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

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).

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

 

Glow-Party-Flyer-Template_2

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!

Are You Dating A #BadNewsBoyfriend?

Bad news boyfriend.jpg

Twenty eight year old Prerit is a high-flying lawyer, with a high-flying life. He has a sea-facing apartment, a string of celebrity friends and a six figure American salary (with six pack abs).

A fulfilling life and a fully filled social calendar aside, Prerit is currently dating a discreet teacher who teaches primary-level English in an international school – he’s handsome, charming and articulate., and he’s everything Prerit could ever ask for. The only problem?

The Teacher’s idea of the perfect date is not at the top of a high-rise hotel, but between the sheets in the confines of his bedroom. He doesn’t believe in ‘doing dinners’ or ‘watching a movie’ (unless it stars the two of them, and is a home production). If and when Prerit prods, the Teacher tells him that ‘he likes things at his own terms, so give it a rest, will you?’

The Teacher is a classic case of the #BadNewsBoyfriend.

The #BadNewsBoyfriend is smart, good-looking and eloquent, and is usually the living representation of a Habitat For Humanity ad. He cares for the environment, he cares for the world, but he just doesn’t care for you. He might be the nicest person in the world, but he’ll still treat you like you are last weekend’s leftover egg salad (Without the kale, and the avocadoes.)

The one that even your dog won’t eat.

 Like Prerit’s lesser half, how do you know if the object of your affection is less Prince Charming, more Prince Harming? Answer these twelve questions to decide how low the (current) love of your life falls on the boyfriend scale:

  1. It’s your birthday, and your significant other is out of town. What does he do?

a.) Flies down to surprise you, complete with fireworks and a seven member jazz ensemble to serenade you all day.

b.) Calls you at midnight, and couriers you a care package.

c.) Wishes you on Facebook, and sends you a dick pic as a secret treat.

d.) Forgets it’s your birthday.

  1. On an average, he messages you:

a.) Every few minutes. In fact you had to pause taking this quiz, because you were replying to his text.

b.) You wake up to a good morning text, and put yourself to sleep to a good night ping.

c.) Once a day.

d.) Once every week, usually at midnight. Especially when he’s alone. Even more so when he’s horny.

  1. You plan a hypothetical threesome with a celebrity. Your boyfriend chooses:

a.) No one. He can’t think of anyone to share you with.

b.) Ryan Gosling. Have you seen those perfect cheekbones and those kind eyes?

c.) Ranveer Singh, in red underwear.

d.) Hypothetical? He’s already in bed with two guys. Neither is a celebrity, nor is it you.

  1. You’re just back from a nice date, and ping him to tell him you had an amazing time, he:

a.) Replies immediately, with a wedding ring emoji.

b.) Replies within the hour, asking to see you the same weekend.

c.) Replies the next day, with a succinct, ‘let’s hang soon.’

d.) Never replies.

  1. For a quick getaway, you both plan to head to:

a.) Paris

b.) A secluded beach that is a two-hour drive away

c.) The neighborhood mall

d.) Your bedroom

  1. His idea of a casual date for the weekend would be:

a.) Whisking you off to the hills for a panoramic lunch by the Himalayas.

b.) Brunch at your favorite restaurant, with endless mimosas and endless handholding.

c.) A movie, followed by two tacos and a soda to share. Dessert (amongst other things) at home after.

d.) Four hours of NSA sex. Which might include you.

 

  1. The last time you guys hung out, he took a cute picture of the two of you. What does he do with it?

a.) Prints it out and sends it to you through snail mail, attached with a love note.

b.) Puts it up on Instagram with a heartwarming caption. Counts the Likes and tells you about it.

c.) Lets the picture rot away in his archive of spam emails, forgotten contacts and undeleted messages.

d.) Threatens to out you to your parents and the police using the photograph as evidence. Blackmails you for money, and then uses it to holiday with his actual boyfriend. Who’s twice as hot as you are.

  1. At 8: 30 PM, he’s:

a.) With you.

b.) Talking to you.

c.) Doing this own thing, who knows?

d.) M.I.A for the past week, with a ‘last seen at 8:29 PM’.

  1. The last time you had a real heartfelt conversation with him was:

a.) Today. It felt like a Pablo Neruda poem.

b.) Two days ago, after a particularly poignant date.

c.) What’s a heartfelt conversation like?

d.) Does having him send you a dick pic count?

  1. You run into his friends while out on a date, and then he:

a.) Blushes, and introduces you as a date.

b.) Nonchalantly tells them that you are a friend.

c.) Says that you are a second cousin who’s visiting from out of town.

d.) Pretends that you don’t exist.

  1. In the middle of argument, your paramour:

a.) Apologizes and says he’ll never upset you again. Buys you a car to say that’s sorry.

b.) Realizes that things are getting out of hand, and reasons with you. You have amazing make up sex after.

c.) Can’t handle it, and breaks up with you.

d.) Hits you (or threatens to).

  1. A song that reminds you of him:

a.) ‘La Vie En Rose’ by Edith Pilaf.

b.) ‘Yellow’ by Coldplay.

c.) ‘Someone Like You’ by Adele.

d.) ‘Starboy’ by the Weeknd.

 

Mostly A’s:

Like unicorns, mermaids and a size XL at the Zara store, the type A guy doesn’t exist. Perfect men are usually found in whitewashed romcoms and mushy romance novels, not in the dregs of the dating pool. The slim chance that a real-life version of Ryan Gosling’s character from The Notebook shows up on your doorstep (or right swipes on your Tinder profile), he’s only going to resent you when you can’t match his Cartier care packages and Balloon rides across Tuscany with overwhelming displays of affection of your own.

 

That’s not if you are overwhelmed by him in the first place.

 

Mostly B’s

 

Bring out the boyfriend shirts, because this one is a keeper. Somewhere between the eagerness of the type A and the aloofness of type C is your perfect Boy Next Door B. Like butter is to bread, Nutella is to your life, and Kanye West is to Kim Kardashian, this one’s the side B to the side A of your mix tape of love songs.

 

Mostly C’s:

 

We might not be there yet, but you still have to tread with caution with this one. The C type is a ticking time bomb that sways dangerously between ‘I-am-going-to-make-this-work’ and ‘Oh-my-god-how-do-I-get-out-of-this?’ One minute he’s passionate and pulling you closer and the very next, he’s pushing you away to the next boy (or next mistake, because that’s what it will be).

 

At the end of the day, remember that Mr. C is only one Ed Hardy t-shirt (and a twelve pack of beer) away from spilling the contents off your heart all over the floor.

 

Side note: he’ll probably spill the beer too.

 

Mostly D’s:

 

Texts that go unanswered, affection that goes unrealized and money that goes missing? Congratulations! You’ve hit the jackpot on the #BadNewsBoyfriend scale.

 

SPOILER ALERT: This is not going to end well – too many D’s can only lead to one thing: destruction. Our boy in question is so wrong; he could be the front-page headline for bad news.

 

And if that still doesn’t convince you, never forget that D stands for douchebag.

 

Meet The Men 1.0 : The Hipster

The hipster.jpg

 

We are almost halfway through 2017.

They say the age of the hipsters might be finally coming to an end, but can gay men ever let a good thing go?

We are still here, writing in our moleskin notebooks, riding our 12-gear bikes, using our organic moustache wax and stocking up on our ironic print t-shirts. It’s safe to say that the gay hipsters aren’t disappearing into the dregs of their black coffee mugs just yet. Jahangir, 27 and Subhashish, 26, would agree. The creative designer and casting director share an apartment in one of the quieter back alleys of Mumbai — a home that is littered with curios, knickknacks and pop culture references.

And they don’t plan to leave anytime soon. Do you want to know what makes the quintessential gay hipster, apart from his love for beer, bowties and his beard? Here are a few helpful hints:

The hipster doesn’t own a television. He’ll also make sure he tells everyone he knows about it. While on a date. At a casual lunch. During a work meeting. At a birthday party. In the bus. At the grocery store. While at a funeral.

He has his own complicated order at the coffee shop: like a Grande, iced, sugar-free vanilla latté with soymilk. It’s his standard go-to drink every morning on his way to work (as a graphic designer at an independent media house).

But most often, the barista can’t make it, so he has a large decaf.

He had a Tumblr profile back in 2012 that was called the TheUnfairKnightReturns. It is an archive of his button poetry, millennial rap and a motley collection of dark and depressing thoughts. He doesn’t like talking about it.

His best friend makes organic hemp t-shirts, which he freely wears and advertises. He’s always equipped with a card for her Facebook page. It doesn’t list any numbers, but has a standalone QR code.

The Hipster owns a coffee table book with vaguely pornographic pictures. It’s usually on top of his bedside drawer because he doesn’t have the money to invest in a coffee table.

He talks about how he hates Forever 21 — and yet it looks like all his clothes came from there. Especially when they have their clearance sales.

He saw 13 Reasons Why, but thought the book was a lot better than the Netflix original. He even wrote a long rant on Facebook pointing out all the differences between the two — all thirteen of them.

The Hipster believes in participating in No Shave November. All year around.

He buys all his groceries from the farmer’s market — you’d know because he Snapchats the entire experience.

And then he’d make it his Instagram Story, so that no one misses out.

He has five sets of bowties: casual, semi-casual, formal, party and street-chic-that-shows-I-don’t-care-about-trying-to-hard.

He doesn’t watch Game Of Thrones, because ‘it’s become so mainstream’. He won’t think twice before telling you that he’s read all the books though. Right down to all the companion books.

Sometimes, he bicycles to work.

He’ll complain about how the city just doesn’t have the space, or the infrastructure for cyclists. He’ll still use UberPool.

He rolls his eyes when people tell him they listen to EDM. He rolls his eyes even more when they tell him they haven’t heard of his favourite indie (but also very obscure) band. He gives up when they say that they think Alt-J is cool.

He’ll pester you to try out seaweed, which is the new kale, which was the new quinoa.

The Hipster doesn’t love flannel. He lives it.

For your birthday, he’ll gift you a mixed tape of all his favourite indie music. He’ll make you play it at the party.

If not that, he’ll gift you a potted miniature cactus. It’s a little sapling from the terrarium he’s working on.

He has an Instamax camera that he takes pictures of. The camera is in mint condition, and looks best when edited with the Juno filter on Instagram. It’s hidden away in his closet, and only makes an appearance when his friends are over, or when he’s packing a suitcase for a holiday.

Which would most definitely be a backpacking trip across Vietnam and Cambodia.

His favourite author is Margaret Atwood, and he’s read Handmaiden’s Tale twice. He cried the second time.

He knows the show adaption won’t be half as good.

But he’ll still live stream it the moment it releases.

He’ll deny it, but he got excited when he heard IKEA might open up a warehouse in the country.

When he realised that was a rumour, he commiserated by drinking an entire bottle of Coca Cola. It’s a secret he’ll take to the grave.

The last time the Hipster ate at a McDonalds was back in 2013. You remember because he tells you every time you meet him.

He’ll make faces at you when you devour your burger nonetheless.

He’ll swear that The Royal Tenenbaums is his favourite film by Wes Anderson, whom he adores. He scoffs at you when you tell him you thought Fantastic Mr Fox was cute. He’s not heard of Moonrise Kingdom.

He has a typewriter that he typed out quotes by Charles Bukowski from. They are all framed and hung in his living room. The typewriter hasn’t been used ever since. He covers it up with fairy lights.

He gets pissed at his flat mate for not knowing what sourdough bread is.

The Hipster constantly bums off cigarettes off people while out at a pub, claiming he doesn’t smoke. He looks bummed off if you don’t have a Davidoff. He’ll have a Marlboro in that case, because ‘Classic Milds just doesn’t do it for him.’

He has a manicured beard that looks like a permanent five o’clock shadow. He pays extra so that it looks just the right amount of messy. The stylist is given a free pass to NH7 so that she won’t tell anyone.

When he does run into the stylist at a music festival, he’ll pretend she’s a friend he has ‘collaborated’ with.

It was an art project that was so niche, they’ve been told not to talk about it.

He drinks only artisanal beer, and likes to tell people how ‘beer is the new wine’.

He absolutely despises brands. But he’s still counting down the days for the big iPhone 8 launch. It’s marked as a reminder on his iPhone 7.

He doesn’t believe in credit cards.

He’ll always be short of cash while splitting the cheque with his date.

And that’ll probably be you.

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.

Every gay man's pocketbook .