I can’t help but look. And look again.
Rhythm and swoon, their bodies meld, back and forth they sway, eyes locked on each other, hands waist level with fingers rippling like a sea of fish in an ocean of love.
Two men, friends, in Ethiopia.
In Western culture, we would label this display of affection as something other than a respectful acquaintance. But here in this land where mankind first existed, love is shared between men in a highly sensual, if not downright, erotic manner.
This, in the light of day, outside, in fresh open air.
For God’s sake.
The first time I saw this type of electricity pass between hard bodied and uber masculine men was in a dark bar, tucked away in the Piazza area of Addis Ababa. I watched in amazement as men beckoned one another to dance, their bodies aligned with the thump of bass that was spilling out of the too-close speakers. As two men conversed with dance, they each started out with patterned steps, tentative with each move, but always maintaining eye contact with each other, lest one might break the spell.
As they warmed up, in body and spirit, their movement became more erratic, but with more fever to stay on beat, and aligned with each other, legs woven. They are that close.
Do they have sex?! I blurt out, my USA need to label rising to my speech.
No. No, they don’t. They are friends.
Then how can they look at each other like that? Like THAT.
Once again, as often happens here, my words solicit a reaction of tilted-head amusement at my questions.
But, of course. Why wouldn’t men love one another? And show it? Isn’t this how we were born to relate?
I continue to watch with humble heart, feeling silly for asking such questions. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I see my Ethiopian friends watching me, intently, as I watch the swirl of energy in every direction.
You silly Western girl. Why does this fascinate you so?
I feel rhythm beckon me, and with tempered manner and the thrill of a new encounter, I take the hand of my friend.