The Guysexual’s Guide To Ghosting: Vol. III

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Cutting something out of your life only works when it involves one of these four broad categories: complex carbohydrates, processed sugar, cheap vodka and bad vibes. But that’s about it.

I’ll let you in on a secret. It’s not the same when it involves people.

As Arvind learnt the hard way (in the first of my terrifying three-part guide to ghosting), getting left in the lurch can truly be a haunting experience. People like to see death and destruction in horror films, not necessarily their relationships — and while dealing with it can be a terrifying ordeal (only made better with these life hacks), it’s fair to say that it’s a whole new ball game when you are sitting on the other side of this Ouija board of online dating.

Continue reading The Guysexual’s Guide To Ghosting: Vol. III

Byesexual: What Not To Say When You Meet A Bisexual Person

Pride

 

Twenty seven year old Aneesh isn’t fond of many things.

He isn’t fond of liars. He isn’t fond of menthol cigarettes. He isn’t fond of pigeons. He isn’t fond of relationships that move too fast.

And he isn’t fond of bisexuals.

A management consultant from Chandigarh, Aneesh hasn’t had many great experiences with them. ‘I don’t get them at all,’ the boy says out aloud, as he picks at his French fries at a dusty old pub.

I’d want to pick on him, but I find him irresistibly cute. ‘Because I don’t really think that they exist,’ he says, toying with a crisp one. I don’t have the heart to tell him that unlike Santa Claus or Donald Trump’s sincerity, he can’t just compartmentalise bisexuals with other imaginary things — they aren’t myths, bad decisions or drug-induced trips.

He has no particular reason for disliking them, he tells me — he just thinks they have it easy because ‘they can switch anytime they want’. He had a girlfriend back in college three years ago, but we don’t talk about her.

I know that Kartik, my copywriter friend, also feels the same way. He got his heart broken by an architect five years ago — a man who left him on Google Chat, because he wanted to get back with his ex-girlfriend.

The said ex-boyfriend is now fighting for gay rights in the Middle East, and was last heard dating a Swedish accountant.

Who is a man.

If Kartik were in my place right now, he’d shake hands with Aneesh. Maybe I should introduce the two of them?

In a world that strongly identifies as black or white, it’s sad to see that bisexuality is the grey area that neither gay nor straight communities understand. Why should they have the best of both worlds while they decide what they want, they say — however, what most people don’tunderstand is the fact that bisexuality is not a stopover, it’s a destination.

Cut to Shrayana, a 19-year-old BMM student who sells homemade jewelry on her website and does button poetry on weekends. The girl is great at handing out conversational candy — especially as we spar over the Kardashians at an after-party one day, months after my tryst with Aneesh.

She’s exactly the kind of boy I’d want to date. Sadly, she’s not one.

I make the mistake of telling her that.

‘I don’t need to be a boy to date you,’ she says to me, as I splutter on my drink — who knew compliments could turn catty? Apparently my track record with bisexual women is the same as my track record with gay men.

It’s abysmal.

I tell her I meant it in the nice way. She frowns again. I don’t want to put her off, but I seem to be doing a great job of it (which is strange, considering my usually impeccable standards of charming women.)

‘Okay, let’s make this simpler,’ she tells me off sternly, before I say something offensive again, ‘Have you ever had a good-looking boy tell you that he wished you were a girl so that he could date you?’

The girl does have a point (but sadly, there have been no such boys). I try mumbling out an apology about being bisexual-friendly, but Shrayana’s already distracted — she’s just caught the eye of a beautiful woman standing by the door — a stage actress who’s celebrating the success of her recent play. Their eyes meet, and my voice trails away. My gay charm clearly has no effect on her.

Shrayana disappears off for a while, leading the (much older) actress to the depths of the kitchen. I make small talk with a gay hairdresser from Spain, but keep an eye out for my lady friend. I have a woman to woo, and I mean business.

They appear fifteen minutes later, looking disheveled but very pleased with themselves. She winks at me — it looks like I won’t have to wave a white flag anymore.

‘It’s not about what you said,’ she says, sliding next to me ten minutes later, gently nudging the hairdresser out of the conversation, and out of my life. ‘It’s upsetting that bisexuals get so much hate from the community itself, and it’s all so misguided — if you can love anyone you choose, why can’t the same rules apply to us?’

Who knew an after party could lead to an after thought?

As someone who thought that his views on bisexuality were always liberal, it turns out I have been sitting on the same side of the table as Aneesh and Kartik (side note: not that I am complaining, they are both very attractive boys). Only, my indifference comes out in the form of ignorance.

‘It’s not about how many men or women I have dated or how strong my feelings have been for each of them,’ she sips on her gin, lighting a cigarette with the flair of a man in his early forties, ’It’s about how I feel at that moment.’

‘Well, let’s start over then. Can you tell me what I shouldn’t be saying?’ I ask her, jokingly. I’ve already reached two strikes. One more, and I’ll be out. (Side note: we are exactly three hours away from being Facebook friends, and two weeks from exchanging numbers.)

She smiles, and gives me a whole list instead:

1. ‘So vanilla or chocolate; which one do you prefer?’

2. ‘So you are actually gay, right?’

3. ‘Not that I have anything against bisexuals or anything, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to date one.’

4. ‘Okay, gun to your head — if you had to finally choose, who would you rather do — men or women?’

5. ‘Moment of truth — who is better in bed?’

6. ‘OMG, I am so jealous of the number of threesomes you must be having!’

7. ‘I think you are a confused gay man — you just don’t know it.’

8. ‘Is it something that you just wake up and decide? One day I like men, another day it’s women.’ That sounds like so much fun! How do I sign up?’

9. ‘Yeah, you are too hot to be a lesbian!’

10. ‘Listen! Can I introduce you to my friends? They’ve never met anyone who’s bisexual before!’

11. ‘Ohh. What does your ex-girlfriend have to say about this? Does she know? Wait, is this because of her?’

12. ‘Only girls can be bisexual. Guys? Uh-huh.’

13. ‘I’d be so scared of dating someone who’s bisexual, what if one day she just decides to leave me for a girl? Just between you and me, I’d feel less of a man.’

14. ‘You know what? This sounds terribly convenient. You want to be gay but you don’t want to be gay at the same time. You know what I mean?’

15. ‘That’s not fair — you have a wider pool to bang. I hate you, man!’

16. ‘So let me get this straight, you like men and women? Doesn’t that make you really greedy? Leave some for the rest of us!’

17. ‘Hahahaha, so what is your favourite colour? Pink or blue?’

18. ‘Oh, I totally get you, I was dared to kiss this boy in school, so I am bisexual too. High five, mate…no?’

19. ‘Wait a minute…are you bisexual because Lindsay Lohan is bisexual? Because that’s not a good reason to be…’

20. ‘Are you sure you aren’t bisexual because you have a fear of commitment? Because you can’t decide?’

I take her list, and we both clink our glasses. The hairdresser is still around, and I am in no hurry to go back home.

The Guysexual’s Guide To Being Ghosted: Vol. II

 

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As Arvind learnt last week, being left in the lurch (in the middle of a hypothetical relationship) can be quite haunting. One minute Aarav was muttering sweet (and legal) nothings into his ear; the very next, he had disappeared into nothingness.

Poof. It was that simple. Just like that, he was gone — having retreated into the ones and zeros to haunt another corner of the digital universe (or according to Arvind’s worst fears, another boy).

It’s happened to the best of us. For the uninitiated and the ignorant, ghosting refers to the highly anecdotally pervasive act where someone ends a relationship by simply disappearing. The Ghost does not give any explanations, leaving the ghosted to wonder where he went wrong.

Which brings us to the single most important question (after you’ve asked yourself how many bottles of wine you’d need to get over that messy break-up).

Do you feel like something strange is happening in YOUR (romantic) neighborhood? Are you worried about facing these demons of douchebaggery all alone? Scared that someone will spirit your feelings away? Keep those phones back in your pockets (and I’ll keep the horror puns to myself); because you don’t need The Ghostbusters on speed dial just yet. What do you do then?

It’s easy. Just read through, and follow this five-step process to make sure you survive what I call the ‘Halloween Hijinks of Heartbreak’:

1. Recognise you can feel angry

Go break that glass. Tear out that book. Punch that bag. Write that scathing email (but don’t send it). Watch a romcom. Watch a dozen romcoms. Watch romcoms till you get sick of watching romcoms. Shatter that vase. Scream out loud. Go for a run. Cry. Get sad. Feel angry. You need to.

Repeat till you make peace with yourself and are whole-heartedly happy, because you deserve every bit of it.

2. Don’t blame yourself

Unless you killed his pet dog, had sex with the twin brother or set fire to his house, it’s not your fault (and it never will be), so don’t even go there.

Now write out a list of reasons why you hate him and learn it till you can recite it in your sleep. You dodged a bullet with this one, so go celebrate with some beer (and a few boys).

3. Call him out

Teachers, lawyers, policemen, landlords and mothers — everybody needs answers, and so do you. Remember that it’s better to reach out for answers than reaching out for that large bottle of wine (although if you want wine, just go ahead).

Make sure that you are okay, and if you can get yourself to, ask him for a reason(s). If he replies — hear him out and make peace with it, because that will only save you countless hours (and bills) at the therapist’s. But stop at that one time.

He doesn’t want to get back, and neither should you.

4. Cut him out completely

Delete those texts. Erase those pictures. Unfollow him on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat and Unfriend him on Facebook. Remove every trace of him, (virtual and otherwise) so that the no bits or bytes of him survive — compete to make it full and final, so that you can never get back in touch with him.

Because sending him a sloppy text message (or forty) at a quarter past three in the morning does not earn you any prizes.

5. Know that there’s still some hope left in the world.

Will it happen again? Should you ever fall in love? Why don’t you just delete Grindr? Take Tinder off your phones maybe? How about going on a dating detox? Who needs the right guy when you have your right hand? Don’t think about it. Just because it happened to you once (or twice), doesn’t mean that it will happen every single time. Sure, the graphic designer with the soft, wavy hair and twinkling eyes might have seemed like the One, but there are too many fish in this sea (and too many graphic designers with soft, wavy hair and twinkling eyes).

Now go fish.
Just make sure you throw back the ones you don’t need.

Ask The Guysexual: Love And Other Drugs Vol III

guysexual LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS VOL.3

Gay men collect questions like they collect friends.

Want to pack up and move on to the next step of your relationship with your boyfriend? Is mauve better than lavender? Does love really not cost a thing? How soon is too soon to say those three words, eight letters? Am I really as cynical as I seem online? More importantly, do you think I am cynical?

Now find answers to all these questions and more in #AskGuysexual’s Love And Other Drugs: Vol. III:

Dear Guysexual,

I’ve been in a loving relationship the past few months, and my boyfriend wants us to move in together.  I really don’t mind, but his parents keep visiting every few months and I am not sure whether I am ready for that kind of intensity in the relationship.  What should I do?

— BoomMate

Dear BoomMate,

Moving in with the boyfriend is the boss level at the end of every video game — your toothbrush joins his, and your antidepressants find their own little sweet spot in his shower cabinet. Your socks tangle in a passionate mess, your underwear finds its own intimate drawer, you even find your side of the bed (the one that doesn’t face the window). You are officially just moments away from getting matching towels. As you unpack and spread your life all over his, applaud. This is where the rollercoaster begins.

But it’s not necessarily where it ends either. When living with your parents can be quite the task, living with a set that belongs to someone else can be trickier — this is the bonus level where you fight a new big bad for brownie points. Firstly, you’ll have to deal with the following questions:

Do you say hello at breakfast just hours after you’ve done the nasty with their son?

How much small talk do you make as you ask them to pass the salt?

Are you supposed to make small talk as you ask them to pass the salt?

Most importantly, is it even polite to ask them to pass the salt?

It can go either way — you might be tugging at their heartstrings with heartwarming stories of your day at work, or playing tug of war for your boyfriend’s attention instead. It’s a risk everyone has to take at some point in his or her life, but is it one you want to take?

Like I said, you’ll be asking a lot of questions before you choose to pack those boxes up — just make sure you have the answers to them before you decide to split the rent (and the time with his parents).

Or you just might have to move away with the same boxes you arrived with.

Dear Guysexual,

I met a really great guy close to two months ago, and our relationship has skyrocketed ever since. I met his friends, and he met mine — and everybody is gaga about each other. I read somewhere that when you meet the One, you just know, and I feel like he’s the One for me. Do you think it’s too soon to tell him I love him?

— LoveFool91

Dear LoveFool91,

Quick question. Do you know what New Year’s Eve, the microwave and the American Billboard Top 100 have in common?

They all have a ticker — a numerical countdown that trickles down to the grand prize as you watch with bated breath — in this case, the New Year (and a new you), hot food, and everyone’s favourite top-rated song that’s currently playing at all the clubs around the world.

That’s the thing about tickers — they make everything about the destination, and leave little for the journey — how often do you hear of people who made their resolutions at 11.57 pm, or jive to no. 9 on the Billboard Top 100?

Just about never. Fortunately, there’s no countdown when it comes to love — because no ticker can ever tell you if you are ready to tell someone how you feel about them. Yes, every little instance counts to the big moment — your first fight, your first kiss, the first time you went to buy groceries together, the first time you bickered while out on a weekend getaway, the first time you spilled your drink on his shirt, the first time you farted, but every little instance is also the big moment. There will be many firsts, just like there will be the first time you tell him you love him.

If you feel like he’s the One, make sure you tell him right away.

Just make sure you don’t do it while you are farting.

Dear Guysexual,

It’s amazing that you’ve been solving matters of the heart for everyone else, but I was wondering if there’s someone who does it for you — what’s your secret?

— ConcernedGuy4You

Dear ConcernedGuy4You,

Firstly, I am going to take that backhanded compliment and store it in my tiny jar of self-validation — it’s little things like these that make me hate myself a little less every morning.

Just kidding. I love myself.

And that’s my secret.

I learn, laugh, love and live. You’ve probably seen the same advice on a DIY Pinterest board, because that’s where I saw it as well. If people learned to appreciate themselves a wee bit more, I wouldn’t be paying my bills writing an advice column.

PS: Although when it comes to matters of the heart, I just consult The Gay Man’s Guide To Dating (out now on Juggernaut Books) by the Guysexual (yours truly). Shameless self-promotion aside, sometimes even the ‘self-help section’ of the library needs help, just like everyone else does.

Have questions that you still need answers to? Tweet them over to @theguysexual and get them answered in #AskGuysexual’s Love And Other Drugs: Volume IV next month!

 

The Guysexual’s Guide To Being Ghosted

9 telltale

Arvind, an aspiring playwright in his mid twenties, met Aarav less than a year ago.

Aarav, (a successful lawyer) was slightly older (and thus, slightly more attractive), slightly aloof (and thus, slightly more interesting) and knew his ‘writs from his wrongs’ – once Arvind heard the pun (over Mai Tai’s that the lawyer paid for), there was no going back. It was love at Act 1 Scene 1, a scene-by-scene straight out of one of Arvind’s unfinished plays.

Aarav was the right measure of roguishly charming and endearingly enigmatic – every time they met had been a flurry of interesting conversation, stolen kisses and rapid heartbeats.

And multiple lawyer jokes.

As he made his way home from their last date (they split the bill and dessert, before they split ways), Arvind had a strong feeling that Aarav just might be the One. It happens to the best of us. People stare, but you don’t care. You smile, and can’t wait to see him again.

Only you don’t, because Arvind didn’t either.

The phone wouldn’t ring. Messages lay bare, and unanswered. Emails came with automated replies. Was it real? Was he in trouble? Had he lost his phone? Was he dead?

It was worse.

He had been ghosted, and the future father of his adopted twins had vanished without a trace. No explanations were given, only regrets.  Arvind had a funeral for the broken pieces of his heart soon after.

They never woke up from the dead.

That’s the thing about being ghosted – the Ghoster often disappears without a memo – which makes switching from ‘Honey! I am home!’ to ‘three unanswered calls’ as effortless as riding a bicycle, and equally daunting. How do you tell that he’s going to vanish in a puff of smoke? Or make sure that he’s not another cold case in your history of failed romances?

While it can be quite the rude shock (especially when you’ve already started planning the beach side wedding in your head), here are a few hints that show he might have been planning the greatest heist of them all for a while:

1.      He’s always busy.

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 (see point 9). 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 been emptier than his soul.

2.      And if they are not, they cancel plans.

Cancelling plans is the first chapter in the beginner’s guide to ghosting.  Sure, he’ll make plans with you, but he’ll seem less excited than someone who’s just about to get their root canal done.

And then one fine day, he’ll text you and ask you to meet him for a beer. He’ll cancel three hours later, when you are already half a cab ride away.

Congratulations! You are just two to four weeks away from being ghosted for good.

3.      They’ve dropped hints that they aren’t looking for something serious.

By saying something that goes along the lines of ‘hey, so I am not looking for anything serious,’ 

4.      You’ve never met any of his friends.

Does he have any? Who does he have those brunches with? Which school did he go to? Where have all those fridge magnets come from? Who are all those people in his pictures? If he feigns deafness at all of these questions, you are signing up for trouble – after all, the number of friends you know is inversely proportional to how difficult it is for a guy to ghost you. Don’t want to be ghosted?

Keep your friends close, but keep his friends closer.

5.      You have a gut feeling.

And it’s probably right. Follow it and end things, before he ends your will to ever date again.

6.      They have more excuses than the government.

And they are equally dubious.

7.      Their texts are short, really short.

This is how it starts – their texts go from being giant anecdotes asking about your life, to monosyllables to singular grunts till they reach the classic ‘use-only-in-case-of-emergency’ K.

I am not saying that each text has to be a short story, but if you feel like you’ve had longer conversations with your pet dog, then you are clearly texting yourself towards doom.

8.      They take forever to respond to your texts.

Apart from the following reasons, there is no other plausible excuse for a person to not reply to a text within the hour:

·         He’s driving.

·         He’s sleeping.

·         He’s dying.

If he still takes forever to long, it’s time to forever say goodbye.

9.      They don’t respond to your texts.

Well, if they aren’t responding to your texts, they aren’t just thinking of ghosting you, they’ve already ghosted you.

The fact is that being ghosted can be the death of you, and equally haunting (pun intended) – it can leave you sad, depressed, broke (the retail therapy won’t pay for itself, will it?) and terribly insecure. What do you do then?

Do you swear off men? Swear off romance? Swear off lawyers? Swear off scary movies because your recent heartbreak was such a horror flick?

No, you wait for the sequel to this piece.

Just like you wait for the sequel to the boy.