There are a lot of things that make living as a gay man in Nigeria difficult: there is the Nigerian brand of homophobia that is hateful and violent and ironically backed by a supposed religion of love; there is the SSMPA, the last ditch desperate effort to save face by a weak and lily-livered former president; and there is the outdated (if it ever existed in the first place) cultural and moral values Nigerians selectively cling to.

Personally, after these, another thing I find grating about living as a gay man in Nigeria is how near impossible it is to meet someone organically. You know, the privilege that straight people have to be able to walk up to someone they find attractive and try to “toast” them and the worst they could get is a rejection. These cis-het folks don’t know how good they’ve got it. This might not seem like a big deal until you see someone that you really want to talk to and the only thing stopping you is not the fear of getting a “No. I’m straight” but the fear that they might be ignorantly homophobic.

We have all been in situations where we have this eye-to-eye contact with a stranger, in public, and wish we had the gumption to do more than an eye stand-off. It could be in a bus, or a restaurant or along the aisles of a supermarket, as you pretend to read the content and nutrient value off a box of cereal that you’ve always eaten. It is today you want to know the percentage of fiber or carbohydrate content compared to protein or vitamin D this box of Frosties has. Anything just to make you spend a few more seconds around him, hoping something would make a conversation happen. You guys would stare intermittently at each other. You, because you’re trying so hard not to turn, look on from the corner of your eye to see if he is still staring at you. And then, you eventually decide to stop torturing your eyeball and dare yourself to turn, only to catch him staring and you both look away immediately. Don’t even get me started on what happens in restaurants where one would put food in his nose instead of his mouth because he is trying not to stare too obviously at the stranger sitting across from him.

This happens to both straight and gay people but, unlike in our case, straight people can decide to brave a rejection and try their luck. We don’t have that luxury. Worse than a rejection, we could get publicly humiliated.

Why am I telling you this?

Well, not too long ago, I was with a colleague at the Access bank branch on Ademola Adetokunbo and, as I stood and waited for him to fill the fund transfer form, I felt someone’s eyes burrowing into my back. You know that burning feeling at the back of your neck that makes you turn around or look up and you catch someone eyes on you? Yes, that one. I did turn around and I caught the eyes of this beautiful, dark skinned man with ample flesh on his bones. He immediately tore his eyes away from me and to his phone. I kept staring until he slowly, cautiously, raised his yes to meet mine. He was seated at the Customer Care waiting area and I decided to go sit there while I waited for my colleague. I very badly wanted to say Hello and start a conversation but I feared that I might be reading too much meaning into the whole looking game. He might not have been checking me out.

So, I sat there, next to him, and I didn’t say anything until he stood up and left. At least, I thought he left.

A few minutes later, my colleague was done and we walked to the security doors. While we waited for the doors to roll open so we could step out of the banking hall, this beautiful dark-skinned man stepped out of the restroom just to the right of the doors. I was mildly surprised to see he was still in the bank. Questions raced through my mind. How long had he been in there?! Had he been stalling for me or was this just a funny coincidence? I couldn’t find out as my colleague was standing right there and the beautiful man was staring straight at the glass doors like he wanted to open them with his eyes.

We both walked out of the bank and went our separate ways and I spent the rest of my morning thinking “what if?” I thought about the possibilities that would exist if I had said Hello and we had talked and something came out of it.

Something similar also happened at a SPAR outlet one Saturday morning. I was perusing the baked goods section, trying to decide on which sugary carb-filled good to buy to replenish all the carbs I had just lost from my jog that morning, when I noticed this dark-skinned, bearded young man with a clean-shaven head staring at me. He was with some friends – another young man and a lady. I walked past him, my gaze directed at the show-glass lined with donuts and burgers and scones, and his eyes followed me. I stared back and smiled, more to myself than to him; I was still wearing my jogging shorts (which is VERY short, by the way) and my sweaty sleeveless vest, so I could understand his thirst. I settled on bread and walked around aimlessly a bit before heading to the check-out counter. He and his friends followed shortly after and it was at this point that the staring contest began. The things I bought were being scanned, so I turned and faced him and his group squarely. I was feeling particularly confident in myself that morning, so I was willing to be a bit more obvious. He kept staring while the lady was rambling away into his ears. Some seconds into the stand-off, he turned and said something to her. She shut up immediately and looked forward, at me. He was handing her the shopping basket, as though attempting to make a move to step away from them, but she refused to take the basket. The bitch!

Anyway, my stuff had been scanned and bagged and I had paid, so I had to leave. I waited outside a bit, but when they didn’t show up, I left.

I am someone that can, and likes to, go for someone I find attractive and, if I do say so myself, I know how to make my advances without coming off as creepy or lewd. I am also equally deathly afraid of public humiliation. So, you can understand the difficulty in approaching a man in this homophobic Nigeria, where the men have not learnt to simply say NO but would rather loudly “cover their nyash with the blood of Jesus” after dragging the attention of the entire Lagos to you.

Tomorrow, someone will ask why queer people (who want to be in relationships) are not in relationships. How would we when we can barely meet people without social media and hook-up apps? Even something as simple as DM sliding would require a lot of mental gymnastics, professional level subtlety and world-class hint dropping, just in case you have read too much meaning into the number of mutual friends you share, so that someone will not use you to make a whole Facebook post/Twitter thread.

At this rate I am tempted to ask Twitter to help me find the beautiful dark-skinned man that was staring at me on the 4th of September in Access bank branch on Adetokunbo Ademola. Who knows if he is looking for me too?

Written by UC

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  1. Francis
    September 25, 08:14 Reply

    Maybe he’s searching here too. ??? Nice piece. Totally relatable

  2. Bubu
    September 25, 08:33 Reply

    Same here,even at my workplace i call it eye contest…i just walk out&move on.

  3. Mandy
    September 25, 08:35 Reply

    Oh UC, look at you being so slick. You think I didn’t see what you did there when you added the exact location of the Access Bank branch? Lol. Nigga be hoping his beautiful dark-skinned guy is a KDian bound to see this and reach out. LOL! Your hustle is real, my dear.

  4. Black Coffee
    September 25, 09:52 Reply

    Heigawd, cries/hustle of a chronic single Nigerian gay man. I can perfectly relate. Some years ago, had this staring-battle with another guy in church ehn. Till I left that town, nothing happened.

  5. Omiete
    September 25, 10:54 Reply

    Chai this is so me!!!! That is why from the moment I meet any gay man who I vibe small with, I start to plan marriage in my head cause before you meet another one it’s 6 months if ever oh.

  6. John Adewoye
    September 25, 12:42 Reply

    Beautiful piece! I love the way you hammered our common frustrations drawing attention to the unfairness of Homophobia practices in Nigeria.
    What of saying hello to each other instead of getting petrified in fear? Who knows? You may meet again. Hello, is not the same as “How hung are you?”
    By the way, the so call CULTURAL arguments are babies of the uncultural religions that has left the black race with confused identity for decades. Original African cultures honored and respected expression of nature.

    Black is beauty, black men are exceptional; you seem to have a taste for them. Me too!

    • trystham
      September 25, 21:46 Reply

      E ma binu sir, that part of violently ignorant homophobia will not allow us to want to say the hello gangan. Ez annoying.

  7. bamidele
    September 25, 13:12 Reply

    Hi U.C.
    Very nice write-up. I agree with you on the challenge gay people face in contrast to the straight. Yes, Islam and christianity also play significant role in influencing our poeple’s mentality, but I don’t think our traditional and indigenous norms shunned homosexuality; at least probably not directly. Some Africans often asume that it was the white man that brought homosexuality to Africa. But the irony is that it was the same colonial administrators that enacted earliest laws against homosexuality. Many historical texts have shown their observations of homosexual acts in many African societies. Forget the fact that some Nigerian traditional priests are saying it is not in our traditional culture. There is no ample proof to the presence/absence of homosexuality in our culture, because sexual life was a private thing. When many people are talking about our past, they’re often refering to 50-100 years ago… when many things have actually changed. How about the remote past?
    My point is that our problem remains that while many of our people don’t know the remote past, they try to employ contemporary and judgemental sentiments to any issue so as to situate it within the past. From all indication, our ancestors were more liberal than most of our people today.

  8. Kristo
    September 25, 15:39 Reply

    I swear to God…this is perhaps the most poignant piece on kitodiaries

    Flashback to my 100 level where I told a guy I liked him …the no was epic and heartshattering

    Now another guy again in my crew…I like him so much …give him attention sometimes he flirts with me sometimes he hurts me by shunning me and making it a point to play with girls right there ..perhaps to pass a message …this might my crew has a vigil and we are gonna be tigers fir like 14 hours …gosh!!

    • UC
      September 27, 00:01 Reply

      Thank you, Kristo.

  9. Black Dynasty
    September 25, 16:16 Reply

    “Tomorrow, someone will ask why queer people (who want to be in relationships) are not in relationships. How would we when we can barely meet people without social media and hook-up apps?”… this!!

    Too relatable and it suucks, I have had similar staring matches and usually in the past i got so nervous I’ve almost ran to the door just to leave the place. Today, I’m more composed and might smile, occasionally say hello.

    This year, I’ve gone off the the hookup apps, sites etc with the aim of meeting someone more conventionally. The 3 guys i l’ve approached and eventually swapped numbers with on a friendly basis have been straight (whatsapp status with wife or gf etc)…. soooo umm nah thanks. Let’s see what the rest of the year holds ?

    • UC
      September 27, 00:00 Reply

      Glad they weren’t the “violently homophobic” kind. Lool

  10. Delle
    September 25, 17:26 Reply

    Very relatable. And it doesn’t make it any better. Generally, I’m not a very attentive person as regards the whole taking note of stares thing until one that I COULD NOT NOT PAY ATTENTION to happened.

    And this was in a bus on my way to Adeola Odeku.

    I knew he wanted to touch my fingers that I had placed on the backrest of the seat in front of me. He’ll lift his hands and move them towards mine but he never allowed them touch. On a normal day, I’ll have taken my hands out of the place it was resting in but the guy was hot and I was feeling particularly in some mood. Besides, his intentions were clear as shooting stars but no matter the hint I gave (which weren’t much anyway, only that I shifted my hands close to where his was), he never EVER touched mine.

    Yeah, I could have said something but let’s just say I’m the worst conversation starter.

    Living in Nigeria is hell. Being me is even worse. I might just be single forever.

  11. Dammi
    September 25, 18:31 Reply

    So very,very relatable…It is only God that knows how many husband material I have missed because of this barrier.

    • UC
      September 27, 00:01 Reply

      I tell you!

  12. Rudy
    September 25, 20:37 Reply

    Shout out to PP and all the beautiful people that made Kito diaries what it is today. I just realised the new update on the blog and thought to use the opportunity to thank you for the effort you have put into this blog to educate, entertain and uplift queer people and any minority/marginalised members of society.
    Kito diaries has crossed borders from Nigeria to neighbouring African countries and that alone is a feat, something worth mentioning and acknowledging.
    To PP and his wonderful colleagues I can only say the sky is just the limit, keep doing what you do. The lives you have impacted just via this blog is outstanding, you are simply amazing and a shinning star to us.
    On my part I’ll keep on sharing this site with my queer friends and allies alike. No effort is too little, this blog has saved lives I dare to say, calmed nerves and instilled hope, for there’s a renewed belief that queer people belong, we have a say, we have the number and we can enforce change starting from our communities to the entire continent as a whole.
    Kito diaries. Thank you for being our African hero!
    With love…..
    (Somewhere from Ghana).

    • UC
      September 27, 00:04 Reply


  13. Ikechukwu
    September 25, 23:14 Reply

    Hmm I’ve had such experience but I don’t make first move rather I allow the person to start up a greeting then I know what to do nexf

  14. ChubbyLover
    September 26, 05:49 Reply

    Saw this guy at an eatery around Ikeja……the unspoken thing happened. Got my junk and was tucking in. This same guy came over sat next to me with his tray. Nothing happened…..was very late, was preoccupied with my work ish.
    Menh…..after all said and done, no chat, no number exchange……the guy de within my spec region sef.
    Another crazy meeting with this soft kid happened around computer village. Too soft….approached him but the lad was too scared. That meat Waka pass…..just like that.
    Tomorrow will definitely be better I always say

  15. Phael
    September 26, 06:10 Reply

    Uc u need to learn how to just say hey sup… Me this days if a stare lasts for more than 5 seconds I just go for the kill “hey sup” they are not going to arrest me for starting conversation and the funny thing is hetero guys do it all the time. So regardless of how the convsersation goes I say “hey sup” because u never know…..

  16. KingB
    September 26, 07:51 Reply

    Hahahahahah. I work in VI and I must confess a lot of fine fine boys lurk around that particular branch of Access Bank. Notwithstanding, it’s a whole lot of gymnastics walking up to a guy in this our obodo Nigeria with the aim of wooing him ooo. The homophobia in this part of the world legendary. As for me, what I do is I stare back and hope you say HI. Can’t come and chop public disgrace in this shit hole country on top man matter biko.

  17. Peace
    September 26, 11:38 Reply

    Yayyyy someone in Abuja. This actually happens to me a lot. There’s this guy I see at murg plaza UTC (there are actually a lot of fine boys here),he’s tall, light complexioned, a bit muscly and his eyes! Oh good lord! the staring ehh! is out of this world. It has even transcended to waves and recently hellos. But yet I’m still scared to stop and actually talk to this person. What if he’s homophobic, and publicly humiliates me. Then all these UTC boys would just give me a gang beating. Most times I think I’m just overthinking.

  18. Michael
    September 26, 19:20 Reply

    That year when frank walked up to me and legit chyked me right in his campus.there are people who won’t relate to this. Their ball be dripping with boldness.

  19. Tristan
    September 26, 23:18 Reply

    I was lucky enough to have met two amazing friends offline. I met one in a mall, the other I met at a suya spot after I had drunken to stupor. I’m currently dating the former and I’m just on a friend zone with the latter. Sometimes just shoot your shot with caution.

  20. Black Coffee
    September 27, 16:29 Reply

    Arrrgh, God of Tristan please do it for me o.

    Asswear, I just keep staring and looking around anytime I’m in the mall. Just having the feeling that I’d be meeting THE ONE in the mall.

    Chai, shey I’m not fantasying and asking for too much right??

  21. TeeClassic
    September 28, 02:49 Reply


    “It is today you want to know the percentage of fiber or carbohydrate content compared to protein or vitamin D this box of Frosties has”

  22. J
    September 29, 16:08 Reply

    Hehehehe dream on dear!

    Love is for the bold, believe me you’ll get over it if the person says no…forget about the embarrassment that comes with it as long as you’re not violently attacked.

    People could stare at you for various reasons, some are looking for help, others just admiring you if you look good or wear expensive clothing. You will be surprised that it’s just a stare and nothing serious. I had an experience with a fellow student at school, he smiled at me and I smiled back… I motioned closed to him and asked him for the whereabouts of the study centre receptionist. Moment later he came close to me and asked if I could assist him with some cash. I was shocked to my bone marrows… When I gave him the money, he appreciated and started referring to me as’Sir’. I thought I have found a boyfriend, but in me, he saw a helper.

    I have been bold to go after guys I admire, but it has been disappointing for me in one way or another. So I cut the chase and prefer to be chased. It saves me the heartache.

  23. Audrey
    September 30, 16:38 Reply

    Finally good to have my peace and be back to this part of town and my Kd family…#Smiles

    Me, I’m kinda bold when it comes to such issues and like my best friend would say to me”Don’t let this your if I perish I perish kind of mindset put you in trouble one day”(By the way my said best friend happened to be someone I always caught staring at me in church back in the day only for me to confront him and find out that he’s a straight,Born again brother who was only admiring my fashion sense all the while) and after shooting my shots in all the angles I could I settled with being a best friend..#WipesTears.

    Back to how this particular topic hits close to home….Grabs mic

    I recently got back into town from the East by Night bus as that was the most I could afford to escape the torture I was going through all in the name of staying with an uncle who happens to be a priest so you’d imagine my excitement when the bus wasn’t full due to scarcity of passengers and yours truly had a row of two seats to himself.

    Trust most of this luxurious bus drivers to be unfortunate as this particular one kept picking passsngers ILLEGALLY just to utilize the opportunity that presented itself but one thing I didn’t do was allow anyone join my row from Ore where his madness started till we got to Ijebu ode.

    Pressing my phone early that morning I noticed a new set of passengers come into the bus and as usual I squeezed my face once I noticed anyone approaching where I was not until I saw him….He wasn’t someone you’d describe as so cute but there was something about him that oozed of sexiness.

    I noticed his eyes transfixed at my corner and the moment I decided to show him that two can play I heard the coolest voice I’ve heard in a long while asking if he could share my space and like as if I was under a spell I obliged him.I observed he said a short prayer immediately after sitting but from the side of my eyes I could observe him sizing me up not knowing I actually was doing same to him so I decided to break the ice and made a move to initiate a conversation.

    I intentionally turned off my phone and asked him if I could use his phone to send a message to my mum so she’d know that I was almost in Lagos to start heading for the park to which he obliged but I ended up sending the message to my phone(Just to get his number) and deleted it the moment I got a sent notification.

    I guess that singular act opened room for conversations but it wasn’t the type of conversation I envisaged.Dude went all holyghost on me and started telling me about Jesus and the endtime and Me being a scholar of the bible engaged him in his conversation which was fun by the way but Bwoda kept dropping hints that got me uncomfortable during the talk about Jesus.He started with
    *Yesterday it was cold and I almost gave into the sin of fornication with a sister that has always seen me like a saint but I thank God that even though we did everything there is to do sexually there was no penetration.
    *Masturbation was a common sin most men are battling in this age and even him wasn’t spared,he went on to tell me that it’s not even the main act of feeling yourself that’s the sin alone but also when you feed the desires with thoughts and imaginations that you are as guilty as one who must have self pleasured yourself.He went further to tell me that getting into the bus that he was battling his erection and that was why he prayed the moment he sat down and had to distract himself from the thought with the word of God….Mogbe!

    So as a sharp guy I in turn told him how I was battling masturbation,my hetero relationship issues and the fact that I was Bi but was asking God to take control and make me a standard in this endtime.We got so engrossed in our conversation that we didn’t notice that some other passengers had been looking at us all the while not until he dropped before me that I realised that I didn’t even know his name(Thank God I sent that text).As the bus was about to move from the terminal where I dropped I noticed someone running from my side of the window(There was a little traffic on that route) only to realise it was him and he gave me his phone to punch in my number and left afterwards it was this point that my neighbors from other rows started telling me that they never knew I was a pastor and was reserving the seat for my pastor friend all the while and we all laughed it off.

    My brethren in Lawd to the glory of our rainbow God and shame of homophobia I’m happy to announce to you that I have a DickAppointment with christian brother come Friday and it’s gonna be an all night worship as brother later called and opened up to me on how he got attracted to me the moment he set eyes on me and worst of all how he had a hard-on for a major part of our discussion/Journey.

    For those already praying it’s not a set up situation,relax as hook would be in a venue of my choice as Uncle doesn’t stay in Gidi but only came to buy somethings cos of his business.He later divulged that he had a love child but was Bi and couldn’t wait to get in between my cakes.So you see sometimes shooting ones shot isn’t/wouldn’t be such of a bad idea.Xoxo

  24. […] Not even a casual “Are you on Facebook?” I remembered a piece posted on Kito Diaries titled The Dilemma Of Chyking The Man, and how the writer UC talked about the stress of letting a Nigerian man know you like him and […]

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