Sunday, 24 April 2011

On being eligible..

Something rather peculiar happened today. It was a particularly successful Easter Sunday church service, at which my choir seemed to have performed very well indeed, going by the applause and the comments I and other members of the choir received at the end of the service. Well, we'd worked hard for it, so it didn't come as that much of a surprise to me, even though it was good to hear the commendation and to know that all our hard work had paid off in the end.

So feeling something like a celebrity would, these thoughts swirling around in my head, I sat down alone at my usual seat, my back turned to most of the others who went towards the back of the church where refreshments were laid on after the service. I'd been sitting there not quite 10 minutes, when I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder and heard a familiar female voice speak softly into the back of my neck, "Brother, there's something I wanted to discuss with you..."

A familiar voice, yes, Sister Lorraine (not her real name). Smiling, I turned around slowly and there she was sitting in the empty pew directly behind mine. Lorraine had on occasion discussed personal matters with me, seeking professional advice. And so it didn't surprise me that she sought to speak to me privately. What did come as a surprise though, were her next words.

"I have been asking people and they assured me that you are a single man."

"Well, er, well, yes I'm single.." I stammered, taken aback, startled by the fact that this woman had just confirmed to me that my marital status was a subject of rumination by herself and other church members. Before I had a chance to say anything more, she leapt in.

"Ah, well, you know my sister now, don't you?"

And without missing a beat, she continued

"At least I know you both like each other..."

Lorraine's sister would once in a while accompany Lorraine and her husband to church and the sister was indeed in church on this day. Also, admittedly it must be said, this sister is quite a looker too, but I do not recall at any time ever giving even a twinge of a hint that I might be interested in her. Perhaps this was Lorraine's own way of telling me that her sister fancied me. Well, if only I was single and straight, but the reality is that I am neither of the above. But then, I could not possibly say this to Lorraine, so as we spoke in hushed tones, I replied..

"Okay, thanks for telling me. Now that I know, I'll look into it. However, I'm in a relationship..."

"Oh, I didn't know that.." Lorraine burst in, "I really wouldn't want to interfere with your relationship, but maybe you want to exchange numbers with her..?"

It was a feeling of relief for me when this uncomfortable exchange came to an end and still smiling, I stood up and excused myself. Now this is something that I knew would happen sooner or later. There are few men in my age bracket (and women in Lorraine's sisters too), who are seemingly unattached. Inevitably, there was always going to be somebody who would suggest to me a potential wife, the assumption being that since I'm single, I must be looking for a wife. I say "seemingly" because the relationship I am in is not of the kind that can be publicly acknowledged.

For the fact that John and I are both of African origin prescribes that we are subject to the norms of our African society, regardless that we live in a country outside of Africa. There are limited settings at which we can comfortably introduce each other as lovers or partners. And this church is certainly not one of them, even though, thankfully, John attends a different church.

The issue now is this, how do I conduct myself going forward, knowing that Lorraine, her sister and only God knows how many others, will be keeping a very close eye on me..?

3 comments:

Sinia Safi said...

That is a tight spot for you there but I am sure you will manage. Just act consistently to your lie... sorry but that seems to be the only thing.

Anengiyefa said...

Thanks SS for the advice. However, I do not think of it as acting or living a lie, since I've not at any time pretended to be straight, or told anyone that I am NOT gay. I don't see the need to tell them anything, although if I did tell them they'd likely think I was possessed of demons..

As you say, I'll just let things be as they are and say nothing more about it, in the hope that any ideas they might have about me and somebody's sister will eventually fizzle out..

laBiscuitnapper said...

I think that's the best thing really, and also make it clear that you really aren't interested in her sister.

Going off on a tangent, that's the mistake I made as similarly, any sort of coming out just isn't an option (and I think it's kind of silly anyway, but that's just me) - one of my mum's friends tried to introduce her nephew to me and I was very English and polite and tried to make a joke out of it, but I should have known better. I really should have just said no as it's not like there was any pressure.