Tuesday, January 29, 2019

A Hookup with the Nigerian with the Tattooed Penis

Bloomington, May 1983

When Viju started taking me to the bars, when we were in grad school in Bloomington in 1983, AIDS was practically unknown, there was little fear of being robbed or murdered, and the West Hollywood rule against casual sexual encounters did not exist.

We had casual sex.  Quick, practically anonymous.  We called it tricking.

I think it's because we were living in a world inundated by images of men and women together, being told a hundred times a day that gay people did not exist, or if they did, they were monsters, and this was our way of rebelling, of relishing the look, smell, and feel of the masculine.

The adults are lying -- only real is real.

We made the trick arrangements with little or no prior conversation, no screening, no introduction to friends (unless we happened to be at the bar together).  Sometimes only a first name, sometimes only a nod.

We followed him home without telling anyone where we were going.

We started the sexual encounter the moment we got in the door, with no coffee, no conversation, no making out on the couch.

When we finished, we threw on our clothes, scribbled down a phone number that might or might not be the right one, and left.  No cuddling, no spending the night.

We might return to the bar that same night to search for a new trick, and see him there, in search of a new trick. "Next!"

And we never tricked with the same guy twice.  "Been there, done that."

In retrospect, it was extremely dangerous, although nothing bad happened except a case of crabs.

And a feeling of emptiness afterwards, as if we had just eaten a big meal but were still hungry.

Whatever our desire for the masculine meant, it wasn't satisfied by tricking.

One night we saw an older black guy standing by the pool table, drinking a soda: in his 40s, taller than me, very muscular and very dark.  Since I was particularly interested in black guys, Viju said that I could "have him."

He introduced himself as Ollie with a slightly lilting accent.

"That's a very Swedish," I commented.

"Short for Olawale.  I'm from Nigeria."

We drank our sodas and talked.  Ollie was from the Yoruba people -- there are about 30 million in western Nigeria,  Many African-Americans are descended from them.

He attended university in Lagos, a big, sprawling city of 5 million, and moved to London, which he hated, then to Austin, Texas; Buffalo, New York, and Little Rock, Arkansas.  He had been in Bloomington for ten years.  He worked in the library, where he was in charge of the African Studies collection, and occasionally taught courses in Yoruba.

In five minutes, I got more biography from Ollie than from a dozen other hookups put together.

I wanted to know about the Yoruba language, of course, so he gave me a brief primer:   it's a tonal language, like Chinese.

All words have combinations of high, middle, or low tones that change their meanings:

igba (middle-low): rope
igba (middle-middle): two hundred
igba (low-high): egg
igba (low-middle): nonsense

I almost forgot about the hookup.  But a grope and a kiss reminded me.

We said good night to Viju, and drove back to Ollie's house, in an older neighborhood a few blocks north of the campus.  The living room was painted red, with African tapestries and masks on the walls.

"Would you like to eat?" Ollie asked.  "In Nigeria it is very impolite to have a guest in your house without offering food.  I have some fried plantains -- they come from a special store in Indianapolis -- and vanilla ice cream."

We ate our plantains and ice cream while I leafed through his coffee table book on African art, and looked at the wide, thick, black bookcases filled to overflowing with books on ceremonial magic, paganism, the occult, ghosts, the paranormal, voodoo, werewolves -- it was like a precursor to the Bodhi Tree, the New Age bookstore I would visit later in West Hollywood.

"Are you a pagan?" I asked.  "I knew a male witch in Rock Island."

"I've studied every magical path, but my heritage is the Yoruba religion."

According to the Yoruba, the Creator God Olorun is unknowable, so we revere his emanations, the 400 or so orishas: Ogun, Shango, Eshu.  They are very beautiful, many appearing as muscular, nude men, each with his distinct personality.  Some are benevolent and eager to assist the humans who offer them the proper respect.

Others are -- well, not evil, exactly, but not terribly concerned with human affairs, and likely to get cranky if importuned.

"My Orisha is Erinle, the patron of gay people.  He breaks the boundaries of gender, and has relationships with men.  He walks hand in hand with his lover. Ochosi.  He's also the patron of physicians and fishermen.  Come, I'll summon him to bless our meeting."

He brought me into the bedroom, which had an enormous bed with a black conforter, a black-wood dresser, and a small table covered with African statues, silk cloths, beads, seashells, candles, a bottle of wine, and some incongruous items, like a can of sardines, a stethoscope, and a statue of Superman.

"Erinle likes fishing," Ollie explained.  "He blesses his disciples who eat fish.  And the stethoscope --he's the patron of physicians, right?"

"And the statue of Superman?"

"He's gay.  I thought he would find the muscles.appealing."

We took off our clothes and sat crosslegged before the altar.  Ollie lit one of the candles, bathing the room in eerie red light.  He poured a little of the wine into a cup, put it on the can of sardines, and began praying in Yoruba.

Later he told me that the words were "Fun mi agbara," give me power, a prayer for sexual potency.

He held out his penis for me to touch.  It was long and thick, with strange scarification: bumps all around the head.

"The penis is sacred to Erinle, too," Ollie said with a grin.

We moved to the bed.


Ollie lay atop me, clamped his mouth on mine, and inserted his penis between my legs.  Several other positions followed, but what I will remember forever is Ollie's face above mine as he thrusts.  A broad open-mouthed grin.  His forehead beaded with sweat.  His eyes white with passion.

Afterwards we showered, and I spent the night.

We saw each other in the bar occasionally after that, but we didn't meet again.

But I learned something important.

If we go out searching for the archetype of masculinity, pure physique and penis, we can never be satisfied.  That is unknown and unknowable.  We must look for orishas, individual emanations of the divine, each with his own unique history, beliefs, and personality.

In other words, talk to the guy first, no matter how big he is beneath the belt.

See also: The 20 Most Beautiful Men in the World; and Encounters in the Darkroom of an American Gay Bar


  1. mouth watering very tasty looking men and cocks; gorgeous looking men;

  2. Wow! As teen, I had a vision just like the picture of Erinle.

    1. One would figure the god of manhood was into sex with other dudes. No way is such a deity 100% straight.

  3. For some reason black guys like me and are none-too-subtle about it. (Guy pulls over in broad daylight and asks "Do you suck dick?" Leave the library, cross the street, and "Are you into dudes?") I've never been with a Nigerian, though. (When I've been in Africa, it's always been strictly professional. Like, dude in the men's room clearly fascinated by my foreskin, but I didn't do anything partially because homosexuality was a crime in that country.)



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