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Leviticus, Awkward Moments, and Fire Greens

March 15, 2010

After reading this and discussing it with the author, Dash was reminded of an interesting character from my time at Florida A&M University. If your time in Tally was recent, and your paths crossed with this man I doubt that it was possible for you to forget the guy. He may have been the world’s most effeminate straight man. Well his straightness was shaky at best, as he was a reformed homosexual. He was friendly with everyone, even the perpetually angry “don’t talk to me” angry mug wearing Dash, and would often chat me up while we were both waiting on the bus to go to school. He would talk to me about his salvation, horrible feminine punk roommates, and ways for me to stay out of trouble and baby free. If he saw me, no matter how far away I was from, he would shout “hi friend” loud enough to be heard for everyone to me. I’d throw up a deuce, and keep it moving.

One Sunday I was walking across the street to the grocery store, and he stopped me and struck up a conversation. Being a Southerner, a semi-liberal, and the brother of an out woman, I felt duty-bound to be nice to gay people. No matter how awkward the interaction was/is.  He offered me a plate, and though I still wanted to pass, the fact that he laid it out in the manner that Lorretta Devine did it for Greggory Hines in “Waiting to Exhale” gave me hunger-based pause. “I got some baked chicken, greens, cornbread, fried corn, macaroni and cheese, and chocolate cake. You are more than welcome to a plate. Hell eat AND take one home.” I had two thoughts, “if only I was not too cheap to buy something when we were at IHOP. I would not be crossing the street in a hobo ensemble to go to Winn Dixie. Why did I go Jamell.”  The second thought was: Nigga this is free food. And since I was headed to the grocery store, in a comically disheveled manner, I was still in my club clothes from the night before, well some of them. I had on the button up, the shoes and socks, my pants had been ditched, and in their place I was wearing basketball shorts. I could not lie and decided that I did not want to.  I was hungry. “Let’s see what this cat’s chef game is like.”

Well, that nigga could cook. The greens were made with smoke turkey necks and also had little green chilies in them. The baked chicken was a festival of flavor. I asked for his recipe, even looked for clues to it when he went to the bathroom, but he refused to give up his recipe. His cornbread was sweet, but not overwhelming. I think I tasted some honey in it. His mac and cheese was not my mama’s, but it was never matched by anyone else who served me the dish while I was in Tally. The weakest dish was the fried corn, which could have been spicier, but it was free so…

Any how let me address the point of this post which was not really the bible quoting, feminine punk hating, Emeril Lagasse, but why I was hesitant to accept his offer of a meal. I admittedly was scared. Not of him, but being seen with him, and the possibility of being branded with the scarlet letters D and L. There is nothing worse for a black man’s love life, than to have his straightness questioned by anyone. Magic Johnson is walking around with HIV, and harbors all kinds of ill will towards Isiah Thomas for questioning his sexuality. A single whisper, like the flapping of a butterfly’s wings, can lead to a storm that completely devastates a man’s life, and in some cases the lives of his crew. Accepting his meal, could have easily made it tough for my peeps as well.  As birds of a feather generally flock together, or at least that is how the saying goes. It is so unfortunate that hype, distrust, bigotry, and self-esteem issues  force brothers to have to think thrice about who they extend basic human courtesy to.

Note: I may or may not have tried to holler at Loretta Devine at the Birmingham International Airport when I was 11. I say may because I am not sure this happened, but I have been told this happened by a person who has a habit of making up false memories that involve me. Also I don’t really know why Loretta would have been at BIA in 1996 at the height of her career.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 7, 2010 5:26 am

    Hell, it doesnt just happen to the “brothers”, chicks get hit with it too! I have never been a homophobe. Ever. Hell, I like different and unique, so when I got to college, I made friends from all walks of life. But, as a Black person on a predominately white campus, there were whispers in the Black community that I was gay because of the dorm I lived in and the gay friends I had.

    Now Im older, still treasuring diversity in my life, and have become somewhat of a fag hag. And Im STILL being judged by the company I keep. Yes, I love house music, voguing, kee-keeying with the faggies, and hanging with the lezzies, but that doesnt mean I wanna lick puss!

    Plus, sounds like dude can cook is ass off! Shit, making me hungry reading this all late at night nshit. However, I am mad at you for wearing that outfit, lol. I never knew men did the “walk of shame”.

    L

  2. Lamar Doom permalink
    July 7, 2010 12:21 pm

    I’m always surprised with how overwhelmingly (and blatently) homophobic american black men are. Don’t get me wrong, homophobia is epidemic across all races, it just feels like blacks were getting openly shit on by society just 50 years ago and it’s hard to believe they’d be so thoughtless about openly shitting on another group today.

    I think you’re probably overly paranoid about what people will think but it was an honest and interesting insight into your social fears. You’re an enlightened dude and I’m glad you enjoyed the grub.

    • July 7, 2010 2:53 pm

      Eh it should not really be surprising when you factor in how important God and machismo are to American Blacks.

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