A few weeks ago, I decided to hit the clubs with a couple of friends and see what was new in town. The major idea however behind my sudden need to go out was matchmaking: I was trying to introduce two friends with the idea that something great could grow between them. However what struck me from the very beginning was that both of them complained that the other was effeminate and therefore, they were not interested. I was taken aback. I would have thought other issues would predominate but just on the basis of some imagined tell that was glaringly obvious (to them alone since I couldn’t see it)? PLEASE. On the other hand maybe I shouldn’t have been since it seems the male fear of being seen as feminine and/or gay is one that has been around forever and actively studied for decades beginning with Karen Horney in the 1930s and written about by such authors as Tim Bergling who coined the term above. To be honest I’ve never really considered that straight men actually experienced this fear of being considered feminine – I’ve always thought gay men (especially those of the closeted variety) were the ones who were affected by it. More than half of all gay men I have met have a “tell” of some sort and sometimes it’s very subtle but other times quite easy to see. In a lot of places worldwide, being “straight-looking” or “straight-acting” is a big plus for people in the closet but in Ghana where the law’s certainly not on your side then it’s almost a necessity.The odd thing is that straight folk don’t seem so concerned with such things and I have dated someone who was more than a bit camp and we were never in a position where it seemed people knew what was going on between us. How would we have known? People can S T A R E in Accra (even more than other cities in Ghana) and I’m sure some well-meaning matron (translated as nosy, meddlesome bored housewife) would have asked us if we were gay and invited us to see her pastor to remove the spirit of ‘gayism’. So I guess what I’m saying is that even though hanging out in public with a guy who’s heavily made up and super camp wouldn’t be the wisest thing to do in Accra, it’s ridiculous to constantly point out little things about people that make them seem gay especially when these things that seem like a dead give-away to the general public are almost completely unnoticeable. I used to be so put off by people who seemed even the littlest bit gay because I hated the fact that I was a raging homosexual. Maybe we all need to become more comfortable with ourselves.
An Evening of Sissyphobia