Dancing On My Own was playing loudly into my ears through my ear pods. I was staring out at the scenic view of the Atlantic Ocean as the Uber took me home after a very horrible date. The thoughts tumbling through my mind revolved round the question about when I will eventually find this love that I have been hoping and praying for a long time. Love is something that has eluded me in all the years I have being sexually active. It’s especially hard given that I am coming to the saddening realization that relationships are hard to come by in the Nigerian gayborhood.
What led you here? How did you end up still single for such a long time? Why is it possible that you are the only single person left in your family, age group and in your office cadre? Why is it hard to find a man to be with?
These questions had been on my mind for the past few months now, ever since the beginning of the year.
I often wondered if the reason was that I was not attractive enough or give off the wrong signals that makes the guys out there think I’m only either just good for sex or undateable. I mean, I know I’m fine – I mean, really attractive. I stand tall at 6 ft 1, with an average weight of 80 kg. I hit the gym when I have the opportunity to. I am well educated, currently running a professional exam in my field and doing my EMBA with Oxford Said Business School. And yet, with this much fine boyfriend material, I am still – and have always been – very single at 30.
Upon reflecting on this, I decided I had to do something about my situation, maybe change things up. I couldn’t continue on the lane I was. Sex was no longer filling that void. There had to be more.
So I decided to get more social, dump my introverted behaviours and be like some of my friends who have found love or have found something close to love. I joined twitter with a parody account and officially stepped out into the waters.
My first encounter was this fine specimen of a human being. The moment we connected on the twitter-sphere, we just kept on connecting. We were bonding on so many levels I didn’t think possible. And he was very active on my timeline, constantly replying my tweets and retweeting whatever I had to say. Then I was offline for a few weeks due to some work commitments, and he sent me a Direct Message, asking how I was doing, that he was worried that a talkative like me had been offline for so long.
I found his reaching-out sweet and touching. And we began chatting from there. He asked if I was on FaceTime or Skype. I declined at first because I really do not like fast relationships and I like to take my time with these things. He got really angry with my response and stopped texting back.
I didn’t let this bother me. I simply packed him to the side. Boy, no drama zone here. Who did this nigga think he was anyway?
A few days after that, he chatted me up, saying: Boo, why didn't you chat me up since all these days? Abi you have seen new market?
I typed back: Do I look like I am in sales?
Nothing offends me more than this pervasive perception in the gayborhood that sex is the only commodity that thrives. This guy obviously thought I was one of those sex-starved boys on Twitter.
Eventually though, we returned to our rhythm, chatting and connecting, and graduating to FaceTime and constant calls and texting.
Let’s call him Mide. Mide was based in Abuja. Very bearded, very athletically built, plays basketball, and worked for an oil company. He was 35 years old and single.
As time passed, we got close, really close, so much so that we were now telling each other stuff we wouldn’t be comfortable just telling anyone. We talked every day, every conversation such sheer bliss. He seemed like such a keeper that I had to ask him why he was still single. He replied that he hadn’t found the right guy yet. And in my hearts of hearts, I began to nurse the hope that I was the right guy for him. I felt like we had the connection and chemistry to make something work between us.
Some weeks along, I was due to go on my leave. As I usually do, I was planning a trip to Kenya to see the wild and experience the safari. I told Mide of my plan and he vetoed it, asking me to come spend the leave with him in Abuja instead.
What a wawu!
This was something I’d been hoping he’d get around to, asking me over to his.
As I agreed to his invite, I was brimming with optimism that this trip would be about sealing the relationship deal.
I could not be more wrong.
I flew into Abuja and Mide was waiting to pick me up. We left for town. He stayed in a modest apartment in Maitama, well furnished and luxurious. And he was a wonderful host. We went clubbing, went to the movies, and dined in a different restaurant every night. And the sex was great. It was an amazing ten days at his place and in his company. It was so amazing I was truly convinced we were an item.
I flew back to Lagos feeling dispirited over the knowledge that I was leaving something beautiful back in Abuja. I didn’t know how we were going to do it, this long distance thing, but I was determined to keep Mide and all the goodness he’d brought to my heart.
But upon my return to Lagos, things took a much cooler turn. The calls and texting depreciated. It was a struggle for me to get his attention, and when I did, he acted so listless and not particularly invested in our chats. This was devastating to me, and as this behaviour persisted in the days that turned to weeks, I began to come to this sinking realization that this guy had played me so well. It hadn’t been hard for him to peg me as a guy who wanted to be in a relationship (I mean, it wasn’t something I shied away from admitting in our chatversations) and he had played along just so he could get what he wanted from me – which was just another hookup.
I confronted him with this, and he replied with words that wounded me deeply. He said, “Why should I date a guy when there are plenty of guys around? What makes you different from others?”
I felt like my world came crashing down right then. And through the rage and betrayal and shock and every spectrum of negative emotions imaginable, I had to wonder: what was it with Nigerian gay guys and their aversion to be in relationships?
Does it make you less of a man to be with a man?
Written by Bankole