about this woman.”

“I know some other things about her!”

“Like what?” I said belligerently.

“Like her extreme feminism,” she yelled back. “That woman honestly doesn’t know the damage she’s causing our society. I don’t blame her much really, all these things she’s saying about men and women seems to me to be because she’s become so westernized that she’s forgotten where she comes from. That’s how young girls will listen to her and think they are equal to men, and not know to bend their heads low to understand the harsh reality that they are the weaker sex.”

If I wasn’t so angry, I’d be extremely shocked. As it was, my mouth progressively dropped open as she said the things she did. Goodness me! What was a woman with this kind of reasoning even doing in a profession such as this? Why wasn’t she pottering about in some kitchen like it was her sole purpose in life to lead the existence of the weaker sex?

“Really? Those are the things that make her an extreme feminist?” I said in mock-wonder. “That she believes she and every other capable female should be given equal consideration as the men of their peers? That she believes in equal opportunities for the sexes? That’s what makes her extreme? You know nothing, Missy. Clearly not about the things you should know, and certainly not about Chimamanda Adichie.”

“What else is there to know about her?”

“How about the fact that she’s a genuine force for good? That she’s a giantess in the literary world, both home and abroad. That she’s making a difference – which is more than I can say for you. You know what? If you think her pro-gay stance is what makes her mad, then yes, maybe that’s fine. And if believing in her and her ideals makes me a mad man too, then I accept that too. Yes, Missy, I’m pro-gay too. You could also take it further and call me gay, and I’ll accept that as well. How about that?”

The silence that greeted my words was replete. Missy stared. Everyone else stared. But I was past caring. This, I’m sure, was probably one of the things they’d speculated about me.

Well, there it was. I am gay. I’ve owned it to you. Now, what are you going to do about that?

Written by JBoy

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20 Comments

  1. Perez
    August 29, 07:05 Reply

    Hmmm… All those kind of arguments that cascades into something else, then ends with a confession that you shouldnt make and it’s impossible to take them back
    *sigh*
    I’ll just take the high road in which such situation
    But Missy’s opinion about feminism was just shallow.. I wish it ended with what she said was doing in the office, instead of the kitchen
    Goes a long way to show how people like to argue without facts, they just want to shove their opinions down ppl’s throat..and that is really sad

  2. ken
    August 29, 07:08 Reply

    Oh
    MY
    GAWD!

    The last place I want to come out is the office. Infact, I stay away from anything that remotely links me as gay. I know some self rightoeus cunt will want to read me the riot act, but being gay doesnt pay my bills. Plus the professional community is way to small to just fire yourself like that.

    But u meet me out of office and its a completely different person. Some may call it the bipolar effect.

    Unless u plan on relocating abroad never to come back, your secret is best kept behinde closed doors. When or if I come out, it will be to the closest of immediate family.

    • Francis
      August 29, 07:29 Reply

      If staying away from anything remotely gay means not saying anything anti-gay too, you’re good to go man. 😀

  3. Francis
    August 29, 07:20 Reply

    Lol. JBoy you just put ya sef under a massive microscope. Them go begin scrutinize every person you get extremely close to giving that you’re literally a recluse in the office.

    Na this kain retarded females go dey complain later say them male counterparts dey earn higher than them or say nobody dey consider them for promotion as par they are women. Mscheeeeww.

    I know how person go spend plenty years for school and still come out vying to play second fiddle to a man and worse yet a man wey him brain no reach her own.

    • Mandy
      August 29, 07:34 Reply

      AS in eh, oga Francis, I simply don’t understand females who go to school to get an education and come out basically uneducated.

      • chuck
        August 29, 10:44 Reply

        “Males” also go into to schools and come out uneducated. It’s nor dependent on gender

        • Mandy
          August 29, 11:32 Reply

          I am well aware of that. I did not say lack of education is exclusive to females.

  4. Ringlana
    August 29, 07:23 Reply

    I think that Missy is Local,she doesn’t understand the word,Feminist,I don’t blame her that’s “Some”African Mentality. Laughing in Pete Edochie Voice ,Jboy enwego Agba. Coming out in Office. Oops in butt

  5. Mandy
    August 29, 07:37 Reply

    Oh this coming out is going to resonate. Jboy, I for one would like to read about the ripple effect. Hopefully, it won’t be anything resulting in more of your disadvantage. I admire your voltronic skills though. lol. Chimamanda Adichie would be so proud of you. 🙂

  6. Mitch
    August 29, 07:38 Reply

    Sorry to say this JBoy, but I expected better from you. From all indications, Missy is a retard. With your intelligence, you should have known better than to exchange words with her. It’ll only reduce your IQ.

    • Francis
      August 29, 08:02 Reply

      Lmao. From one angle he was helping boost her IQ small.

  7. Silver Cat
    August 29, 08:41 Reply

    “You could also take it further and
    call me gay, and I’ll accept that as well. How about
    that?”, this statement made in the heat of the moment doesn’t qualify as coming out QED! Anybody that is worth his salt can argue himself out of it and unless Ur colleagues are little-minded sanctimonious pricks, they won’t take it as the truth.

    • Keredim
      August 29, 11:27 Reply

      Thank you Tom-Cat, Thank you.??????
      That sentence was so ambiguous, a law student could argue it in court and win.

      JBoy, I am not degrading your bravery for literarily standing up for feminism and gay rights, but you didn’t not come out in that sentence.

      When Missy or anyone else, in your office asks you a direct question like “Are you gay?” And you answer in the positive, then you are out in your office.?

  8. Mwaniki
    August 29, 09:00 Reply

    Madness indeed! A beneficiary of feminism condemns it. How madder can anyone get?
    But it is true that we are all not only beneficiaries and even dependants of cultural change, but are only able to abide by it at all because it changes. Those who take a resistant stance towards cultural change are nonsensical, unrealistic and hypocritical, period.

  9. JOJOARMANI
    August 29, 09:54 Reply

    So much balls!… For the love of your job, you would av ended the arguement intelligently.

  10. Khaleesi
    August 29, 13:31 Reply

    Bravo Jboy! That was really brave of you, i guess extreme frustration can give you strength you never thought you had. Its so sad, but the truth is a lot of women are their own worst enemies! A lot of the discrimination that females suffer is directly linked to their tacit acceptance and complacence … dig further and you’ll see the role that religion has to play in all this “a woman must be submissive to a man … ” and other such crap all backed up by a 4000yr old book written in a time when it was culturally acceptable for women to be treated as 2nd class humans. … lol wetin concern me?
    JBoy , trust me . nothing will come out of this, remain competent and dedicated to your job and keep your private life to yourself, yes you’ve come out as gay, but the details are no1’s business and dont tolerate anyone who dares to spew homophobic crap your way ….

  11. Prince
    August 29, 21:41 Reply

    Wow….my typical office setting! Extreme homophobes….bravo Jboi, exactly what I would have done.

  12. Kaytee
    August 30, 06:37 Reply

    wow. ..
    naturally, i fancy coming out to friends and family (people who actually matter)….however, this is also a plus for the gay community … kudos

  13. BRYANNNN
    August 30, 18:00 Reply

    Honestly dis is sth i can do on a very normal day, pls pinkpanther how do i share my stories, ive got similar ones????

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