Last night I was chatting to my son on messenger long enough so that I let the conversation drift to past tense and abstract questions.
It was then that my friend Angela and her son Misho got mentioned. (At a certain point in time when the boys were young, we, the two single mothers, grew close).
"Strangely enough, when Misho appeared as gay mid teenage", I was telling my son, "Angela, cut off all of her past friends accusing them of contributing to Misho's "gayness". I personally was accused of encouraging him to enrol into NGDK (The National School for Ancient Languages and Cultures ), the best college in Bulgaria in my opinion, but the worst gay nest according to his mother. All them gay dead-languages speakers" I continued reminiscing. "Our friendship never recovered from these traumatic events.
To my surprise my son said "She was right, wasn't she? You were encouraging all gayness" and reminded me how once in France when his friend Sarah came to call for him (he must have been nine at the time) I allowed him to go out in my black shoes. "You know the one with the high heels. You leftist, always libertine! Always desperate to be modern!".
I felt rather funny when I heard that, as only recently Misho had accused me of being reactionary and homophobic. This happened after my report on Lukivmarsh in Sofia in February.
Other than being labelled both too liberal and libertine and too reactionary and homophobic by two representatives of my son's generation, lately, I have also been labelled a Lesbian!
Throughout my life I've been called all sorts of names depending on the geographical location. Thus, as a child, I was simultaneously called Iva Diva (Wild in Bulgarian) by family friends, The Daughter of the Bulgarian Wh*re at my All-Arab Iraqi school, or The Witch in my Bulgarian neighbourhood. Later on came The Gaza Strip while at Sofia Uni, Ibn Khaldun at my French Uni (mind you Ibn Battuta would have suited me better) and Arabian Iva (as distinct from English Eva) at Radio Bulgaria. And my last label Lesbian upon my arrival in London and more precisely in Soho.
Obtaining a new title at the age of 40 is quite an important event.
Therefore I paid attention and meditated:
Is it because of my messy hair? Is it because I chat up men but don't flirt? Is it because I don't compete with women? (99% of Eastern Women don't compete with each other. By Eastern, I mean Middle Eastern and Eastern European alike). Is it because the only person in this world I am envious of is a rather patriarchally dispositioned male friend of mine? (I never feel envy towards my female friends' achievements). Is it because I don't squeak? (I have never been thought of as someone who maintains an unnatural, high pitch)
Having long meditated on my new "Lesbian" title I've concluded that:
"Yes! I am gay! I am a gay man in a woman's body! How lucky!
I have this endless sea of heterosexual men waiting to be perverted!"
I would also remain undetected in the forseeable, bleakly orange future when the UK joins the Wild West!