On the night a friend told me he had slept with his sister’s husband – an unplanned happening that unfolded because they had shared a night bed in lieu of a wedding party – I expected to feel horror. But what I felt was an overshadowing curiosity. A desire to understand why.
It had been a fleeting thing. This night act he hoped his sister would never find out about. But in his story-telling I sensed he had absolve himself of any responsibility. His sister’s husband was the one who made all the moves. I imagined he (my friend) laying as a plank as his brother-in-law made “all the moves”. And I found myself shifting from asking why would you sleep with your sister’s husband to asking why would your sister’s husband sleep with you?
I’m still perplexed by the latter question. And haunted by another: would I still be perplexed if my friend were a woman? In that case, perhaps, the simplistic answer that men will be men would have sufficed to quench my curiosity. With this, I harbour a shade of guilt at the thought that women have no blame when it comes to infidelity and that the reason the crime seems darker is because my friend is a man. I’ll move past my peculiar bias and petty justifications for my friend’s in-law, like maybe he was just “bi-curious”. And move straight to what situations like this bring to mind: all the suppressed homosexuals in marriages.
It’s hard to throw even a shred of blame their way. Ours is a world where important discussions are wrapped in silence. Much like in the way a priest I know spat words of horror at the news of hearing of homosexual acts amongst choristers in his parish. “I don’t want to hear about it”, he said, back straight as he addressed the band of choristers that sat facing him on seats arranged to make an arc. “If you want to shame yourself go ahead and do so. Just leave my parish out of it”.
This is the new attitude of Nigeria’s society towards homosexuality: do whatever you want, just do it behind closed doors.
Can this be called progress? I was tempted to think so when a girl-friend said those words to me. But I am more inclined to think that it is simply a verbalization of how things had always been before that law brought a new dimension into the dialogue. The dimention of marriage.
Marriage – that cultural ritual that signals the dawn of when two people are allowed to fuck one another – seems, in my mind, especially at this point in time, the most unnecessary social construction ever invented. But it occupies such a large space in society that to aim to uproot it is to aim at shredding society. Its importance is hinged on the fact that many see it as important, not due to its usefulness.
When it comes to homosexuals who married heterosexuals I have just one thing to say to them: get out of it. Yes. it’s easy for me to write that. Me born at the breaking dawn of our most recent millennium. It is for this reason I can lay claim that following that advice is the best thing you can do. The millennium is the time when marriage is defined anew. It’s not the time to become and stay trapped in it. Making unsustainable promises is a pointless errand. The world is already a dark place, there is no need to add to the darkness by playing a role bolstered by deceit.
So here is the deal. Marriage is an invention. What we make of it transcends us though. It lies in the understanding that exists between us and those we carry into it. A priest tells us it is a sacrament. A judge tell us it is a contract. But a priest won’t roll back lost time, won’t mend crossed hearts and won’t replenish burnt emotions. And a judge won’t will the desires of lust, longing, and love into what nature knew best to withhold. The sure way to steer clear of amorous behaviours with a wife’s brother is to avoid making a wife in the first place.
You are Awesome. You deserve this: