The Conversation With The Barber

The Conversation With The Barber

It was mid-April. The London weather finally acted on the memo it received three weeks before and allowed the sun to raise the temperature to just above 200C.

As is the norm, once there is any hint of sunshine, Londoners – regardless of the actual temperature outside and their body shape – wear the skimpiest outfits they can find in their wardrobes, no matter how inappropriate it looks. All in the spirit of carpe diem, for we know not when the sun will visit us again.

For me, it was my cue to shed my medium growth protective Afro in favour of a low-cut skin fade.  So, I went to the barber’s shop, and as usual, we had the most engaging conversation.

It was early in the day and the shop wasn’t very busy. It would be my turn after the lady in the barber’s chair. I sat down and waited my turn as I watched gospel praise worship video on the huge TV on the wall, streamed from YouTube.

He finished cutting the lady’s hair and I made my way to his chair. We greeted each other, leaning in for a Bro hug, before I settled into the chair and told him the type of haircut I wanted.

His name is Emenike, and our conversation as usual was in Igbo and a bit of Pidgin English.

Emenike (EM): So how are things? How is work?

Me: I am ok. Work is good, I can’t complain.

EM: That’s good. You still dey do that thing?

I knew he wasn’t asking about my freelancing gig with the now disbanded B6-13, but I had to be sure.

Me: Which thing?

EM: You still dey sleep with man?

Me: Yes. I said I wasn’t going to stop last summer when you asked me. I confirmed it again last Christmas. And the situation has not changed since you asked me last time I was here 4 weeks ago. Do you have a guy for me?

He laughed.

EM: You are not serious. I will be praying for you. In fact, come to my church –

Me: Is the Pastor fine?

EM: Yes now. He is a man of God.

Me: Doesn’t mean he is pleasing to the eye. Does he look like JJ Hairston playing on the TV screen?

JJ Hairston

EM: No.

Me: Invite me when he starts to look like JJ Hairston.

EM: You are not well.

Just then, a lady with a pram tried to enter the shop but struggled to maneuver the pram through the door. Emenike abandoned my hair to hold the door open for her. She asked him if he had any other pictures of women with styled haircuts apart from those on the wall. He handed her a hairstyle magazine and she thumbed through while he returned to cutting my hair. He was less than 10 seconds into the task when, unsure of what haircut would suit her, the lady asked him a question, followed by another question and yet another. All of which he answered politely. All through their exchange, I watched her through the mirror, trying hard not to allow my indignation show in my reflection. This woman was wasting my time! Eventually she left, claiming she had to go to the cash point to get money to pay for the haircut.

Emenike returned to my hair.

EM: You were looking at her, are you interested? She was looking at you too.

Me: Looking at me in what way?

EM: She seemed interested in you.

Me: Really? What about the father of the baby in the pram? He might interest me more. Do you know him?

EM: This man, you are not well o! Fine boy like you! As manly as you are, you prefer men. Women will be dying for you. You need a woman, not a man.

Me: I know! It’s terrible. But then God knows best.

EM: This is not God. You need deliverance.

Me: Ok, I will come with you to your church for the deliverance. But first, do you have picture of your Pastor? Is he muscular? And I mean visible muscle, not that muscle hidden under fat.

EM: God created Adam and Eve…

This is Homophobia 101. Having that tiring logic not served up by Nigerian Christian folk during a debate about homosexuality is like being served Goat meat pepper soup without goat meat. Sacrilegious!

Me: Yup. So you keep saying and yet here we are. God probably got bored and decided to spice things up. You and I have been here before. Abeg, sing another hymn. Quote another Bible verse. Meanwhile please trim my beard as well.

EM: If your father decided to sleep with men, you wouldn’t be here.

Another well-worn pointless and tired argument used by Nigerian Christian folk, which when not presented during such debates, is like serving Jollof rice without fried plantain. Pointless!

Me: You know gay men can get women pregnant, right? Anyway, we will never know. I am here, and I am queer, and you will be fine in the end. Please don’t forget my eyebrows too.

EM: I will take you out clubbing one night where you will see many women. I am sure you will be tempted to take one home.

Me: Hmm… Will there be men in at the club? I would most likely take one of them home.

EM: How can? They will be straight. They will be into women.

Me: Oh so you think as you are here trying to convert me, there isn’t some other straight guy trying to convert his gay friend by taking him to the same club? If the gay guy is there and he is attractive, I will fish him out. Hell, that is even too easy. I will take his straight friend home. But will we be going to the club after or before we go for deliverance at your church?

Emenike laughed. Then he gestured outside the shop window at the bus stop. There was a young couple standing, waiting for the bus. She was quite pretty and curvaceous and he was good looking too, fit but with no bum.

EM: The lady is fine with a nice ass. How can you not want to tap that?

Me: Quite easily. I am not attracted to her. Now if her boyfriend had more ass, I could tap that.

EM: Crazy. Man to man is like bone to bone.

Yet another worn-out gem used by the Nigerian anti-gay brigade. And I refuse to waste good Nigerian food similes on it.

Me: Well, I don’t know the kind of men you come across, but me, I like them with flesh and better fine nyash.

EM: So you won‘t tap me, as I don’t have a big nyash?

OK, that threw me. No matter his sexuality, in my experience, the most devastating thing you can say to an Igbo man (third after telling him he has lost his money and he is not well endowed) is that he has a flat ass. Emenike has a nice set of cakes, which are proportionate to his slim frame, but by no stretch of the imagination has he got a bubble. Visible, yes, but not bubble. And for me, it’s bubble or nothing. I had to break the news to him gently, especially as he was about to shape my eyebrows. One slip, and they could end up being asymmetrical.

Me: You have a nice ass for your frame, but I can’t tap you as you are a happily married man with young kids. And what God has but together, let no dick put asunder. But I think women find a firm round bum attractive on men. If you do more squats in the gym, it will improve your already nice ass and your wife, I’m sure, would be delighted.

EM: God forbid! What does a woman want to do with a man’s ass?

Me: For starters, something for her to grab hold of and a few other tricks to ginger up things in bed. If done correctly, she could lift you to higher ground. But there is no time to go through details now. I can send you a few links for you and your wife to go through, and if you have any questions, ask me after you get your Pastor’s blessing.

EM: Yes, you need prayers.

And with that, he finished off my hair, beard nicely trimmed and eyebrows in sync. I paid and said good bye.

Who knows, maybe next time, we could discuss the joys of anal sex.

Watch this space.

Written by Kere Dim

[This piece was originally published on Sagba Chronicles]

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7 Comments

  1. Tobby
    May 06, 07:02 Reply

    Somehow, I find this amusing

  2. ROCK
    May 06, 12:14 Reply

    I think the emenike guy is bicurious…

    And so one of the worst things to say to an Igbo man is that he has a flat ass?That’s a new one.LOL
    Most men have flat ass

    • Delle
      May 15, 13:56 Reply

      No.

      Most men just wear really large clothings that hide the wonders of creation 😆

  3. JArch
    May 06, 13:47 Reply

    This reminds me of my Iranian barber last year used to work in a Turkish barbershop which I used to go to earlier on, but then after he left to start up his, naturally I moved to his place.

    We’ve had a similar conversation as well, but the irony is that unlike Emenike, my barber is at best bisexual and at worst bi-curious or confused. His questions are more in-depth, and I introduced him to the gayromeo website, which he signed up, but not very active on it.

  4. Mandy
    May 07, 06:36 Reply

    This Emenike is clearly asking for it. I mean, heck, his name is exhibit A. Emenike. It can’t get more homoerotic than that.
    Keredim, do him already.

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