I have recently been relaxing (which is code for just being plain lazy) in my hometown, Rustenburg during the summer holidays. The other night I met up with a few high school friends and we had some sushi and ended the evening with a nightcap at... the... Keg and Bull. Do not judge me. The options for a suitable or tasteful venues for socializing in this area are very limited. Nevertheless, as usual when accompanied with the right crowd the evening was more than enjoyable. I spent the whole night socializing and networking (as we social butterflies love to do), with a glass of the finest blend of boxed-wine (it was the Keg, they don’t exactly specialize in fine wines) in hand and met a couple of really interesting people. One individual whose company I enjoyed in particular was Lebo, a first year drama student at Tuks. Now Lebo is exactly what you would expect from a drama student. She is fun, loud, eccentric, funny, spontaneous and just plain mad. I loved her! It was karaoke night at the Keg and she had no hesitation, jumped up on stage, and rocked the crowd. We shared plenty of funny and embarrassing stories about varsity and in usual semi-tipsy character, we promised to be best friends as soon as varsity starts in the new semester.
The rest of the evening was very pleasant until Lebo’s best friend came back from the bar and said that a very large and pathetically drunk guy had just walked up to him and threatened to assault him for socializing with Lebo. The reason for his threat was that she is black (which was ironic as she wasn’t even THAT black, more creamier I’d say). Still we managed to offend this Neanderthal so much that he felt the need to warn us that he would harm us if we continued to talk to Lebo (which is impossible, she is a drama student and they love to talk). Now I have gone through this scenario a thousand times in my mind, but I still cannot grasp why a table, who might be more liberal (and therefore I personally think is more fun than any white-conservative-heterosexual table) would offend someone. If the gay men at our table were doing body shots off each other while wearing pink feather boas, and the sexy girls that accompanied us were flirting with married men and Lebo were doing traditional topless dances before slaughtering our dinner for the evening, I might have had some understanding about his reaction. However, we were not! I promise.
Now my time back home has been very educational and liberating. Just the other day I went jogging past my old High school, (both panting and sobbing while missing those carefree days) and realized that I am not the scared and fragile teenager I once was. I also became conscious that I had been avoiding Rustenburg ever since I finished High school. The reason was that I wanted to avoid just this exact small-town mentality that the ‘Keg-guy’ had proudly presented to us. Which is the the type of attitude I had experienced while growing up and learned to despised all these years. Every time I would come home to visit I chose to rather stay indoors with my family and avoid dealing with the memories and people that reminded me of the days I felt trapped and scared. As soon as I would leave to go back to varsity, I felt excited to be able to be myself despite what the people of Rustenburg or my past might think or say about my sexuality.
Like I said, those days are over. Five years have passed and I can both be home and myself without any fear of judgement. I have bigger things to worry about these days (like finishing my damn degree) and my past does not haunt me anymore. I have actually learnt to embrace my high school memories, old friends and Rustenburg (which is not as bad as I remembered). I have also learned that when people like the ‘Keg-guy’ chooses to share his foolish opinions and threats one should not take it personally or feel ashamed. I say we should carry on having an awesome time with our dazzling black bordering on creamy friends and continue to flirt the pants off the cute person *** next to you, who just happens to be the same sex as yourself. I think the best response to give to those narrow-minded fools (whom I will now always refer to as the ‘Keg-guys’) is first to get pissed at them, then you may pity them and finally carry on drinking your cheap wine. Ps. this was exactly what we did!