All posts by Guysexual

The Guysexual is your average guy-next-door who loves his beer and hates pigeons, talking about out-of-the-closet experiences of the third kind. He might not know the right spoon to eat his crème brulee with, or what colour shirt goes with a leather jacket, but he does know that there never really is only the One. There’s a Two, a Three and a Four, and probably more. It will work out with some of them, and sometimes it will not. Ever the unreliable narrator, The Guysexual talks about his escapades in dating and otherwise, proving that there really is no difference between gay and straight when it comes to love, sex and relationships, or who fits the bill when you know that things are so bad that you probably might never ever see each other again.

The Guysexual’s Guide to What Happens After #PrideMonth

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#PrideMonth is finally over today, boys and girls.

Which means that as you read this sentence, thousands of companies are taking down their rainbow flags and pushing their glitter glue supplies back into their office store rooms.

But it doesn’t end here. 19 years ago, on 2 July 1999, something revolutionary happened. The country held its first Pride March in Calcutta, and India walked on the streets, out and proud for the very first time.

And it hasn’t stopped ever since. See, 2 July is a day that is important for many reasons. It also marks the ninth anniversary of the historic judgment of 2009, which decriminalised gay sex by reading down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

Which makes today (almost) Indian Coming Out Day.

I’ll tell you something: Whether you are 14 or 40, coming out can be an ordeal, but that’s a story for another time. If your friend is lucky, everything will go well, and the two of you will be downing shots at the bar later tonight.

But if it doesn’t, you – yes, YOU – owe it to him to make his life a whole lot easier. To help you in ‘your’ journey of acceptance, here are a few things you shouldn’t say when a friend (or a sibling) comes out to you any time soon:

1. “Oh that’s amazing, dude. But wait a minute, you won’t hit on me now, will you, ha-ha?”

No, because you clearly aren’t my type. If you were, we would not be friends in the first place – I’d just be gushing about you to my best friend.

2. “You know what? I always knew it.”

When someone comes out to you, it’s an exhilarating feeling – it’s full of the giddiness that comes with riding a rollercoaster. Telling someone that you already knew (even if you did) is like pulling the handbrakes.

3. “Maybe if you only started playing more sport, you never know…”

This is when I make a list of all the sportsmen in the world who are gay. Stop with the stereotyping – it wasn’t cool back in 1966, it isn’t cool in 2018.

4. “Haha, is this just because you’ve not had a girlfriend yet?”

Ditch the biology book when you are wondering what your gay friend does behind closed doors – love has nothing to do with how things fit, because it’s not the big 5000-piece jigsaw puzzle that we all assume it to be.

5. “I don’t really know what to say right now, bro.”

If you don’t, sometimes a hug would do – there’s nothing worse than radio silence. Be normal, the best reactions aren’t even worth remembering because they felt so natural.

6. “So, are you the guy or the girl?”

Get out.

7. “Whoa, when did you decide you want to be gay?”

The same time that you decided to be straight.

8. “But bro, do you have AIDS?”

Let’s get it straight (pun intended). AIDS is not a gay disease. On the other hand, sir, you suffer from something far worse: ignorance.

9. “Well, duh!”

Read point number two, but only slap yourself around your head this time.

10. “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”

Making someone’s coming out process about you is usually not the best idea. Focusing on them and their experience instead? Let’s get out those medals of honour.

11. “Man, now you can help me with my shopping!”

The fact that gay men love to shop is probably the worst stereotype that ever exists. That, and the jazz hands.

Just wear what you want to, you’ll look great.

12. “No, you are not.”

Do you know what you are not? A nice person.

13. “Let’s go hit the clubs, mate!”

Yes, thank you. But that’s not why I just told you something this important, right?

14. “Are you really sure about this? Maybe it’s just a phase, you never know? Remember, back when I was younger and I…”

Being able to finally feel comfortable in your skin is the best feeling in the world. Someone wanting to share that feeling with you is like wanting to share a large ice cream sundae on a hot summer day. Cherish it.

15. “You mean you are bisexual, right?”

No. Gay. G-A-Y. Get that?

Now that you’ve finished reading the guide, how about you go help your friend with the closet door instead? Those shackles can be tough to pry open, and they could use all the help they could get.

Move along.

But make sure you do it with pride.

The Guysexual’s Guide To Making A Man in 2018

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There are all kinds of men in this world. Thin men. Fat men. Tall men. Short men. Skinny men. Hairy men. Loud men. Obnoxious men. Timid men. Flamboyant men. Ferocious men. Hipster men. Daredevils. Douchebags. Atheists. Diehard romantics. Righteous. Vigilantes. Right wing. Left wing. Gay. Straight. Bisexual. Self-made. Self-taught. Self-aware.

But what makes a man?

See, we all know that if you mix sugar, spice and everything nice (plus a large helping of Chemical X), you’d get a Powerpuff Girl. Can you make a man the same way? Replace Chemical X with Chromosome Y?  Or is it all testosterone, cigarette fumes, single malt, revved up engines and golf clubs?

Obviously not, because where would you find a golf club in India?

I asked a few of my friends instead.

‘Balls and a penis,’ said one well-meaning pal.

‘The Y Chromosome,’ another one joked. He’s a professor.

‘A well groomed beard,’ someone else chipped in.

His actions. How he works his tools. How he handles his women (don’t ask, my friends are a mixed bunch). His survival skills. His scent. His character. His job. Confidence. Integrity. Wisdom. The answers trickled in through messages, and slid into my DMs like d*ck pics (and some of them were equally flaccid). They were characteristics, yes, but not the ingredients for the quintessential man. Could you source them locally? Would I have to go to the supermarket? Farm those seeds myself? Bid at an auction? Would I find a recipe online or would the store-bought microwaveable version work?

I didn’t have a clue, so I did the only thing that made sense.

I scoured the internet.

Page after page popped up, till I was swamped under a sea of bits, bytes, memes and GIFs. The internet, I realised, had a lot to say about what makes the perfect man. From the heartwarming (What makes a man really happy?) to the eye opening (What makes man a man in the eyes of God?), from the titillating (what makes a man AMAZING in bed?) to the downright depressing (What makes a man an alpha male?), there were secret hacks for everything.

But yet, after scanning through hundreds (okay, six) of pages full of listicles, blogs and popup ads for penis-enlargement pills, I still didn’t have a solid answer (how to last all night long, yes).

I’ll tell you the problem. They all told you to be larger than life. They all told you to ooze confidence like toothpaste. They all told you to dab copious amounts of charisma like it were hair mousse (this was no beauty tutorial though). But most importantly, they all told you to man up.

Man up. It’s a funny phrase. What could it mean? I first heard the term almost two decades ago, and found it endearing. It’s the natural successor, I guess to ‘grow a pair’, which itself took ‘get a backbone’ away from the spinal cord right to the nether depths of your groin.

Getting a backbone, however, didn’t associate courage or toughness with being a man. But now, even if you aren’t coping very well with something, are down with the flu, or simply don’t want to do something daredevilry (or debauchery) — that is every situation that can illicit the phrase from a well-meaning passerby — you are simply seen as the opposite of masculine. See, sometimes you might just want to say: ‘I’m sad. I’m depressed. I’m drowning. I am dying. Am I lonely? Am I going to be all right?’ but you can’t — because no one cares.  You’re a dude, baby. Not a baby, dude. These crown jewels are for showing, aren’t they?

It seems that we’ve finally reached that point in our life where you can only be more masculine if you stick to the norms. Have that double measure of single malt. Play golf with the crew. Yell at the waiter in the restaurant. Deadlift 150 kg. Micro-manage an entire office floor. Fight a tiger with your bare hands. As you get older, the rules of masculinity become tougher and tougher (just like people expect you to be), but no one tells you what makes you more machismo.

But that’s the thing, boys don’t become men when they strut out their muscled chests and pick tabs (or sometimes, even fights) at the bar — on a side note, I only pick up my drinks at the bar —boys become men when they become themselves.

Because the truth is, the world (and most men I know) would be happier if people could just be who they want to be. So dress the way you like. Do what you want to do. Take that dance class. Go study French. Sing a Miley Cyrus song at karaoke (‘Party In The USA‘ is a great way to test out your vocals). Bake that cake. Knit that sweater. Read that self-help book. Go for a recital. Don’t drive if you can’t.

And if someone tells you to ‘man up’? Just tell them to man off. This isn’t Sparta.

So what makes a man then?

You’ll have to wait for the sequel to find the answer to that question.

Until then, I’ll go prepare for my Pilates class.

Film And Fabulous: Finding Queerness in Bollywood in 2018

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I usually like spending my Sundays lazing around like a cat. It is an occupational hazard of being a millennial.

This past weekend however, I decided to give my weekly catnap a reprieve, and trudged halfway across the city to watch a matinee show of India’s latest chick flick (which is not a chick flick), Veere Di Wedding.

Armed with a tub full of caramel popcorn and a soda that had more calories than I could count, I sat down to watch the movie. It was refreshing, it was funny and it was full of actresses I have a boy crush on.

Twenty minutes into the movie, (SPOILER ALERT) they revealed that Kareena Kapoor Khan‘s beloved on-screen uncle (played by my childhood favourite Vivek Mushran) is gay. In fact, he even has a thriving relationship with a loving partner. But something seemed off.

Then the ‘little things’ begin to irk me. The way Cookie (yes, that is what they call him) uncle stuck out his little finger while holding his drink. His partner’s floral shirts. His hand gestures. His over-the-top display of affection in a song-and-dance sequence. Their shared distress over the wedding invitations. Their need to be fun. The tiny things. The insignificant things. The irrelevant things.

I am not saying I did not like the movie. I did, I really, really did. For two and a half hours, I was transported into a make-believe world of first world problems, smokeless cigarettes and rampant brand promotion.

But I expected more.

See, if this were a Sajid Khan or a Luv Ranjan production, I would not have had a problem – their homophobic characters will forever be overshadowed by their highly misogynistic plotlines.

But this is different.

Because when a movie has been directed by Shashanka Ghosh, and features a cast of A-list actresses and veteran actors (including the men who play the gay uncles, Vivek Mushran and Sukesh Arora) who have given us A-list performances, this sort of representation just seems like a giant letdown, especially when all their Instagram feeds are clogged with rich, influential gays who do rich, influential things.

Do not get me wrong. The transition of queer representation from the bitchy, manipulative fashion designer (it is always a fashion designer) to the fun, understanding uncle can even be considered as the harbinger of the #EverydayPhenomenal – but is it enough? (Side note: Mildly altering the pathbreaking words of Miranda Priestly, ‘Florals for queer representation? Groundbreaking.’)

Did the uncle have to be gay? Did it further the plot? Did it further his character?

The movie has a star cast that boasts of equal parts nepotism and new-age indie actors (which I have been told is the fail-safe formula for any Bollywood blockbuster), an amazing soundtrack and dialogue delivery that will leave any mother to shame. But with a new brand being introduced every 10 minutes and no real plot development for the (not one, but two) erstwhile gay characters, the movie may very well have been a giant YouTube ad that you cannot skip.

And I could not.

‘Why are you getting so offended?’ My friends asked me. ‘Why do you think it is wrong? What else were they supposed to do?’ My rant had only started a series of whys and whats – ‘why don’t you hold your horses? What’s your grouse here? Why don’t you just watch the movie? What do you want them to do? What else could they have done? Why don’t you calm your tits?’

Well, why don’t you just shut up?

The gay man in Bollywood has become the token black guy in every white movie. A background prop, someone (or something) that makes the movie seem ‘more inclusive’ – like brands that scurry to make more LGBT-friendly content during International Pride Month.

But then again, when was Veere Di Wedding not a shameless brand plug-in?

It is 2018, and it should be getting better – people say it is too trivial to hold silent protests and candlelight vigils over ‘such things’. Too much effort. Too hipster. Too mainstream. Too unnecessary.

But is it really too much?

In the past decade, Bollywood has barely scratched the surface of LGBTQ+ depiction with caricature-like portrayals of gay men who were either camp (and therefore ‘less’ than the cis-hetero men who sidelined them) and/or hypersexual (playing on the fear that gay men were out to steal your testosterone-pumped husbands, boyfriends and next-door neighbours).

You would see it everywhere – laced as the fiercely flamboyant principal in Student Of The Year, the bitchy model coordinator in Fashion, the boyfriend-stealing best friend in Page 3 and the obviously-straight-but-pretending-to-be-gay leads in Dostana (2008). Gay men were, therefore, background props who became the butt of all jokes (excluding this one.)

Sure, Veere Di Wedding changed all of it. It made the gay characters positive – fun, witty, fashion-conscious men that women are drawn to for emotional support and douchebag-related dilemmas. But did they have to be gay?

I will tell you a close-guarded secret. These overly ‘positive’ messages, which you see a lot in the media – that gay men are particularly fashion-conscious and bitchy, and a woman’s ‘gay best friend’ – can be extremely pressurising. But why should we make do with token gay characters, pushed to the background as comic relief or a pleated pants-wearing plot device? What if we want to be serious and boring? What if we want to be a part of the everyday?

Packed in floral shirts and skintight jeans that seem to put the respiratory system at risk, we have only become cookie-cutter (no movie pun intended) representations of ourselves. I really don’t mind the flamboyant stereotype because it is honestly not a stereotype – but is it our only form of representation?

With movies like Call Me By Your Name and Love, Simon (both of which did not see theatrical releases in India, so here is a shameless plugin to #ReleaseLoveSimonInIndia) where LGBTQ+ characters are not just nuanced and layered but also pushed right to the forefront as movie leads, Hollywood has taken a giant leap in showing its support for the rainbow movement.

And that is only in the past eight months. So why should Bollywood trail behind?

The problem here does not lie with Veere Di Wedding, or even Bollywood, in hindsight. The problem lies in the complete indifference with which the Indian media deals with homosexuality in general.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to be part of a ‘label-breaking’ advertisement. Helmed by an award-winning director known for his indie work, it was a #TimeToBreakStereotypes video campaign for a high-end luxury brand. They needed an openly gay man for a small bit role, and here I was, fresh out of the closet. It was Pride Month, and I was bursting to do my bit for the community (and my 15 seconds of fame).

On the day of my shoot, I drove over to the set with a fresh haircut and fresher hopes. Between a hurried costume change and makeup session, I peeped over the assistant director’s shoulder to read my character’s description on the call sheet: There were only two words.

Gay Two.

The fact that I was not important enough to be ‘Gay One’ aside (in my defense, it was an androgynous supermodel), was this really what we had come down to?

Because if the urban intellectual can be so unsympathetic to an entire sexual minority’s problems, what can we really expect from the rest of the country? Is it because of the instant dismissal of any character that is NOT the quintessential straight male lead? Or is it because the film industry fears social backlash for making a movie with strong, affirmative gay leads?

Or maybe the two reasons are the same thing.

But I still feel like we can do this. We are queer, and we are here (and to quote a fabulous friend, we are not going anywhere anytime soon, dear). The time is ripe for some fresh, realistic portrayals of queerness in Bollywood. Someone who has aspirations. Someone who has problems. Someone who likes Sunday catnaps.

Because if the LGBT+ community can step out of their closets, it is high time that Bollywood should too. I can personally vouch for the fact that the wedding sequence will be bright and glorious.

The Guysexual’s Guide To Every Diva In The World

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There’s a popular misconception that all gay men are divas, but as a marginalised group, it is no surprise that they are often characterised stereotypically. Prior to the past two decades, gay men’s portrayal in the mainstream media has been rather minimal, and when they do make it to the screen, their characters are constructed out of clichés.

‘Oh! He wears prints?’
‘He must be a diva.’
‘Could you hear him cackling all the way across the room?’
‘Definitely a diva.’
‘Who else can carry off bubblegum pink?’
‘That’s diva 101.’
‘How else can he be dressed to kill every single time I see him?’
‘He wrote the Guide To Being A Diva, I tell you.’

But that’s the thing. The Diva is not necessarily your man of fashion – he’s not the stereotypical fashion designer or the bitchy stylist you meet at the bar. The Diva hides in plain sight, he’s everywhere: the accountant from work, your next-door neighbor, your friend’s colleague, the jock from high school, you.

The Diva is like Batman – an ordinary man by day, a caped crusader (albeit with pleated pants) by night – only this vigilante rids the world of bad manners and bad dressing sense. Want to know how to sort out the fabulous from the fabulist? Here’s the Guysexual’s guide to every gay diva in the world:

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The Diva says things like, “We’ve got the same numbers of hours as Beyoncé does.”

He actually believes it.

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Perpetually 26, his Sundays are Instagram-ready hours of lazy brunches, infused cocktails, and Pinterest-worthy desserts that he swears he won’t take a bite of.

The Diva will call you ‘his cookie’, but we know he wants to bite you.

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

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The Diva quotes Diet Sabya.

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The Diva feels that hipsters try too hard. He also splits up his styles into nine different categories: Formal, semi-formal, casual, semi-casual, street-chic, party-chic, disco-chic, somber and straight acting.

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The Diva air-kisses and airbrushes so much, he can list it as a skill on his LinkedIn.

He probably has.

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The Diva eats quotes by RuPaul for breakfast. He washes them down with a no-foam, soy milk latte and sarcasm.

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If the Diva had longer hair, he’d flip it more often.

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The Diva has an intense seven-step exfoliating ritual. Nine, when he’s going out for drinks.

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He won’t drink beer, because a pint is the equivalent of seven slices of white bread (which he won’t touch). On days when he wants to let loose, he’ll have a few gin and tonics, and load them up with cucumber slices or almond bitters.

But he’ll tell you that a ‘Skinny Bitch’ is his official go-to drink. That’s also what his friends call him behind his back.

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The Diva scrolls through Gigi Hadid’s Instagram feed at the dentist’s.

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The Diva plans to start a crowd funding campaign to bring the Queer Eye boys to India. He has quotes by Jonathan Van Ness up on his wall. It’s all very tastefully done.

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The Diva rates the boys he dates. He has a 4.2 rating on Uber.

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The Diva likes his drama just the way he likes his A/W Fashion Week: with access to front row seats.

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At least five supermodels call him their best friend, and swear that they’d die to see him in a fulfilling relationship. They wouldn’t try setting him up with any of their other (read: obviously less close) gay friends though.

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One time, he sat next to an A-list actress on an airplane, and she told him ‘he was very pretty’. He’ll tell you it was Priyanka Chopra, but he told somebody else that it was Sonam Kapoor.

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The Diva can’t decide whether he’s team Madonna or team Cher, but secretly, he’s team Britney.

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The Diva hates sapiosexuals. He thinks they wear their attitude wrong.

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The Diva might be clueless about stock options, but he can reference any shoe brand by their make and catalogue number.

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The Diva has a RompHim jumpsuit in his online shopping cart. He plans to buy it for his birthday.

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The Diva likes to call his aesthetic sense ‘quirky’. His haters (that’s what he calls them) seem to think it’s more ‘whimsical’.

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The Diva references Keeping Up With The Kardashians on a regular basis. Over multiple bottles of Moet Chandon and bite-sized nibbles of overpriced cheese, he’ll tell you he feels like a ‘Khloe’. But he’s a Scott Disick.

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The Diva Instagrams his takeaway cup of cold brew coffee every morning because he thinks frappuccinos from Starbucks are ‘too mainstream’, unless it’s a Unicorn frappuccino.

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The Diva dreams of marrying the Boy (it’ll be a white wedding), and he regularly leaves thirsty comments on his Instagram feed. They always go unnoticed.

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With his undeniable wit and free-for-all sass, the Diva is every straight girl’s wet-dream-come-true: because he’s a fashion-spouting sounding board that she doesn’t even have to friendzone. Like they say, he’s the perfect summer accessory.

I’ll tell you a secret? The Diva feels the same way about her.

To Mum, With Love: What It Means To Come Out As The Parent Of A Gay Son

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I’ll tell you a secret about my relationship with my mother. Each of our relationships with our parents is such an individual thing — even between siblings, sometimes — and they can be difficult for us to understand from a distance.

My relationship with my mother is far from perfect. Over the past decade, we’ve fought, we’ve cried, we’ve pulled our hair out, we’ve said mean things to each other that might put school bullies to shame, and we’ve had cold wars that have lasted multiple hours and meals. It’s been one hell of a roller coaster ride.

But that’s how most relationships are, they aren’t perfect. And that’s the beauty of it.

A child might not be perfect — not too bright, not too beautiful, not too charming, not too enterprising, not too much of a good thing — and still, a mother would love it to death. She’d nag, but love her child like a lioness loves her cubs.

My mother is like that.

She treats nagging and scolding me as a daily chore — it’s become a part of the routine. But then again, it’s ourlittle routine. It’s like a two-person comedy act — only there’s no background laughter — unless you count my exasperated older sister who stays miles away, but still hears of all my idiosyncrasies through the telephone. I love every little bit of it.

See, I might be a selfish, spoilt brat who might have more vices than virtues (here’s looking at you, endless bottles of wine and rum), and my mother might have reserved her dirtiest of looks for each and every one of them, but that’s what mothers do — they antagonise, because they adore.

And mine adores me to death. The past three years could have been turbulent — with the coming out and what not — but they weren’t. Twenty-five years of her having lived in an orthodox family, and yet, I’ve had some of the most remarkably open conversations with her. Was she okay with my coming out? Maybe not. Does she like it when I talk about being gay on social media? Definitely not. Has she any clue of what the LGBT life is all about? Clearly not. In fact, I thought we were going to live in a state of peaceful denial of my sexuality till thishappened last year.

My mum came up to me sometime in August of 2017, as I worked away on a deadline. She looked visibly upset. Sensing it was something I had done (and had no clue about), I asked her what was wrong.

A daughter of an acquaintance had just given birth, she said to me, and sweets had been delivered all over the society. Our family had been inconspicuously missed out. She suspected it was because I was gay, and they didn’t want to ‘rub it in’ that I might ‘never have a child of my own’.

I asked her whether she was sad that it happened? Kaju katlis are a big deal, after all.

She said she was, but only because she was surprised that she knew people who were so narrow-minded, that they couldn’t see beyond the boxes they stayed in. Then she went on to tell me how sugar was bad for your body anyway, and that we’d all live a more fulfilled life without any ensuing boxes of sweets. If people couldn’t deal with her son’s sexuality, then she didn’t need to deal with them (or their sugary gifts) at all.

I hugged her tightly then and there.

I hope this serves as at least one model for a positive way to react. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know for me, she couldn’t have reacted more appropriately (or heartwarmingly).

My coming out story might have been a breeze, but coming out as the parent of a gay child is no easy feat. Because I might have had to come out of the closet only once, but for my mother — as a supportive parent — it’s an everyday struggle.

She’s sat through awkward dinner conversations with strangers (‘…and then I told my son, you can marry anyone as long as it’s not a boy!’), shot down questions by distant aunts (‘’it’s okay if he’s gay, but does he have to be gay for the whole world?’) and even ignored jibs by concerned relatives (‘we understand how you must feel that your son will never get married…’) with the same stance.

One of cold defiance.

My mother is an exceptionally fierce woman. Her problem with most of these situations isn’t the quintessential ‘how-could-they-say-that-about-MY-son?’, it’s the more empowering ‘how-could-they-say-that-about-gay-people?’

And that is gut-wrenchingly heartwarming.

Is my mom completely comfortable with my sexuality? Maybe not. Is she curious about the gay life? Not really. Does she love me to death nonetheless? Always.

I don’t expect my mother to tag along as I march for LGBT Pride. I don’t expect her to flash the rainbow flag at a family lunch. I don’t expect her to ask questions about my love life (or lack thereof). I don’t even expect my mother to have a conversation with her friends about my sexuality. My mum’s not one of those mothers.

She’s so much more. She might never understand the depths of my struggles as an out-and-about gay man, but she’ll still school anyone who tries to question the same.

I am proud of the woman my mother has become, and the son she’s making me out to be. I might not be the perfect one, but she’s made peace with the fact that I never will be. And that’s the first step of any loving relationship. The peace to co-exist with all your faults and regrets. To confront what’s not wrong. To fight for what’s right. To know that I am loving (and living) my life to the fullest. To understand that I’ll go back to being the insufferable child right from tomorrow.

To all the mothers who are reading this who will ultimately have to deal with their own child’s coming out, I say this: don’t feel guilty about not being completely on board till you’ve asked all your questions. It’s okay not to be okay. As long as your child is not being made to feel unloved or uncared for, express your love (and confusion). That’s half the battle won. The other half is finding a nice, handsome and charming boy who can spend the rest of his life with your ungrateful child.

Thanks for meeting me on the other side of the closet, mom. #HappyMothersDay to you.

I promise it gets better.

— Illustration courtesy Amrai Dua

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?