in’s: Shoot from the Hip:
The Polo T-shirt!
(Picture: "Wait, I'm not gay... okay, fine, who am I kidding? I'm wearing layered Lacoste polo shirts." - Walt, Carrie Diaries: Kiss Yesterday Goodbye, 2013)
By Rami J.*
I am a sleepless homosexual guy in my early twenties. Writing this column is as its title says, a “shoot from the hip”. It has some moments that I feel like sharing, based on life experiences, more importantly, personal, without considering the possible outcomes. I once said, My.Kali was part of us growing up here in the Amman scene. This magazine has helped me go through my toughest years, coming in terms of who I am and what I am when I used to google the word “gay Amman”, hoping to find something resourceful that would make me feel less alone, and that I am not the only gay guy in Jordan, and My.Kali was there for me. Especially in a country like Jordan, where secrets and taboos are bottled, and thought maybe I’ll turn around the table this time, hopefully anything I write would help someone else out there who’s facing a similar conflict.
Here I am wearing my ex-boyfriend’s red polo. I never thought that wearing a t-shirt could be that hard. I have been in this relationship in and out with this guy for nearly two years, and sadly, he is what I consider hardest of types! The one to ignore the big elephant in the room, the same one who doesn’t put the words I and gay in the same sentence, and what sexual orientation?
People deal with sexuality variously, and who doesn’t go through that fiasco really? Hey, I understand that sometimes you need to go through “a discovery phase”, where the person figures out his/her orientation, and not excluding myself to be one of those people, who I myself have went through that lane, and even had a relationship with a girl that lasted for a year or so during my teenage years (sorry for that, won’t happen again).
You would wonder what happens during the discovery chapter of your life. Well, you break some hearts and vice versa. Unfortunately, there is no way to run away from this outcome, personally speaking, as the only way to learn about yourself and your sexuality is to try it, test it, that’s beside googling its definition at the free dictionary off course. There is nothing wrong with going through this commotion earlier in your life, or before your twenties (or maybe later in life, it differs for everyone), as usually none of the relationships you make at that age would be considered serious anyways. But what about him? Well the problem is, when this phase extends to still be a part of the person’s adult life, things become like a drain, especially if you’re involved with that turbulent! You get sucked into someone else’s, needless of, drama! You become someone else’s lotion, for them to be comfortable in their irritant skin, sexuality to be on point! And that’s when it all started for me…It’s the ever debated status of humanity and sexuality!
Phase discovery earlier, and now back to the discovery channel, which is my romantic life here! It all starts like a national geographic documentary spoof! A predator and a prey, and the following story of it’s chase and catch, live or die! The prey is usually one of those guys who seems happy, optimistic, comfortable in his own skin and most preferably not obviously gay, or you can say the kind that is “presentable”, that’s decoded to: if he decided to invite the prey home, where no family member would give him a weird look, filled with judgment, or pick on him! And from a personal experience, the contrary might happen, you might become the parents’ favorite friend, seeing the positive influence on their “lost” child, and how he seems to be a bit happier.
I never wanted this roller coaster ride, and that’s generally speaking! It’s hard to be someone else’s constant assurance, I mean, why would I want to convince someone to be with me? Yes, we can stop seeing gay people, I can limit our circles, I can guard your privacy, hey I’ll guard that closet for you, but I can’t force you to accept yourself, but here’s something to note: gays aren’t really stupid, they’d gaydar you on a highway going 101 ml! My closeted boyfriend felt like he was being outed, exposed to many people, even though I wasn’t outing him on purpose, and that’s just when we’d hang out with our tight group of friends, who may I say are his friends now! And yet I was to blame, for his sexuality in one way or another, and it wasn’t fair to claim the blame and deal with the nagging! How can you convince someone to love you if they don’t love what that state of love represents or stands for?
Bullet two could also be the first time the predator and the prey get intimate, and this is usually the worst trigger. As suddenly he, who in his case usually is unexperienced, sexually-wise that is, that’s totally normal! Hence, driving your first car! Summiting the math for it to become “not okay” with the idea of having sex with another man. I personally blame this on religion’s guilt, as the way he was raised and told that sexual intercourse between none other than a man and a woman under the “martial umbrella”, is wrong and immoral. Imagine how bad it is for me to just having had my first sexual experience with this guy whom I loved, to see him react negatively and feel guilty about what happened, to make me feel that I was the one who spurred him to “sin”! as our he calls it. Very special, no?
Things get really ugly when you start changing things about yourself to satisfy all parties! From losing that relaxed optimistic self of your’s, to altering the way you dress – to a more “straight looking” polos, so for him not to be uncomfortable in public -, and trying everything possible so for him not to be ashamed with the perfectly fine/normal self that you are, including the love making! It’s frustrating being in someone else’s mind, fighting their thoughts, their beliefs, but I wasn’t doing that, was I? I was after somebody’s acceptance, somebody’s love, and somebody’s comfort! “You’re too good for him” they’d say, but when living in your love’s shadow, it’s hard to part from what you became, marginalized!
Yet after all what happened, he still calls, still around, friend zoned! And sadly, the same scenario is on repeat. Imagine having sex and each time after you are done you’re hoping that your partner would be okay with it. Each time there’s an epiphany! One time it’d be religion’s guilt, again, the next is you’re not his type, physically – something that he could’ve realized six months ago – but the best one yet is the fact that he’s “asexual”, boy that one was a winner.
What happens after? Well, the relationship becomes one sided, you start talking about it in a third wheel matter, as to speak, and the, bigger picture fades! And at some point you have to deal with somebody’s decision, a decision that you had no input in/on whatsoever, and that what’s happening is too much for him to deal with, and that “gay” is not what he really applied for! Leaving the application form untyped… But I will leave the irony shelved for the moment, and focus on what is it I am after, freedom! I’m asking myself, should I thank you for coming in terms with your claimed epiphany after two years? Or for breaking my heart? At this point, I just want to be clear things with you, and myself for that matter, this ain’t about you, unlike our entire encounter, but this time, it’s about me! Me, moi, 我, bana, мне, μου, मुझे, mig!