Category Archives: The Things We Do

The 50 Things You Hear At Every LGBT Party

Intro 1x1

  1. ‘Wait. Is this only entry? I thought it was cover.’
  2. ’I wasn’t going to show up, but then I had nothing else to do…do you have a light?’
  3. ‘Hey, hi! Do you think I can borrow a cigarette from you? Benson Lights? Sure, anything will do.’
  4. ‘Is he looking at me? Wait, is he looking at you? Okay, the first one to talk to him takes him home tonight.’
  5. ‘I think I need a shot…make that two. Can you pay for these? I forgot my credit card in my other wallet today,’
  6. ‘That shirt on those pants? He’s such a fashion disaster – he should be happy he’s cute!’
  7. ‘I might have made out with that boy at the party last month, but I am not very sure. It was so dark…’
  8. “ Oh damn! I slept with him! And him! Yikes, and the third one too!’
  9. ‘Do you think I can survive on one beer all night long?’
  10. ‘OMG, where have you been? You disappeared! I haven’t seen you since…. oh wait, we ran into each other at the last one.’
  11. ‘Can we please leave before closing bell? I hate making small talk when the lights are back on,’
  12. ‘So gay parties aren’t usually my thing, but I wanted to come check out what the hype is all about…oh hold on, I see a friend, I’ll talk to you later?’
  13. ‘Is it just me, or are the lights dimmer than usual?’
  14. ‘Oh, you wear sandals? How cute.’
  15. ‘That new Adele song? Story of my life.’
  16. ‘Can I have a mojito? Hello? Hello? Umm, Mr. bartender?’
  17. ‘I want to go pee so badly, but all the stalls are full, and I am too intimidated to use the urinals, you know what I mean?’
  18. ‘Ughhh. This party is full of people I didn’t want to run int-…heyyy! What are you doing here? We were just talking about how lovely the crowd is today!’
  19. ‘…And that’s exactly why you should never ever be a part of an orgy!’
  20. ‘Sorry, but this might seem awkward, but what’s your name again?’
  21. ‘Seriously, do you have any idea where the after party is at?’
  22. ‘I totally don’t mind being objectified right now.’
  23. ‘Did you see how he had his tongue down his throat? So sick. Think someone will make out with me like that?’
  24. ‘Oh god, oh god, hide…it’s my ex!’
  25. ‘Why did you leave me alone and go? Now stand right here while I scout the rest of the party!’
  26. ‘ If his t-shirt gets any tighter, he would look like a mannequin. A hot one, but a mannequin nonetheless.’
  27. ‘…And this funny thing happened, where I told him I might have accidentally slept with his twin brother too…’
  28. ‘This party is so boring; I should have just stayed home tonight. Wait, while you are heading to the bar, get me a beer? No, wait…make it a Long Island Iced Tea.’’
  29. ‘The music is so
  30. ‘Did you see what he was wearing; it’s so hideous tha – … oh, hi! How are you doing? I absolutely love what you are wearing today!’
  31. ‘Damn, I wish someone comes and buys me a drink.’
  32. ‘Oh my god! It has been so long since I saw you last? Where have you been?’
  33. ‘So where were you pre-drinking?’
  34. ‘So where are we drinking after?’
  35. ‘Have you seen how expensive the drinks are here, I am going to wing it with only one beer for the rest of the night…’
  36. ‘I would go and smoke outside but it’s so hot. Do you think the air conditioning is on?’
  37. ‘If I were him, I wouldn’t be wearing that pink dress jacket here. Actually, I wouldn’t wear it anywhere…’
  38. ‘Want to stand in the corner and make fun of everyone?’
  39. ‘…Why are you surprised to see them together? Didn’t you hear – they are an item again.’
  40. ‘The last time I was here, I got so wasted, I don’t remember a thing. There are videos somewhere, but I’d rather not see them…’
  41. ‘Is he checking me out? Tell me, is he checking me out?’
  42. ‘That’s a seven, and that’s a five, oh no wait, I think he’s a four…’
  43. ‘Do you think they saw me? Okay, pretend to say something really serious so that it looks like we don’t want out conversation to be disturbed.’
  44. ‘I think he was wearing the same outfit the last time around.’
  45. ‘Does anyone know where the after party is happening?’
  46. ‘You are getting there at 10? Who gets there that early? People would think you don’t have a life.’
  47. ‘You want to come back to my place? I have a great collection of jazz music…’
  48. ‘Don’t you think the crowd was better last time around?’
  49. ‘I am going to play a game where I count the number of people I’ve slept with.’
  50. ‘I’ve heard rumours that there are lines happening in the bathrooms…’

The Seven Straight Guys You Should Stop Flirting With

 

Amrai_TheGuysexual thorny plant- Straight men to stay away from

 

When you are growing up as a gay man, you realise that most of your relationships with straight men (just like your relationship with dead lifts) can never be easy. What do we talk to all our fathers, our brothers, our cousins and our many girlfriends’ husbands, boyfriends and significant others about?

Do we talk about the difference between single malt and double malt whiskey? Do we talk about the backward English pass in billiards?  Do we discuss (at great length) the pickup of the Audi Q2 versus the BMW X1? Well, we’ve got Google, and I still can’t say much.

Like I said, it’s not easy.

A decade ago, when I was younger and more socially awkward, I would get the nervous sweats whenever I was introduced to a straight man. What if he mocked me? Made fun of my nasal twang? Ridiculed my niche taste in pop music (read: Katy Perry)? Or the way my hands flapped at my sides when I wasn’t holding up a drink?

Instead, I would rush over to their sisters and girlfriends, and instantly bond over the newest episode of Gossip Girl or how delicious Ryan Gosling looked in his latest RomCom. Countless experiences and many sob stories later, I was in a constant state of worry. What if these men thought that I was secretly in love with them? What if they felt threatened and insecure (just like I did)? What if they thought I was staring at them (or worse, their privates)?

Almost never, boys. Almost never.

But it’s 2017, and we’ve entered (figuratively, obviously) a new generation of straight men — the ones who are charming, and don’t think twice about harmlessly flirting with you.  They are the ones who have shifted from the spectrum of open fear to open curiosity — open to the idea of wearing male rompers, open to the idea of discussing (at great length) the net worth of the Kardashian sisters, open to the idea of a hug that lingers for just the slightest second.

But while these men might seem perfect and straight out of an indie movie, it’s always a good thing not to get too ahead of yourself.  That never bodes well for anyone. So before you make sure you don’t misinterpret his mixed signals and get carried away by his poetic fluidity, here are the seven straight men you should be wary of:

Mr Bartender

The bartender is every gay man’s wet dream.

He’s a man who can handle his alcohol (pun intended), plus he’s great at showering you with attention and double meaning innuendos (when he’s not showering you with great customer service and free drinks).

The bartender is a man of actions. He’ll not so subtly praise you on your choice of drink, might wink at you suggestively as he passes over your change, and maybe even lick his lips seductively as he pours you an (extra) measure of single malt. Customer might be king, but that still doesn’t mean our flirty Mr. Bartender wants to be your queen.

At the end of the day, just remember one thing — his interest in your job, your mother’s side hobbies and what you had for lunch last Tuesday, comes with an ulterior motive.

He’d rather you leave a hefty tip behind, than your phone number.

Mr Drunk

The thing about Mr Drunk is that he’s so far gone, that he probably won’t (or will at least pretend not to) remember flirting with you last night. Six shots of tequila and three towers of tap beer aside, our man has had so much to drink that he’d probably hit on the barstool if he could (which he probably already did).

Do yourself a favour. Send him back to his table, and drop him an aspirin for his morning after if you can.

Mr Feelings

Mr Feelings is a sensitive straight man, who likes to paint and drink chamomile tea. He lives by himself in a tiny studio apartment, and spends his Sunday evenings doing crossword puzzles. Sometimes, when he’s bored, he pulls out a book of Rumi’s quotes, and ponders about life (and the loneliness of it).

Mr Feelings is vulnerable at the moment, and just wants to feel loved. But beware; he’d trade you over for his grandmother.

Or worse, yours.

Mr Ennui

With his indifference (but with just the right amount of interest that makes him look endearing), Mr. Ennui can be the quintessential gay guy that every man would like to take to bed. He’s suave, he’s attentive, he’s charming, but yet, he’s all of the above without being the slightest bit offensive.

But the truth is, Mr Ennui is only one thing: He’s bored. He’s not flirting with you because he’s interested in you (or your manicured fingers); he’s flirting with you because there’s no one else around. Hold on to those horses that whisk you off into wedded bliss, boys, because he’s only going to be the charming dreamboat till his girlfriend swoops in (and yes, there will be a girlfriend). Once she does, he’ll go back to being his clueless ‘I-thought-I-was-talking-to-a-straight-guy’ self.

PS: He might even part with a fist bump if he thought things got too awkward.

So keep those hands to yourself.

Mr Narcissist

We all like to feel attractive, and some of us (when we are not feigning modesty and throwing around a general air of being nice), also like to be told we are so.

For most straight men, there are various levels to the ladder of attractiveness — from ‘look-at-how-well-he-handles-a-baby’ and ‘wow-he’s-so-rugged-when-he-opens-a-Nutella-jar’ to ‘He’ll-look-so-much-better-out-of-the-suit-than-in-it’. You get the gist.

Mr Narcissist, on the other hand, feels that being objectified by a gay man is the highest rung of the ladder (and we all know how men like to be on top). He’s not gay, he’s just curious why you, as a red-blooded gay man are not head-over-heels in love with him, and craving for every square inch of his not-so-square body.

Mr Narcissist’s biggest mystery to crack, is simply wondering why you aren’t salivating over him, the same way you’d salivate over an iced mojito on a balmy summer day.

Keep him wondering, guys, and pass me that mojito instead.

Mr Husband

Mr Husband misses his wife. Mr Husband misses his children. Mr Husband misses his dog. Mr Husband misses the physical touch.  Mr Husband misses the sex. The only thing that he doesn’t miss?

His cue to behave, and just go back home.

Mr Nice Guy

Mr Nice Guy might be the most harmless of the straight men that you need to stay away from, but also the most confusing.

Maybe he was a bully back in high school and wants retribution. Maybe he just wants to compensate for the generations-worth of atrocities thrown your way by other (less sensitive) straight men. Maybe he just wants you to know that not all straight men think that you want to hit on them. Maybe he wants a gay friend to wingman for him. Maybe he’s just curious. Maybe there’s a chance he’s closeted and just giving you mixed signals.

Mr Nice Guy will always be full of manners and maybes. But then again, he probably signs off all his tweets with #NotAllMen.

Happy Endings: Myth or Miracle?

 

Gay Marriage (1)

Rohit, a business consultant from New York, met his husband when he was 24 years old. Hours into a special LGBT Holi Night at the local bar on a crisp March night, they locked eyes over a jazzy Bollywood number.

‘It felt simple, the spontaneity.’ Rohit tells me on chat. ‘Ravi asked me for dinner the very next day, and I said yes.’

How did he know it was one for the long run?

‘Immediately. I had hardly expected that I would meet someone who would understand my journey as a brown man, a gay man, and an immigrant — and here he was, someone who understood all three. We didn’t have to explain ourselves to each other, we found home.’

The proposal happened years later — over a quick Euro trip (Rohit’s first) during the summer. The question was popped over a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, in the their hotel room in the middle of Champ-Elysees. They shared half a dozen macarons after, and celebrated at a gay bar with go-go dancers all night long. It was all very fabulous.

‘What has marriage been like?’ I ask.

‘When we were getting into it, it was for very practical reasons, even though we knew that we were in it for the long haul. Marriage gave us legal guarantees of (hospital) visitations, inheritance, and partnership we wanted. People treat our relationship with greater weight and respect, now that the government sanctions it.  Also, there’s certainly a greater degree of closeness that comes with making vows — inviting 70 of your closest friends to come dance the night away — that is hard to describe. ‘

They both seem content with their lives — Ravi runs a bar in Philadelphia today, and they plan to raise puppies in a world that is both, peaceful and inclusive. It’s a wonderful plan for their future. I feel a dull ache in my chest as I type out my goodbyes, but I know it’s only the beginning.

Marriage, children and a house with a white picket fence might necessarily not be the dream for a lot of gay men anymore (I’d prefer a sea-facing studio apartment and a long distance relationship any day), but my friends, Bikram and Wren share a similar story across the Atlantic.

27-year-old Bikram is an environmental scientist based in Switzerland. Wren is a Human Rights consultant. They both the save the world, when they are not saving each other.

Their first date was a disastrous dinner at home. Bikram turns beetroot red even when he thinks about it today: ‘I word-vomited through three courses of dinner. Somewhere over the entrée, I thought I would never see him again.’

Bikram found it embarrassing. Wren found it endearing.

Two years later, they moved in together.

They decided to get married while on a walk, one wintry evening. There was no grand declaration of love. No rings in champagne glasses. No elevator ride on the Eiffel tower. No planetarium full of stars. No macarons, and definitely no go-go dancers.

It just made sense — it was one of those things that had to be done, the end of one journey, the beginning of another. They didn’t exchange conventional rings; instead they opted for toe rings at a Tam Brahm ceremony months later. Their parents cried, hugs were exchanged and a new family was made.

‘Have things changed?’ I ask. Domesticity has never been a strong suit for gay men. ‘I’ll tell you a secret,’ he says to me — his voice crackles — it’s the bane of long distance phone calls. I press the phone closer to my ear. Bad reception can be worse than a bad relationship.

‘Do you know what being in a relationship is like? (I actually don’t) Being married is no different; we just have a piece of paper now that lets us address the other as a husband.’ That sounds fair enough, but does that mean they do the crossword on Sundays?

‘We don’t need to do things together. We still lead our lives the way we used to.’ Bikram prefers trance; Wren likes his classical music. They both like chocolate ice cream.

‘Finding your happily-ever-after is not about finding someone who completes you, it’s about finding someone who lets you be. Being accepted for who you are is a powerful aphrodisiac. Do you know what I mean?’

I actually don’t. I’ve been a train wreck of bad decisions, failed relationships and boys who never text me back. But wait, there’s no jigsaw puzzle to be completed?

Only on Sundays, by the fireplace. Sometimes they even bake a cake.

I am only slightly disappointed, but both couples are still surprisingly happy. Their families accept their husbands, and speak to each other on the phone every other weekend. They shop for groceries, cook dinner, do their laundry and watch repeats of The Bachelorette on television. There’s no drama, just domestic bliss.

It’s here. Men are getting married, and society isn’t crumbling.

The cake does though, the one that they bake on Sundays. But still, they genuinely seem to enjoy their delightfully boring routines.

The thing about fairy tales is that we never know what happens after ‘Happily-Ever-After’. Stories end with grand weddings, but there’s no epilogue to tell us what happens next. Sometimes they come up with a sequel, but they skip past the settling in, and head straight to the next big bad — heroes and heroines fighting it out, rather than fighting each other. Fairy tales never have time for the every day and the ordinary. But neither do we.

It’s important not to forget that my friends also live in countries where gay men enjoy the same basic rights that other people do — the chance to make your vows, or even break them. Marriage equality abroad hasn’t just changed reality for gay men, it has also tamed romance.  It isn’t as nuanced as Disney makes it out to be, they all tell me. I’d have to agree.

While gay marriage in India might be a far away ‘fairytale’ concept (side note: But then again, being gay in India is 2017 is like being gay in Europe in the ’50s), we still have a long way to go before we reach our own versions of matrimonial mediocrity. It might take time to reach that point where we bake a cake over the weekend, but it doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

It might take a year. It might take a decade. It might take two. Until that day, I raise a glass to all the brides and groom in the world, and know that if the day comes when I decide to get married, I’d want red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting…

…and preferably a groom who doesn’t run away before I do.

How I Met My Mother

mom

I met my mother twenty-eight and a half years ago, in the closed ward of a maternity clinic hidden away in one of Bombay’s many suburbs (the only one without a train station to its name, governed by two defunct political bodies, a local slumlord and a seedy bar.)

It was an ordinary sort of day, and the morning newspapers reported nothing interesting – a slight surge in the steadily decreasing share market, the birth of an ageing actress’s secret seven-pound love child and the predictable death of an unscrupulous MLA suffering from pneumonia. Everything would change shortly after.

I came out, bawling; but I wasn’t done coming out yet.

Over the past two and a half decades, I’ve been a brat. I fussed over the excess oil in my meals, grew moody when she wouldn’t reply to my texts, and threw tantrums while out shopping. I was the quintessential gay man in any relationship. Only I was being the quintessential gay man with mom. Was that the end of it?

Nope.

I met my mother all over again, when I came out to her over lemon tea and biscuits, two years ago. Ten minutes of a soul stirring monologue later, she looked at me with one simple question: ‘What do we with all the jewellery we saved up for your wedding?’

And then she sipped at her tea. It was that simple. Other questions were asked over the next hour (How are you feeling? Should I read some books to get on board? Why didn’t you tell us before? Are you happy? But more importantly, are you okay?), but we’d crossed the finish line of acceptance with that one heartwarming, but succinct doubt. Was she happy?

Being the Indian son that I am, I never asked.

Coming out of the closet is no cakewalk, no matter what background you come from or what timeframe you are raised in – your mind will always be a minefield of questions:

Will I know how to do it? (No.) Will everyone accept me for who I am? (No.) Can I pretend none of this ever happened and go back to a straight life? (Obviously not.) Will it all be okay in the end? (Yes.)

Two years ago, I came out to my mum with only one goal. Wishing for a mansion in Los Angeles and a six-script movie deal with Warner Bros. aside, I just wanted her to get on board. Why?

That’s easy: because she’s mom.

I am not trying to discount my dad’s reaction (he was as accepting and jovial as her, if in case you are wondering – he even hugged me awkwardly in the end) but there’s always something more substantial about your mother’s approval. After all, she’s the one who quit her dreams, braved morning sickness apart from nine months of labor, and popped me out with nothing more than a nurse’s hand to squeeze (because you know, she didn’t have the comforts of 2017 at hand).

Or maybe, because I am an out-and-proud mumma’s boy.

My coming out was anticlimactic. There were no tears (apart from mine) or heated words, only tea and heartfelt hugs. I braced myself for things to change slowly. But the ‘Who are you with?’ and ‘Where are you going at this time of the night?’s never came up; neither did passive hints of rebuttal at my sexuality. Yes, she still thinks that I drink and party too much, and work way too little – but she did so even before she knew I was gay.

It wasn’t ‘let’s-find-you-a-boy,’ happy, but it was happy nevertheless.

But that’s the thing. For every story that can turn into a full-fledged Bollywood tearjerker, there are hundreds that never find their happy ending. I know of countless boys whose mothers didn’t dole out acceptance speeches (and unfortunately for some of them, maybe they never will), they just doled out their sons instead.

Rahim’s mother threw him out. Binay’s mother threw out his laptop. Carl’s mother worried that the Devil had brainwashed him. Raj’s mother worried that his friends had brainwashed him. Ankit’s took him to see a psychiatrist. Ali’s took him to see a girl.

Coming out stories are as new as crop tops in the summer, I get that. But this isn’t just a thank you letter to my mom; it is an ode to all the mothers who didn’t feel compelled to sign up their sons for the gay matrimonial (they don’t exist anyway). This is for all the mothers who didn’t tag along for the Pride parade or flash the rainbow flag at a family lunch. This is for the mothers who don’t gush about their son’s boyfriends or help pick out their outfits for fashion week. This is especially for all the mothers out there who don’t want to know all the lurid details of their son’s hidden lives.

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.

It wasn’t just my life that changed over tea that evening, my mother’s did too. These are the mothers that often get left behind in the conversation. We hear about the rule makers, the rule breakers, the advocates, the haters and the bigots. But what about the moms who accept things at their own pace?

It’s been a long and bumpy journey, but I know it’s been tougher for my mother. She’s been trying, and I love her every bit for it. In fact, I appreciate her all the more for it – I’m so proud of her, I could be her mother.

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, mom. I promise that it just gets better.

Now about the jewellery you saved for my wedding…

The 13 Boys You Should Never Introduce To Your Mother

Mum's Day Revised.jpg

It’s almost time for Mother’s Day – which means it’s time to dig through your phones and find that one picture you have with her from two years ago, and post in on Instagram as gratitude for the decades of love and affection she’s thrown your way.

Or better, you can just share a part of your life with her, and skip the flowers and the cake (I know you’d eat that too). How about introducing her to the boy instead, maybe over a dinner she cooks for the three of you?

See, what you did there?

In all cases, getting your mom to meet your (hopefully) significant other is a big deal – she’s made most of your big decisions in life, so she can help you make this one too.

He might be the perfect guy you’d bring home on a platter for the mother, or someone who isn’t worth the bother (but you still want to see how it goes), just make sure you avoid taking these thirteen men back home, if you don’t want your mum to give you a disapproving glare the morning after:

The Sycophant

The sycophant is every mother’s wet-dream-come-true. On paper.

He’ll bring her a care package of almond cookies (and a bottle of Monet) when he meets her, and pile her with compliments when he’s not piling her plate with refills of her own cooking – does your hair always look so lovely? Can you please give me the recipe for this spinach casserole? How do you get your roses to bloom so well? Where do you get your gorgeous sarees stitched? Isn’t your son the handsomest? (Yeah, she knows).

She’ll see through his ass licking in a minute, but won’t tell you right away just because she doesn’t want to break your heart. He’ll eventually break your heart, when two months later in the middle of a fight; he’ll tell you he thought her spinach casserole was too salty.

The First One

You are always excited about the first guy you ever date – after countless years of having a one-sided relationship with your right hand, you’ve finally met the One – he’s decently charming, reasonably good looking, and most importantly, seems as invested in this as you are. Seems like a great guy to introduce to mum, no?

Wrong. The first guy you ever date is going to be the first big mistake of your life – he’s going to be rude, awkward and strongly unsuitable in the longer run, which your mom will tell you in as many words when you do make them meet.

Let’s keep it simple. Don’t make introducing him to your mother the second big mistake of your life. Introduce him to your bed instead.

The Pedigree

The pedigree is rich, successful and an encyclopedia of table manners – and like a Tupperware sale, he leaves your mother happy and flustered at the same time. She doesn’t know how to react to him.

What will he eat? Will he judge the throwaway rug? Or the faded love seat? Will he love her chicken roast? What do we talk about? No matter how many times you tell your mother to calm down, she won’t.

And there as you see your mother trying her best to impress the Duke of Delhi with her home baked scones and chamomile tea (in her best china), you’ll see your relationship crack, just like the bone china will one day.

 The Chatterbox

Mother wants to talk at the dinner table too, thank you very much.

The Recluse

But at the same time, don’t take back a man who just sits there and lets your mum go on and on and on – about your incessant drinking, your financial woes, your bladder problems from back when you were six, and lastly, your inability to commit.

The Temp

 You met Kabir while backpacking across Cambodia. He wears a sarong, bathes thrice a week and peppers his conversations with quotes by the Buddha. As you mother peppers his salad (because he won’t touch anything that has been slaughtered for his plate), she’ll worry that he’s going to go away soon – or worse, take him with you.

The Rule Breaker

It looks like things haven’t changed since the time you were a fifteen-year-old prepubescent teenager. You like the rebel – he’s unorthodox, and smells of motor oil, aftershave and testosterone. Your mother only smells bad news (she doesn’t serve dessert at the dinner table that night, only dirty glares).

Just remember one thing: you say devil-may-care, your mother says douchebag.

The Bore

On the other hand, when you bring home someone who is too nice, she’ll look at you pitifully and ask you why you aren’t ‘trying harder’. ‘Go live a little,’ she’ll whisper to you encouragingly as Sam eats his pizza with a knife and fork.

Mothers, I tell you. You can never please them.

 

The Second Hand

 He’s been someone’s lover. Someone’s boyfriend. Someone’s husband. Your mother looks at him the same way she looks at the half-priced second hand cane furniture at the antique store.

With distrust, because she thinks he’s probably infested with mites.

The Best Friend

They get along as soon as he walks in through the door. They coo over your baby pictures, solve Sudoku over tea and gush about the best ways to extract aloe vera juice straight from the plant. They’ll eventually meet for secret lunches where they gossip about the crappy Mother’s Day gift you got her last year, over endless glasses of Mimosa and small plates of canapés.

This is one ménage de trois you definitely won’t enjoy.

The Scrooge

While your mother might enjoy giving you the occasional lecture for being a spendthrift (did you really need those clothes? Who spends half their salary on drinks at the bar? Is it important to go for your friend’s bachelor trip to Bangkok? Who would have known lobster risotto can cost so much?), she wouldn’t like you spending the rest of your life with a Scrooge.

From your PlayStation to those Italian loafers she got you for your last birthday, she’s spoiled you with some of the best things in life. And she’d want your future plus one to do the same.

And if it means the Cartier bracelet for her big 75th, why not? She can only hope.

 The ex

You’ll want to show your mother that you are mature enough to be friends with the ex, but she’ll know that you are probably hooking up with him the very same night.

She’ll give you a box of condoms as a parting gift the night of, and a stern lecture the morning after.

The Rebound

She won’t tell you it’s too soon, but she will roll her eyes as you gush about how perfect he (and his timing) is. When you do get him over to meet her, she’ll be polite and warm, but won’t make any efforts to remember his name or what he does.

When you start talking about your sister’s wedding over tea, an invitation will be avoided, and so will his eyes. She’ll call your ex the same night (the one that she gets along with) and tell him how you are spiralling without him. He’ll reconsider your breakup, and call you the very next morning.

You’ll eventually get back together with him, and live happily ever after. The mother will celebrate over a glass of wine (but she’ll never tell anyone she was the one who pulled the strings).

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

 

Body shaming 1x1.jpg

It’s a balmy night in 2014.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or simply log into Grindr.

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

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

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

Let’s be honest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I feel so fat. Do I look fat today?”

“You probably shouldn’t be eating that…”

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

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

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

“His ass is flatter than a plasma TV.”

“I swear he had boobs.”

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

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

“… At least you are not a twink!”

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

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

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

 

Idiot's guide

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

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

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

 

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