This piece is about gay people. And straight people who do gay things. Students have heard whispers and rumours about the antics that occur in Stellenbosch behind closed doors, or shall I say in closets.
After conducting a few interviews with some of Stellies’ finest men, I came to the discovery that the BUG phenomenon is widespread in the town. And by bug, I mean Bisexual Until Graduation.
It became clear five minutes into the first interview that some of Stellenbosch’s men’s residences are platforms of experimentation for some young men. Apparently, the phrase ‘it’s not gay if we don’t kiss’ is common after two men, whom are regarded as straight amongst their peers, partake in coitus and wish to maintain their reputation as purely straight men.
What was interesting, and comforting to hear, is that when talking to men who identified as homosexuals, they commented on the inclusivity of men’s residences. Perhaps Western-liberalism has taken her roots in the historically patriarchal society of Stellenbosch.
The dark cloud of conservatism and exclusivity that Stellenbosch has been reputable for since her establishment has a few rays of sunshine shining through. With the occasional rainbow, too. However, there are still stigmas. The dominating belief is that your sexual orientation defines who you are; therefore, a lot of these guys will only experiment with other straight men, so to avoid any attention.
There are several reasons why someone would want to stay in “the closet”.
While there has been a momentous shift towards gay pride in Western societies over the past fifty years, there are still reasons that discourage some of these men from feeling completely comfortable with their sexual preference. These range from “social pressures” to having old-school “traditional” parents with “out-dated beliefs”.
This belief has discouraged several men from coming out of the closet and resulted in several incognito scandals. One of my interviewees remarked at how one of his old flames would insist that their going ‘heels to Jesus’ was just a bit of fun between two bros and that their phutzing was straight business, wishing to maintain a straight reputation amongst his peers.
Perhaps we ought to consider the concept that labelling isn’t as important as we perceive it to be. Labels and group identity politics have the potential to segregate one another. Another interviewee spoke in depth about how “labelling yourself can be a restriction’’ and how these labels have impeded the cause for sexual freedom.
Another explained how the gay sex culture makes fidelity rather inconvenient. The mobile app Grindr has revolutionised hook-up culture. For those of you who don’t know, Grindr is gay Tinder. It matches men up with one another for the explicit purpose of playing ‘Mr. Wobbly hides his helmet’.
He stated that “within 10 minutes, I could download the app and be having sex”. Another interviewee described “first base as anal and fourth base as getting to know each other”. Turns out that the gay community is more libertine than the straight community.
Grindr also provides a platform for guys wishing to be discreet and wanting to experiment. Another interviewee, an ex-Simonsberg boy, remarked on how many guys that were Grindr users were within the parameters of the residence (like Tinder, Grindr uses the location of the user).
Furthermore, that this occurred in all the male residences. Grindr is mainly anonymous, so accounts may not have identification photos, instead they’ll have descriptions of the guy behind the profile so you can choose depending on what you’re into; from twinks to daddys etc.
The whole thing is historically taboo, and according to one interviewee, that’s one of the most powerful fuels of sexual experimentation. There you have it. That’s alittle insight to the thriving gaycommunity of Stellenbosch.