Tag Archives: Dates

Dear Gay Men, Here Are the Do’s and Don’ts of Online Dating.

 

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As a gay man, you spend as much time charting the dregs of a dating app as you spend deciding between a mimosa and a mojito for Sunday brunch — only in the case of the latter, there are no empty calories, just empty feelings (and no, there are no Happy Hours on online dating portals).

Online dating might look depressingly tough, but it’s really not.  Do you want to get away and get it on in real life?

Just follow these dos and swerve away from the don’ts, and you’ll never have to hit the bar to drown your loneliness ever again:

Do: Have a recent picture of yourself

Unless you still look like your gorgeous, toned self from 2007, have a photo that was taken in the past few months as your display picture. After all, no one wants to see that look of disappointment on their date’s face when they turn up and see you for the very first time.

PS: have more than one photo, as cameras can be pathological liars (and so can people).

Don’t: Lie on your profile

We know how exhilarating it can be to lie about your age, height, weight and the fact that you won ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award back in 2010 on your profile, but do remember — you are only one Google search (or one date) away from never seeing the hypothetical boy of your dreams ever again.

Do: Take chances

Does your date seem slightly boring than he did on text? Is his nose off centre? Do you find him a bit pudgy around the waist? You can pass him off, and wait and wait and keep waiting, but perfection might never make it when you want it to.

While online dating can seem superficial — as you swipe right through profiles of gorgeous men with pectoral muscles and PHDs, you might need to step out of your comfort zone every once in a while. Who know? Maybe the grungy musician who lives with his parents is the one you’ll click with.

Don’t: Ask for a picture if you don’t have one

If you do, you are a certified A-level douchebag.

Do: Be well groomed

If you don’t expect your date to turn up with garlic breath and body odour, neither should you. No one expects you to look like you are walking the ramp for the next Autumn/Winter collection, but make an effort and dress up (more on that later).

Side note: Take a shower and spray some cologne; it always helps.

Don’t: Be a Yes man

Will you share my salad?

Want to come back to my place?

Why don’t you leave your wallet with me when you head off to the washroom?

I have a fetish for blood. Are you interested?

Don’t be a people pleaser; if someone asks you to do something that makes you uncomfortable, a succinct ‘no’ is all it takes. You don’t even need an excuse after.

Do: Be on time

There’s nothing more attractive than a man who is always on time. If you aren’t, keep an apology text ready to be sent at least ten minutes before your assigned meeting time.

Buy him a drink (or two) when you get there — alcohol always makes up for (and makes with) lost time.

Don’t: Get too drunk on the first date

Being drunk on a date is never sexy, especially if it involves you retching over his Italian loafers (halfway through the heartwarming story of how he lost his cat when he was twelve).

Side note: If you are feeling the first date sweats and are generally anxious, calm yourself with a drink, but stop at two (or when you feel the sudden urge to flirt with the bartender).

Do: Talk on the date

Contribute to the conversation like you would contribute to water cooler gossip — remember that a great conversation can help you go a long way, right up to ten-year anniversary pictures on the fridge.

Don’t: Be mean

No one likes to be told that their posture is wrong; their shoes are last season, their big dream won’t work or that they’ve got something stuck between their teeth.

Don’t like your date? Don’t take it out on him. Have a drink or two, and end the night early with a polite excuse, and a cheque that’s split two ways.

Are You Dating A #BadNewsBoyfriend?

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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.

 

What’s up, Bro: An honest review of the dating app for straight, sensible men

Men have always had it easy.

Gay or straight, the laws of online dating have always been balanced. Gay men have Grindr. Straight men have Tinder. But what about straight men looking to woo (or wingman with) other men, you ask?

 Say hello to Bro, the app that everyone is talking about.

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Launched in early 2016, (but like most other things, making its debut in India a year later) Bro promises that it ‘goes beyond using labels, and is for men that are interested in meeting other guys – it’s as simple as that.’ It doesn’t say it’s a sex app (in those many words) – it’s for men seeking friendships, men who want to date, men who want casual hookups and all the permutations and combinations in between – without the baggage of old labels and questions by older relatives.

 Straight, gay or bisexual – Bro is an all-accepting sausage fest, and makes no qualms about it. It’s online dating without typecasting itself as online dating. In fact, Bro advertises itself as the app that welcomes men who don’t feel welcome in the gay community. It finally lets people be what they shouldn’t be embarrassed of being – sexually fluid. Sexuality is a continuum and not a binary, and Bro recognizes that. But beneath the blue and white, straight man-friendly exterior, does it really offer anything that Grindr doesn’t?

 Yes, and no. There are less faceless torsos, more happy faces of people doing happy things. There’s always been a grey area between the boundaries of sex, relationships and friendship, and when an app asks you whether you are looking to find friendship, fun or ‘whatever’, Bro wins hands down in the grey department, all fifty shades of it. It’s for men who don’t want to commit – to labels, or a relationship – In fact, men can even ‘fist bump’ each other to show their sign of approval, so that they can be comfortable in their skin when they ultimately do ask each other for a blowjob (they are just one football jersey short of not really questioning their sexuality after using it.) This is my one grouse with the app; it puts heteronormativity on a pedestal.

 I am neither a bro, nor am I straight – so I break both the cardinal rules when I decide to try it out – I am not one to shy away from finding true love, even if it’s with a potentially straight man. How do I do as a bro?

 Not so well, but I’d let you be the judge of that with my six day gaycation on the app:

Day 1:

 I download the app with the vigour and hope that I usually reserve for the first day of a clearance sale. The app’s interface is bright, multi-racial and eye-catching, which is great – because that’s how I like my boys. After a quick sign up where it chides me for my stats, preferences and HIV status, Bro does what no other dating app does.

 It asks me to sort myself.

 Am I the beefy Jock Bro? A nerdy Brogrammer? A muscular G.I Bro? A preppy Bro? Casual Bro? Suited Bro? Lumber Bro, Hipster Bro or the ‘surprised-to-see-you-here’ fabulous Bro?

 I choose the casual Bro because no hipster would ever admit to being one.

 Once I am set, a grid of hopefuls show up –I am slightly disappointed. It’s a sea of men I’ve blocked on Grindr, long forgotten exes, a few friends and men I’ve always seen around but never spoken to.

I dive in.

 Day 2:

 I start my second day with a fresh fist bump. It’s Gautam, a video editor who I went on a date with a few months ago. I’ve swiped right on Gautam on Tinder; Woof’d at him on Scruff, and starred him as a favourite on Grindr. I do the only sensible thing left to be done. I send a fist bump back at him, in the awkward way I would in middle school. (Side note: I’ve never really been great at fist bumping – the last person I fist bumped was my three-year-old nephew.)

 ‘What are you doing here?’ he texts me.

‘I was going to ask you the same question,’ I text him back.

 ‘Just checking out the scene on the other side of the tracks, bro,’ he pings back. We both have a laugh over it, ending our abrupt conversation with a crisp LOL from each side. We make plans to meet soon, but we both know that we won’t.

 That’s the last I hear from him.

 Day 3:

 I strike up a conversation with a new face: 27-year-old Ankit’s profile says that he’s spontaneous, funny and charming with a hairy chest. He’s also straight, and inconspicuously (but not surprisingly) from New York.

 I say hello with a non-committal ‘Ssup?’ – could this be the start of a sitcom-level bromance (with six season and a movie) where we wingman each other at bars?

I wait for ten minutes. I wait for an hour. I wait for a whole day.

 He never replies, killing my sitcom dreams even before we can shoot a pilot.

 Day 4:

 Still reeling from the rebuttal, I open my bro with no new expectations. The app doesn’t disappoint – apart from two requests for my sexual preference, my message inbox is emptier than my heart. I switch off, vowing to never come back again.

I go back the next day.

 Day 5:

 I get fist bumped by a girl.

 She tells me she’s bisexual; I tell her I am surprised. The awkward silence resonates forever, but my relationship with Bro doesn’t.

 The Verdict:

 Breaking norms and reestablishing sexual fluidity aside, I realize I wouldn’t want to go find bros before my hos. It’s simply not my cup of tea. Instead, I’d pass it over for a keg of beer and a beautiful boy who wants me for a little more than ‘whatever, bro’.

 And for that, I’ve got Grindr and my wine shop on speed dial.

A 25 Boys Not To Date Post Your Valentine’s Day Slump

As you reel out of your Valentine’s Day hangover and pull out the last of the heart-shaped confetti from your hair, know that the worst is behind. You can finally make peace with the fact that you will sip your way through a cat-filled life in the suburbs.

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As you brew your pot of peppermint tea and lay out a platter of biscuits, here are a further 25 men that you should swipe left on, this side of Valentine’s Day:

Continue reading A 25 Boys Not To Date Post Your Valentine’s Day Slump

Number Fifteen: The Therapist

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Art Work: Aakash Dewan.

It’s a sweaty Friday afternoon – but we are indoors, wolfing down second helpings of chicken schezwan noodles, and trying to get the waiter to get our drinks (two large pegs of rum with a little cola, topped all the way with ice) to our table. The air is heavy with cigarette smoke and endless chatter – you can smell the waywardness of our lives. I want to ask him whether he would like to share a smoke – but first, I have something more important up my sleeve –

‘What’s your name?’

Continue reading Number Fifteen: The Therapist

Even 20 More Things Not To Say On A First Date

20 more other things to not say

  1. ‘You see that man sitting by himself there – the one with the beard and the broad shoulders? That’s the kind of guy I want to end up with.’
  2. ‘I am very frank – sometimes I want sex four times a day…’
  3. ‘I’ve never thought of myself as a commitment person – imagine spending your life with the same person for the rest of your life. No, thank you.’
  4. ‘Haha…seriously, have you found anyone funnier than me?’
  5. ‘That one time I was at swinger’s party in Barcelona…’
  6. ‘I am getting married in May next year.’
  7. ‘So what’s this #No377 that everyone keeps talking about?’
  8. ‘ Watch out! I think I am going to puk-‘
  9. ‘Okay, this might be embarrassing, but I actually wanted to ask out your friend, but I was wasted and accidentally took your number instead. Do you think you can, umm, give me his number?’
  10. “ Have you ever wanted to kill someone just for fun?’
  11. ’Well, I’ve been called a jerk more than once, but then again, it’s all a matter of perspective…’
  12. ‘I am not a people’s person. I’d rather just sit at home, all by myself. Know what I mean?’
  13. ‘Hypothetically, if we get married, how many kids would you want? Would you be okay with Ibrahim as a potential name? No? You don’t like it?’
  14. ‘Ugh. I hate old people. They should be banned.’
  15. ‘I mean, Hitler might have been a dictator and all that, but let’s not forget all the great things he did…’
  16. ‘Okay, can you keep a look out for the waiter? I want to swipe these gorgeous coasters…’
  17. ‘Have you ever woken up and realized how many gorgeous men this world holds? And we’ve barely met any of them.’
  18. ‘ So last week, my best friend decided to set me up with that hot model from Fashion Week, but I told her I wanted a simple, average boy. Speaking of which…’
  19. ‘Do you know where I can get some cocaine around here?’
  20. ‘So I have a blog where I write about my dating escapades. It’s a lot of fun, you should read it!’

Number Fourteen: The Analyst.

 

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Art Work: Siddha Kannur.

It’s Independence Day. August has never been crisper. It’s cool and fresh, and smells of the holidays.

I stare closely at Fourteen as he smokes his joint – he has a traveller’s face – mousy, windswept hair on a lean stubbled face. His features boast of a deep tan, and a glow that only comes with not having wasted your life at an office desk for months. Is he an analyst with a tech giant or an IT junkie? Is he a writer? Is he a travel journalist? A baker, a butcher, a candlestick-maker? What does he really do? I’ve always been an unreliable narrator. However, we have more important things to think about. Is he going to pass it? Is he not? It’s such an exciting game –

I splutter and burst out into giggles.

He stares.

‘Take it all the way in, and then blow it out deep and slow.

That line is so infested with innuendoes; we’d need an exterminator (or probably two). He grins. The smile is only slightly lopsided, but that’s not a problem when my mind is fuddled with fumes, and running on overdrive.

What am I doing here?

He passes the spliff to me.

Yes, that.

We are at his house, a modest one-bedroom home in the depths of Andheri – any closer, and he would be a next-door neighbor, any further, and I’d never make the effort to meet him again. The house is sparse – it looks like one that lets you pack up and leave at an instant. There are bulging bookcases, but no wardrobe. He practically lives out of a suitcase unless his parents are visiting, he says. That’s when all his clothes go under the kitchen counter.

I spot William Darylmple’s City of Djinns on his book stand by the bed (single mattress, faded bedspread that smells only slightly of mothballs.) ‘It’s my favourite book,’ he tells me. I lie that I love it too. I don’t have a clue what it’s about – I’ve not really read it. But that’s the rest of his bookshelf – it’s full of books I’ll never have the patience to read, but will never tell the world. I take a closer look – there are some titles on sexuality and homoerotica.

‘Are you out to your parents?’ I ask – visiting parents would hardly glaze over a copy of Queer Science. He laughs. They found out a year ago – chanced upon his diary.

He has a diary?

Not of the conventional sort – it was a journal of his sexual encounters, in all its lurid glory. It’s my time to have a laugh now – where have we heard that before?

How did they take it?

The same way most parents do – there was some crying, some ‘where-did-we-go-wrong?’, some ‘are-you-sure?’ but in the end, it was all good. They came out stronger as a family, and he came out stronger as a gay man. It’s been a year since.

Where does he see himself a year later?

Travelling, he replies almost instantaneously.

I cough; he thinks it’s the joint. I’ve heard this one so many times; I have it tattooed into my mind from one of those cheap tattoo parlours at the mall. It’s a classic answer. A gay man lusting after the idea of travel is like gay men lusting after, well, other gay men. There’s always that one off chance that you’d find love while on vacation, something more than a vacation fling – something so remarkably beautiful that it has an airport story to it – for the quintessential homosexual, it’s the next best thing to saying that you met your future boyfriend at Starbucks.

Where then? I ask him.

He spent the last two months in the hills (and that explains the tan), searching for substance or spirit, and sometimes even both. But one thing that’s common – he’s always searching for himself. I find it all very confusing. Gay men often find themselves in the strangest of places – the hills, the beach, at the opera, a fashion show, the runway, and sometimes even in abandoned restrooms a little after midnight.

I usually head to the bookstore, and find myself in a book.

‘Sometimes I wish I could just pack up and leave.’ He’s excited about quitting his job and leaving with a suitcase and an undecided ticket. The man wants to live his dreams through his travels – scuba diving by the Andaman Islands, building bonfires in Rishikesh, attending local rave parties in Kasol. Instead, in exactly a year, he’d head on to work for a major political campaign, and then find himself at business school. But that’s all in the future. For now, his dreams and aspirations are as pure the Malana cream we are smoking.

“Have you been to Parvati Valley? I spent a month there. It was fascinating! Can you imagine sleeping under the stars and waking up to the morning sun?”

Yes, I almost say – it’s the morning after every night of drunken debauchery. Sometimes I even forget where my pants are.

‘I’d want to go back there, and never come back,’ he says wistfully. You know something else that isn’t coming back?

The joint.

He takes a long drag, and blows out the fumes in concentric circles. I can hear him breathe. It’s deeply unsettling.

‘You know what I was thinking-‘

What can it be? Why is the sky blue? How do touchscreens work? Where does life come from? Am I eyeing the joint too much?

He exhales. I can be at peace. He hands it over. That’s another dose of peace.

‘What?’ I ask. If this were a B-Grade softcore thriller, now would be the point that he would pull out his machete and hack me into pieces. Instead –

‘Want to see me hula hoop?’

Why not?

He heads inside, and comes out with hula rings and a pair of clackers. Soon, the speakers are playing EDM on loop, the strobe lights are on and we are at the toys like kids on a mad sugar rush – we might as well as be the music video for the next M83 song – it’s that trippy. The hula-hoop lies unnoticed. ‘I know just the thing that will help,’ he quips and darts back inside.

Ten minutes (or forty) pass, and he’s been inside the kitchen for too long. My paranoia could be the third wheel on this date. Maybe he does have a machete. If I end up sleeping with the fish tonight, I won’t be surprised. I’ve a good life, seen great loves, understood joy –

He comes out right one cue. There’s no gleaming knife; only a pack of chips and some salsa dip. As the English say, a good spliff deserves some good food. I’d even eat an old shoe right about now. Thirty minutes and two packets of chips later, we are satiated. Well, almost.

‘So what do we do now?’ he asks, expectantly. We fade to black.

‘Let me know if you ever want to come over again?’ he asks, as I prepare to leave half hour later. I smile, but hesitate at the same time. It’s a now-or-never situation.

‘I will, but I had a question. Where do you buy your stuff from?’ I ask, tying my shoelaces. I don’t give away my eagerness. He gives me a peck on my cheek.

He has a supplier who stays close – she’s a twenty-minute phone call away – any closer, and she could be my mother. I take down her number, and accidentally delete his.

 

The Date-o-meter: 6.5/10

Does this have a sequel? : Yes.

If this date were a song, it would be: ‘Paradise Circus‘ By Massive Attack.