Ari readily admits that he is easily urged to love and passion by his heart: “First by my heart, then my cock then my brain is last,” he said laughing.Such impulses lead him to slippery feelings for other men, with shallow judgments and intense desires.Seeking a reliable stable relationship with a foreigner is always a risky affair for any native LGBT Tunisian since the expat is very likely to leave after a period of time; most are on professional assignments to Tunisia (from Europe) and must return when they are reassigned or become homesick or lose their job.
Part of his ‘curse’ is being gay and privileged in a ‘third-world’ conservative Muslim country.
(French, along with Arabic, is the major language here; sophisticated Tunisians prefer to speak French.) Ari talks about himself expressively and pensively; restless and eager to tell his story of life from an early age (before 10) when he had his first carnal experience at the hands of a cousin, which Ari at first resisted then quickly liked after a few times. If I wasn’t gay I think I would not have felt the pleasure of it.” This went on until he was ten or eleven. I didn’t stay with him.” The doctor then thought Ari was depressed and gave him Prozac but it made him feel sleepy and buzzed. By the time he was twelve, in 2004, he was fully aware of what homosexuality is.
When he finally told his mother she sent him to a psychiatrist who said he could cure him but only if he really wanted to change. The wide world of LGBT life is available to anyone with a computer.
His major complaint is having to hide his truth and feeling negatively judged by society.
“Guys talk about girls all the time and are frustrated because society says no sex before marriage.
He is from a well to-do family who know he is gay and are accepting of him although it’s mostly dealt with by silence: don’t-ask-don’t-tell. All his friends know he is gay and he has no difficulty finding dates when he’s not putting long hours in at school.