Background: If you’ve seen my previous post, you already know that I recently visited my hometown and caught up with some old friends. One of them was Suse, whom I’ve mentioned before. Suse and I have been friends since high school – in fact, she was my best friend from 12th grade onward. While we didn’t share everything about our lives with each other, she knew about some significant events in mine. During college, we didn’t keep in touch much, but when I returned home from the hostel we always made time for each other. Despite distance and lack of communication, our friendship has remained strong over the years; no matter how long it’s been since we last met, nothing seems to change between us.
This time, we met after a year or so. It was raining heavily outside, but I didn’t have much time to reschedule our plan. When it was time to go home, Suse said she would accompany me from the cafe where we were sitting to the bus stop. I had to take a bus home and her house was within walking distance from the cafe. As we walked down the road, a guy kept lingering behind us and continuously asking if we needed a ride. Suse turned back and firmly declined his offer while saying “No thanks!” In response, I jokingly said, “Can’t he see how romantic this walk is for us?” She replied by saying “I don’t care what people think of me…”
That was not what I expected her response to be. Girls do many things that might confuse others about their sexual orientation. Personally, I’ve never been sexually attracted to another girl, but I enjoy scrolling through girls’ Instagram posts. When Suse reached out and held my hand while we were walking, it felt normal. She held my hand until it was time to part ways.
“I have a habit of holding hand like this. 😅“
“Cool! 😃” , I said.
Then Suse told me about one of her experiences in this context. We had a mutual friend, Manali. Although I didn’t interact with her much, she was still my Facebook friend and I had seen many of her posts. Suse and Manali planned to meet at a book fair due to their shared interest in books. On that day, out of habit, Suse held Manali’s hand. “People will think we’re lesbians!” Manali responded and pulled away her hand. Suse didn’t say anything on that day but later asked me the question she didn’t ask Manali: why did she show great enthusiasm for supporting homosexuality on Facebook when she was so afraid of being perceived as gay in person?
“What if people really think we are lesbian?“, she asked.
“Why would it matter? Homosexuals are as normal as us. It doesn’t mean an insult to me.”
“But the way Manali reacted that day made me think she didn’t support it at all, which is quite opposite to what she pretends to be on social media. I later asked Manali if she still thought it would be shameful to be a lesbian referring to that incident. She said she had changed a lot, but I don’t believe her change was genuine in such a short time. It’s disappointing to see so many people who write eloquent words online while being hypocritical in real life and ignorant of their own statements.“, Suse finished in a serious tone.
Our discussion ended as we reached the bus stop, but my mind continued to think about it while watching the trees in the distance move backward from the bus.
[Edit: Revisiting this story after 6 years (2023) and I would like to share some fresh perspectives and life update. Suse and I still keep in touch. She now works at a bank, which is located in a rural area of Orissa. We met in 2022 for the last time, and she’s still cool to hang out with.
Now let’s talk about the double standards or hypocrisy of Manali. I don’t know her side of the story, but I want to consider a different perspective than Suse’s. Refusing to hold hands with a female friend or not wanting to appear as a lesbian does not necessarily mean someone is homophobic. If she had shown disgust or disapproval towards lesbians holding hands, that would be another issue altogether.
For example, I wouldn’t want to be mistaken for someone’s girlfriend when I’m actually single. Does that mean I hate relationships? Absolutely not. Supporting something doesn’t require being okay with misrepresentation.
So if you ask my views on Manali’s double standards on social media- I’d say, “The odds are 50-50!”]
That’s all for the day. Stay well guys! Much love xo
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