Tag Archives: Gay Stereotypes

Film And Fabulous: Finding Queerness in Bollywood in 2018

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I usually like spending my Sundays lazing around like a cat. It is an occupational hazard of being a millennial.

This past weekend however, I decided to give my weekly catnap a reprieve, and trudged halfway across the city to watch a matinee show of India’s latest chick flick (which is not a chick flick), Veere Di Wedding.

Armed with a tub full of caramel popcorn and a soda that had more calories than I could count, I sat down to watch the movie. It was refreshing, it was funny and it was full of actresses I have a boy crush on.

Twenty minutes into the movie, (SPOILER ALERT) they revealed that Kareena Kapoor Khan‘s beloved on-screen uncle (played by my childhood favourite Vivek Mushran) is gay. In fact, he even has a thriving relationship with a loving partner. But something seemed off.

Then the ‘little things’ begin to irk me. The way Cookie (yes, that is what they call him) uncle stuck out his little finger while holding his drink. His partner’s floral shirts. His hand gestures. His over-the-top display of affection in a song-and-dance sequence. Their shared distress over the wedding invitations. Their need to be fun. The tiny things. The insignificant things. The irrelevant things.

I am not saying I did not like the movie. I did, I really, really did. For two and a half hours, I was transported into a make-believe world of first world problems, smokeless cigarettes and rampant brand promotion.

But I expected more.

See, if this were a Sajid Khan or a Luv Ranjan production, I would not have had a problem – their homophobic characters will forever be overshadowed by their highly misogynistic plotlines.

But this is different.

Because when a movie has been directed by Shashanka Ghosh, and features a cast of A-list actresses and veteran actors (including the men who play the gay uncles, Vivek Mushran and Sukesh Arora) who have given us A-list performances, this sort of representation just seems like a giant letdown, especially when all their Instagram feeds are clogged with rich, influential gays who do rich, influential things.

Do not get me wrong. The transition of queer representation from the bitchy, manipulative fashion designer (it is always a fashion designer) to the fun, understanding uncle can even be considered as the harbinger of the #EverydayPhenomenal – but is it enough? (Side note: Mildly altering the pathbreaking words of Miranda Priestly, ‘Florals for queer representation? Groundbreaking.’)

Did the uncle have to be gay? Did it further the plot? Did it further his character?

The movie has a star cast that boasts of equal parts nepotism and new-age indie actors (which I have been told is the fail-safe formula for any Bollywood blockbuster), an amazing soundtrack and dialogue delivery that will leave any mother to shame. But with a new brand being introduced every 10 minutes and no real plot development for the (not one, but two) erstwhile gay characters, the movie may very well have been a giant YouTube ad that you cannot skip.

And I could not.

‘Why are you getting so offended?’ My friends asked me. ‘Why do you think it is wrong? What else were they supposed to do?’ My rant had only started a series of whys and whats – ‘why don’t you hold your horses? What’s your grouse here? Why don’t you just watch the movie? What do you want them to do? What else could they have done? Why don’t you calm your tits?’

Well, why don’t you just shut up?

The gay man in Bollywood has become the token black guy in every white movie. A background prop, someone (or something) that makes the movie seem ‘more inclusive’ – like brands that scurry to make more LGBT-friendly content during International Pride Month.

But then again, when was Veere Di Wedding not a shameless brand plug-in?

It is 2018, and it should be getting better – people say it is too trivial to hold silent protests and candlelight vigils over ‘such things’. Too much effort. Too hipster. Too mainstream. Too unnecessary.

But is it really too much?

In the past decade, Bollywood has barely scratched the surface of LGBTQ+ depiction with caricature-like portrayals of gay men who were either camp (and therefore ‘less’ than the cis-hetero men who sidelined them) and/or hypersexual (playing on the fear that gay men were out to steal your testosterone-pumped husbands, boyfriends and next-door neighbours).

You would see it everywhere – laced as the fiercely flamboyant principal in Student Of The Year, the bitchy model coordinator in Fashion, the boyfriend-stealing best friend in Page 3 and the obviously-straight-but-pretending-to-be-gay leads in Dostana (2008). Gay men were, therefore, background props who became the butt of all jokes (excluding this one.)

Sure, Veere Di Wedding changed all of it. It made the gay characters positive – fun, witty, fashion-conscious men that women are drawn to for emotional support and douchebag-related dilemmas. But did they have to be gay?

I will tell you a close-guarded secret. These overly ‘positive’ messages, which you see a lot in the media – that gay men are particularly fashion-conscious and bitchy, and a woman’s ‘gay best friend’ – can be extremely pressurising. But why should we make do with token gay characters, pushed to the background as comic relief or a pleated pants-wearing plot device? What if we want to be serious and boring? What if we want to be a part of the everyday?

Packed in floral shirts and skintight jeans that seem to put the respiratory system at risk, we have only become cookie-cutter (no movie pun intended) representations of ourselves. I really don’t mind the flamboyant stereotype because it is honestly not a stereotype – but is it our only form of representation?

With movies like Call Me By Your Name and Love, Simon (both of which did not see theatrical releases in India, so here is a shameless plugin to #ReleaseLoveSimonInIndia) where LGBTQ+ characters are not just nuanced and layered but also pushed right to the forefront as movie leads, Hollywood has taken a giant leap in showing its support for the rainbow movement.

And that is only in the past eight months. So why should Bollywood trail behind?

The problem here does not lie with Veere Di Wedding, or even Bollywood, in hindsight. The problem lies in the complete indifference with which the Indian media deals with homosexuality in general.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to be part of a ‘label-breaking’ advertisement. Helmed by an award-winning director known for his indie work, it was a #TimeToBreakStereotypes video campaign for a high-end luxury brand. They needed an openly gay man for a small bit role, and here I was, fresh out of the closet. It was Pride Month, and I was bursting to do my bit for the community (and my 15 seconds of fame).

On the day of my shoot, I drove over to the set with a fresh haircut and fresher hopes. Between a hurried costume change and makeup session, I peeped over the assistant director’s shoulder to read my character’s description on the call sheet: There were only two words.

Gay Two.

The fact that I was not important enough to be ‘Gay One’ aside (in my defense, it was an androgynous supermodel), was this really what we had come down to?

Because if the urban intellectual can be so unsympathetic to an entire sexual minority’s problems, what can we really expect from the rest of the country? Is it because of the instant dismissal of any character that is NOT the quintessential straight male lead? Or is it because the film industry fears social backlash for making a movie with strong, affirmative gay leads?

Or maybe the two reasons are the same thing.

But I still feel like we can do this. We are queer, and we are here (and to quote a fabulous friend, we are not going anywhere anytime soon, dear). The time is ripe for some fresh, realistic portrayals of queerness in Bollywood. Someone who has aspirations. Someone who has problems. Someone who likes Sunday catnaps.

Because if the LGBT+ community can step out of their closets, it is high time that Bollywood should too. I can personally vouch for the fact that the wedding sequence will be bright and glorious.

The Guysexual’s Guide To Every Diva In The World

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There’s a popular misconception that all gay men are divas, but as a marginalised group, it is no surprise that they are often characterised stereotypically. Prior to the past two decades, gay men’s portrayal in the mainstream media has been rather minimal, and when they do make it to the screen, their characters are constructed out of clichés.

‘Oh! He wears prints?’
‘He must be a diva.’
‘Could you hear him cackling all the way across the room?’
‘Definitely a diva.’
‘Who else can carry off bubblegum pink?’
‘That’s diva 101.’
‘How else can he be dressed to kill every single time I see him?’
‘He wrote the Guide To Being A Diva, I tell you.’

But that’s the thing. The Diva is not necessarily your man of fashion – he’s not the stereotypical fashion designer or the bitchy stylist you meet at the bar. The Diva hides in plain sight, he’s everywhere: the accountant from work, your next-door neighbor, your friend’s colleague, the jock from high school, you.

The Diva is like Batman – an ordinary man by day, a caped crusader (albeit with pleated pants) by night – only this vigilante rids the world of bad manners and bad dressing sense. Want to know how to sort out the fabulous from the fabulist? Here’s the Guysexual’s guide to every gay diva in the world:

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The Diva says things like, “We’ve got the same numbers of hours as Beyoncé does.”

He actually believes it.

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Perpetually 26, his Sundays are Instagram-ready hours of lazy brunches, infused cocktails, and Pinterest-worthy desserts that he swears he won’t take a bite of.

The Diva will call you ‘his cookie’, but we know he wants to bite you.

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The Diva’s favourite adjective to describe himself is also his most-searched word on Google: flawless.

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The Diva quotes Diet Sabya.

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The Diva feels that hipsters try too hard. He also splits up his styles into nine different categories: Formal, semi-formal, casual, semi-casual, street-chic, party-chic, disco-chic, somber and straight acting.

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The Diva air-kisses and airbrushes so much, he can list it as a skill on his LinkedIn.

He probably has.

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The Diva eats quotes by RuPaul for breakfast. He washes them down with a no-foam, soy milk latte and sarcasm.

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If the Diva had longer hair, he’d flip it more often.

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The Diva has an intense seven-step exfoliating ritual. Nine, when he’s going out for drinks.

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He won’t drink beer, because a pint is the equivalent of seven slices of white bread (which he won’t touch). On days when he wants to let loose, he’ll have a few gin and tonics, and load them up with cucumber slices or almond bitters.

But he’ll tell you that a ‘Skinny Bitch’ is his official go-to drink. That’s also what his friends call him behind his back.

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The Diva scrolls through Gigi Hadid’s Instagram feed at the dentist’s.

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The Diva plans to start a crowd funding campaign to bring the Queer Eye boys to India. He has quotes by Jonathan Van Ness up on his wall. It’s all very tastefully done.

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The Diva rates the boys he dates. He has a 4.2 rating on Uber.

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The Diva likes his drama just the way he likes his A/W Fashion Week: with access to front row seats.

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At least five supermodels call him their best friend, and swear that they’d die to see him in a fulfilling relationship. They wouldn’t try setting him up with any of their other (read: obviously less close) gay friends though.

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One time, he sat next to an A-list actress on an airplane, and she told him ‘he was very pretty’. He’ll tell you it was Priyanka Chopra, but he told somebody else that it was Sonam Kapoor.

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The Diva can’t decide whether he’s team Madonna or team Cher, but secretly, he’s team Britney.

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The Diva hates sapiosexuals. He thinks they wear their attitude wrong.

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The Diva might be clueless about stock options, but he can reference any shoe brand by their make and catalogue number.

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The Diva has a RompHim jumpsuit in his online shopping cart. He plans to buy it for his birthday.

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The Diva likes to call his aesthetic sense ‘quirky’. His haters (that’s what he calls them) seem to think it’s more ‘whimsical’.

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The Diva references Keeping Up With The Kardashians on a regular basis. Over multiple bottles of Moet Chandon and bite-sized nibbles of overpriced cheese, he’ll tell you he feels like a ‘Khloe’. But he’s a Scott Disick.

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The Diva Instagrams his takeaway cup of cold brew coffee every morning because he thinks frappuccinos from Starbucks are ‘too mainstream’, unless it’s a Unicorn frappuccino.

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The Diva dreams of marrying the Boy (it’ll be a white wedding), and he regularly leaves thirsty comments on his Instagram feed. They always go unnoticed.

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With his undeniable wit and free-for-all sass, the Diva is every straight girl’s wet-dream-come-true: because he’s a fashion-spouting sounding board that she doesn’t even have to friendzone. Like they say, he’s the perfect summer accessory.

I’ll tell you a secret? The Diva feels the same way about her.

The Guysexual’s Guide To Every Fuckboy In The World

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Kartik, 28 (my copywriter friend who gets a mention every few weeks) matched with Atul, a senior associate at a top legal firm, about two years ago. They bonded over their love for bad puns, great gin and the fact that they were both self-proclaimed Ravenclaws. What could I say?

Wit beyond measure led them to each other’s treasure trails.

For Kartik (as is usual), it was love at first swipe. Like most millennial love stories, it had its (mostly) highs and (many) lows. But something still seemed wrong — the dates were always at home, friends were never involved and future plans were never made. Their trysts started late, but Kartik was never invited to stay the night (including that one time when he puked all over the bathroom floor).

It seemed strange, but Kartik (being Kartik) decided not to second-guess things. He continued making bad puns, and drinking great gin. Why wouldn’t he?

Atul was a great many things. He was smart. He was handsome. He was successful. He was charming. He was a dipsomaniac.

Atul was also a F**kboy.

The quintessential f**kboy (just like Atul) is not always very easy to spot, considering his adaptive nature and ability to blend in. The F**kboy is everywhere (and more importantly, anywhere). Smiling behind you at the checkout aisle in the supermarket. Making googly eyes in the subway. At the library. In your poetry class. In the bus. At the local pub. In your untouched list of Tinder matches. Anyone who’s traversed through this giant desert of dating knows that finding a F**kboy is like finding a wild Rattata on Pokemon Go — it’s that common — which makes avoiding them that much more difficult. Want to know how to bypass the boys that most bad decisions are made of?

Look no further, kids. Here are some telltale signs the guy you are hopelessly crushing on, only plans to crush your heart after:

The F**kboy only messages you post midnight.

He’ll never disappoint.

The one time he messages you at 8 pm, is simply because his flat mates are away.

He drinks his cold pressed juices straight out of the carton.

Just like he drinks his pre-mixed cocktails straight out of plastic bottles.

The f**kboy is an amalgamation of bad pick-up lines, expensive perfume and template text messages that he broadcasts to his little black book of men.

All three have high success rates.

He hoards up on all his used condom wrappers, because ‘how else will he know that he’s the supreme sex god that he claims to be?’

He addresses you as his bro. Even when he meets you in person.

And he doesn’t mean it in the endearing “I-am-so-comfortable-around-you-I-can-call-you-anything’ kind of way.

He’s always vague about his Friday night plans.

But he already has advance tickets for Tomorrowland 2019.

The F**kboy doesn’t snuggle. He prefers the post-coital smoke to the post-coital cuddle.

His idea of the perfect date includes drinks at a dive bar, and dessert back at his place. Dinner is usually not a part of the deal, unless you offer to eat it off him.

He wears his charm like he wears his signature perfume.

Bottles of it at a time.

He introduces you to his friends as a ‘friend from work that he bumped into’.

Eight months into knowing you. You never see them again.

Or all his friends know who you exactly are, but they act like they know something that you obviously don’t: that he’s seeing other people.

He’s always busy when it’s time to meet your friends.

Once it was his dog’s funeral. Twice it was a late night at the office.

And thrice, it was his mother’s birthday.

In the same year.

The F**kboy rolls up his shirtsleeves to just below his elbows, because he likes to live on the edge.

He likes to drive with his windows open, and uses styling mousse so that his hair doesn’t look ‘too windswept.’ Sometimes he doubles it up as lubricant.

He never lets you stay, and has an excuse ready every time you suggest pulling out your jammies. Sometimes it’s a early morning gym session at 5 am. Sometimes it’s an over inquisitive maid who can’t mind her own business. Sometimes it’s an Uber he booked for you when you were cleaning up in the bathroom.

He likes his boys just like he likes his chardonnay.

Free flowing, and out of his system the next morning.

He doesn’t see the point of crossword puzzles, middle school trigonometry or commitment.

He downloads Grindr Xtra just so he can get unlimited blocks.

And an unlimited pass into everyone’s pants.

At some point in your relationship, he’ll tell you that you are the One.

He’ll also tell the same thing to Rizwan. To Sam. To Kabir. To Nikhil. To Rahul. To Kiran. To Sameer. To Zishaan.

He breaks up with you eventually, because ‘he’s not good enough for you, and you deserve better,’ He doesn’t reply to your texts, phone calls (and that one long winding drunken email) after.

That’s the thing.

The F**kboy will only lead you to another one. And another one. And another one. He’ll lead you through a string of bad decisions, heartbreak and life-altering mistakes.

You’ll sigh every time, but you’ll never learn.

Now go message your Atul.

An Additional 25 Men Not To date in 2017

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There are a great number of great men in this world.

You can probably count them on one hand. In this haystack of hot men (or lack thereof), there are sadly, only a few shiny needles that you want to take back home. Unfortunately, the world is full of wrong men that you’d never want to see ever again, in a haystack or otherwise.

Is there a test that helps you sort out the frogs from the fresh-faced Prince Charmings? Not really, but if your potential playmate checks off any of the items of this list then it’s probably a good idea to leave him in the pond you found him in.

You did great in bypassing The 75 Boys Not To Date in 2017 here, here and here , but you still have a long way to go. Ready to start counting?

So never date a man who…

  1. Addresses the wait staff rudely.

A wise man once said, ‘Never judge a man by how he treats his equals, but by how he treats his inferiors.’ Okay, it was Sirius Black in the Goblet Of Fire.

2. Calls you ‘baby’.

You see that tremor on my face? It’s not love. And never will be.

3. Wears slippers with trousers.

You know that moment when you see slippers sticking out of trousers? It’s that precise moment when my mind shuts down and I start singing Taylor Swift’s ‘We Are Never Getting back Together’ in my head, when in actuality, I am singing sweet nothings into the boy’s ears.

4. Uses more than one hash tag in a tweet.

#It #Is #Not #Cool #When #You #Talk #Like #This.

5. Has drunken stories from Tuesday night.

No one should ever have drunken stories from a Tuesday night. They aren’t called the Terrible Tuesdays without a reason, are they?

6. Posts more than one selfie a week.

Negative credits if any of these are included: the duck face, gun flexing, trial room testing and the classic ‘t-shirt lift to reveal a bed of abs’.

7. Tells you that Murakami is his favourite author.

He’s probably only read Norwegian Wood.

8. Doesn’t eat the crusts of his pizza.

Picky eaters never make for good lovers. Trust me. Also, that crust? That’s sex on a plate.

9. Doesn’t really have friends his age.

You know what that means? It means that entire generations of people have obviously avoided him for a reason.

10. Repeats his jokes.

If people didn’t laugh at your joke the first time, it’s obviously because they didn’t get it. Right?

11. Signs off his emails with an inspirational quote he’s picked off the Internet.

Are we living in 2002 again? Keep it simple, crisp and end it with your last name.

12. Expects you to instantly fall in love with all his favourite things.

‘Oh wow, Quantum Physics is so much fun,’ said no one ever.

13. Says he is always busy.

You know what he actually is? Full of excuses.

14. Starts off a story with, ‘That one time I beat someone up…’

‘Nuff said.

15. Thinks that women are feminists because they want it easy.

I am sorry, but you have it easy because you are a male chauvinist pig.

16. Thinks that it’s cool to make racist jokes.

The only thing that is even less funny than him is my diet.

17. Texts you way too much.

‘Hi!’

‘Good morning!’

‘What’s happening?’

‘I am bored.’

‘What did you have for lunch?’

‘Are you busy?’

‘Hello?’

‘Good night!’

18. Sneezes without covering his mouth.

Get out of this faster than his germs get to you.

19. Doesn’t like brunch.

Only evil, heartless people don’t like brunch.

And restaurant owners who have lunch deals.

20. Thinks that Instagram is a waste of time.

Hello, you are a waste of time.

21. Only texts you post-midnight.

No, he’s not texting you to wish you good night, he’s texting you to find out whether he can come over. But not in a romantic ‘Should-I-get-you-soup?’ kind of way.

22. Uses the word ‘fetch’ in conversation.

Stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen, Gretchen.

23. Hasn’t watched Mean Girls ever.

If you haven’t watched this Tina Fey beauty, which defines the crux of every gay person’s high school years, we are no longer friends. You can’t sit with us!

24. Tries to dress sexily at the gym.

We do not care if your vest matches your shoes, sir, but can I use the treadmill, please

25. Writes listicles about what kind of men not to date.

Sounds like a total douchebag, but I’ve heard he’s a good kisser.

Do you think there are even more wrong men out there for everyone here? Tweet me and let me know!

The Guysexual’s Guide to Every Gay Man’s Treasure Chest of One Liners

 

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Gay men are a lot of things.

We might come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and have temperaments as diverse as the cast of Grey’s Anatomy, but it all boils down to one thing in the end — as homosexual men, we are a storehouse of corny one-liners, sassy quips and stereotypical jokes that’ll put all the Kardashian Sisters (even the new ones) to shame. Don’t believe me?

Well, whether you are a red-blooded activist who churns out slogans for breakfast, or a social butterfly who sleeps when it’s time to have breakfast, it’s a given that we’ve all been guilty of having said at least a few of these (often cringe worthy) well-worded gems:

Continue reading The Guysexual’s Guide to Every Gay Man’s Treasure Chest of One Liners

Meet The Men 3.0: The Sapiosexual

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Ranveir, 27, is a high-profile accountant with a high-profile MNC.
And yes, that’s how he describes himself.

He likes his matcha tea and his sourdough bread, and twice a month, he likes walking his dog on weekends. Ranveir guffaws at racist jokes, and occasionally ghosts a nice guy because ‘things are moving too fast, and I can’t handle all the expectations of this relationship’.

While the fact that he spells his name that way might ring a warning bell, something else seals the deal.

Ranveir is a self-proclaimed sapiosexual. How does it change anything?

Let’s get it straight. The word sapiosexual is thrown around as casually as the phrase ’sane and sorted’ is used on Grindr. It’s a security blanket used by boys to keep the douchebags away (completely unaware that it makes them sound like one too), assuming it’s going to draw in a string of smart, suave and eligible men straight to the bedroom (and beyond). But that’s the thing.

All the smart, suave, eligible men are taken.
And they don’t call themselves sapiosexuals.

Continue reading Meet The Men 3.0: The Sapiosexual

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.