Meet The Men 1.0 : The Hipster

The hipster.jpg

 

We are almost halfway through 2017.

They say the age of the hipsters might be finally coming to an end, but can gay men ever let a good thing go?

We are still here, writing in our moleskin notebooks, riding our 12-gear bikes, using our organic moustache wax and stocking up on our ironic print t-shirts. It’s safe to say that the gay hipsters aren’t disappearing into the dregs of their black coffee mugs just yet. Jahangir, 27 and Subhashish, 26, would agree. The creative designer and casting director share an apartment in one of the quieter back alleys of Mumbai — a home that is littered with curios, knickknacks and pop culture references.

And they don’t plan to leave anytime soon. Do you want to know what makes the quintessential gay hipster, apart from his love for beer, bowties and his beard? Here are a few helpful hints:

The hipster doesn’t own a television. He’ll also make sure he tells everyone he knows about it. While on a date. At a casual lunch. During a work meeting. At a birthday party. In the bus. At the grocery store. While at a funeral.

He has his own complicated order at the coffee shop: like a Grande, iced, sugar-free vanilla latté with soymilk. It’s his standard go-to drink every morning on his way to work (as a graphic designer at an independent media house).

But most often, the barista can’t make it, so he has a large decaf.

He had a Tumblr profile back in 2012 that was called the TheUnfairKnightReturns. It is an archive of his button poetry, millennial rap and a motley collection of dark and depressing thoughts. He doesn’t like talking about it.

His best friend makes organic hemp t-shirts, which he freely wears and advertises. He’s always equipped with a card for her Facebook page. It doesn’t list any numbers, but has a standalone QR code.

The Hipster owns a coffee table book with vaguely pornographic pictures. It’s usually on top of his bedside drawer because he doesn’t have the money to invest in a coffee table.

He talks about how he hates Forever 21 — and yet it looks like all his clothes came from there. Especially when they have their clearance sales.

He saw 13 Reasons Why, but thought the book was a lot better than the Netflix original. He even wrote a long rant on Facebook pointing out all the differences between the two — all thirteen of them.

The Hipster believes in participating in No Shave November. All year around.

He buys all his groceries from the farmer’s market — you’d know because he Snapchats the entire experience.

And then he’d make it his Instagram Story, so that no one misses out.

He has five sets of bowties: casual, semi-casual, formal, party and street-chic-that-shows-I-don’t-care-about-trying-to-hard.

He doesn’t watch Game Of Thrones, because ‘it’s become so mainstream’. He won’t think twice before telling you that he’s read all the books though. Right down to all the companion books.

Sometimes, he bicycles to work.

He’ll complain about how the city just doesn’t have the space, or the infrastructure for cyclists. He’ll still use UberPool.

He rolls his eyes when people tell him they listen to EDM. He rolls his eyes even more when they tell him they haven’t heard of his favourite indie (but also very obscure) band. He gives up when they say that they think Alt-J is cool.

He’ll pester you to try out seaweed, which is the new kale, which was the new quinoa.

The Hipster doesn’t love flannel. He lives it.

For your birthday, he’ll gift you a mixed tape of all his favourite indie music. He’ll make you play it at the party.

If not that, he’ll gift you a potted miniature cactus. It’s a little sapling from the terrarium he’s working on.

He has an Instamax camera that he takes pictures of. The camera is in mint condition, and looks best when edited with the Juno filter on Instagram. It’s hidden away in his closet, and only makes an appearance when his friends are over, or when he’s packing a suitcase for a holiday.

Which would most definitely be a backpacking trip across Vietnam and Cambodia.

His favourite author is Margaret Atwood, and he’s read Handmaiden’s Tale twice. He cried the second time.

He knows the show adaption won’t be half as good.

But he’ll still live stream it the moment it releases.

He’ll deny it, but he got excited when he heard IKEA might open up a warehouse in the country.

When he realised that was a rumour, he commiserated by drinking an entire bottle of Coca Cola. It’s a secret he’ll take to the grave.

The last time the Hipster ate at a McDonalds was back in 2013. You remember because he tells you every time you meet him.

He’ll make faces at you when you devour your burger nonetheless.

He’ll swear that The Royal Tenenbaums is his favourite film by Wes Anderson, whom he adores. He scoffs at you when you tell him you thought Fantastic Mr Fox was cute. He’s not heard of Moonrise Kingdom.

He has a typewriter that he typed out quotes by Charles Bukowski from. They are all framed and hung in his living room. The typewriter hasn’t been used ever since. He covers it up with fairy lights.

He gets pissed at his flat mate for not knowing what sourdough bread is.

The Hipster constantly bums off cigarettes off people while out at a pub, claiming he doesn’t smoke. He looks bummed off if you don’t have a Davidoff. He’ll have a Marlboro in that case, because ‘Classic Milds just doesn’t do it for him.’

He has a manicured beard that looks like a permanent five o’clock shadow. He pays extra so that it looks just the right amount of messy. The stylist is given a free pass to NH7 so that she won’t tell anyone.

When he does run into the stylist at a music festival, he’ll pretend she’s a friend he has ‘collaborated’ with.

It was an art project that was so niche, they’ve been told not to talk about it.

He drinks only artisanal beer, and likes to tell people how ‘beer is the new wine’.

He absolutely despises brands. But he’s still counting down the days for the big iPhone 8 launch. It’s marked as a reminder on his iPhone 7.

He doesn’t believe in credit cards.

He’ll always be short of cash while splitting the cheque with his date.

And that’ll probably be you.

Time to be fat and fabulous: Let’s say no to gay bullying?

 

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It’s a balmy night in 2014.

I am at an LGBT party in the suburbs with a drink in my hand and grinding couples on the side. I feel a tap on my shoulder. It’s Daniel, an American expat who moved to the city almost a decade ago. I smile.

Our relationship can be summed up by ‘pokes’ and staggering witty banter on Facebook. It’s one of many dalliances I’ve had that die an early death, even before numbers can be exchanged. He squints at my face.

“You look a lot different than in your pictures; have you been drinking a lot?”

I suck in my stomach and my self-respect. Is it that last French fry that I just popped into my mouth? Is it too much alcohol? Is it too less sleep? A heavy bone structure? Just bad genes? Or simply the fact that I have my heart in my throat?

I mumble out a lame excuse and blend myself with the background. Daniel busies himself with a pretty boy by the bar, as I exit out of my guest-starring role in their soon-to-be love story. I can walk back home in shame, but this is 2014, and I don’t have a Fitbit to count the calories I will burn.

If you are a human being who wasn’t born with a set of six packs to flaunt at the beach, you’ve probably witnessed it firsthand — every gay man has either been at the receiving or serving end of body shaming (or sometimes even both) — it’s like Mean Girls but with men. Don’t believe me? Just walk into the next LGBT party.

Or simply log into Grindr.

You’ll hear a storehouse of excuses. He’s too fat. He’s too thin. He’s too skinny. He’s too chubby. He’s too square — the entire concept of the perfect body is almost as fictitious as Donald Trump’s chances of winning the presidential election. (I wrote this before the results were out, sadly). While the glorification of the male body has always been an important part of gay culture, social media is partly to blame. Hiding behind Instagram edits and Snapchat filters, it only becomes easier to project the most perfect versions of ourselves. Plus, you can do this while scoping out the competition and secretly judging everyone who doesn’t look good in a tank top (Side note: I have a love-hate relationship with tank tops. I’d love to wear them, but they hate me.)

As a self-deprecating, but self-loving gay man, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t done the same. Are we trained to put the more gym-toned, ripped men at the top of the pedestal, at the very height of the LGBT food chain (right next to the celebrity A-listers)?

We pump ourselves with protein supplements, count our meals by calories and sync our steps with fitness apps, while laughing at the ones who don’t. Think of it this way: Every time you do, more and more men are pushed back into oversized cardigans and Internet diets. More and more men are pushed into eating salad as an actual meal.

Let’s be honest.

It’s body shaming and we do it to each other and ourselves. It might be in the form of ribald jokes at the gym, hushed whispers at a party or drunken barbs on a date, but it still doesn’t change the fact that these are negative connotations that single-handedly target someone’s image issues.

Fawad, a business mogul, moves between London and Bombay every other month — his hectic life keeps him busy enough to not bother himself with weekly dates, but he still partakes in the occasional drink. Unlike Daniel from 2014, Fawad is a friend. A friend who told me about a date that went disastrously wrong.

“What else would you call a fat person, if you don’t call them fat? Cellulite isn’t sexy,” he scoffed. Clearly, the date in question wasn’t an Abercrombie & Fitch underwear model.

I gently push away the pizza we are sharing. Four hundred calories that’ll never help me find true love. Fawad, with his fitted shirts and angular cheekbones, on the other hand, has it all. Apart from my respect in the given situation.

“I don’t see what the problem is,” he says nonchalantly, sipping on his gin and tonic. But one wouldn’t expect men who wear fitted shirts to understand the problem in the first place.

Body shaming in the gay world is as serious as global warming — think of people’s feelings as the ozone layer. You are depleting them, and you aren’t helping the world by doing so. Want to do your bit to change the world? The next time you even think you might be body shaming a fellow gay man, just make sure you aren’t saying any one of these things:

“I feel so fat. Do I look fat today?”

“You probably shouldn’t be eating that…”

“Those pants don’t look good on you at all. What were you thinking?”

“Did you see the love handles on that one? I swear he had a muffin top…”

“‘You want to get with someone? Why don’t you just lose a little weight?”

“His ass is flatter than a plasma TV.”

“I swear he had boobs.”

“I wish I was as skinny as you, damn. I wish I was anorexic.”

“He gained so much weight after we broke up. I clearly won the relationship.”

“… At least you are not a twink!”

Let’s face it, we come in different shapes and sizes, and it’s unfair to think that we can be all cast from the same mold. Whether you are skinny and thin, big and muscular or a Venti and decaf (that’s just my coffee order), you need to know that everyone is unique in their own way — the first place to start over is your dating profile. What you say out aloud or through those 250 characters can say a lot about you. After all, when you say “No fats, no femmes” on your Grindr profile, you aren’t critiquing the kind of men you wouldn’t want to charm over dinner, you are critiquing yourself.

After all, we don’t need to pack ourselves with protein, boys, we just need to pack ourselves with positivity. And that’s something you can share over a plate of fries.

The Idiot’s Guide to Every Homophobic Question In The World

 

Idiot's guide

Would you like a scoop of double chocolate chip fudge ice cream? Do you think that Ryan Gosling is hot? Want to go shop at Zara’s end-of-season clearance sale? Should we leave behind a trust fund for you? Would you like a promotion? Want an all-expense paid vacation to Greece?

The world is full of silly questions, but there is no question sillier than an ignorant homophobic one. Don’t want to sound even mildly homophobic the next time you are talking to a friend, family member or even foe that belongs to the LGBT community?

Refrain from asking any of these 69 (no puns intended) questions out aloud:

 

  1. ‘Can I set you up with another friend – he’s the only other gay guy I know?’
  2. ‘If I kissed you one time, would I become gay too?’
  3. ‘Does it hurt knowing that you can’t have your own children?’
  4. ‘You must love Sunday brunch, don’t you?’
  5. ‘Will you get AIDS?’
  6. ‘What can two lesbians even do in bed together?’
  7. ‘…But you know I don’t mean it in a homophobic way, right?’
  8. ‘It’s Fashion Week! Shouldn’t you be more dressed up?’
  9. ‘If you were straight, would you have married me?’
  10. ‘Listen! You are gay! Will you come to Girl’s Night with us?’
  11. ‘Boys suck so much! Why can’t you be straight?’
  12. ‘Tell me! Is pink your favourite colour?’
  13. ‘Ryan Gosling is totally your dream man, isn’t he?’
  14. ‘ …how do you not know what a cocksickle is?’
  15. ‘So do you do drugs regularly?’
  16. ‘Okay, who’s your favourite member from One Direction?’
  17. ‘But how can you not know every line from Queer As Folk by heart?’
  18. ‘Dating two people at the same time isn’t a problem, right?’
  19. ‘Oh! What are your dance moves? The jazz hands?’
  20. ‘How have you not seen every episode of Sex And The City?’
  21. ‘Beer? Why are you not ordering the Cosmopolitan?’
  22. ‘Are you the man or the woman in the relationship?’
  23. ‘Yea, but that’s now how we straight people do it, is it?’
  24. ‘Have you ever seen a vagina? Want to see mine?’
  25. ‘Why is there only a Gay Pride Parade?’
  26. ‘How are you having dessert? Shouldn’t you be off sugar?’
  27. ‘As a gay man, aren’t you supposed to hate sports?’
  28. ‘OMG! Why aren’t you the queen of sass?’
  29. ‘Are you sure you can’t pull off sequined trousers?’
  30. ‘What about a sequined jacket?’
  31. ‘…Sequined shoes?’
  32. “Oh God! Now who’ll drive us? YOU?’
  33. ‘You are obviously not good with secrets, are you?’
  34. “You are a gay guy! So what’s the latest gossip? Who are we bitching about?’
  35. ‘You are in a relationship? Shouldn’t you be changing boyfriends every month?’
  36. ‘All the sex, and no worries! Being gay must be so much fun, no?’
  37. ‘Don’t you feel dirty after anal sex?’
  38. ‘ OMG! You are totally like Will, and I am like Karen from Will & Grace, right?’
  39. “Oh come on! You fantasize about married men all the time, don’t you?’
  40. ‘Listen! Will you be my gay best friend?’
  41. ‘Are you a Khloe or a Kim? No, you don’t know what I am talking about?’
  42. “But you are one of us girls now, aren’t you?’
  43. “I am not going to introduce my boyfriend to you. What if you hit on him?’
  44. ‘Oh! It’s a straight person thing, you won’t get it, will you?’
  45. ‘OMG! You’d love to come shopping with me, right?
  46. “Isn’t it great that you don’t have to pay on the date?’
  47. Have you ever cross-dressed? I am sure you have!’
  48. ‘How can you not have seen Wicked on Broadway?’
  49. ‘You’ve not even seen Funny Girl?’
  50. ‘But I can call you a fag, right?’
  51. “I can’t even call you a homo?’
  52. ‘What about queen? No? But you guys call each queen all the time!’
  53. ‘How can you be really sure that you are gay?’
  54. “Will touching my boobs make you straight?’
  55. ‘Are you going to snap your fingers at me, mister?’
  56. ‘But how can you not relate with Stanford from Sex and The City?’
  57. ‘You don’t even relate to Elijah from Girls?’
  58. ‘Definitely Kurt from Glee? No?’
  59. ‘’Have you slept with all the gay boys in the city?’
  60. ‘How are you not promiscuous?’
  61. It’s so great that your parents accepted you, no?’
  62. ‘How do you even know so much about football? Is it because the players are cute?’
  63. ‘Is section #377 even a thing?’
  64. ‘Why are you getting so worked up about Section #377? It doesn’t even recriminalize homosexuality!’
  65. ‘Why are gay people so loud, man?’
  66. ‘How do you know that you are gay if you’ve never been with a woman?’
  67. ‘Why aren’t there any pretty lesbians in this world?’
  68. ‘Do you love Ru Paul’s Drag Race or do you love Ru Paul’s Drag Race?’
  69. ‘How can you not read the Guysexual column?’

 

The Guysexual’s Guide To Being The Boy

 

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Like the It Girl, The Boy is every stereotypical gay man’s wet dream – he’s the main character of every queer romance novel, and is the (secretly gay) gentleman who all the girls fight tooth and manicured nail over on primetime television. Everyone knows The Boy – he’s spoken about at wine soirees, intimate house parties and exclusive bars, or cooed over at Sunday sundowners, gallery openings and garden bistros (invite only). The society wives call him the most eligible bachelor in town, and although their husbands don’t like him, they all play golf together every second Sunday of the month – in short, he’s everything I’ve ever wanted to be.

In my opinion, The Boy is as much of a slice of perfection as he is a figment of imagination – he’s like an alternative, much-nicer version of Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, without being the douchebag in the beginning.

But who is The Boy? Where does he come from (and where does he go)? Do you know The Boy? Could you be the boy?

If you don’t have a clue, here’s a checklist that might help:
Continue reading The Guysexual’s Guide To Being The Boy