April Fool’s Day: Stay Away From These Six Online Dating Liars!

 

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It’s April Fool’s Day.

Which means people all over the world are fooling their friends and family with standard pranks and jokes you could probably buy in a DIY kit. While it’s one thing to get fooled by the usual ‘replace-toothpaste-with-antiseptic-cream’ trick, it’s a whole new world of pain when you get catfished by someone on the dating app of your choice.

Want to know how to sort out the prankster from a potential romance? Well, here are six men that you can swerve around and ignore this April Fool’s Day:

The Busybody

The busybody is perfect on paper. He’s ambitious, passionate about work and so disciplined, he could be the vice principal at your school.

But that’s where the perfection ends. You might think the Busybody is a Post-It pumping man of God, but he’s really not. One second he’s feeding you strawberry tarts, and the very next, he’s so busy he needs a clone just to reply to your texts. The busybody is a man of multiple engagements, only because he’s engaged with multiple men at the same time.

He’s always occupied with something slightly more important – a friend’s birthday. An office conference. His sister’s giving birth. His dog is sick. His sister’s giving birth again. But at the end of the day, when you check his daily planner (and don’t even deny that you will), you’ll see that it’s emptier than his soul.

The Celebrity

With his movie star looks, manicured beard and twinkling eyes that deserve their own spot in Hollywood’s Walk Of Fame, the Celebrity looks like Fawad Khan. In fact, if his profile picture is to believed, it could be Fawad Khan.

Unfortunately, it isn’t and this is not your personal rom-com. For every five genuine profiles on Tinder, the celebrity rears his (very pretty, but obviously fake) head with a billboard-worthy face and a sparkling set of teeth that unfortunately don’t belong to him. How do you spot him? The Celebrity hides behind film star silhouettes, stock photos, or the Google search result for ‘Hot Men, Indian’. Three lines into a conversation, the curtain calls and your blockbuster movie fades to black.

You never see him again, because he’s out of the theatres (and your thoughts).

The Nun

The Nun will tell you that he doesn’t want to have sex with you, because he wants to connect ‘emotionally’ – that’s short for ‘he wants to get to know you before he gets to know the colour of your underwear’. You believe him, and sip freely on your fourth glass of wine.

The Nun is beautiful, and in a grid of half-naked torsos and unsolicited dick pics, he helps you see the light. You gush at his stories, laugh at his jokes and get turned on by his endearing sense of humour – before you know it, you are hopelessly falling in love (and into his bed).

Time for a quick news flash about Nuns. Chances are, if ‘I don’t want to have sex on the first date’ ever comes up in conversation, they’ve already plotted how to get you back to theirs, what they’ll do to you (or have you do to them), and how long they’ll give it before they very politely ask you to book your Uber ride back home.

And those scabby knees?

He’s been on the confession stand.

At the doctor’s clinic.

The Grown Up

The Grown Up chugs out inspirational quotes like a Pinterest board. He says he’s tired of being up on the ferris wheel of fuckboys, and is now looking for something ‘real and mature’. He makes the Sapiosexual look like a child. You giggle, and ask him what he’s looking for?

He’s done playing the game, he tells you, because he’s now looking for the ‘One’ (which is convenient, because ‘you just waltzed into his life as if it were a Christmas miracle’). He’s attentive, always puts you first and is great with comforting hugs (and more) when you need one. He’s everything you could ever want in a man.

Until that moment when you end things with him, and he sends you thirty-three vicious (and obviously alcohol-induced) text messages in a row.

More than half of them have typos.

The Supermodel

The Supermodel muddles up his vital stats like I muddle up my Income Tax returns (but only one of us is successful). On his profile, the Supermodel has it all. Washboard abs that you can iron your clothes on. A jawline that you can cut toast with. Cheekbones that are so high, they could have snorted five lines of cocaine. He walks the runway for breakfast.

But I’ll tell you something. He’s the one who adds a couple of inches to his height, knocks off a couple of pounds from his weight, and multiples your body issues overnight. Whether he’s used a picture that was taken back when Orkut was still relevant, or added an assortment of filters that rakes up Instagram hearts by the dozen, the Supermodel’s body type will always be the biggest lie in the online dating world.

It’s high time we accept the harsh truth, and move on to the next profile.

The Hustler

The Hustler is the Ari Gold of the online dating world. With his slick hair and slicker attitude, the Hustler is someone who knows everybody who is an anybody. He regales you with anecdotes he shared with a top musician, casually references having brunch with a rich socialite wife, posts regular Instagram photos with nubile models, and jokes about that ‘one time’ he made an A-lister snort with his sense of humour.

But remember one thing: a date who tries to impress you with all his influential friends (and their gossip) is full of shit – people who hang out with stars never talk about it until they know you or trust you enough. Chances are he’s only telling you about exclusive tables and VIP tickets because he wants a backstage pass to your bedroom. You should tell him that his all-access pass isn’t valid, and that the velvet rope is staying exactly where it is.

Tightly bound by your chastity belt.

 

The Return of Fantastic Men and Where (Not) to Find Them

 

Return of Fantastic Men

 

Everyone knows that there’s no dearth of wrong men in the world.

You’d (chest) bump into him at the gym, lock shopping carts (and eyes) at the gourmet supermarket, or parallel park on a bench at the neighborhood park — he’s everywhere. And yet, the only place he shouldn’t be?

Your life.

Thankfully, while you already know of a few places to skip, here are a few others that you need to avoid if you want to avoid meeting the biggest regret of your life:

1. Your local gay pub

Your local Friday night pad might seem like the ideal place to pick up some loving, but it’s probably a good idea to pick up the cheque instead.

Think about it. This is the same place where you played tonsil hockey with the bartender. Dirty-danced with the Spanish expat who never called back. Did seven shots at the bar before ultimately passing out on the manager’s chair. Cried into a stranger’s breast pocket over a bad breakup (before ultimately going back home with him.)

To look for your future plus one at the same place where you vaguely recall puking the contents of your vodka-lined stomach (in the ladies bathroom, nonetheless) can leave a bad taste (pun intended) in your mouth. But how do you pass the chance for a do-over, when you are packed like testosterone-filled sardines in such a tight space (with men in even tighter clothes)?

Chances are the suburban Greek God you are locking eyes with at the bar, has already locked eyes (and more) with half the crowd on the dance floor — and while he might grind with you for two whole dance numbers (including a slow Beyoncé track), there’s something you should know.

Do you see that meandering line of men that you assumed was the queue for the men’s washroom? That’s actually a string of hopefuls just waiting for you to be done (and done with) so that they get their chance with Prince Charming-me-out-of-my-pants-already.

That is why it’s better not to catch feelings; because there’s a high chance you might catch syphilis instead. Now down your martini, and down your hopes of finding love here.

Let’s just go back home.

2. The therapist

You are here for your 4 pm appointment.

There, as you flip through trashy magazine after trashy magazine, (Is Beyoncé pregnant with twins? Who is Selena Gomez dating NOW? Justin Beiber leaves Instagram! SENSATIONAL!) He walks in, a five o’ clock stubble and piercing brown eyes that have dark stories to tell — just as he will, on the couch in 20 minutes.

Finding a date at the therapist’s seems like a fair deal – why not heal your heart while you heal yourself? But remember, the waiting room is a lot of things, but it is not a place to flirt. It’s the airlock between the chaotic outside world and the sanctuary of your therapist’s office — you come here to solve your problems, not create potentially new ones.

And while the tall dark stranger across the Marie Claire’s and Cosmopolitans looks like a great catch, the only chance you have of working things out with him is if the two of you go on a double date with your inner demons.

Well, he might look like a troubled soul, and you’ve always had a prepubescent fantasy of making over (or making out with) a bad boy — so why let your pimply 15-year-old self’s dreams go waste? Maybe you can befriend him over therapeutic tea and ‘let’s-just-settle’ scones?

Unfortunately you can’t bond over Rorschach diagrams — what if he sees a skull in the inkblots that you see a butterfly in? It’s sad, but his ENTP is no match for your INFJ.

Unless you want the premise of your love story to be the poignant tale of how you mixed up your antidepressants with his, no story that begins at the therapist’s office has a happy ending. You should probably give the Fawad Khan-lookalike a pass, because if you don’t, you are just going to spend more hours (and more of your heard-earned cash) on the therapist’s couch wondering where it all went wrong. Why don’t you just head online?

3. Your ex’s home.

 Stop.

Don’t do it.

Trying to find love back in the arms of the (mostly toxic) ex is like trying to find a clean restroom on the highway — there’s a very, very low chance you’ll be happy with what you find, and a very, very high chance you might end up with a bad case of chlamydia.

Sure, you might find yourself at his doorstep with a tub of his favourite ice-cream or a bottle of expensive wine as a peace offering, but don’t forget that the last time this happened, the only thing that got served was you.

See, there’s no magical end to this story wherein, after 15 break-up-to-make-ups, you go over to your ex’s apartment (in the rain, of course) and suddenly have a Nicholas Sparks-esque reuniting moment in their lobby while you tell each other all of the things you did wrong and lick tears off each other’s faces. No. You’re just going to break up again. We like going back to the ex, because it’s familiar and easy. But you cannot get swayed by these cheap ideals because it is ultimately unfulfilling, and if it didn’t work the first ten times, it won’t work now.

Instead, why don’t you go have a look here?

#GalentinesDay: 20 Women Tell Us Why They Love Their Gay Best Friend

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Valentine’s week is over, and if you are not sweeping the empty chocolate wrappers and confetti off the floor, you are probably dusting off the pieces of your lonely, broken heart (in which case you must go read the Guysexual’s guide to every heartbreaker in the world). What can I say; it’s a tough world.

If you are a single gay man such as myself, how do you find love? More importantly, how do you find love that cannot be bought in a bottle, or prescribed over-the-counter?

That’s where #GalentinesDay comes in — it celebrates the truest, most fairytale form of love there is — the love between a gay man and his girlfriend(s). After all, every one knows that the Girlfriend is the essential crown of every gay man’s crew, and the love they share is as real as Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker’s online feud. So why not celebrate that instead?

This Valentine’s Day, I decided to ask 20 different women what the gay men in their lives meant to them. The answers poured in through texts, emails and voice notes. One even sent a rap.

Here’s what the goddesses had to say:

 

Having a gay best friend has been one of the most empowering relationships I’ve ever had. Whether it’s been about shedding my insecurities, approvals I’ve needed for the length of my skirts or the boys that I date, or more importantly, conversations which have helped me decide which course I should study moving forward, the decisions made by my friend have always been spot on.

Just like him.

And when you’ve got razor sharp wit on a principled, loyal friend who’s always up for fun, who would want more?

PS: Did I mention he’s also handsome?

— Prakritee Yonzon, Law professor

What does having a gay man as your best friend do to your life?

Firstly, you get answers to ALL your homocurious questions (with the right amount of sass, of course). Plus, you get to have a partner-in-crime for all your voyeuristic ventures. Because, here’s the best thing about Galentine’s Day: with them, there’s no such thing as judging (or being judged). If THAT doesn’t make your life easier, there’s isn’t much scope for anything else to do so. Here, there’s never a monochrome scare; because having a gay best friend means having limitless colour in your life.

And we could all do with some colour in our life.

— Reema Mukherjee, journalist

One word.

Everything.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

— Richa Raut, architect

In a world where romantic love is celebrated and revered above all else, there exists this bond of platonic love between friends, which finds its best representation between a girl and her gay best friend!

He is the guy who gets rip roaring drunk with you at brunch, hits on the same boys as you do, encourages you to unleash your inner Goddess, and battles the hangover with you the very next day. He is the guy who is always a phone call away. He gives you pointers on sex. He tells you when you’re being a b*tch and when you’ve got to be a b*tch. He binge eats ice cream with you. He isn’t afraid to tell you the outfit makes you look fat/desperate/old. He sings along to Beyoncé with you. He lets you blast Adele when you need it. He reads the same books, and likes the same cocktails. He makes you laugh and he makes you shake your head with exasperation.

In short, he is the brother who is the soul sister you never knew you needed before you met him.  He makes you find space in your life for him because you’d be crazy not to want him around.  If I could sum up all of this in one sentence?

He is the realest and truest form of love.

— Ramya Dharmaraaj, lawyer

 Love is four-letter word that can be interpreted and used in so many different ways. But for me, each time someone says the word ‘love’, I can only picture a few people in front of my eyes.  My friend here is one of my lifelines.

I’ve had a number of straight guy friends and girlfriends but none can compare to this man. He comes up with unadulterated, impartial advice — something that you can trust even with seven blindfolds on. I bet God smiled when he made this beautiful human being and whispered chants as he poured in the purest of a soul into his ears. He made me believe in platonic love and having no expectations out of a bond. A bond of pure love, a friendship that comes with a smile each time he utters a word.  I am not exaggerating when I say that I’d trade all my straight friends for this one. As long as promises me that he’ll always be there.

Just like he always has been.

— Akriti Sheth, artist

The only thing that changed when I found out that my handsome friend was gay was the slightest crushing of my heart, and that’s only because it was unfair that I would never be able to date such an amazing soul.

It’s endearing to find someone who gets excited about my life more than I do — which is why I think he’s my official power source, on bad days and otherwise.

He lights me up. Pun intended.

— Komal Balani, brand strategist

Having a gay best friend is basically discovering a level of comfort you didn’t know could exist — they aren’t just the best fun you’ll ever have, they will be close to you in a way nobody else can even touch.

And that’s as uplifting as it can be.

— Saumyaa Vohra, editor

 I love my friend for his sass and honesty, and his unbridled positivity in life, a combination that most men lack — especially cute men such as him. Having him as a friend in my life is like a three-tier chocolate cake — because I’d never be able to have enough of him.

Only, his sexual orientation is the icing on top!

— Sakshi, photographer

First things first, I’m a realist. Ok Iggy Azalea song reference aside, I am a realist which means I know exactly how difficult it is to connect with somebody on multiple levels, and to always succeed in having a conversation where you feel an instant match of wavelength.

Thank the heavens I got that with my friend. We might not talk for weeks, but when we actually do, it’s like we never stopped. The best part is that our core beliefs and principles are the same. And our candour gets me, every time! Nothing is out-of-bounds for us; we can literally talk about everything outrageous under the sun without having to be politically correct with each other. From talking about all the boys who broke our hearts (because we have the same lives) to talking about pop culture references that broke the Internet (because we have the same tastes), it’s been one epic journey.

Someday we will travel the world together, living the good life and checking out cute guys but until then, I’ll just show him off to Mumbai as my hot and charming gay friend. Because #IGotMyOwn!

— Amrita Hom Ray, PR professional

Having a gay man as your best friend is nothing like the stereotypes that people talk about — instead, it gives you true perspective of how life can be the same and yet so different for the community.  It allows you to step back, and look at your own prejudices, your own self and your relationships — my friend here helps me become a better person and a better member of the community.

And that’s half the battle won.

— Devika Mehta, movement therapist 

I’ve known my GBF for all of three years, but it’s like they say — in true connections, the amount of time you’ve known each other is completely irrelevant. He has taken up so many roles in this timeline: confidante, bridesmaid, partner-in-crime, and a true inspiration in the way he lives his life!

His resilience, the character progress he’s shown, his utter and complete honesty are all things I value deeply. He’s never shied away from living his truth, which is a difficult thing to do for anybody, but probably more so for him. I know that we’ll continue to grow together as time goes by — as we already have — from being at constantly drunken social situations to sober-planning our future shenanigans!

— Zara Ahmed, psychologist

The best thing about having him as one of my best friends? Having someone who’s there to support and back me up no matter how ridiculous I’m being, and always having someone I can share my dreams and views of an idealistic future with — just because I know he wants the same things in life.

My life wouldn’t be half as awesome as it is without him, because he’s the Betty to my Veronica! The only difference?

We don’t have any Archie to fight over.

— Shivani Singh, B-school student

This is what I have to say to my friend: For all the laughter you bring to my life and for all the madness, I want to thank you for being you.

PS: Just know one thing, when the snow falls and the wind blows, I’ll never let you be that lone wolf.

— Madhuli Thakker, public health researcher

 Imagine befriending a man whose sole interest in you doesn’t depend on the size of your breasts or the width of your hips — that’s a gay best friend right there. As men, they are genuinely interested in YOU as a person and THAT makes all the difference.

Can you imagine getting that kind of attention from the opposite sex (without any expectations) and having fun at the same time?

That’s exactly how refreshing it is.

— Ankita Thadani, interior designer

 

Who doesn’t love a bundle of delight that’s always ready to give you advice from the male perspective? It’s the fun bit of mansplaining!

— Reema Paranjpey, student of health policy and administration

Having a gay friend opened up unheard of avenues in my life. I might have come from a background where the word ‘gay’ was taboo (and I blame society for that), but my friend sprung into my life, opening it up — and made me realise that no man can be a better friend than your gay best friend.

Especially one that makes you his priority.

— Shreea Kadam, film producer

 Look! Up in the sky!

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane!

It’s your Gay Best Friend!

That guy who’s still dancing when the party ends.

He never cans on spontaneous holiday plans,

But somehow has time for your failed romance!

With sassy comebacks and heartfelt words,

He knows just what to say when it hurts.

I’d exchange 10 girl friends for my GBF, honey,

Especially when this one’s worth more than all the money.

— Ila D’Cruz, architect and rapper

I can’t speak for all the ladies with gay besties, but mine sure does add a whole lot of sparkle (and glam) to my being. He’s got his cheeky comebacks down pat, death stares to kill and a sassy style to match. He’s got a way with words and a way with the world.

Yes, he might be really cool, but that’s not the only reason I love him. He’s there for me in times of need, is all ears when I talk about life and whine about love endlessly. And, most importantly, when my life feels grey and glum — he appears like a rainbow in the sky.

Here’s hoping that come rain or not, he’ll always be there to make my life more colourful.

— Namrata Kedar, fashion writer

I frankly don’t know how my life would be without him, because a life with a sassy partner/friend is just endless hours of laughs and eye rolls and more laughs (there’s a lot more, but I was told to keep it short).

A gay best friend might have started off as a season’s must-have accessory a few years ago, but now he’s so much more. Which is why I think that having a close gay friend is a perennial must-have/indispensable/can’t-do-without necessity of life.

I miss my GBM, now that we are in different countries. But our love and friendship is just as strong, if not stronger. After all, distance does make the heart grow fonder. Supporting his right to live and love is just about the basic most thing I or anyone could do for such a man (men) who does so much and brings so much warmth and radiance in my (our) life(s). Happy Galentine’s day to my GBM, who’s no longer just my gay best friend, he’s my family. For now and forever to come. I love you and I pray your light shines even brighter with the years to come.

— Shamika Haldipurkar, marketing executive

Having my best friend is undoubtedly the most ‘awesomesauce’ part of my life – I use this word only because it encapsulates our entire relationship. It’s that delightful.

There are times when we don’t talk or meet for days on end but when we finally do, it’s as if we never stopped. Every time we meet, I feel happier and lighter! I could go on and on, but that’ll never do him justice. I truly admire him, and wouldn’t want him to be any other way (i.e. straight).

— Sshruti Barrve, stylist

The Guysexual’s Guide To Every Heartbreaker In The World

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Sumit, an illustrator, met Zishaan, an interior designer, at a friend’s bring-a-single mixer.

It was a classic meet-cute.  A match made in architectural heaven, he would tell his kids one day. They had mistakenly picked up each other’s glasses (double vodka sodas with a hint of lime juice) and then bonded all night over their mutual love for the Big Little Lies Soundtrack. Before the party had ended, they had (consciously) picked up each other’s Instagram handles.

After a whirlwind first date at a local bistro, Zishaan had texted Sumit telling him that ‘he wanted to see him again. And again. And again’.

After the second — an indie movie at a derelict single-screen — he messaged with a stream of endearing heart emojis.

After the third, the designer made an in-joke about the chocolate chip sundaes they had just shared, just after he kissed him goodbye under the starry sky. He’d use that one in his wedding speech, Sumit had gushed to himself later that night.

Sumit had met a lot of men in his life: there was the It Boy he had spent months chasing (who dumped him for a socialite prince), the Gym Freak he had joined the gym with (who believed in free weights and free love), the Hipster he had gone vegan for (who sold him out for Alt-J’s concert tickets), the Sapiosexual who made him do crossword puzzles (and realised he was not as good), and lastly, the F**kboy who said he wanted to give Sumit all his love (but gave him genital crabs instead) — so many men, but none had felt the same way.

With his broad grin and broader shoulders, Sumit rightfully thought Zishaan was the One. He was charming, he was funny, he was full of those soul stirring words that made Sumit dream of Disney musicals. Plus, he didn’t have genital crabs.

But the one thing he was not?

Available.

Five dates in, Zishaan was always busy. He was always swamped with work. He was always attending a friend’s birthday. He was always a ‘let’s just chill next week?’ text away.

In retrospect, Zishaan was the quintessential heartbreaker — and like many others like him — he eventually pulled a Houdini, and disappeared without a trace from Sumit’s life. The Disney musical sadly couldn’t even make it to its second act.

Like Zishaan (and other self-diagnosed misunderstood men), the heartbreaker is the junk food of the dating pool — the Big Mac, the Whopper, the Crunch Taco Supreme — he’s good for a quick bite, but bad for your long-term health.

But can you really tell your Disney prince from the douchebag?

It’s simple. Wave away all that fairy dust, and scroll through this list before you start planning your tropical Bae-cation in Aruba: if the object of your affection checks five items on this list, he gets a yellow card; if he checks seven, he gets a red card, and if he gets more than 10, stop reading this list and send him a goodbye text right away.

Because there’s a chance he never will:

The heartbreaker wears his own line of perfume. It’s clean and invigorating, and has notes of cypress combined with hints of cardamom, cedar wood and a base of vetiver root, resulting in a blend that’s ‘comfortingly familiar and mature’.

He calls it Heartbreak, by ‘Me’.

*

The heartbreaker will look at you endearingly, and tell you that ‘he’s never felt this way about anyone else before’.

He’s also said this to three other boys in the past week.

*

The heartbreaker is quick to christen you with a pet name. It’s usually a variation of his favourite dessert.

It’s also usually a tactic because he doesn’t remember your name.

*
The heartbreaker disables his read receipts on Whatsapp, because it’s so ‘exhausting’ to keep a tab on all the conversations.

But he mysteriously won’t reply to your messages on Facebook Messenger.

*

The heartbreaker flakes like he Instagrams.

Incessantly.

*

The heartbreaker is a seductive blend of witty one-liners, intuitive pop culture references, heartwarming texts and dimples that run deeper than the Marina Trench.

All four have high success rates.

*

The Heartbreaker’s favourite adjective to describe himself is also his most-searched word on Google.

Misunderstood.

*

The heartbreaker has built his walls up so high, he’s thinking of selling them to Donald Trump.

He plans to do so at a profit.

*

Over bite-sized bits of cheese, he tells you all about his exes. Ishaan wanted to move in too early. Rohan would never stop calling. Ameya decided to tell his friends why they broke up. Atul begged to take him back by standing outside his apartment all night. Vaibhav called him a cheating scumbag. Anuj threatened to set his house on fire. Paarth asked his mom if she knew her son was a psycho. Ram stole his wallet. They were all so crazy.

He conveniently forgets to tell you their sides of the story.

*

The Heartbreaker calls himself a ‘lone wolf’. The Alpha of a one-man army. He never talks about his family, friends or anyone really significant, and seems committed to keeping it that way.

But yet, he’s always hanging out with them when you try making a plan.

*

As he hand feeds you breakfast one day, he’ll laugh and tell you how ‘everyone will warn you that he has a bad reputation’.

Only he’s not joking.

*

The heartbreaker doesn’t roll up his sleeves, because that’s where he ‘wears his heart.’

Only this time, he’s joking.

*

The heartbreaker only wants to ‘hang out’.

*

The heartbreaker leaves a breadcrumb trail of likes through three years’ worth of your Instagram pictures.

But he still won’t ask to follow you there.

*

You spend more time talking about the heartbreaker, than to him.

*

The heartbreaker doesn’t like to ‘plan’, he’d rather just ‘live’ the date.

In the confines of his living room, with pre-mixed cans of gin and tonic.

*

The heartbreaker flits through relationships like you flit through magazines at the dentist’s. In fact, he ended his last relationship just while you were ending your workout for the day.

*

When he asks you to come over for some #NetflixAndChill, that’s all that he wants to do — binge-watch a Netflix original and chill with canapés and a bottle (or two) of expensive wine.

Bonus points if it’s a bottle of York Sparkling Cuvee Brut.

Even more bonus points if he makes the canapés himself.

*

The heartbreaker is too conflicted/ too damaged/ too busy to be ‘in a relationship’. He wears it like a badge nonetheless, and uses it to introduce himself at mixers.

It works like a charm, especially when he mistakes your vodka soda for his.

*

See, but that’s the thing about our guy. He’ll tell you he’s not a heartbreaker.

And that’s exactly what makes him one.

So pull out those Band-Aids. You’ll need one.

The Potential Boyfriend Test

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Here we are.

It’s Valentine’s Day.

Things are going well, and you’ve finally managed to sink your claws (and your teeth, if you are lucky) into that perfect guy, just a few days short of Hallmark’s highest grossing holiday.

In fact, it’s never been better. You’ve had half a dozen great dates, with half a dozen happier endings — he’s clean behind the ears, dresses well and can even sustain a conversation (and more) well until the wee hours of the morning. What can possibly go wrong? He’s the opposite of every Taylor Swift single.

But hold on, you have to test drive the goods before you get onto the much-discussed boyfriend bandwagon — is he the ‘One’? Would he mind being called the ‘One’? Most importantly, is he the ‘One’ you want to get ‘one-on-one’ sangrias with on Valentine’s Day?

Don’t have the answers to any of these questions yet?

Well, just wind up your paramour through these 10 tests before you seal the deal (or book the table), and decide to change your Grindr status to ‘Committed’:

1. Ask him to eat a submarine sandwich in front of you.

Is he fast, sloppy and unaware that the mustard relish is dripping down his front? Choose wisely – because, if you’ve still not sealed the deal with the boy, this is an exclusive preview of what it’s going to be like when he goes down on you.

2. Switch off the Wi-Fi when he’s working.

His level of irritation is inversely proportional to how essential it is for you to date him in the long run (unless of course, he’s in the middle of a very important presentation, in which case, you are the one no one should commit to).

3. Tell him to joke about your best friend.

 This is a trick question: no one makes a joke about your best friend.

No one.

4. Get him to drive.

Does he speed through signals? Drives in a zigzag as if he were in an arcade game? Is he a honker? (That was another trick question: No one should be a honker!) It’s time to zip off in your own car.

While people who can’t drive are of the sexiest variety, you can still check up on him by sharing a cab – if he backseat drives and complains about how the air conditioner doesn’t work, he’s probably not the right guy for you. Why?

Because he’s a downright d**chebag.

5. Ask him to make a cup of coffee.

Pours the milk last? Doesn’t beat the coffee? Makes it that dull milky brown that you’ll never touch? No, no and an extra no. Plus, if he can’t even make a simple cup of coffee, he’s not ready to be in a real relationship yet.

6. Go on a weekend trip.

There are a thousand things that can go wrong when you spend 48 (or more) hours in each other’s company away from home. From flat tires, delayed flights to overbooked hotels – you have the potential to fight about anything from who sleeps on the right side of the bed to which one of you takes the cheap shampoo bottles back home. Well, think of it this way, if it doesn’t work out, you can always leave him behind.

7. Make him meet your most annoying acquaintance.

If he makes it through the night without rolling his eyes, nudging you or giving you the blank stare, then he’s someone you should sign up for right away. Any man who can see you at your worst (at making friends) definitely needs to see you at your best every day. Just make sure you tell him that he doesn’t need to see your awful friend ever again, otherwise he’d be the one reading this guide to replace you.

8. Take him to a restaurant with really bad service.

If he doesn’t roll his eyes, talk rudely to the wait staff, make faces at the food or tut loudly whenever the manager passes by; he’s the well-mannered guy you’ve been waiting for all your life.

9. Ask him what he thinks about feminism.

If he goes on a rant about how women already have equal rights, and how he could do with a seat on the bus instead; I’ll go on a longer rant about why you shouldn’t pursue him any further.

Because like his opinion, he’s clearly not worth it.

10. Call him.

Don’t judge him if he doesn’t pick up your call – he could be driving, at work, in a meeting, using the washroom, saving a baby from a burning building or even worse, dead. Reserve the judgment for when he doesn’t call back.

But then again, it probably means he doesn’t want to date you either.

#PrideTalk: 21 (Fabulous) Men Tell Us Why We Need To Walk For Pride

 

PRIDE_TALK.jpg

What’s that faint buzz that you hear (and feel in your bones)?

That’s the sound of Mumbai gearing up for its tenth-ever Pride March – and it’s charging up as you read this sentence. In a few hours, thousands of straight, gay, bisexual and transgendered folk will take to the streets for their right to love, their right to live, but most importantly, their right to be.

But are these numbers enough?

As these thousands take a stand and do their bit to make a difference, countless others choose to sit #Pride out instead  (and their excuses are equally abysmal.)

Which is why, to honour the day and prove how important the cause is,  I asked 21 different men why walking the talk was necessary. The answers poured in from all over my little black book — from actors and illustrators, journalists and doctors, entrepreneurs and bankers.

They even poured in from my Tinder account.

Jokes (and accusations) apart, here’s what the men had to say:

Simply to stand up, and be counted. Wear a mask if you don’t want to be identified, but go nonetheless. Experience it and contribute to it, in however small a way.

Each attendance counts. 

— Varun, fashion editor

For one reason — continuum, because we owe it to our future generations.

The liberties that we enjoy today, the relative ease of coming out, the parties, the social acceptance, are all a result of  the social movement built over decades by people who had to face ridicule and discrimination.

It’s only imperative that we continue it all and play a role for furthering the cause for future generations.

— Aman, health professional

To spread awareness about the fact that it’s not a taboo to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered. As a community we are extremely prone to protesting AGAINST something, but rarely in favour of anything. If more and more people walk the Pride, the other margin of the society who still think that it’s a taboo, will get to know that if a large part of the society is supporting a small community, it ‘probably’ isn’t taboo anymore.

Since the fear of homosexuality is so deeply rooted, primarily because of our attitude of rarely doing anything out of social sanction, the society in general needs to walk the pride and tell everyone how they accept homosexuality, in turn telling everyone else that it is ‘normal’ to be homosexual. The more the people, the more the acceptance, the lesser the fear of taboo.

— Paarth, filmmaker

The sole reason we need to walk the pride is to create awareness. To be taken seriously. To help explain that homosexuality isn’t a disease or abnormality you can cure, but an orientation.

— Sumeet, fashion designer

I think everyone should walk the Pride, whether they belong to the LGBT community or not  — straight, gay, bisexual or transgendered,  if you support us it’s time to take some time out, show those numbers to the society and show your level of acceptance to the government.

— Rehan, screenwriter

To show the world that queer people exist.

And that we exist in large numbers.

— Ujjwal, PhD student

Pride March to me is a yell of existence; we’ve been hidden in the dark for so long we need to be in the light so that no one has to live in the dark anymore.

Not just this time, but for many more times to come.

— Arnav, video editor

A Pride March is (still) one of the very few places and ways queer people can own and express their identities. And if we want the conversation around equality, rights and non-discrimination going, we cannot afford not to be visible.

— Jacob, writer

This year, our numbers need to be visible even more, especially since the political class needs the stats to even consider us to be any kind of vote bank.

— Anand, marketing executive

The reason why I love Pride (apart from the free service eye candy) is because, like almost all queer people in our generation, there had been a long period of feeling alone in my experience.

It’s a shell that is very tough to break out of.

That feeling of being the only one to live something so different was so heavy, I would not go even to gay parties for fear of being singled out. Which is exactly why — when I went to my first Pride after much contemplation — I was overwhelmed. It was a cathartic experience that heavily soothed this feeling of being the only one queer that I knew of.

Since then I have been going to at least one Pride a year. It is impressive because despite all this ‘growing’ that has happened since the first time, it is STILL a cathartic experience every single year. It shows to what extent we are unable to find things to relate to in the quotidian life.

And that is exactly why I will continue to go to pride. Apart from being the lovely celebration that it is of being yourself, it is a day when you contribute to the visibility of SOGI rights.

And this aspect holds not only for queer people, but also for everyone else. It is an opportunity for any ally of SOGI rights to make his/her/their own contribution by showing their support.

— Kaushik, research scientist

The single most important reason to march for Pride is to make sure the judiciary, the government and the country knows that we are not a minuscule minority, and that our rights matter.

We are not criminals (and never will be) and have the same rights as any other Indian citizen!

— Maanav Dev, restaurateur

To get a sense of community beyond what one might see on apps — there’s strength in numbers and if we want change at an institutional level, we are going to need our voices heard!

— Siddharth, academic and translator

Because it’s important that people see that we exist. That we exist in different age groups, that we are queens and that we are butch. We have beards and we put on make up, we wear heels and we have moods — and that’s just the gay men!

We are so much more with the LGBTQ community put together.

— Laksh, digital entrepreneur

The struggle for LGBT equality is a long and tireless one. Over the years, as societies have relatively evolved towards us, the LGBT community has regressed in its understanding of the long battle people have fought for this world and leaders to have conversations around ‘homosexuality’.

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, George Cecil, Jeanne Manford, Harvey Milk and others who shaped this movement in times so difficult and extreme have been conveniently forgotten… sadly most LGBT youth would hardly even know them. How can we celebrate our ‘gay-ness’ when people in authority, like Ramzan Kadyrov in Chechnya, pledge to persecute gay men or when statesmen in the Middle East criminalise and dehumanise us?

Our celebration lacks recognition and acknowledgement of this ongoing journey but remains a mere annual social gathering that fails to make any concrete statement beyond a single day’s headline. At the Stonewall March, there were no floats, no music blasting through the streets, no extravagance, body glitter and scantily clad dancers: it was a political statement and a test!

We’re working against deeply ingrained social mores that have been around so long no one even remembers how they got there anymore, and a visual of loud and proud, yet naive and un-informed men and women chanting and screaming and kissing is not going to cut it.

— Kartik (name changed), social worker

People should come out and show solidarity because in one way or the other, we have all shared the same (or similar) experiences while growing up.

A young LGBT kid, unable to understand or cope with his own desires, often one feels alone. Unable to talk to someone about it coupled with the feeling of isolation potentially scars each one of us. The pride parade and consequent publication of articles, photos and media coverage of the parade can, to my mind, lend immense support to a kid struggling with his/ her own sexuality.

I sure wish the concept existed in Delhi during my adolescence.

Additionally, often times such coverage of the Pride parade tends to focus on men in drag and other elaborate attire while ignoring the huundreds of people who are from the community and at the march, the ones who choose to dress more — for lack of a better word — conservatively. While I fully support everyone’s right to be themselves and dress as they wish to, the sole focus on the stereotypical ways of the parade, to my mind, takes away from the seriousness of the parade and the issues involved. As responsible citizens, the journalists/media must focus on the core issues, as opposed to just restricting their coverage to attention grabbing colorful pictures and headlines.

— Ansh* (name changed), lawyer

The word Pride itself suggests the whole purpose of why one should step out and join the march.

For someone who has ‘pride’ in his/her orientation, it becomes integral to participate and send the right message; so that acceptability (and more importantly, awareness) becomes more commonplace.

— Tushar, architect

To show the world that  we are not a bunch of crazy colourful people — we are doctors, engineers, artists, your co-workers, your brothers, neighbours, the person you think is your idol — for all those men  hiding in the closet because YOU make me an outcast for coming out of one.

— Karan, fashion entrepreneur

Visibility.

For too long gay men and women have been poured in casts of assumed professions, temperaments, and allowed limited places in everyday lives. People need to come out to represent diversity — cis, trans, gay, straight, femme, masc, camp, or even butch… but remain unapologetic, at the end of the day. We need enough representation for younger lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender and straight people to find a bit of themselves in us, just so no one feels alone.

For too long we have been assumed minuscule, when owning our authentic self is every person’s dream.

— Anuj, consultant

Pride is not only limited to LGBT community but it is for all the oppressed sects of the society. So, if you think you are not exercising your freedom right, it is your one-way ticket to Utopia.

— Prashant, sales executive

To show people that we can protest with love and without waging a war.

But more importantly, because each voice counts.

— Vikas Narula, restaurateur

People, gay or not, should walk the Pride March this year to show that even while the country is in a state of turmoil over a movie screening that pushes India back in time back in time rather than moving forward, there’s a united front that wants change and people who are ready to be a part of the process to bring that change.

— Raghav, banker

#PrideTalk: The Beginner’s Guide To Lame Excuses

Lame excuses

Unless you’ve been living under a (rather fabulous) rock, you know that today marks the date for the city’s 10th ever Queer Pride March – which means that thousands of LGBT individuals and their straight allies plan to take to the streets, because the government won’t take up their (or more importantly, our) cause.

Now, If like me, you plan to show your support and march with your head up high – congratulations! I’ll see you on the other side. On the other hand, if you still need some convincing, don’t worry, because I’ve got a personal handbook that tells you exactly why you need to go and make your presence felt.

Why is it important that you go?

Because every person counts – and unless you are dealing with a life-threatening experience or an extreme case of diarrhoea, I see no reason for you not to walk the talk with your friends today. Still looking for a reason not to go, but don’t want to sound like a douchebag?

Then here’s the Guysexual’s guide to lame excuses that just won’t cut it anymore:

  1. ‘I don’t want to go because I don’t have anything to wear.’

Actually, you do – it’s called your personality. Now go flaunt it fabulously.

  1. ‘But it’s Saturday!’

Blaming the day is for the week-hearted. Pun intended.

  1. ‘I have a date lined up.’

Don’t be a drag – drag him to Pride instead.

It’s easy on your pockets, and heavy on the charm.

  1. ‘But I don’t have anyone to go with.’

Ask your sister. Ask your friend. Ask your next door neighbor. Ask your biology teacher (if she’s fun). You’ll be surprised how many people want to walk with you. And if you don’t find anyone else?

Remember that there are hundreds (perhaps thousands) like you out there. Pride is all about celebrating love – so why not celebrate it with some new friends instead?

5. ‘I completely forgot it was today.’

That’s surprising, considering you haven’t forgotten that Keeping Up With The Kardashians comes back next week.

  1. ‘Frankly, my dear, I think it’s a bit too much…’

Do you know what’s a bit too much for me?

Your attitude.

  1. ‘But it’s the same time as Sula Fest, and you know how I feel about wine…’

Side note: no ensuing headaches and hangovers involved here. Heartwarming feels, on the other hand?

No crate of Cabernet Sauvignon can ever provide those.

  1. ‘ Are you crazy? The whole of Grindr is going to be there!’

Of course, it is – but think of it this way – see someone you like?

You don’t need to swipe right on them anymore. You just need to go start a conversation.

And years down the line, when you are raising a toast at your wedding, you don’t need to lie about meeting each other at Starbucks.

  1. ‘Is this all really necessary? Think about the children!’

Actually it’s really important BECAUSE you need to think about the children – generations of LGBT men and women have suffered through years of ridicule, slander and discrimination so that the youth (both straight and gay) could live in a more accepting (and acceptable) world.

Now let them go own it.

  1. ‘I’d rather support the cause from behind the curtains.’

Unless you are a lawyer who’s fighting section 377 at the roots, or a philantrophist who has donated millions to the cause, you aren’t doing your bit just by downing shots at the pre-Pride fundraiser. What helps instead?

Putting those shot glasses down, and pulling up those socks instead. See, events like Pride are more than a celebration or a political statement: they are a place where you can connect with the movement, and learn about what small battles are being fought in your corner of the world.

  1. “I would have definitely come, but I am heading to Bali for a vacation…”

Instagram might be happy, but I am not.

Vacations will come and go, but city-wide movements will not.

  1. ‘My dog has a spa appointment…’

Bring him along.

Every pair of feet that marches for Pride makes a difference and here, your dog comes equipped with twice the usual number.

  1. ‘I really don’t have a problem being there, but do people really have to be in my face? Why does everybody have to be so over-the-top?’

The real question is, why do you have to be such an asshole?

  1. ‘Why does it have to be in the middle of the afternoon?’

Consult point 13.

  1. ‘I don’t really think it’s my thing.’

Is expressing yourself not your thing? Where else can you wear suspenders, a hat or even a tutu without being judged (side note: but not all together)?

Yes, at Pride March. So don’t be that person.

Come walk the talk.

Like I said, I’ll see you at the finish line.