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.

Meet the men 2.0: The Gym Freak

 

Gym Lover

Open up your Grindr, lads. Now tell me what you see?

It’s the same story everywhere.

When every fourth guy on Grindr looks like he has stepped out of an Abercrombie and Fitch underwear catalogue, you know you might have a problem. It’s no surprise that we’ve been trained to get out of the closet, and go straight to the gym, but now we are doing so on our spinning cycles.

It’s simple, if there’s one thing you need as a gay man today, it’s a body. You might want to think differently, but eight out of 10 times you are not going to get a great deal of interest from another gay man just because you look like you listen to Mozart, and devour literary classics for breakfast. Sadly, muscles are in and they are never going to go out of style (they are sort of like florals during spring, only better). We might have reached the age of technology, but deep down, we’d rather be men of steel.

Now, most gay men like to remove their flimsy cotton V-necks at a moment’s notice, showcasing their kilometer-wide chests and xylophone abs as if they were starring in an Indian remake of Magic Mike. They make other men (like me) gulp and vow to start going to the gym from next Monday.

Or next month.

But who are these men again? The ones who spend hours preening at the gym, and promise to split their post-workout protein shake with you, when they’d rather be splitting your legs in the showers instead?

You might have met the Hipster a few weeks ago, How do you sort the gym rats from the ones that scour the food court at the mall (like me again)? Here’s how you spot one, when he’s not asking you to spot him as he weight trains at the gym:

The Gym Freak hates it when people call him a gym freak, or worse, a gym rat. He prefers the term Fitness Enthusiast. He has a vest with the same emblazoned on it.

He has eye-popping biceps, billboard-worthy pecs, a tray of abs that can balance half a dozen eggs and broad shoulders that are the shape of a cozy armchair. You can even sit on him, but only when he’s doing a plank.

He says he does not have a ‘type’, but will proudly put up #Masc4Masc on his Grindr profile.

He follows it with a succinct ‘No fats, no femmes’ in his bio.

And a photo of his glistening abs (more than six, less than eight) as his picture.

He has a day for Triceps. It’s on Thursday.

He dresses up sexily for the gym.

He wears trainers that match his gym shorts. Sometimes, when he’s feeling attractive, he wears leggings.

The only time he cheated was when he cheated on his diet plan with a double cheese hamburger five Sundays ago. He’s not forgiven himself ever since.

He doesn’t need an alarm clock. He is the alarm clock.

The Gym Freak counts his calories every day. He allows himself 500 calories for breakfast, 400 for lunch and a mere 300 calories for dinner.

His protein shake accounts for 500 calories every serving.

His gym face is his orgasm face.

He spends two hours hitting the gym every day, and another two hours thinking about it.

He hates it when people typecast gay men as the quintessential gym-obsessed fitness freaks. He’ll tell you all about it as you help him count his reps at the free weight section.

He has all of The Body Coach’s workouts saved in his internet browser. He watches it whenever he has free time. While on the treadmill. On his way to work. At dinner. Just before he falls asleep. While jerking off. In the loo. At his best friend’s wedding.

The last time he ate a French fry was back in 2010. Whenever he gets the occasional craving, he realises that abs are not built over potatoes. He cries himself to sleep then.

He hates going on long vacations, because it breaks his strict regime.

But when he does, he looks for a hotel with a 24/7 gym, and a heated indoor pool. He gets excited if they have a massage room.

On more than one occasion, he’s thanked God for great genes, and grilled chicken.

He takes a #TransformationTuesday picture every week. And every day of the week.

When he can’t, he makes his personal trainer take one for him.

He’ll use any chance that he gets to go shirtless. At the beach. In the sauna. By the swimming pool. On a run. When he’s reading at home. While going grocery shopping.

He’ll tell you that your vodka and soda has 85 calories as you order your drink, when you are out on a date with him.

He knows because he looked it up online.

He’ll then call for a Caesar salad, with extra chicken. He’ll tell the waiter to hold the croutons, and the vinaigrette dressing.

He has an app that reminds him to drink water every hour. He has an app that reminds him that he has to run every other day. He has an app that reminds him he’s overshot his calorie intake for the day. He wishes he had an app that tells him where he can find someone to go the gym with.

He has a separate drawer for his Lycra gym wear. It’s right beside his bed.

His iPhone gallery is littered with gym selfies. And the occasional shot of sunrise from his morning jogs at the beach.

He will tell you that the Mint Chocolate Chip protein shake will taste like Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, but he’ll know that he’s lying to you.

He knows the exact benefits of whey protein.

One night, over wheat crackers and low-fat cheese, he’ll cry to his friends about how all the gay boys only love him for his body.

But he’ll forget to mention that his Grindr profile picture is an aesthetic shot of his chiseled torso.

Which mentions that he’s looking for ‘gym-fit muscular men only’.

He’ll only touch beer if it’s gluten free.

He’ll tell everyone who listens how he likes it raw. When you cock your eyebrows at him, he’ll guffaw loudly and tell you that he’s talking about his special nutritionist-prescribed diet. The one with dehydrated sunflower seed crackers, juiced kale and dried goji berries. What he won’t tell you is that he secretly hopes that raw walnuts taste like bacon.

He gets serious separation anxiety if he skips the gym a day. He skips dinner the same night.

He hates flirting with other men at the gym, because how would he train otherwise?

He goes on a juice cleanse twice every month.

He uses the hash tag #NoPainNoGain, but he doesn’t use it ironically.

When he pictures his future with any potential plus one, he pictures the two of them breaking into a sweat (both in and out of bed) and grabbing a protein smoothie to go after. They exchange rings at the beach, after which they run off (literally) into the sunset.

He knows the exact days when all the personal trainers at the gym are on holiday, and when their birthdays fall. He gets them gluten-free cupcakes then.

Without any frosting.

The Gym Freak is never going to be happy with the way he looks. He’ll always have something to complain about. Too much fat. Too little muscle. Too much cardio. Too little sweat. He’ll go to the gym the very next day, and work on the part of his body that bothers him, even though he knows that spot reduction doesn’t work.

But that’s the thing.

I want to be a gym freak myself.

Ask the Guysexual: Love And Other Drugs: Vol. 1

Love and other drugs.jpg

Gay men have a lot of questions.

Ever had one you were too embarrassed to ask the therapist? A doubt you didn’t know which friend to turn too? A plea that had no solutions in sight? A worry that might seem small to everyone else, but was as big as your crush on Bradley Cooper?

 It’s time to hold on to those message-in-bottles, or the grand trek you plan to make to the Himalayas to question the almighty, because your truly is right here to solve all your dick-related doubts. How do I find love? Where do I meet men? How do I know if my crush is gay? Am I expected to carry condoms for a nightcap? How do I make a clean exit (pun intended) the morning after? Can I wear loafers with a cardigan on a first date? Should I wear a cardigan on a first date? Is the gorgeous man at the gym someone I should pursue over protein supplements and Pilates? Do I need protein supplements to find love?

Find answers to these questions and more in the newest #AskGuysexual feature – Love And Other Drugs: Vol. I:

 

Q. I have this tiny crush on a boy from my French class, but I think he might be slightly out of my league. Should I go tell him anyway?
– Besotted_You
A. I am going to keep this short and simple. There’s only one question you have to ask yourself. Is the boy-in-question Ryan Gosling (or insert-superstar-heartthrob-of-your-choice)?

If the answer is no, then you should just go for it – If they say no, you’ll have a laugh about it in a few weeks, become best friends because the ice will have broken – and then use the story in the toast, when you effectively end up as the best man at his beachside wedding soiree in Goa (where you will hook up with another one of the groomsmen, who you’ll eventually end up dating).

And if your answer is yes, then 200 points to you for being friends with Ryan Gosling in the first place – that’s so much swag; it needs to be sold in a clearance sale. What do you do then?

Just go for it.

 

Q. At the risk of sounding like a sex-craved maniac (which I am not), how soon is too soon to hook up with someone you’ve met on Grindr?

– EzeeA
A. Have I ever told someone that I am Grindr only to find a friend?

Yes.

Has said someone believed me when I’ve said that?

Yes.

Have I laughed out loudly and then chugged a bottle of wine shortly after?

Yes again.

Let’s face it – Grindr is a ticking time bomb for sex – it’s not only about the how or the why, it’s more about the when (and the where, but that is another story) when you are talking about hooking up with the hirsute hottie of the week.

You might not want to sound like a prick (Let’s skip dinner, shall we?) or a prude (why hello there, cobwebs of my underwear!), but ultimately, it’s your decision at the end of the day. One can bonk someone anywhere between the wide spectrum of ‘I-know-what-his-younger-brother-does’ and ‘He-thinks-my-shirt-looks-great-so-I-should-probably-sleep-with-him!’ In fact, if you even give out to someone at ‘Hey-can-I-buy-you-a-drink’, no one’s going to judge you – there’s no such thing as ‘too soon’ in Grindrsville. There’s a now, never and everything in between.

Just make sure you carry a condom.

Side note: Unless the drink is a glass of cheap wine, in which case your choice of drink is more questionable than your choice of how easily you put out.

Q. I’ve been trying to find friends on Tinder since 2015, but everyone I talk to seem to think that I only want to sleep with them. Help me out?

– K. Das
A. Most people like to think of Tinder as the supermarket for singles. You go up and down aisles, picking up the ones you look and swiping off the ones you don’t. Assume you are going to the market to buy avocadoes – you’d buy some, but then you would also end up buying cilantro. And maybe, even some jalapeños. (Side note: hey, maybe you are making some guacamole. In that case, call me over for dinner?) At the same time, some people come to only buy jalapenos. Or oranges. Or apples. Or even toilet paper (well, you get the gist.)

Finding a friend is like buying jalapeños when you want to buy avocados at the supermarket – you don’t decide to, it just happens – unless you end up buying half the hypothetical supermarket, in which case you might need a therapist or just a break from Tinder. Different people want different things, and there’s always a high chance you’d find someone who wants to buy the same thing you do (to make guacamole). All this supermarket analogy aside, here are a couple of questions you have to ask yourself.

  1. Do you have a half-naked picture of yourself up as your display picture?
  2. Are you flexing your biceps in said picture?
  3. Have you ever asked anyone to come over for some ‘Netflix and chill’ without even knowing what Netflix (and chill) is?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances of finding a friend on Tinder are going to be slightly more difficult than trying to read the news without having Ranveer Singh plastered all over it. You just can’t help it.

Q. I’ve a very insightful question. Can one ever find true love on Grindr?

– BroZoned4Lyf

A. People find love in the strangest places – at the supermarket (Excuse me, do you want to buy those turnips?), the coffee shop (Hey, is this seat taken?), the bar (Hi, this might sound weird but can I buys you a drink?) the book store (If you like that book, I know just the one that you should buy!) and sometimes even the dentist’s (I am here for a filling, what about you?)

Finding true love on Grindr is a lot like finding true love at any one of these places (Hello, Love your abs. Can we go get a drink?) – just because it happens online, doesn’t make it any less real – it’s like bumping into someone at the book store, only this is not a bookstore, and the bumping happens on the phone. (Side note: there’s a lot more bumping happening all around you, but let’s pretend we don’t notice it, shall we?)

Now go let Grindr be your Fairy Godmother.

Q. I’ve spent the last few nights tossing in bed because I have a huge problem. I might be developing feelings for my best gay buddy, and I don’t know what I should do. What do you suggest?

– LoveLorn2012
A. What have all great Romcoms taught us (apart from the fact that bangs are cool, and you will most likely end up with your high school sweetheart)?

That it’s easier to fall in love with the best friend than it is to fit into your jeans after you’ve had seven burritos at Taco Bell. But then again, life is no Romcom movie. Falling in love with the best friend is always a tricky thing – how close are the two of you to begin with? Do you watch an occasional movie together? Bitch out the new office intern during lunch hour? Braid each other’s hair while watching late night reruns of Grease? (Just kidding, no one braids each other’s hair anymore.)

Do gay best friends work the same way conventional best friends do? There’s always that thin shroud that cloaks every friend we come in contact with – it’s the diplomatic version of the friend-zone, only politer. One minute you are both ogling at that cute boy sitting two tables away from you at the restaurant, and the other you are trying to awkwardly avoid each other. So what do you do if he doesn’t feel the same way?

The thing about great friendships is that they can withstand anything – so if your friend can’t deal with your confession and just not let it go, he probably wasn’t that great a friend to begin with.

If that happens, you can always have a cupcake.

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

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

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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).

#GuysexualRecommends: Salvation Star’s Taboo Soiree: Time To Let It Glow!

 

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What: Salvation Star’s Taboo Soiree!

Where: White Owl Brewery and Bistro, Lower Parel, Mumbai.

When: 9:30 PM onwards, Saturday, 6th May 2017.

Why: Because while the thirst for tasty cocktails and chilled artisanal beer is real this summer, the thirst for cute guys is even more so. Have a thing for pretty men in prettier clothes?

Salvation Star is your path to sexual salvation.

Plus hey, I’ll be covering the party LIVE!