BLUNTS & CHIMNEY (Love Thy Inner Woman)

BLUNTS & CHIMNEY (Love Thy Inner Woman)

I met Odera on Grindr. My Grindr chatting style is the type where I am very nonchalant, give lots of monosyllabic responses, and stay very active with my block button (I keep getting to my block limit way too many times). I figure that all the information you need is on my profile. So, just go straight to the point.

Odera was among the few people who made it past not getting blocked. We stayed on chatting. Then he asked for my picture, and I told him we should do a video-call instead. I was looking for a reason to block him, but he didn’t give it to me when he said okay.

He was cool and asked for my WhatsApp number. We moved to WhatsApp. He was smitten, I could tell. He asked me lots of questions and I answered them. He talked to me about my dread locs, his exes, my interests, and those negative stereotypes that surround people who wear dreads. With me, he realized that those stereotypes are bullshit.

I also mentioned that I weed and barely drink. And he told me that he was a carnivore – someone who takes pot by baking, cooking our boiling it. So, there was no judgment there.

Our chatversations didn’t happen on that one day. We’d started chatting regularly in the following days. This of course led to him inviting me over to his and I accepted. He’d given me enough reason to trust that he was okay guy to visit.

I travelled to go meet him on a weekend. He came and picked me up at the park. His house was nice. I freshened up and we headed out. We went to a place where we could entertain ourselves with no restrictions, and it was going well. I rolled my joints while he sipped his drink and made small talk.

Then it happened. A guy walked past us. Odera glanced at him and then turned to me to say that he had fucked the guy.

“He’s my kind of guy,” he said. “Looking at him, you won’t know he’s gay, let alone that he’s bottom.”

I raised a brow at him, feeling a stir of irritation as I asked, “Is there a particular way a bottom or top is supposed to look?”

Odera was high and it was apparent that he was going to speak his mind – his actual mind, not what he thinks I would want to hear. And so he did.

“What I’m saying is that he looks very manly and rugged,” he explained, gesturing after the guy who was now several yards away from us. “You won’t think, by looking at him, that he’s bottom. And it’s a good thing, because a man is supposed to behave like a man.”

I was already through my second joint and was lifting the second one to my lips – and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. How could I have missed this nigga’s stupidity?

He was still talking, using himself as an instance. Apparently, he’d grown up effeminate and had worked on himself to make himself more masculine as he became an adult.

“How nice for you,” I said sarcastically. “But as someone who used to be feminine, I would think you’d be a little more sensitive to the struggle of the femme guys. Simply because you shaped yourself into what’s acceptable by society does not mean every other femme guy can – or should – do that. You did what you had to do, and that’s okay. But acting all superior and judgy about other femme guys actually speaks to an insecurity in you, a self loathing that that has turned into this dislike for those who are able to live freely by being themselves and in the process, remind you about how you had to change who you are.”

“But we are in Nigeria –” he started.

“Please, don’t even go there,” I snapped, cutting him off. “That’s just what people like you tell yourselves to make you feel better about your femmephobia.”

There was a bit of a back-and-forth. He’d say his piece and I’d say mine. Then what was shaping up to be a very tense situation between us was saved when his phone rang. It was a friend of his. He and a group of other friends of Odera were hanging out at a bar in some hotel. We decided to move the party there.

When we got there, pleasantries and handshakes were exchanged all round. Then they started talking about the match that was being played on the television. After engaging in their banter for a few minutes, I zoned off. I was beyond irritated. How did I land myself in this mess of a gay man and his straight friends?

Like, why do people punish themselves like this? You accept that you’re gay, but deep down, you hate yourself for being effeminate. Then you surround yourself with heterosexual people who can only reinforce your insecurities, and call them friends. How do gay people like this function?

According to Odera, he had never really suffered any scourging from his family over who he was. He was the last of eight males, who were all doing well, some of them abroad. His parents weren’t alive, but when they were, they hadn’t done him any damage by being critical of his effeminacy nor burdened him with any expectations of getting married when he got of age. His siblings never talked down on him or tried to make his business their business.

So why the fuck was he then so committed to building himself up to a standard that society finds acceptable in a man?

A man is supposed to behave like a man… I still couldn’t get those words of his out of my head.

Fortunately, there wasn’t any more friction between us during the rest of my stay with him that weekend. We had sex. We visited a friend of his at his village in Arochukwu. And we had a generally nice time.

We also revisited that topic, and I did my best to let him know that it was okay to be true to himself, especially given his more privileged circumstances.

“You’re not overly religious,” I told him, “you don’t suffer pressure from your family, and you’re comfortable financially. Then why can’t you let yourself be happy? You seem to have an unnecessary need – in my opinion – to please and look like the norm, simply to be accepted by society. And that is toxic. Because you’d be living for other people’s validation and there’s no happiness in that. You don’t have to start behaving feminine again, but you could appreciate the courage it takes for those who are femme to be themselves – and laud them for it instead of scorning them. The world’s expectation of us to be the stereotypical male has done no good for the world. Instead, that has led to a world filled with scum.”

This episode wasn’t supposed to be this preachy (lol), but my acquaintanceship with Odera solidified my understanding of life that I simply had to share: that changing your standard shouldn’t be because you have to but because you want to. And even in the process of wanting to change, you should make sure not to lose yourself.

And always remember, no dey do pass yourself.

Written by Sage Philip

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  1. Kings
    January 29, 12:56 Reply

    Thanks for sharing this. It made a whole lot of sense

  2. Armani Pounds
    January 29, 18:46 Reply

    This write-up I would say is very sensible and matured…. Some persons suffer from femmephobia, I would say I have been in such a dicey situation before…… So I can relate what the writer is trying to say. Thank anyway Sage Philips.

  3. Chime
    January 30, 09:00 Reply

    I like that you took the time to correct his notions on the subject, in spite of your initial irritation. I’m still cultivating that kind of patience with people.

  4. Haiku
    January 31, 12:16 Reply

    Yes, people always try to reflect what they lack through hate to those who live freely…
    On a different note, ‘Odera’ is a typically Kenyan Name….
    Mmmmmh, any Kenyans here🖐🏼

  5. Sage Philip
    January 31, 12:36 Reply

    Its also an Igbo name, as used in this context.

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