Did I listen?
I was hardly settled back in the USA after a welcomed vacation in the tropics, Jamaica, when circumstances had me rushing yet again. Besides that, I had no clue that going back so quickly would put me in the path of some peculiar fowls at a relative’s home. I almost ran out of breath counting the fowls as I peered into their coop. They all looked like lovely red hens and were extremely noisy. Caw- caw they went. Without any doubt I quickly identified their sound as the one I used to hear as a child. They were “calling,” an indication that they would soon lay eggs, so many that my relative would collect more than one bucket each day. This was a welcome benefit as she tested another facet of her agricultural skills. However, amidst all the gloating there was one concern after I took stock of the fowls again and again and noticed that some were mounting one another. How on earth is this possible when they all look like hens? Not even one had fit the description of a rooster. I then allowed my mind to go wild. The thought that some fraudsters were in the coop with those hens did not elude me. It’s possible that a covert operation was engaged. After a few minutes of wild thoughts, I busted out laughing at the silliness that resulted.
Then again, I will concur that sometimes there is a bit of soberness in wild thoughts which is more fetching than what is expected of the real ones. I think about choices when I consider the hassle those fowls would have gone through if they had to contend with the roosters. It is no secret that roosters indulge in rough sex. At any given time a rooster will hop on the back of a hen and then ride her furiously, lasting only a jiffy. If this is seen as a struggle for the hen, then by all means it’s a worthwhile one, bringing new life. Sometimes we are bound by our duties or where duty calls we should obey regardless of the journey. Given this view, I decided to approach my relative, hoping that she would educate me about the gender of her caged fowls. First, I practiced for several minutes, in my head, the following question that I would pose to my relative: How can you tell the difference between the roosters and the hens that are in the coop? Eventually the time arrived for me to tender my question so I made my move, ending up in my relative’s kitchen where she was preparing breakfast. I cleared my throat to grab her attention. She looked up. I stared at her. “Are the fowls in your coop gay?” I asked. She busted out laughing while I stood still with my mouth agape, shocked by my own question. It was posed wrongly. My relative laughed uncontrollably for about a minute and then spoke. “Why? Dem luk gay to yuh?” she asked. “To tell the truth I don’t even know how gay look,” I responded. “But is you first ask the question about gay,” she countered. I looked up at the ceiling, back at her and then commented. “From my observation I am only able to tell you that all those fowls in the coop look like hens to me. Not only that, the question I posed to you wasn’t the one I had in mind. It should have been, “How can you tell the difference between the roosters and the hens that are in the coop? However, for reasons beyond me, it didn’t come out that way.” I explained. My relative smiled. She rubbed her forehead for information. “I have a feeling that a few roosters are in the coop,” she reported. I giggled. It was obvious that she too did not know much about the gender of the fowls that she owned.
With that in mind, I left Jamaica thinking about the many disguises, untruths, uncertainties, and twists and turns there are in life; likewise the perverse behavior of nature and most importantly the speculation and hostility towards same-sex relationships. The stance taken against it has been around for eons. Is this true? Well, on September 6, 2012, I attended a funeral of a childhood friend, in Connecticut, USA where there was more cheerfulness than mourning as all the funeral- goers gathered at a recreation center for the repast. While there, I mixed and mingled with strangers, and chatted and laughed with friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in as much as fifty years. As a matter of fact, we had so much fun that friends and family members of the deceased referred to the occasion as a reunion instead of a funeral. Most interestingly, though, as we told childhood stories which had occurred in Jamaica; one of my childhood friends, Maryam (not her real name), reminded me of the day when she and I had gotten married. We were eight years of age and attending Primary School. The idea of having a wedding during one of our lunch hours came about from us observing the rate at which Wednesday weddings were taking place in our village at the time.
On the day of the wedding, which of course happened on a Wednesday, Maryam and I and a few friends had gathered wild flowers which we used to decorate the venue, an area on the highest point of our school’s playground. The wedding cake was Bulla Cake, a small loaf which is flat and round and is made of flour, molasses, vanilla essence, and baking soda. A bottle of aerated water, cola champagne, was chosen as the wine. Our officiating minister, guests and bridal party were our classmates, all girls. We enjoyed ourselves to the point where we lost track of the time, and in doing so we returned to our class a few minutes late. Our teacher was waiting at the classroom door with her strap in hand. She overlooked my classmates but not Maryam and me. She pulled us aside and beat us thoroughly, leaving us with welts on our arms and legs. Obviously our behavior was too grown. To compound things, each stroke from her belt was punctuated with her saying, “You must learn to behave yourselves! This is slackness! Two pot covers cannot shut!” It seemed as if our teacher had lost her mind because Maryam and I didn’t have any pot covers at our pretend wedding. Her anger steered her to report my supposedly bad behavior to my parents which warranted me another whipping that left me with more welts on my arms and legs.
As Maryam and I told our story to our dumbstruck, amused and alert audience, Maryam tried to recall which one of us was the husband but neither of us could remember. We only remembered the fun we had at our pretend wedding, the whipping from our teacher and the comment she made as she performed. Her comment: Two pot covers cannot shut, surfaced again years later, in my late teens, during a quarrel between two women who were selling mangoes at a local market. Throughout the course of their hubbub which drew a large crowd of excited people, I gathered that it wasn’t normal behavior for two women to be in an intimate relationship let alone marriage. Hence, the reason our teacher had shown concern was that Maryam and I would turn out to be lesbians or “sodomites” as they were referred to back in the day based on the bible story of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Is sexual orientation more important than a job well-done? Both women at the market were striving to make a living for their families yet one was criticized for being a lesbian. This case brings me back to the fowls that I had seen at my relative’s home in Jamaica. They were busy laying eggs yet their gender was under examination. These views awaken the mind. Besides a well-known source, society dictates that an intimate relationship constitutes a male and a female. How concrete is this? Let’s think for a moment about the heterosexual couples we come across daily, married and unmarried. Are they living a lie, acting as frauds so as to live up to the standards already established? Same-sex relationships draw all shades of people yet the people involved in these relationships have been ridiculed and ostracized publicly on numerous occasions. In light of this, should this group of people be compared to the “back of the bus” people? Aha! Pardon the audacity. This shows that not a soul knows the depth of a journey until he or she has trod that path. I pause to take a deep breath and reflect on an old saying: Is not every ting gud fi eat gud fi tawk. Is it then befitting to say that people, especially those who are involved in same-sex relationships, often come under scrutiny because they disclose too much of their personal business?
As we look at same-sex relationships, it is obvious that the wheels of our society have ejected mixed arguments and opinions based on equal rights, emotion and interpretation. Faith is usually one of the strongest ingredients in the arguments. Can this ever go away? Ouch! The answer is in turmoil. Sometimes it’s best to go to the source when seeking answers to some of our concerns and controversial topics such as same-sex relationships. Opportunity lent itself to me one day and I took the privilege to ask one of my same-sex friends some personal questions. I went to a local eatery where I met my friend and sat at a table with a pencil and notebook in hand as if I was a real sex therapist or psychologist. “So, tell me, how you feel about this same-sex relationship. How did it come about? Were you born that way?” I asked all at once. Maybe, I was born that way because I was in a heterosexual relationship before and my feelings for that person was as dead as a door nail, was the reply. “Oh”, I said, sitting up straight. “Do you get that loving lovey-dovey feeling, and kiss up and all of that in this current relationship?” The reply was a resounding yes. “So, tell me, when you do “the thing” do you come, climax, spent or whatever you want to call it?” Of course, was the reply. “Isn’t that something”, I said, coughing to hide my amazement. My friend saw the surprise look on my face and then said, “So, what happen, you didn’t expect that to take place. I have feelings and blood course through me just like the straight people”. I shifted a little bit in my seat, not expecting such a delivery from my friend. “Well, that sounds reasonable to me because I have heard about many heterosexual couples who have never experienced orgasm no matter how they get poked and touched and kissed”, I revealed, ending our layman therapy session.
In summing up is it reasonable to say that a guaranteed orgasm is the basis for a good relationship. Or, does it go beyond that. Also, should belief override emotion? Some heterosexual couples in the throes of a romantic maneuver or sexual passion will indulge in the same sexual acts being committed by same-sex couples and see themselves as normal because they are involved with the opposite sex. If this is a legitimate measure of homosexual behavior and the acts are being committed by heterosexuals then why throw stones.
Tah-tah! Tan ah si nuh spwile noh dance. A interference mash it up. (Leave people’s business alone)
Grace Dunkley-Asphall, Copyright © 2012