It has been a long beginning of the year so far, and it scares me to think what lay ahead. Before I begin to dwell upon my current situation let me give you an inside look into the world I now live in.
After 10 years of living in the States, I came back home to my country. Home and country are absolutely foreign words to me, as I’ve never felt home here nor have I felt this is my country I live in. I’ve always felt like a foreigner, an immigrant and a shadowy figure of my former self. I’m not going to dwell on the reasons why I came back, this would take another post, but what I wanted you to understand is what reality is here in this place. It is a place where archaic societal traditions of right and wrong still rule sublime. Where there is a large range of expressive homophobia. A patriarchal society and three religions, ambiguous and ambivalent of changing times. Now since I gave you a fast course of this place let me jump right in into my life as a gay man in such a society.
We all know the story of the young boy who felt different from an early age. The quiet, soft spoken, shy kind of boy, who kept to himself and preferred to stay home than go out and play with the other kids. Soon I realized my attraction to the same sex, and after a long inner struggle I accepted it. Yet, to this day I find myself barraged with inquisitory conversations from both my heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual friends as well as acquaintances. The question is always the same; have you ever had sex with a woman? My answer is always the truth, and it is a big fat NO. You will never imagine the looks on their faces; what do you mean no? You mean never ever? How come?How come? Well let me tell you “how come”. Because I’m a homosexual man, who’s never found women sexually appealing, yet I did find them as great friends, sisters, mothers and supporters. Why is it so wrong not to have had any kind of heterosexual encounter ever? Is there some unwritten rule we must all try pussy before we gently sway away from it towards cock?
This brings me back to my current situation. Most of the men I know are either married, engaged or seeing someone. It is after all a cultural “thang”. In almost five years living here I’ve had to endure the fact such individuals live two lives; a public one and a secret one, and I belong in their latter. I am the one who has to wait until such men have finished with all their family, marital, work and societal obligations in order to be with me. In short, I have become a secret concubine of sorts, holding the lantern at my door when they cross the threshold of my apartment.
I have become the other “woman”, the one who waits to pick up the pieces of what’s left when they’re done doing whatever they need to do. I am the one who has a queen size bed and nothing to show for it when I need companionship the most. My little tomb as I call it as I lay there watching my favorite movies and cry from time to time. In short it has become a matter of when and how long can any men spend time with me, give me intimacy, sex and why not even warmth if possible. This is the biggest challenge and at the same time compromise I have had to apply to my life.
All my friends (be they heterosexual or else) ask me the same question again and again; why don’t you get married, find a nice girl and settle down and than you can do whatever you want, but at least you won’t be alone for the rest of your life? They ask me how I can endure loneliness to such an extent that I pay a total stranger to listen to me talk for there is no one else able to do so. Once again my answer to all of them is absolute; I’d rather live a lonely life then settle for something I have absolutely no desire to have. Most of my friends had admitted to me they got married because of that same fear they ask me about; being alone, aging alone with no one to take care of them, to be there for them in their time of need, when old age takes a tight grip on them. To me that is the most absurd and selfish thing you can ever do to your partner/wife and so on. Basically what they’re saying is that it is okay to fake it then break it. How can you deceive another human being that you are theirs whilst you go on and get into another man’s bed? How can you raise your children and teach them about what it means to be a good person, a loyal friend and husband when you – yourself live a double life? Does your partner’s life mean so little to you and at the same time does mine mean just as much so?
I do not judge them for having had past experiences with women, which would be childish and unfair. What I do judge them for is how they deceive who they have on their arm while holding me in the other. How little value I hold in their eyes, and how easy it is for them to use time as a bargaining chip; if you don’t like what I give you, you don’t have to. Yet they come back for more as soon as they’re free of said obligations mentioned above.
Why do I bargain with them and most of all with myself? – Because there’s no other alternative. The fear of these men runs so deep there’s little I can do to ease the situation to my advantage. Thus, I am the other woman/person. I am the red lantern holder, Photo courtesy of augenweide.deviantart.com
We all make choices in life for which we pay a price; it is the Cause and Effect paradigm, which I chose all those years ago. And though my fear of aging, slowly losing my abilities to take care of myself by myself is at times alarming and paralyzing; I keep on walking.
In the mean time, I will hold my little red lantern, hoping for something more and being realistic of what life has to offer. Life as I know it is nothing more but a farce, a show on a stage which has but One Rule; lay low, do not stand out, stay in the shadows or you will forever be alone.