These days it’s getting harder and harder to tell a woman you’re not interested and nip a potential difficulty in the bud. This year I’ve been in a couple of such situations where I meet a woman at work, at a function, in a shop and due to boredom/proximity we get talking and exchange numbers. Suddenly she lets it slide that she’s single and I immediately say that I’m not available and expect that to be end. But no, I start getting calls, invites: “What are you doing this weekend?” “I was just in your area and..” “There’s this play at the National Theatre..“, or my favourite: “Let’s just have sex, no strings attached” (this happened at work I kid you not).
Call me old-fashioned but I’m a bit surprised with this reverse courting since traditionally men do most of the chasing here and growing up, few women I knew would ever ask a guy out, not really because they were scared of rejection but because playing hard-to-get was the norm and most wanted to hold as many cards as possible and by so doing dictate the pace of the game – at least in the initial stages. Even when I’m talking to a guy, I’m not the kind to keep at it when I don’t get the “I’m into you” vibe or when he’s clearly stated he’s not into me and I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve to tell a guy I’m not interested more than twice. I’ve talked to my friends (both gay and straight) and while a lot of the straight guys are fine with such ardent pursuit, the gays who have all “been there” found it difficult to extricate themselves from this situation with one saying that after a lady kept after him for months, he finally told her he was gay. Without missing a beat she replied “then I will take up the challenge to convert you”.
I am currently in that situation (again!) and even though I don’t want to be blunt/rude since she is a really awesome person, I just don’t know how to tell her that I’m really not interested in her (or any woman for that matter) without letting her know I’m gay. I’m not even sure that would be reason enough since she keeps mentioning how terribly “open-minded” and “free-spirited” she is.
There is a lot of pressure to settle down and have kids for both men and women but it’s more for the women. From the time a woman turns 20, everybody starts asking when she is bringing a man home. If she dares to reach the age of 30 and is still unmarried, many members of the extended family take it upon themselves to source for a husband and will give out a girl’s number, email, home and work addresses to any gentleman who shows the slightest interest (this gives you an idea of the stress lesbians face daily in many African societies). Maybe this sudden “go-after-my-man” drive is simply a result of women deciding to take matters into their own hands instead of waiting for a man to make the first move.
On another note, the conversion attempt got me wondering if women are generally more open about sexuality: I remember reading on this article on MSNBC and another about pornstars that a lot of female stars who perform in girl-on-girl scenes may not necessarily identify as lesbian (or even bisexual). This is probably a bad analogy since I’m aware that what porn stars (and indeed anyone) do for money cannot be extrapolated to the female population at large but I can’t say I’ve seen many straight male stars who would take their craft to such levels.