Bi (on condition)

I remember my first kiss vividly. It happened on a Sunday, soft RnB played out of the radio and we were lying on our backs talking about my first crush. My friend turned and asked me if I had ever kissed anyone before. I felt self-conscious for a second and shook my head.

She said she would teach me.

Being that she was my bestie nothing about that exchange felt abnormal. She had beautiful full lips, so soft I can still feel them from memory. There was nothing sexual about the kiss; it was just another one of our rites of passage. I used to tell myself that and actually believed it. Many years have passed and I find that I have a peculiar fascination with women in spite of my heterosexuality. I notice women.

It is not unnatural for women to be affectionate with one another.

I don’t know about other places but in Lesotho we eat, kiss on the lips, cuddle and get naked together as sisters, and I think it is an extraordinary quality because it honours ‘love’ as a verb. It was not strange for me to get my first kissing lesson from a girl because there are no restrictions on intimacy within the closely knit relationships among us. Perhaps my support for demonstrated meaningful connections is what allows me to think outside my comfort-zone and embrace the idea of same-sex relationships even if not for myself.

The different ways women express genuine and positive emotions toward each other are nothing short of wonderful.

I should give a little bit of background.

I have tomboyish tendencies that invariably give many people the impression that I might be lesbian. Stereotypes.

sexuality, stereotypes, holaafrica.

The assumption comes in handy when it disarms unsolicited suitors who have the courage to approach me, but it has put me in compromised situations a few times with lesbians or friends’ boyfriends. I get brutally “girlie” sometimes but I am mostly comfortable in baggy clothing, talking like a boy and being in male company.

This is coupled with the fact that since primary school my experience of the female species is that they tend to get conniving and pretentious just to get ahead and keeping my guard up has proven to be too much work sometimes. It is for that reason that I have strict boundaries as far as the women I interact with are concerned.

This has obviously affected the sort of woman I notice. Those who grab my attention are smart, sincere, grounded, playful, creative, feminine but not necessarily “girlie”. They are beautifully sculptured and aggressive yet shockingly soft. I observe them with respect and at times pride as well because they dare to break convention.

These women are reclusive and they pursue introspection despite the flaws it will expose, because they are masters of their own lives. Women who submit to the thoughts and opinions of others have to constantly wear masks, to the point where they assume those false images permanently and discard their true selves and feelings.

This is tragic. This is why whenever I come across a woman who follows her own spirit my faith in humanity is restored, and this admiration has translated into one or two girl-crushes over the years.

Would I pursue a woman though?  No. I fancy men.

However, if love was to happen between myself and a woman and all the necessary factors were in place, then I would flow. My conviction is that love is a communication between souls and knows neither gender nor sex.

Were my soul to find solace, understanding and friendship in a soul housed in a female body then so what? I will not pursue a woman with the intention to get romantically involved with her but I will actively pursue love, in its entirety. The world could do with more love and empathy as it is and being quixotic is not illegal yet as far as I know.

The environment I live in is not as intolerant toward queer-life as most are in Africa, but let us not forget it is not all-embracing.

Patriarchy as an anchor of our societal system still dictates that people either hide their sexuality and settle for relationships that fit what is considered normal or denounce homosexuality as works of the devil and a symptom of the damage done by western rule. Democratic rights aside I advocate for following one’s heart because I believe if people are content with whom they are the world would be a better place.

To me all romantic relationships are beautiful so long as they are based in genuine love, respect and kindness. Qualities that are generally classified as feminine. I attribute my “notice” of women to my pursuit of those qualities in my life and work and the fact that women, beguiling as they are, are amazing!

For more on exploring your sexuality read this piece on what it is like to bed a straight woman,  as well as this one on reasons a straight woman should not say she is about to go gay.

For coming out stories there is Ethiopian and Gay as well as a little longer, a plea for existence.

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