“Are you effeminate?” “I hope you don’t do like a woman…”
These are the questions anyone who gets around on the dating/hookup block would usually get.
Different people deal with such queries in different ways. I have a friend, Dayo, who is masculine and plays the role of a versatile in bed. And he says that whenever he encounters a hookup where the other guy expects to top him, that is when he gets asked the question. And that it pisses him off. So much so, that he would lie and tell the guy he is effeminate, just for the heck of it. He is that resentful of anti-femme bias.
As for me, I wasn’t always bothered by this. I’m not overtly effeminate, and I’d never really had an issue where a hookup soured things up because he had hang-ups about my mannerisms.
That is, until the day I met Olumide (his name for the purpose of this story).
Olumide was someone I’d been getting to know on social media. We had seen pictures of each other and the chemistry appeared to be just right. So, naturally, meeting face to face was the next thing to do. We agreed on our first meet being a date, and if things worked out well, it could extend to an actual hookup.
The date was going to be at a restaurant. I got there before Olumide, and sat down to wait for him. When he got in, he walked over to the table where I was and we exchanged greetings. I didn’t stand up; he just came over, and we said hi as he sat down. A server came over to take our orders, and then we started talking.
And out of nowhere, he hit me with it.
“Are you feminine?”
I was taken aback by this, because, well, it isn’t usually a question one asks another when he is sitting right across the table from him. I briefly wondered if I’d made too swishy a gesture with my hands or held my head in a way one might consider unmanly.
Then I realized what must have prompted the question: my attire. I was wearing a bright yellow tunic, which I’d made (I’m a designer), and the dressy nature of the outfit must have alarmed him into thinking I was one of those femme guys who wear their effeminacy out and proud. (Not like there is anything wrong with that.)
I was faintly irritated by this. But outwardly, I smiled and said no. I mean, it’s just a dress garment. He should be able to tell if I was feminine or not from sitting at the table with me the past several minutes.
He obviously didn’t seem convinced by my answer. But I wasn’t about to dwell on that. I picked up the thread of our conversation from where he interrupted it with his question, when he hit me with another one.
“Do you mind walking to the counter, so I can see how you walk?” he said.
I stared at him in stupefaction. Was this guy for real? There was a sense of objectification in what he’d just asked, a feeling I got like I’d ceased to be a human being to him. merely an experiment to check out for masculinity traits.
And for the first time since I was aware of this kind of prejudice, I was infuriated. Letting my anger colour both my expression and tone of voice, I told him that I would do no such thing. And that if he should insist, the only place I would stand to walk to would be right out of the restaurant.
He got the message and dropped the topic at once. But it would soon be clear that he wasn’t done.
When we were done with our date, food and conversation were finished, it was apparent that we would not be going from here to anybody’s bed. I mean, we had a great time, all things considering. I liked him and he seemed to be very into me. But I was just ready to get on with the rest of my day.
It was time to go, and I noticed that he was being hesitant about getting up from the table. I was gathering up my things when I noticed him stalling in a way that was very telling. And it dawned on me that he wanted me to stand up first and walk ahead of him so he could get what he wanted after all: check out the way I walk to see if I was effeminate.
The moment I realized this, my anger returned. At this point, I was very over this guy. For the first time, I could feel the malignance of femmephobia. And I wasn’t going to oblige it. I remembered my friend, Dayo, and I took a page from his book.
I got up from the table, and even though I don’t have a feminine walk, I made sure I sashayed out of the restaurant. It was obvious that I was being extra, and that was the point: I wanted Olumide to know that. It was my ultimate fuck-you to him.
I walked right on to the bus stop and got on a bike straight home. For hours, he took to WhatsApp to repeatedly text me his apologies. After ignoring him for a while, I eventually responded, telling him to go to hell. Maybe, among the Devil’s minions, he would find the masc4masc guy he is looking for.
Written by Jimmy