Category Archives: The Things We Do

A Straight Guy’s Guide To Acceptance

 

every-straight-guys-guide-to-nationalcomingoutday-1400x653-1507729525_1100x513

It’s International Coming Out Day today, boys and girls.

Which means, that as you read this sentence, thousands of men and women are pushing past their sweaters and bad decisions from 2007, and stepping out of their closets (into their out-and-proud sexualities).

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 today:

  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.

  1. ‘Do 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.

  1. ‘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 2017.

  1. ‘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.

  1. ‘ 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.

  1. ‘So you the guy or the girl?’

Get out.

  1. ‘Whoa, when did you decide you want to be gay?’

The same way you decided to be straight.

  1. ‘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.

  1. ‘Well, duh!’

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

  1. ‘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.

  1. ‘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.

  1. ‘No, you are not.’

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

  1. ‘Let’s go hit the clubs, mate!’

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

  1. ‘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.

  1. ‘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.

 

Read the whole post on MensXP here.

Happy #ComingOutDay : the Guysexual’s Guide to Coming Out

Happy International Coming Out Day.jpg

Do you hear that low rumble in the background?

It’s the collective sound of a billion closet doors being thrust open, so that their occupants can finally step out and enjoy the sun (and their sexuality).

Happy International Coming Out Day, boys and girls.

Today, if a close friend, a colleague or a sibling puts down their low-fat latte, looks you straight in the eye and tells you that they’ve got ‘something important to say to you,’ there’s a very high chance you are going to be privy to a coming out story — unless you’ve got something stuck between your front teeth, that is (so before you put on your best understanding face, do check a mirror).

Coming out is a special milestone in every gay person’s life — a coming-of-age ritual that all of us have to go through in this convoluted journey of trying to ‘find ourselves’.

The real question is, do you need to come out to be at peace with yourself?

I think so. Coming out can be difficult for a variety of reasons — the fear of people’s reactions, the stigma of being ostracised, the conflict with your religious beliefs, and the acceptance of intolerance, to just name a few — but it’s honestly refreshing.  Your internal struggles feel less painful, and your life seems more beautiful.

So why this big fuss about International Coming Out Day when you can make the big announcement any day of the year?

Continue reading Happy #ComingOutDay : the Guysexual’s Guide to Coming Out

The Guysexual’s Guide To Heartbreak

 

Handling Heartbreak

It’s over.

You’ve cut the cords, the phone calls and your heartstrings. You’ve had those two tubs of ice cream at once. You’ve not showered for days. You’ve blamed everyone from your mother and your best friend to that boy who sat behind you in seventh grade. You’ve heard (or wept to) Taylor Swift’s entire playlist on loop.

Or maybe, you are Taylor Swift.

See, dealing with a break up is only half the battle won, because getting over heartbreak is where you need to get your troops out (unless you are TS, in which case you’ll just write another hit song about it) — it’s time to bring out the Kleenex, boys and girls, because this is going to be a long one.

Let me tell you this.

Mending a broken heart is worse than trying to put together a torn gift voucher to Ralph Lauren (and it’s even worse when you’ve lost your heart to ghosting). While glue can be therapeutic, you’ll need time, and space, and multiple bottles of self-belief (with even more bottles of wine) to walk out of your shell.

But hey, listen.

While it might seem tough, it’s not impossible. What do you do to soften the blow of a breakup?

Read me (no pun intended).

Now heal away with this extremely helpful handle-your-heartbreak bucket list and fall in love with yourself (and someone else, hopefully) sooner than you can drunk dial your ex on a lonely Tuesday night:

1. Get a haircut

Deal with the split and the split ends with a quick makeover; one that probably doesn’t cost as much as a wardrobe do-over.

2. Take a weekend trip

You don’t need to go to Corsica or Rio to find yourself. Head off to the nearest beach and drown your worries in draught beer.

3. Take up a sport

Any sport. Preferably one that involves balls, so that you imagine your ex’s face every time you hit it with your racquet.

4. Clean up your house

Remove all the letters, clothes, toothbrushes, and love notes he left behind. Donate. Cleanse. Repeat till happy.

5. Find a new favourite restaurant

Remember sharing Maki rolls and miso soup at your favourite Sushi bar? Feeding him wasabi peanuts and grinning like idiots over sake shots every Saturday night? You don’t need to anymore. It’s time to make new memories with a new menu card.

6. Find a new favourite wine

Because you’ll need a fresh crate every weekend.

7. Read the biggest book you can find

That’ll save you a lot of time thinking about him.

8. Spend a day in bed

Watch as many Internet fail videos as you can, and make sure you do so in your favourite pyjamas.

9. Try out a poetry class

Channel all your angst into a class. Any class. Try something that interests you. Maybe try poetry. Although your chances of turning into Pablo Neruda overnight are very low, you’ll have something to laugh over next year — preferably over wine, with a new squeeze.

10. Cook up a fancy meal for one

You’ll need to get used to those.

11. Get all your STD tests done

If you are going to start over a clean slate, you better be clean.

12. Buy yourself a gift

And post it to your home address. Act surprised when you receive it. Repeat till you believe.

13. Call your mom

But make sure she’s not in one of her patronising moods.

14. Buy healthier food at the market

Avocadoes are magical. So are ‘multigrain buns-are-better-than-your-man-buns’.

15. Make a playlist.

And fill it up with all the songs that your ex hated — let that be a constant reminder to not go back.

16. Join a gym

If you are going to be working up a sweat every time you think about your break up, you might as well burn calories while you’re at it.

17. Start running

Learn to run fast, not run away from your problems.

18. Write out an email to the ex

Pour your heart out, talk about all the good things and the bad things. Talk about the one time he puked over your shoes after his 30th birthday, and how he got you cupcakes to make up the day after. Vent out your anger. Laugh at your in-jokes. Tell him everything you ever wanted to say; cry about it after, and just when you are about to hit ‘Send’, delete it.

19. Read a book or a blog about getting back in the game

Just like this one.

20. Get back on Grindr

But only when you are ready.

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 50 Other Things You Hear At Every LGBT Party

 

Guysexual PARTY.jpg

You can sum up every gay party broadly into two categories: free flowing boys, and free flowing cocktails. What else is there to life, you ask?

Great vibes, endless pitchers of sangria and pretty boys aside, each soiree is also a bundle of sassy one-liners and anecdotes — ones that you’d be (most definitely) lending a ear to, when you are not lending a cigarette to the hot boy across the dance floor. We’ve already swept through 50 of such well-worded gems at a previous party; but there’s always space for more, just like there’s always space for that one last drink. Are you ready to put the contestants on RuPaul’s Drag Race to shame?

Here are 50 other cult lines you’ll hear on your way to the bar, as you push your way through a gaggle of sequined men at the next LGBT rager:

1. ‘I’ll have a regular beer. Do you have change for 2000 though?’
2. ‘I should have just come straight to the after party…’
3. ‘But wait, there is an after party, right?’
4. ‘Oh damn! Hide me! I hooked up with that guy two weeks ago, and I don’t want to say hi!’
5. ‘Can you make me a vodka soda with four cubes of ice? Hold the soda…’
6. ‘If I stand right next to the bar, do you think someone will buy me a drink?’
7. ‘Why were you in the bathroom for so long?’
8. ‘He’s not my type, you can have him,’
9. ‘Oh wow! Can you believe it? He really looks nothing like his Grindr profile picture!’
10. ‘Today’s guest list is like my Grindr screen, you know what I mean?’
11. ‘Next time I come here, I am going to get a straight friend along so I am not the most awkward person in the room…’
12. ‘Hold my drink? I heard that the smoking zone is where all the cute boys are…’
13. ‘They really need to hold these at a different club — I feel like I’ve embarrassed myself in front of all the bartenders here…’
14. ‘I am scared to go the restroom! Maybe I’ll just hold it in…’
15. ‘Okay, just because you are in a relationship doesn’t mean you need to have your blinders on like a horse! Do you see the open buffet that I do?’
16. ‘I am telling you! He was definitely wearing the same clothes the last time around.’
17. ‘I think I need a shot of tequila to calm my nerves, okay, make that three shots of tequila…’
18. ‘What’s this I heard about you planning to call it a night and leave early? The party’s not over till they hand out the plastic cups!’
19. ‘Umm, I’ve been waiting here for like five minutes for my drink…heelllooo?’
20. ‘Umm, I don’t want to sound awkward, but is your Grindr name TheExcalibur by any chance? You look really familiar!’
21. ‘I only came to this one because it was 15 minutes away….’
22. ‘If his pants get any tighter, he’s going to need some surgery.’
23. ‘When was the last time I saw you? At Fashion Week two months ago? Why didn’t you come say hi? I was right by the bar!’
24. ‘Can you split that on two credit cards?’
25. ‘I can’t wait to get into a relationship just so I can stop coming to these gigs, to be honest.’
26. ‘Hi! Can I buy you a drink? No? Your friend, maybe?’
27. ‘I can’t believe he just called me bro.’
28. ‘Is it too soon to ask someone if I can bump a cigarette off them?’
29. ‘Oh wait! I don’t remember if I’ve slept with him or not…should I go and say hi?’
30. ‘Are you serious? Who comes to these alone?’
31. ‘I might have gone overboard with the pre-gaming. I am feeling slightly sick. Why didn’t you tell me that chugging that entire bottle of wine was a bad idea?’
32. ‘I am just going to find myself a corner and make fun of everyone else here…’
33. ‘I don’t know whether I am drunk or not, but I feel like I need to tell you that I’ve never had an orgasm.’
34. ‘I can’t believe I went on a two day salt cleanse for such a dull night, but tell me – can you see my cheekbones? Do they look like they can cut through glass?’
35. ‘I can’t believe I had to go through three hours of grinding for another night on Grindr.’
36. ‘I don’t know whether it’s the techno music, the lights or my gin and tonic, but I really feel like the bartender was hitting on me right now.’
37. ‘How many calories do you think a glass of sangria has?’
38. ‘Did all the hot men collectively decide to sit this one out?’
39. ‘On a scale of 1 to 10, how “effortlessly put together” do I look?’
40. ‘If he’s a seven on the dance floor, he’s most definitely a nine in bed…’
41. ‘I am going to play a game where I count the number of people who I’ve blocked on Grindr.’
42. ‘This crowd is so 2012!’
43. ‘That man in the corner looks like my math professor from school… oh wait, hold on… OH MY GOD…it is my math professor from school!’
44. ‘Who cares about Section 377 when all the boys out here are elevens!’
45. ‘My beer goggles are definitely not helping tonight.’
46. ‘Who calls them beer goggles? Call them Scotch sunnies or gin glares, maybe?’
47. ‘Seriously, does anyone know where the after party is?’
48. ‘There are more gay men here than the ZARA clearance sale!’
49. ‘Do you have any idea what the DJ is playing? He’s cute though…’
50. ‘I think I said hi to him twice tonight — do you think he’ll think I am hitting on him? Is it okay if I am hitting on him?’

The Unbearable Freedom Of Being

 

IMG_7961
Source: the Internet.

‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ a ninth grade English paper once asked me. It was a 20-mark essay, and I had 20 minutes to earn them. I rolled up my sleeves, and pulled out my cursive best.

The thing is, I wanted to be a great many things.

I wanted to be a chef, I wanted to be an actor, I wanted to be a painter, I wanted to be an astronaut, and for two weeks after I turned 11, I even wanted to be a National Geographic correspondent, if only because my older sister said that she wanted to be one. My essay – and the time allotted to write it – might have come to an end at this point, but my story didn’t. From the age of six to sixteen, I raced through changes. My styles, my sexual leanings and my haircuts changed, and so did my dreams.

Only, what did I never dream of being?

Myself.

All my years of adolescence, I had struggled to find myself, even though I struggled comfortably – I was so used to push my problems under a hypothetical carpet, and pretend they didn’t exist, that I never realized the lies I was hoarding up – little white lies, they wouldn’t hurt anyone, would they? It was an easy, lazy life.

I used this complacency as a security blanket, and wound it around myself whenever thoughts of the future terrified me. What would coming out (as a gay man) be like? Would it be a cakewalk or a walk down the plank? Would I have to talk about my feelings? Would I have someone to talk about my feelings to (a fair question, because I grew up thinking that you were only allowed to talk about your feelings at expensive therapy sessions, sappy book clubs or when watching romantic tearjerkers)?

Growing up was always a mark of independence – no more school, no more staying at home, no more rules, no more restrictions, no more getting worried over your mother’s eighteen missed calls (well, almost) – it seemed like a technicolour dream, being so free-spirited. But honestly, I didn’t know what I would do with all the freedom. Independence (or the mere thought of it) petrified me. What would I do being free?

Would I finally have to be myself?

People are terrified to be themselves, especially when bravery is an option, and not an obligation I’ve been called manipulative, selfish, a coward, a sore loser. Why would I want to be myself then? I’d rather be someone nicer and more admirable; I’d rather be someone else.

And that’s exactly what I did.

Some enjoy the peace that comes with accepting who you are, but most of us waltz on the fence in the middle. Take sexuality, for instance. We can stir ourselves to walk free and fabulous, but we’d rather stay safe and sound in the cage of heteronormativity. I made myself feel at home in the cage till I was twenty-one.

The thing about independence is that it doesn’t come gift-wrapped and express delivered to your front doorstep. It needs to be earned, or fought for.

Coming to terms with your sexuality and stepping out of the closet isn’t easy – especially when in a country like India, where minds can be as narrow as Bandra’s bylanes, even if you are an upper-class well-educated man (and sometimes, especially if you an upper-class, well educated man). Everyday life is a battle. As countless films and American television shows have told us, you don’t just wake up one morning and walk out into the sunlit world. To reach the closet door, you need to push through your woolens, those ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ shirts you bought on an impulse but will never wear, and the odd tangle of smelly socks, greying underwear and smutty novels you don’t want your mother to find. It will be tough, especially if you’ve been hoarding – and holding back – all your life.

And even when you do, it’s a never-ending process – those closet doors that everyone talks about? They are revolving. Week after week, you will find yourself coming out to friends, family, acquaintances, and (occasionally) drunken strangers at the bar. Perhaps one day it will not be the big deal that it is today, and you won’t have to worry whether your words are followed by a kiss to the cheek or a punch to the mouth. Every new acceptance is a fresh slice of independence, and you’ll wolf it all down without worrying about empty calories or complex carbs.

It will be liberating, the way you feel after you’ve survived a last-minute clearance sale. Only this is the clearance sale of regrets.

Fortunately, my personal coming out story reeks of acceptance and Hallmark cards – it happened at the dinner table, one Friday evening back in early 2015, over cups of chamomile and desiccated coconut biscuits. I sat my parents down, and told them everything in a diligently rehearsed 17-minute monologue.

In 18 minutes, it was done.

Questions were asked, hugs were exchanged, a tear was shed (that would be me). My mum went for a walk with her friends, and my dad continued solving the crossword puzzle. They accepted it with a simple shrug (and lots of love and support over the next couple of years, but this is the not a story about that). My sexuality was just another fact.

What about the war of words I had been expecting? The emotional bloodshed? The years of torment at the hands of society? They never came, even though the history books said that they would. Times are changing, and somewhere over pop culture references and more inclusive media representations, my parents and peers had changed as well. The history books had it wrong.

What they did get right was this – freedom felt liberating.

The freedom to stay single. The freedom to be a sexual deviant. The freedom to wear a skirt (if you are a man) or a jersey (if you are a woman). The freedom to wear both. The freedom to wear neither. The freedom to never find your way back home. The freedom to stay in for the night, with Netflix and a bottle of wine (that would be me again).

What do we do with the freedom then? Do we let it consume us? Terrify us into never seeking it out?

We do neither. We simply unwind and enjoy it with a cup of tea.

Preferably chamomile.

The Guysexual’s Guide To Freedom

 

freedom biyatch

What does freedom mean to me?

Wearing pyjamas on a Monday. Heading out on a vacation in the middle of January. Eating (and owning) eight bars of dark chocolate in one sitting. Netflix binging all week. Not replying to a text right away. Not feeling guilty about any of it.

Freedom might mean a lot of different things for each of us, but for the quintessential gay man in India, it means a lot more — the freedom to dress how they want, the freedom to love who they want, but most importantly, the freedom to be who they want.

At the end of the day, what else do you need independence from in India? You don’t need to answer the question; it was rhetorical.

But then again, the answers needn’t be. As Independence Day charges at us with all its tri-coloured glory, here are 15 different ideas that (gay) men need instant freedom from, this 15 August:

1. Body-shaming
I’ve said it before and I will say it again — square, round, fat, skinny, triangular, muscled, average, toned, thin, beefed up or even trapezoid — gay men (or anyone, for that matter) come in all shapes and sizes. As long as they are not a trigonometric equation, learn to appreciate all of them.

2. Patriarchy
Fun fact: did you know what makes a man (or woman) highly irresistible?
Their ideas on equality (and inclusivity).

3. Section 377
Because Section 377 is as redundant as Pahlaj Nihalani’s opinion right now. Let’s dust off the Constitution of India, and dust off those blues, shall we?

4. Bigotry
We all need to left swipe on extreme right wing propaganda – especially the one that opposes anything that is even remotely LGBT, including your (just the right amount of inappropriate) man crush on Rahul Khanna. Respect other people’s opinions like you would respect your mother on her birthday (or Mother’s Day).

5. Self hate
The only kind of people who hate gay men more than the bigots from above?
Gay men themselves. Internalised homophobia is real, boys and girls — it’s time to address the problem out in the open. Just like you should be.

6. Crocs
You might need freedom, boys — but your open toes don’t. The monsoons are over, so keep those crocs where YOU don’t belong — right at the back of your closet.

7. Judging relatives
Just like Apple’s license agreement and the disclaimer at the beginning of every movie, opinions of overbearing relatives are ticks that don’t need your attention.

8. Social media stress
The world might be going to war (here’s looking at you, North Korea and the United States of America) and I’ve still spent hours wondering why my #TransformationTuesday isn’t getting any Instagram love at 3 pm. It’s time to switch off the smart phones, and switch off that stress. I’ll probably go to the gym and work on my glutes instead.

9. Toxic love
No, the fact that he pinged you at 2 am, three months after he cheated on you (and effectively dumped you after) does not mean he’s trying to get back into your life. He probably just wants to get back into your pants. Love might be a lot of things, but it’s never deceitful. Nothing toxic can ever come out of a genuine, romantic relationship. Always remember that.

10. Notions of heteronormativity
Some people believe in monogamy. Some people believe in polygamy. Some people believe in free love. As long as you are practising safe sex, leave your notions of what is right and what is wrong right next to the used condom wrappers.

11. Gender appropriation
If Kiran, with the gender-neutral name, wants to dress in a way that’s slightly gender-fluid, don’t be a douche about it. No one needs that kind of negativity in their life — especially when they are trying to walk in six-inch stilettos in a busy Mumbai street.

12. Bullying
Just because I was okay with the fact that I spent most of high school getting pushed against lockers (and the occasional fellow nerd), doesn’t mean I am okay being dragged down a trail of comments by internet trolls, thank you very much.

13. No sugar diets
If gay men gave more importance to positivity than their protein supplements, the world would be a sweeter place to live in. Cinnamon bun intended. Empty calories aside, cutting sugar out just leads to an emptier life.

14. Bad television
The only thing worse than no LGBT representation in film (and other media) is shitty LGBT representation in film (and other media). Think of it this way — every time a gay person is portrayed as a promiscuous, sassy fashionista with no morals (or a wrist bone) on screen, a baby seal is clubbed to death in Antarctica.
Or worse, Chetan Bhagat comes out with another book.

15. Peroxide hair
Just one word: Nope.