“Shining in the light of your Halo—ooo, I got my angel now!”

We are belting out the lyrics to Queen Bey’s Halo as the car moves through weekday traffic of Lagos – we being my brother, his fiancée and I.

We are in my brother’s car; he is driving and I am seated in the back while his fiancée is in the front on the other side of him. It is a good way to pass the time that is usually associated with Lagos traffic.

Queen Bey has finished her song, and my brother is trying to find another sing-along when his fiancée says while looking into the driving mirror at me, “I used to think you were a tomboy.”

My antennas go straight up and I am alert. My brain is doing mental gymnastics, thinking of the right gymnastics to engage to get out of this sudden death-trap, this “casual but not casual” statement.

I am also saying to myself: This bitch is really gonna say this so innocently in front of my brother? You want family drama? The nerve of this – Breathe! Modd, breathe. Maybe it’s innocent.

So I reply her with, “Huh? I don’t get.”

And she says, “Tomboy na.”

“But I AM kind of a tomboy,” I say, trying my best to get her to back off by acting naïve.

This time, she turns to face me and reiterates with a coy smile, “No, na. I mean tomboy-tomboy.” On the second ‘tomboy”, she tilted her head with a nod.

Innocent question, my cute behind!

My brother, for some reason, has not found the right song yet. A quick glance at him and I notice he is not searching anymore and is just driving on, obviously listening to this conversation. It makes me a little more nervous that he is listening, so I turn back to his nosy wife-to-be to try to end this quickly. If I want to come out to my brother, I will do it on my own terms.

As though the thought has just dawned on me, I say, “Oh, you mean…”

“Yes!” she giggles.

“You said ‘used to’, so that means you changed your mind. Good then.” As I say this, I turn my head to stare out the window in a bid to dismiss her. And I SHOULD dismiss her; my brother is just a year older than me and she is FIVE YEARS YOUNGER than me. On a normal day, she and I do not sit and gist. I don’t know her like that. But I sing Beyoncé with her, and suddenly she thinks we are mates? Don’t step to me, chile!

But this babe doesn’t appear to be finished with me. She goes on to say, “Yeah, I used to think that – until I saw you wear a dress and heels for the first time. Then I knew you couldn’t be…” At this, she trails off, looking stuck for the word to say.

“…a tomboy-tomboy,” I finish for her, mimicking her head tilt and nod. The word “lesbian” seems to be hooking in her throat somewhere. The word must sound so scandalous to her.

“Right,” she says and then turns back in her seat. She looks super proud of her powers of deduction.

“Well, I am glad you cleared that right up,” I say, while trying to hold back my laughter. My mild irritation earlier has turned into amusement over the fact that she can be this naïve, that they could both be this naïve.

And then, right on cue, Who Let The Dogs Out starts playing.

Oh, so you FINALLY found the right song, eh brother of mine? I think sardonically as I look at him from the back seat.

It does surprise me though that in 2016, there are still some straight people locked up in their heterosexual world that actually think this is how the lesbian community works. They think that the clothes you wear dictate your sexuality and also dictate your “role” in the relationship. They do not know that that sister, colleague or classmate in those stiletto heels could be checking out the couple at the other table, and not because of the cute guy. I can just imagine the shock and bewilderment of a straight girl when that supposed tomboy turns out to not only steal her man but also look better than her in heels.

Sometimes, it is amusing. But other times, you get hit with the foolery in the form of questions like “I guess you are the man in the relationship?” or “How can you be gay? You don’t even dress manly. You probably picked it up from so and so” or “Ladies dressing like men secretly want to be men. That’s why they date women”. I used to try to explain and educate, but I have now decided I will not. It is 2020 and if you are still trailing with this foolery, then it is not my job to educate you. You are obviously not willing. It is not my job to explain to you that we exist separate from your “innocent” bigotry.

It is, however, my prerogative to enjoy watching you be awkward and squirm after my offhanded jibe.

Written by Modd

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  1. Mandy
    March 31, 10:28 Reply

    ????? The saltiness in this write-up gave me life.
    This kind of ignorance nawa o. You can’t even speak out loud the word that you hate. Pretty sure she’s the type that believes that if she says the word “lesbian”, she would get “infected”.
    And the sheer insensitivity of bringing up such a topic in such inappropriate time. This one has the emotional cognizance of a doormat. I already feel sorry for their kids.

  2. Tman
    March 31, 11:02 Reply

    Lmao. You really were more than a match for her. Apt replies that keep the dumbos extra dumb. Just like this recent anonymous messages thingy came on board my class page last night and my ex coursemates decided to make a field day out of it. Someone decided to veer off the hetero discussions that were dominating the page, perhaps in a bit to add more spice and create a controversy by asking, “T-man, I’ve always wanted to know. Are you gay?”

    Saw the question and intentionally let it slide only for one aunty to point that I didn’t answer that one. The bitch’s nerves sha, opened my can to 242 active people. I just marked her message and asked her, “do you want me to be gay?” Na there story end.

    We do not have to answer these subtle, while pathetic, attempts to make us uncomfortable in our closets. But if we must, we could as well do so with a sardonic sting, no matter how slightly.

    • Jay
      March 31, 14:16 Reply

      Tman, let me guess ?……… you’re a Unilorite?

    • Modd
      March 31, 18:29 Reply

      Someone actually asked that in a general group. How rude.

  3. Jay
    March 31, 11:26 Reply

    I get that a lot myself. The whole lesbian stereotype I mean. I’ve learned to ignore and focus more on things that matter.

  4. Hawken
    March 31, 16:53 Reply

    Lmao Nigerians really do not know how to appropriate. They don’t know there is a time for everything and they definitely do not know how to mind their damn business!

    Mind your damn business sis!

    But one mind is telling me that she must have previously mentioned this to your brother and he was probably like “I dunno” and the babe was like “don’t worry, I will ask her” ?

  5. Delle
    March 31, 22:48 Reply

    You’re witty. Damn, I love!

  6. Dunder
    April 17, 18:56 Reply

    Yeah, female investigators who want you to come out on stage. With their made-in-China gaydar, looking for fools that would confide in megaphones. I don’t have the patience for bastards like that anymore. Any stupid question and I respond with “noted”.

    Modd, you’re way too nice finishing up her sentences. If it were to be me, she must say that lesbian word o. That your oriburuku must shine through. And your brother left quite something to be desired. She must have brought it up with him previously and what he communicated was her license to start prying into his siblings undies.

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