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New Country For Old Problems

14 Dec

soho flagSo it’s been awhile since I posted. I was just overwhelmed with life – I moved to London for a busy project and so far it has been quite the experience. While I have been in the city a few times in the past, it’s a completely different experience actually living in it and being a part of it. In my opinion, it succeeds in making everyone feel like they belong regardless of where they are from, even if it’s not exactly the friendliest city. There are some things I love about the city and things I don’t. I love walking around the city and taking in the sights. It has a booming night life but since the trains stop around midnight and buses run infrequently at this time, many people have a ‘Cinderella complex’ and run off to the stations once the clock strikes 11.55. One of the reasons is because cabs are quite expensive and finding affordable parking in central areas of the city isn’t always easy. While the food is good and the variety is out of this world, most dishes are usually lacking in spicy heat and I have to go a long way to find Scotch bonnets which make everything better.

It is also a very GAY city and a dating app typically shows more than 75 men in a 10 mile-radius. Compare with Accra where a 10 mile radius may show 4 guys and looking for 75 of the closest men will send you to Istanbul – no joke. However I’ve been to a few gay clubs and bars and it’s easier to chat up someone sitting next you via an app than just say hello. I miss the “eye contact” games of Accra. I’m not sure if people are that scared of rejection, like the idea of technology-boosted conversation or both. But men of all types abound and a friend from home commented that in a gay bar here you can see all types of men ranging from bears/daddies to skinny guys in heels unlike gay bars at home where such the former will never be seen in such a place. This is part of what it means to be free, to live as you wish without fear of danger of any kind. That is not to say people aren’t closeted here because they are. While I’ve never seen race/ethnicity as an issue when selecting someone to date, it seems to be one here with people often stating which ethnicities they are open to dating and sometimes rudely. I’m not sure what to make of it. Another thing I learned was that a relatively bigger number of people use recreational drugs especially in the club scene compared to home where people drink alcohol and smoke weed/cigarettes and call it a day. I’ve seen people lose it in clubs and someone being taken out on a stretcher by paramedics after a bad reaction.

Although being gay is legal in the UK and London is pro-gay, this doesn’t mean everyone in the city is okay with it. I have still heard many homophobic comments, even on the street – case in point I was taking a night-time stroll when a gay couple walked by hand-in-hand. They passed a bunch of guys sitting on a railing and when they were out of earshot, these guys made a bunch of homophobic comments. I have heard/read that homophobia is common in the smaller towns. There are no countries in which it’s perfectly okay to be gay but in this one, the law has your back.

Has it been all fun and games? No. For one I started seeing a therapist again. I’m not sure when I decided to do this but I remember feeling anxious and sad all the time. I remember going into the psychologist’s office and seeing a box of tissues which I found amusing. Ten minutes later the box was nearly empty – I didn’t realise how stressed I was, how hard it had been for me to be strong for other people (my family has been going through some challenges  and I had to take charge over many things) while battling my own problems, to keep up the facade. The constant talk of marriage, well-meaning extended family trying to hook me up to “that nice, young woman who has a PhD” and so on was just too much. Sometimes I wish everyone could know the truth and let me just be and keep their expectations to realistic possibilities – such as meeting my boyfriend (that would be an epic family dinner). Clearly I still struggle with this thing called coming out and I wonder if there will ever be a day that I will know that I’m ready and I can tell my folks or if I just have to take the bull by the horns and do it. Thankfully work provides a temporary reprieve, calling to mind an interesting quote from Joseph Conrad (via Faunia Farley): Action is consolatory. It is the enemy of thought and the friend of flattering illusions.

 

 
13 Comments

Posted by on December 14, 2013 in The Business of Living, Uncategorized

 

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13 responses to “New Country For Old Problems

  1. Clare Flourish

    December 14, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Coming out is perhaps the wrong metaphor. You might even have to persuade people: “You can’t possibly be homosexual, there is homosexual behaviour but it is unnatural, find a nice girl and settle down”. “My son is Straight, even though he denies it”.

    I am glad to hear from you. My heart goes out to you.

     
    • D.C.

      December 14, 2013 at 11:29 am

      Perhaps it is. I have certainly heard variations of those lines from other gay people about their folks. Thanks.

       
  2. aguywithoutboxers

    December 14, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Welcome back, my blogging buddy! I’ve often wondered about you! Have you changed your email? Enjoy London and have fun! Please be safe! I imagine the weather (and temperature) is an eye-opener for you! Much love and naked hugs! 😉

     
    • D.C.

      December 14, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      Yes, the weather is an entirely new experience. Will keep your words in mind.Thanks 🙂

       
  3. Tom Janus

    December 14, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    I also have wondered as to your whereabouts, so I’m really happy to see you posting. As to this thing of coming out, it seems like everyone has their own timetable, and generally once done, the rewards are worth it, and the struggle will cease to exist. Peace D.C.

     
    • D.C.

      December 14, 2013 at 4:14 pm

      I’m still alive and kicking but it’s been a hard couple of months. I can’t wait for the day that I can say it was worth it also. Thanks and take care 🙂

       
      • akinola

        December 18, 2013 at 9:53 pm

        With all due respect, coming-out is a very triple-edged sword: there will be fake sympathies expressed, insults and accusations, rejection and slander.
        It may reveal who your true friends are, but it will provide extra ammunition to the haters.
        Living a lie or a double-life is stressful, but being threatened by those who should accept and protect and nurture you is even worse.
        I am one of eight siblings, and not in contact with any of them; due to their hypocrisies and selfish self-rightieousness; using homophobia as their only weapon against me, when in all other respects they never have anything else against me, and even refer to me as a living saint, mainly because they had been able to exploit my open generosity at every turn.
        If I had the chance and could make the effort, I would opt to father a child with a Lesbian, and then remain separate friends there after, having presented her to my family as my beloved; just to put an end to the family’s demands for a child from my genes. Yet even that would have its risks, that she may later on turn around to denounce me openly.
        So maybe the best option is to actually find a suitable young lady of your choice, negotiate a temporary marriage of convenience, father one or two children, and then mutually go your separate ways, whilst trying your best to cater to the spiritual, emotional, social, psychological and domestic needs of the children.
        So you have to decide what you really want to do with your life, regardless of what others say or think or feel. Do not allow others to dictate the terms or conditions of your life; else regrets will pile up and await you in the coming decades.

         
      • D.C.

        December 18, 2013 at 10:13 pm

        Many thanks for your very frank views and for sharing your own experiences. The loss of family is one of the things I fear and I’m sorry you had to go through that with yours.

         
  4. manleben

    December 14, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Like everyone else has mentioned its great to have you back. Hope the faux winter in London is treating you well. As for the everything else you mentioned about the “gay scene” in London, its quite unnerving and I have lost some friends over their constant desire to use drugs.

    As for the family bit, I know its hard but just continue to stay strong at work and handle the “family business” one day at a time.

    Let me know when you are free in London. I can buy you a drink or two 🙂

    Take care. xxx

     
    • D.C.

      December 14, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      Thanks.Sometimes it feels like I’m relearning everything I thought I knew about gay men. Send me your email address 🙂

       
  5. gaydinosaurtales

    December 16, 2013 at 2:24 am

    So very good to see you back-and living in my dream city. Drink it all in, although it must be a difficult transition, coming from a different world. Hope you are able to relax and enjoy all the things a world capital affords a young man. Keep us posted.

     
    • D.C.

      December 17, 2013 at 7:57 am

      It’s been challenging but fun. I hope I’m able too also. Thanks 🙂

       

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