NOT GAY ENOUGH

NOT GAY ENOUGH

There are several stereotypes about gay people, some of them untrue, some of generalized. And one of them is that there is a particular look that is gay. That there are mannerisms – a limp-wristed gesture, the sway of your hips when you walk, the way you hold your head – that expose your homosexuality to the world. That there are clothes and a way you wear them – skinny jeans and tight-fitting tank tops – that instantly set off the gaydar of an onlooker.

I have never really been this stereotypical though. I am what one may call – and I hate this word – ‘straight-acting’. Except I don’t act straight. I am just me, and that me doesn’t really show how brilliantly rainbow-coloured I am. Sometimes, this makes me feel like an exception in my community, and I find myself acting gay, especially when I am amongst potentially gay men. I try to behave in ways that is intended to hint at my gayness so these men can be free to hit on me.

In a gay clime where the goal for most guys is to act straight, I find myself acting gay.

And one incident when I had to do that comes vividly to mind.

I was in my second year in the university, and in the department of music, we were required to take courses in Fine Arts and Theatre Arts. I had mixed feelings about the Theatre Arts course because it would require the students to be in a play, and I wasn’t about that life. However, I was resigned to take the course; it was either take the course or face a carryover.

The first day of the class was an introductory one. Amongst my fellow students in the department were two obviously gay guys and one girl who I suspected was a lesbian. It was a drama class, and so I of course knew there’d be community members in it. The lecturer started the class by stating the rules, the Dos and Don’ts for the course, the acceptable dress codes, and activities that could make up for or totally replace acting roles. These activities included being part of the various crews for the play. These were the crews for Set Design, Props, Hair and Makeup, Costume, the Stage Technicians, the Stage Hands. I immediately jumped at the chance to be part of the Costume crew, seeing as I couldn’t act to save my life.

The next class had us all try out for different parts. All the guys were made to try out for the role of the lead actor, then supporting actor role, then a couple of other minor roles that were males. I think the lecturer figured out that we weren’t putting in any effort in these tryouts, because he soon declared that anyone without an acting role had better be struggling with a C.

This immediately changed the energy level in the room. Actors were instantly born in the room. I didn’t know where the actor in me sprung up from, but I landed myself a role sharp-sharp.

Next came the task of sharing ourselves into crews. This was left up to the students, and it happened in the next class, after rehearsals. We all stayed back to find out where each person wanted to belong to. Of course, most of the guys opted for stage hands, or props, or music, or set design.

My eyes shining with all my rainbow glory, I went to meet the girl in charge of costumes, and I told her that I wanted to be part of her crew.

She swept a quick look over me, and what she said left me in utter shock. In a very matter-of-fact voice, she said that quite frankly, I wasn’t gay enough.

In my head, I was like: Wait, what now?

I was both startled, confused and amused, and she must have read the question in my expression, because she went on to explain that I didn’t come off as gay, and that it was only guys who are visibly gay that were only ever into costumes.

My immediate reaction to this was to feel hurt – which I must admit was strange, because I’m sure it’s almost every gay man’s dream to be able to come off as straight. This reminded me of the time when someone I met in the past told me that he couldn’t tell I was gay for close to two years. And I thought to myself: Damn! So, this is how I’ve been losing market in this school, eh?

Eventually, the girl said she would put me up for consideration, and I said no problem. It felt like I needed to prove myself in order to be accepted as a costume crew.

So, the next time we had rehearsals, I made sure to wear the tightest jeans I owned. Jeans weren’t allowed for rehearsals but mine was an elastic denim, so I could get away with it. I’d also recently purchased these brightly-coloured sneakers I felt was a mistake immediately I brought them home. Now, I finally had a reason to wear them.

And so, when Aunty Head of Costumes saw me that day at the rehearsals, I was clad in a black fitted polo, skin tight jeans and brightly coloured sneakers. I was also chewing – not, not chewing – popping a bubblegum my roommate gave me earlier. I was looking as gay as gay could get. First thing she did was to walk over to me and high-five me. Then she asked for my name and put it down in her list as a crew member.

For some silly reason, I felt like that was my proudest moment as a gay man.

As time went on, I also got to be acquainted with the other two homosexuals in the class, and the lesbian who I quickly became fast friends with.

Written by Roland

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11 Comments

  1. Nool
    October 21, 07:23 Reply

    I’m a 6″5/280 pound bear with a similar situation. I struggle to meet people. Is there a bear community in Nigeria?

    • ChubbyLover
      October 21, 07:48 Reply

      Where have you been hiding biggy…..drop your details

    • Jinchuriki
      October 23, 18:05 Reply

      Jinchuriki is a proud chaser. 🙂
      To answer your question.. Yes, there is a bear community in Nigeria. Every LGBT+ community you’ve heard of exists in Nigeria.

  2. Lopez
    October 21, 09:46 Reply

    Can I advertise my market too?

  3. Rudy
    October 21, 10:18 Reply

    That countless number of times when your supposedly gay friends tell you, you must be bisexual because you do not act gay or look it.
    The struggles of being a rainbow is real.
    I could so relate.
    I smiled through the whole time of reading this.
    Thanks for sharing Roland.

  4. Someone's Someone
    October 21, 12:26 Reply

    I laughed while reading the entire story. It took me down memory lane at Uniben. Beautiful story Roland. Shine bright!

  5. Malik
    October 21, 18:26 Reply

    This cracked me up. I think it’s fine to be a little “gayer” in some spaces; and to be a little more masc and traditional in others. In the end, that’s a way to convince yourself that there’s no one way to be gay as you wait for the world to catch up on this knowledge. Do you dear and have fun with your life.

  6. Bussy
    October 21, 19:31 Reply

    Lolz 😂 the man currently making feel what its like to have sex and be in cloud 9 said something about me not looking gay enough the first time we met for a drink.
    He said that i was so tall and straight acting that he thought of me as a kitoer 😂😂,,he told me how he had to gather enough courage to slid down my inbox and mentally preparing himself
    for whatever issues that might occur in the flirtation process as in the case of blackmail ,uploading screenshots of our chats on facebook
    and shaming him too 😁.
    The way I laughed at the bar that day eh one would think I was crazy wen he told me all these but same way Roland asked via the title ,is it possible for someone not to be gay enough?? 💁
    In fact twas when I ordered for fanta that oga said ,”that’s gay enough to convince me that youre gay ” cos I don’t drink beer.😂😂

    • Mandy
      October 22, 01:09 Reply

      Fanta is how you confirmed your gay? 😂😂😂😂😂 Damn.

  7. Mandy
    October 22, 01:08 Reply

    😂😂😂😂😂 This cracked me up very much. It is so unusual indeed, this kind of situation. This story is just about encouraging the gay, as opposed to the norm of hiding the gay. These stereotypes we as a community labour under sha.

  8. Mikey😘
    October 22, 08:04 Reply

    Chai mine is the entire opposite, before I walk into a gathering everyone is already speculating about my sexuality, some times my sex I’ve tried to change it but its just not working added to the fact that I’m a pk, so I just decided to fuck the world and be me

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