Which means absolutely nothing unless you went to one of those schools where you used seven different textbooks for English grammar, then pursued a BA in Literature. I did both. Because happiness is getting paid for reading storybooks.
Today, I wanted to write two pieces that I have no business writing. One was about gay men. The other was against single mothers. I shouldn’t write about gay men because – well – I’m a straight woman. And I shouldn’t write against single mums because I am one. And yet this bee in my bonnet is having me write about both.
First. Gay men. I make a lot of assumptions about them. Like, I always thought one of them has to be the guy and the other one has to be the girl. Until I read an interview by a very girly gay guy complaining about his love-life. By virtue of being gay, he is attracted to … well … men. Manly men. Men that don’t look like girls. He said most men – by virtue of being gay – are attracted to men who don’t look like girls. And therefore, naturally, men who look like girls have a harder time finding partners. I might say the same about girly lesbians and guy-ey lesbians.
I’d never thought of it like that. But now that I do … the only men that ‘look’ gay are the ‘femmes’, the ones with girly tendencies. Same goes for guy-ey lesbians. So there are – obviously – a whole bunch of left-batting guys and girls who don’t ‘look’ homosexual. And who perhaps are attracted to the ones that do. It’s only logical really.
I was reading an article yesterday about two different types of gay men. Some of them view their sexuality as strictly a bedroom matter. They are gay guys that ‘act straight’ in the same way that metros are straight men that ‘act gay.’ Then there are the kind of gay guys that are flamboyant and out there.
It’s actually a pretty good article. A pretty long article. In one section, the writer quotes an interviewee from Gay New York, describing the difference between the two ‘types’ of gays: “For some people it was your whole life, your soul. For others it was what you did on the weekend.” In this sense, they’re a bit like minorities, or even feminists. For some, everything from your choice of words to your choice of sandwich is about expressing your gayness, blackness, or feminism. For others, it’s an important component of who you are, but it’s still just one component, and you’d like to be seen as something more than the gay guy, or black girl, or independent woman.
Another quote from the article puts it quite nicely, questioning why a person’s job, legal rights, or family life should be dictated by who they sleep with. To put in context, I like pretty boys, and I have a thing for white guys. And mixed guys. And any guys with pretty eyes and gorgeous hair.
So what if one day somebody woke up and invented a special grouping for black girls that like white guys? What if they decided to call it – oh, I don’t know – whompers. As a whomper, I might prefer to hang out in certain places because a lot of white guys spend time there. And so it would be called a Whompers’ Club, or a Whompers’ Zone. I might decide to wear long weaves, start dieting, and join a gym, because we hear most white guys like long hair and slim frames.
Would it be okay for the government to decide I should not get NHIF or visit certain places or even have my potentially biracial children in their schools because I’m sleeping with a white man? After all, I am so much more than my bed-mate. I am a person, a mother, a writer. Can’t I be defined by any and all of that, instead of my primary identifier being the person that’s in my bed? Yet we do it to LGBTs every day.
You could argue a million things. You could say homosexuality is a sin or unnatural or whatever other argument you want to quote. It’s in the Bible after all. Except that the Bible also says black people should be enslaved, because Ham, Noah’s son. And that a rapist can marry his victim if he pays dowry. And that genocide is acceptable as long as your victims are Canaanites. And a whole bunch of other disturbing things, so I’m not big on that particular doctrine.
I think homosexuals are born that way, and I don’t think God would create you a certain way then declare you a sin. That’s not God. That’s human. And that’s evil. Some of us are attracted to tall men, or short men, or white men. Others are attracted to curvy women, or petite women, or long haired women. Some of us like all of the above, and some of us like none of the above. And while we can choose who to date, marry, or sleep with, we can’t choose who we are attracted to.
I say as long as everyone is adult, available, and willing, what happens in bedrooms is nobody else’s business. As for extensions of bedroom choices that go outside the bed, choices like where to hang out, what to wear, or how to decorate your house, that’s entirely up to you as well. The brave ones keep it public and expose themselves to judgement for living their lives, and I have nothing but love for them. That said, unless it involves your personal dick or vagina, just leave it be.
Now for the more contentious issue of single mums. I don’t mean widows/widowers or parents whose partner works in another county/country, because they essentially raise their babies on their own as well. I mean parents without an officially assigned formal partner-cum-co-parent that isn’t related by close friendship or blood. And yes, I did want to be a lawyer.
I read a piece at Biko Zulu’s written by a single mum. When I started the article, I was skeptical, because there isn’t much stigma anymore, or so I thought. At my daughter’s school, a lot of the kids are from single-parent homes, and I’m grateful for that because she doesn’t feel ‘different’ or ‘odd’.
Plus, I have a strong support system. My brothers are good male role models, so I rarely feel alone in my parenting. Well, sometimes I do, but not often. And perhaps more importantly, I’m an anti-social introvert who never goes anywhere but work and school events, so I’m probably not hanging out with the kind of people that would stigmatise my status. I have a small circle of friends and family who generally have bigger problems with me than whether or not I have a wedding ring.
Of course, every once in a while, the question comes up. Mostly at bigger family events which draw a wider net of relatives, and they all want to know why I haven’t caught a man yet. I usually respond by grinning cheekily and saying, ‘I already gave you guys a baby, I’m not in any hurry to give you a husband.’ I thought about ‘explaining’ why I’m a single mum, but that sounded way too much like justifying myself. My reasons for being a single mum are valid in my mind. Every mother’s reasons are. And I’m mostly happy with the way my life has turned out.
One thing makes me sad though. My daughter is blessed to have father figures even though her biological dad is not a part of our lives. It’s entirely my choice that he’s not in our lives, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But I still feel sad that we’ve created a world where we don’t feel the need for a dad.
I’m sad that so many kids grow up with single parents, and while they get many benefits from it, they still miss out a lot by not having double folks. There’s a lot to be said for having a mum and a dad in your everyday life, and it just seems that we’ve become almost flippant about not having that.
There was a time when being pregnant and unmarried could get you arrested, killed, shunned, or at the very least, married off as a third wife. We’ve come a long way since then, and that’s awesome. Still … the choice to have and raise a child on your own is too easy a decision to make, and that bothers me. I suppose it’s just one of those things in life. Things that are sad, yes, but they are what they are.
Still, sometimes I wonder … where are the dads? Are they interested? Do they know they have kids somewhere? In my case – in many cases – it’s the choice of the mother to keep the man out of her life. In other cases, the father knows he has a child, but doesn’t really want to be involved. But can those two simple poles possibly cover every man that ever spread his seed, or is there more grey to these questions?
While we’re on the subject, are there any statistics on the number of single dads? Because I suspect there are a lot more of them than we acknowledge. We used to say it was harder for a woman to abandon her kids, but with the rise of feminism, female independence, and divorce – even in this part if the world, I suspect there are more single dads than we think.
I was talking to a friend the other day, on the question of being a feminist that still wants to be loved, valued, and protected by a man. I told her that yes, I can pay my bills, and I do. But when I’m in a relationship, I still want my man to pay for our dates and buy me chocolate. She smiled and said something her husband had told her. Most men want to pay for dinner. It makes them feel important. But most men have a lot of demands on their money, so if you insist on being independent and paying for the movie, he won’t stop you.
That made me think. These men, these fathers of single-mother-kids. Is that what happened? Did they simply cave in when the mother of their child insisted on doing it on her own … or maybe doing it with another man? Did they have so many other things to deal with that they were willing to let go of their child? Will there be a time – many years from now – when they are settled and secure, when they’ve done some ‘growing up’, when they feel ready to be fathers and will come for their children?
♫ We are never getting back together ♫ Taylor Swift ♫