Tag Archives: Homosexuality

How I Found The Freedom To Be Myself

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‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ a ninth grade English paper once asked me. It was a 20-mark essay, and I had 20 minutes to earn them. I rolled up my sleeves, and pulled out my cursive best.

The thing is, I wanted to be a great many things.

I wanted to be a chef, I wanted to be an actor, I wanted to be a painter, I wanted to be an astronaut, and for two weeks after I turned 11, I even wanted to be a National Geographic correspondent, if only because my older sister said that she wanted to be one. My essay – and the time allotted to write it – might have come to an end at this point, but my story didn’t. From the age of six to sixteen, I raced through changes. My styles, my sexual leanings and my haircuts changed, and so did my dreams.

Only, what did I never dream of being?

Myself.

All my years of adolescence, I had struggled to find myself, even though I struggled comfortably – I was so used to push my problems under a hypothetical carpet, and pretend they didn’t exist, that I never realized the lies I was hoarding up – little white lies, they wouldn’t hurt anyone, would they? It was an easy, lazy life.

I used this complacency as a security blanket, and wound it around myself whenever thoughts of the future terrified me. What would coming out (as a gay man) be like? Would it be a cakewalk or a walk down the plank? Would I have to talk about my feelings? Would I have someone to talk about my feelings to (a fair question, because I grew up thinking that you were only allowed to talk about your feelings at expensive therapy sessions, sappy book clubs or when watching romantic tearjerkers)?

Growing up was always a mark of independence – no more school, no more staying at home, no more rules, no more restrictions, no more getting worried over your mother’s eighteen missed calls (well, almost) – it seemed like a technicolour dream, being so free-spirited. But honestly, I didn’t know what I would do with all the freedom. Independence (or the mere thought of it) petrified me. What would I do being free?

Would I finally have to be myself?

People are terrified to be themselves, especially when bravery is an option, and not an obligation I’ve been called manipulative, selfish, a coward, a sore loser. Why would I want to be myself then? I’d rather be someone nicer and more admirable; I’d rather be someone else.

And that’s exactly what I did.

Some enjoy the peace that comes with accepting who you are, but most of us waltz on the fence in the middle. Take sexuality, for instance. We can stir ourselves to walk free and fabulous, but we’d rather stay safe and sound in the cage of heteronormativity. I made myself feel at home in the cage till I was twenty-one.

The thing about independence is that it doesn’t come gift-wrapped and express delivered to your front doorstep. It needs to be earned, or fought for.

Coming to terms with your sexuality and stepping out of the closet isn’t easy – especially when in a country like India, where minds can be as narrow as Bandra’s bylanes, even if you are an upper-class well-educated man (and sometimes, especially if you an upper-class, well educated man). Everyday life is a battle. As countless films and American television shows have told us, you don’t just wake up one morning and walk out into the sunlit world. To reach the closet door, you need to push through your woolens, those ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ shirts you bought on an impulse but will never wear, and the odd tangle of smelly socks, greying underwear and smutty novels you don’t want your mother to find. It will be tough, especially if you’ve been hoarding – and holding back – all your life.

And even when you do, it’s a never-ending process – those closet doors that everyone talks about? They are revolving. Week after week, you will find yourself coming out to friends, family, acquaintances, and (occasionally) drunken strangers at the bar. Perhaps one day it will not be the big deal that it is today, and you won’t have to worry whether your words are followed by a kiss to the cheek or a punch to the mouth. Every new acceptance is a fresh slice of independence, and you’ll wolf it all down without worrying about empty calories or complex carbs.

It will be liberating, the way you feel after you’ve survived a last-minute clearance sale. Only this is the clearance sale of regrets.

Fortunately, my personal coming out story reeks of acceptance and Hallmark cards – it happened at the dinner table, one Friday evening back in early 2015, over cups of chamomile and desiccated coconut biscuits. I sat my parents down, and told them everything in a diligently rehearsed 17-minute monologue.

In 18 minutes, it was done.

Questions were asked, hugs were exchanged, a tear was shed (that would be me). My mum went for a walk with her friends, and my dad continued solving the crossword puzzle. They accepted it with a simple shrug (and lots of love and support over the next couple of years, but this is the not a story about that). My sexuality was just another fact.

What about the war of words I had been expecting? The emotional bloodshed? The years of torment at the hands of society? They never came, even though the history books said that they would. Times are changing, and somewhere over pop culture references and more inclusive media representations, my parents and peers had changed as well. The history books had it wrong.

What they did get right was this – freedom felt liberating.

The freedom to stay single. The freedom to be a sexual deviant. The freedom to wear a skirt (if you are a man) or a jersey (if you are a woman). The freedom to wear both. The freedom to wear neither. The freedom to never find your way back home. The freedom to stay in for the night, with Netflix and a bottle of wine (that would be me again).

What do we do with the freedom then? Do we let it consume us? Terrify us into never seeking it out?

We do neither. We simply unwind and enjoy it with a cup of tea.

Preferably chamomile.

 

 

 

 

The Guysexual’s Guide To Making A Man in 2018

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There are all kinds of men in this world. Thin men. Fat men. Tall men. Short men. Skinny men. Hairy men. Loud men. Obnoxious men. Timid men. Flamboyant men. Ferocious men. Hipster men. Daredevils. Douchebags. Atheists. Diehard romantics. Righteous. Vigilantes. Right wing. Left wing. Gay. Straight. Bisexual. Self-made. Self-taught. Self-aware.

But what makes a man?

See, we all know that if you mix sugar, spice and everything nice (plus a large helping of Chemical X), you’d get a Powerpuff Girl. Can you make a man the same way? Replace Chemical X with Chromosome Y?  Or is it all testosterone, cigarette fumes, single malt, revved up engines and golf clubs?

Obviously not, because where would you find a golf club in India?

I asked a few of my friends instead.

‘Balls and a penis,’ said one well-meaning pal.

‘The Y Chromosome,’ another one joked. He’s a professor.

‘A well groomed beard,’ someone else chipped in.

His actions. How he works his tools. How he handles his women (don’t ask, my friends are a mixed bunch). His survival skills. His scent. His character. His job. Confidence. Integrity. Wisdom. The answers trickled in through messages, and slid into my DMs like d*ck pics (and some of them were equally flaccid). They were characteristics, yes, but not the ingredients for the quintessential man. Could you source them locally? Would I have to go to the supermarket? Farm those seeds myself? Bid at an auction? Would I find a recipe online or would the store-bought microwaveable version work?

I didn’t have a clue, so I did the only thing that made sense.

I scoured the internet.

Page after page popped up, till I was swamped under a sea of bits, bytes, memes and GIFs. The internet, I realised, had a lot to say about what makes the perfect man. From the heartwarming (What makes a man really happy?) to the eye opening (What makes man a man in the eyes of God?), from the titillating (what makes a man AMAZING in bed?) to the downright depressing (What makes a man an alpha male?), there were secret hacks for everything.

But yet, after scanning through hundreds (okay, six) of pages full of listicles, blogs and popup ads for penis-enlargement pills, I still didn’t have a solid answer (how to last all night long, yes).

I’ll tell you the problem. They all told you to be larger than life. They all told you to ooze confidence like toothpaste. They all told you to dab copious amounts of charisma like it were hair mousse (this was no beauty tutorial though). But most importantly, they all told you to man up.

Man up. It’s a funny phrase. What could it mean? I first heard the term almost two decades ago, and found it endearing. It’s the natural successor, I guess to ‘grow a pair’, which itself took ‘get a backbone’ away from the spinal cord right to the nether depths of your groin.

Getting a backbone, however, didn’t associate courage or toughness with being a man. But now, even if you aren’t coping very well with something, are down with the flu, or simply don’t want to do something daredevilry (or debauchery) — that is every situation that can illicit the phrase from a well-meaning passerby — you are simply seen as the opposite of masculine. See, sometimes you might just want to say: ‘I’m sad. I’m depressed. I’m drowning. I am dying. Am I lonely? Am I going to be all right?’ but you can’t — because no one cares.  You’re a dude, baby. Not a baby, dude. These crown jewels are for showing, aren’t they?

It seems that we’ve finally reached that point in our life where you can only be more masculine if you stick to the norms. Have that double measure of single malt. Play golf with the crew. Yell at the waiter in the restaurant. Deadlift 150 kg. Micro-manage an entire office floor. Fight a tiger with your bare hands. As you get older, the rules of masculinity become tougher and tougher (just like people expect you to be), but no one tells you what makes you more machismo.

But that’s the thing, boys don’t become men when they strut out their muscled chests and pick tabs (or sometimes, even fights) at the bar — on a side note, I only pick up my drinks at the bar —boys become men when they become themselves.

Because the truth is, the world (and most men I know) would be happier if people could just be who they want to be. So dress the way you like. Do what you want to do. Take that dance class. Go study French. Sing a Miley Cyrus song at karaoke (‘Party In The USA‘ is a great way to test out your vocals). Bake that cake. Knit that sweater. Read that self-help book. Go for a recital. Don’t drive if you can’t.

And if someone tells you to ‘man up’? Just tell them to man off. This isn’t Sparta.

So what makes a man then?

You’ll have to wait for the sequel to find the answer to that question.

Until then, I’ll go prepare for my Pilates class.

To Mum, With Love: What It Means To Come Out As The Parent Of A Gay Son

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I’ll tell you a secret about my relationship with my mother. Each of our relationships with our parents is such an individual thing — even between siblings, sometimes — and they can be difficult for us to understand from a distance.

My relationship with my mother is far from perfect. Over the past decade, we’ve fought, we’ve cried, we’ve pulled our hair out, we’ve said mean things to each other that might put school bullies to shame, and we’ve had cold wars that have lasted multiple hours and meals. It’s been one hell of a roller coaster ride.

But that’s how most relationships are, they aren’t perfect. And that’s the beauty of it.

A child might not be perfect — not too bright, not too beautiful, not too charming, not too enterprising, not too much of a good thing — and still, a mother would love it to death. She’d nag, but love her child like a lioness loves her cubs.

My mother is like that.

She treats nagging and scolding me as a daily chore — it’s become a part of the routine. But then again, it’s ourlittle routine. It’s like a two-person comedy act — only there’s no background laughter — unless you count my exasperated older sister who stays miles away, but still hears of all my idiosyncrasies through the telephone. I love every little bit of it.

See, I might be a selfish, spoilt brat who might have more vices than virtues (here’s looking at you, endless bottles of wine and rum), and my mother might have reserved her dirtiest of looks for each and every one of them, but that’s what mothers do — they antagonise, because they adore.

And mine adores me to death. The past three years could have been turbulent — with the coming out and what not — but they weren’t. Twenty-five years of her having lived in an orthodox family, and yet, I’ve had some of the most remarkably open conversations with her. Was she okay with my coming out? Maybe not. Does she like it when I talk about being gay on social media? Definitely not. Has she any clue of what the LGBT life is all about? Clearly not. In fact, I thought we were going to live in a state of peaceful denial of my sexuality till thishappened last year.

My mum came up to me sometime in August of 2017, as I worked away on a deadline. She looked visibly upset. Sensing it was something I had done (and had no clue about), I asked her what was wrong.

A daughter of an acquaintance had just given birth, she said to me, and sweets had been delivered all over the society. Our family had been inconspicuously missed out. She suspected it was because I was gay, and they didn’t want to ‘rub it in’ that I might ‘never have a child of my own’.

I asked her whether she was sad that it happened? Kaju katlis are a big deal, after all.

She said she was, but only because she was surprised that she knew people who were so narrow-minded, that they couldn’t see beyond the boxes they stayed in. Then she went on to tell me how sugar was bad for your body anyway, and that we’d all live a more fulfilled life without any ensuing boxes of sweets. If people couldn’t deal with her son’s sexuality, then she didn’t need to deal with them (or their sugary gifts) at all.

I hugged her tightly then and there.

I hope this serves as at least one model for a positive way to react. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know for me, she couldn’t have reacted more appropriately (or heartwarmingly).

My coming out story might have been a breeze, but coming out as the parent of a gay child is no easy feat. Because I might have had to come out of the closet only once, but for my mother — as a supportive parent — it’s an everyday struggle.

She’s sat through awkward dinner conversations with strangers (‘…and then I told my son, you can marry anyone as long as it’s not a boy!’), shot down questions by distant aunts (‘’it’s okay if he’s gay, but does he have to be gay for the whole world?’) and even ignored jibs by concerned relatives (‘we understand how you must feel that your son will never get married…’) with the same stance.

One of cold defiance.

My mother is an exceptionally fierce woman. Her problem with most of these situations isn’t the quintessential ‘how-could-they-say-that-about-MY-son?’, it’s the more empowering ‘how-could-they-say-that-about-gay-people?’

And that is gut-wrenchingly heartwarming.

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.

I don’t expect my mother to tag along as I march for LGBT Pride. I don’t expect her to flash the rainbow flag at a family lunch. I don’t expect her to ask questions about my love life (or lack thereof). I don’t even expect my mother to have a conversation with her friends about my sexuality. My mum’s not one of those mothers.

She’s so much more. She might never understand the depths of my struggles as an out-and-about gay man, but she’ll still school anyone who tries to question the same.

I am proud of the woman my mother has become, and the son she’s making me out to be. I might not be the perfect one, but she’s made peace with the fact that I never will be. And that’s the first step of any loving relationship. The peace to co-exist with all your faults and regrets. To confront what’s not wrong. To fight for what’s right. To know that I am loving (and living) my life to the fullest. To understand that I’ll go back to being the insufferable child right from tomorrow.

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 of the closet, mom. #HappyMothersDay to you.

I promise it gets better.

— Illustration courtesy Amrai Dua

#PrideTalk: The Beginner’s Guide To Lame Excuses

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Unless you’ve been living under a (rather fabulous) rock, you know that today marks the date for the city’s 10th ever Queer Pride March – which means that thousands of LGBT individuals and their straight allies plan to take to the streets, because the government won’t take up their (or more importantly, our) cause.

Now, If like me, you plan to show your support and march with your head up high – congratulations! I’ll see you on the other side. On the other hand, if you still need some convincing, don’t worry, because I’ve got a personal handbook that tells you exactly why you need to go and make your presence felt.

Why is it important that you go?

Because every person counts – and unless you are dealing with a life-threatening experience or an extreme case of diarrhoea, I see no reason for you not to walk the talk with your friends today. Still looking for a reason not to go, but don’t want to sound like a douchebag?

Then here’s the Guysexual’s guide to lame excuses that just won’t cut it anymore:

  1. ‘I don’t want to go because I don’t have anything to wear.’

Actually, you do – it’s called your personality. Now go flaunt it fabulously.

  1. ‘But it’s Saturday!’

Blaming the day is for the week-hearted. Pun intended.

  1. ‘I have a date lined up.’

Don’t be a drag – drag him to Pride instead.

It’s easy on your pockets, and heavy on the charm.

  1. ‘But I don’t have anyone to go with.’

Ask your sister. Ask your friend. Ask your next door neighbor. Ask your biology teacher (if she’s fun). You’ll be surprised how many people want to walk with you. And if you don’t find anyone else?

Remember that there are hundreds (perhaps thousands) like you out there. Pride is all about celebrating love – so why not celebrate it with some new friends instead?

5. ‘I completely forgot it was today.’

That’s surprising, considering you haven’t forgotten that Keeping Up With The Kardashians comes back next week.

  1. ‘Frankly, my dear, I think it’s a bit too much…’

Do you know what’s a bit too much for me?

Your attitude.

  1. ‘But it’s the same time as Sula Fest, and you know how I feel about wine…’

Side note: no ensuing headaches and hangovers involved here. Heartwarming feels, on the other hand?

No crate of Cabernet Sauvignon can ever provide those.

  1. ‘ Are you crazy? The whole of Grindr is going to be there!’

Of course, it is – but think of it this way – see someone you like?

You don’t need to swipe right on them anymore. You just need to go start a conversation.

And years down the line, when you are raising a toast at your wedding, you don’t need to lie about meeting each other at Starbucks.

  1. ‘Is this all really necessary? Think about the children!’

Actually it’s really important BECAUSE you need to think about the children – generations of LGBT men and women have suffered through years of ridicule, slander and discrimination so that the youth (both straight and gay) could live in a more accepting (and acceptable) world.

Now let them go own it.

  1. ‘I’d rather support the cause from behind the curtains.’

Unless you are a lawyer who’s fighting section 377 at the roots, or a philantrophist who has donated millions to the cause, you aren’t doing your bit just by downing shots at the pre-Pride fundraiser. What helps instead?

Putting those shot glasses down, and pulling up those socks instead. See, events like Pride are more than a celebration or a political statement: they are a place where you can connect with the movement, and learn about what small battles are being fought in your corner of the world.

  1. “I would have definitely come, but I am heading to Bali for a vacation…”

Instagram might be happy, but I am not.

Vacations will come and go, but city-wide movements will not.

  1. ‘My dog has a spa appointment…’

Bring him along.

Every pair of feet that marches for Pride makes a difference and here, your dog comes equipped with twice the usual number.

  1. ‘I really don’t have a problem being there, but do people really have to be in my face? Why does everybody have to be so over-the-top?’

The real question is, why do you have to be such an asshole?

  1. ‘Why does it have to be in the middle of the afternoon?’

Consult point 13.

  1. ‘I don’t really think it’s my thing.’

Is expressing yourself not your thing? Where else can you wear suspenders, a hat or even a tutu without being judged (side note: but not all together)?

Yes, at Pride March. So don’t be that person.

Come walk the talk.

Like I said, I’ll see you at the finish line.

 

What I Mean When I Say I have A Gay Voice

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Over the years, I realised I have had a lot of talents.

I can roll my tongue, impersonate a pigeon (my head tut is phenomenal), fly a kite without any help, and most importantly, lie my way through a resume even when I am asleep.  It’s a lot for one person.

But faking a baritone is clearly not one of them.

I realised my voice was softer (read: more girly, for the masses and the misinformed) at a very early age. Being all of eight, I wasn’t great at pretending to be someone else (at least back then), and booming out like a blue whale wasn’t something they taught at kindergarten. I chose the only plausible solution.

Silence.

I would reluctantly answer questions in the classroom (or avoided the teacher’s eye), never yelled out to friends across the road (either out of surprise, joy or an incessant need to go slap them across their faces), and would pretend to be ‘shy’ in front of people I didn’t know. It’s lovely how many things you can pass off; when you tell people you are an introvert.

But there would be times when I’d forget, and my shrill voice would ricochet out like a distress call, in multiple high-octaves and increasing pitches. And then the hushed whispers would come, empty sniggers from emptier souls. ‘Why do you sound so nasal?’ my friends would laugh, and I’d retort with a stiff-lipped jab about my ‘respiratory problems that they’d never understand’.

That would silence them all, up until I changed schools, and changed bullies along with them. I’d come up with new reason every single time, but they’d all get shot down (or laughed at) in a week or two.

Over the next two decades, I grew up — and grew out of these insecurities (and my shrill, pre-pubescent voice). I’d learnt to adapt the way I spoke to whoever I was speaking to, and I used it like a shield.

I’d conveniently gruff up with a North Indian accent while speaking to a male colleague, and soften up with a breathier, breezier Mumbai undercurrent while chatting up an acquaintance. I reserved my ‘it’s-too-loud-in-here-to-hear-you’ blur solely for my mother.

Only my close friends got the real version of me. Highly excitable.

But yet, my voice was, and is…still the same?

It sounds worse on the phone, solely because I suffer from a recurring nightmare where I have to hear my voice on an answering machine on loop — which only makes it an every day affair with telemarketers.

‘Hello, madam? Can we interest you in a home loan…’

‘Dear Miss! Vodafone has an exciting new offer for you….’

‘Yes, ma’am. Do you want to try our double cheese burst special with that?’

I’d gruffly tell them I was man, and hang up.

Truth be told, I hated the way my voice sounds, and I absolutely hate that I hated it, and I hated the way that a voice like mine was usually hated. It’s a hamster-cycle of hate, only here the proverbial hamster (read: me) was running on a wheel of increasing decibels.

It’s the same as shrinking away from something that is even remotely effeminate -— including pink linen shirts, Cosmopolitans and peroxide hair — but what are we so afraid of? To sound like ourselves, or to be ourselves? Generations of (gay) men have cleared their throats, deepened their voices and raised their walls so that they could reek of everyone’s favourite perfume.

Toxic Masculinity, by you. I wore it proudly myself.

And then everything changed a few months ago.

I was meeting a few friends for a reunion halfway across town. It was a champagne-fuelled brunch, and everyone (including me) was buzzed and giggling, as people at champagne-fueled brunches are wont to. There were kids running around and playing with their tablets, like kids are wont to. In the midst of an extremely ribald joke that I am not very proud of, one of my friend’s kids tugged at my trousers. It was a little boy in blue, holding a tablet in one hand, and a Transformer doll in the other.

‘Why does your voice sound like a girl?’ the little child asked me curiously. I’ve never really liked little children — they are cocky, brash and solely rely on their cuteness to get away with inappropriate things — sort of like the quintessential f**kboy, only two decades younger. Call it an occupational hazard of being a gay person.

But yet, it had come back, the fear — it had followed me all the way out of every classroom and playground, and come back to haunt me almost two decades later. I felt like I was in school all over again. My facades went up, just like my voice had a few moments ago.

“Because that’s how my voice sounds when I am drunk,’ I said to him shamelessly, ‘It’s my happy voice! Your mum has one as well!’ (Sue me for being scathing.) We all laughed aloud, because it was all in good humour, but the mother avoided me for the rest of the evening. I compensated for her absence with three extra mimosas. (Side note: The mother wasn’t that close a friend, so the jabs were all well founded.)

But that’s when it struck me. People might say it is not, but my voice is gay (but not in the derogatory slur kind of way, but in a more empowering sort of way), just like the rest of me. Let’s get it straight. Do you know what you sound like when you laugh at someone for having ‘the’ gay voice?

An asshole.

Just like the fact that people come in all shapes and sizes, voices come in multiple octaves and tones. Some men sound like a double measure of single malt, some men sound like fingernails on a blackboard. Some men sound like twittering birds, some men sound like mean tweets by trolls. We are all born with our vocal chords, just like we are born with our sexuality.

And it’s high time we learn to deal with it.

At least I plan to. If it’s a dead giveaway that I am gay, so what? I think being a homosexual is pretty cool. I’ve got too much to say, and that is exactly why I won’t stop talking.

And neither should you.

The Milestones Of Falling In And Out of Love

 

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Falling in love is a lot like running a marathon. Based on how well you are prepared, you either give up midway or sprint through the finish line of long-term bliss. If you are happy, you start of fresh, and end up raring to go all over again.

But whether your romance is a race, a haiku poem, a star-studded musical, an epic trilogy or a game of chess, here are the ten milestones you’ll cross in every relationship:

Hello

Congratulations! You have a new match!

Whether you found your recent paramour on Tinder, Grindr or Bro, there’s no denying that he has something that the other torsos (infesting the dating app of your choice) don’t. You giggle over puns, gush over the fact that both of you love yoga (after organic tea) and secretly screenshot his volunteering pictures from his time last year with Habitat for Humanity. You spend nights flirting over Grindr, lighting up with every beep.

At some point, you realise it makes sense to take it to the next level. You exchange your digits, because it’s too early to exchange rings.

Text-dancing

You’ll soon play a Ping-Pong game of texts, sending sweet nothings to each other that sometimes really mean nothing at all. It’s a dance — sometimes it’s the rumba, sometimes it’s the salsa, sometimes it’s a good ol’ fashioned waltz. It’s a constant struggle of who messages first: will he? Won’t he? Will he? Won’t he?

It feels hopeless.

After many sleepless nights spent waiting for a text so you don’t seem desperate by sending two in a row (until you eventually mesh into a mash of texts, photos, memes and plans to meet for coffee), you’ll reach the point where you don’t care who’s supposed to message next.

And you’ll send him one yourself.

First kiss

The kiss is the universal shorthand for intimacy. One minute you are smiling and stumbling your way into each other’s arms, and just like that, you are there — even before you can stop and ask for directions. It hits your core, and tingles all the way down to your Vitamin D deficient toes. The first kiss is a relationship milestone that usually makes its way to long-forgotten journals and recycled rom-coms, so make sure it counts.

Side note: Brownie points if he makes the first move. Even more brownie points if you make the first move.

Sex

You’ve bought the fresh new sheets. You’ve bought the condoms. You’ve bought the oils. And if you’re feeling fancy, you’ve even bought some aromatherapy candles. You’ve huffed and puffed and planned to blow the house down. Your romp lasts the entire duration of the La La Landsoundtrack, and feels like it too.

You might have liked it. You might have not. You might have clawed at his chest. You might have clawed at his back. You might have come. You might have not. Irrespective of whether you’ve orgasmed or not (because you like him enough to ignore the average sex for a while), you race your libido to the next stage.

The Honeymoon

Drool all over each other, and store your love in pictures on your phone and empty condom wrappers. Go on a date. Go on two. Go on a dozen. Go on a gazillion dates. Seize the moment, and capture as much of this phase as you can, because you are going to need it when you are old and withered.

Meeting the friends

You slowly permeate into his inner circle, while secretly hating each and every one of his friends. You courtesy and smile your way through the gang, answering the same questions over and over again till your smile freeze frames into a Polaroid picture. You guffaw with them about his exes (even though you don’t want to) and tell them the heartwarming tale of how you met (even though they don’t want to). Everyone knows you are a breakup away from never seeing each other ever again

As you repeat anecdote after anecdote, he tilts back his head and gives you a reassuring nod. You smile back because you can’t wait for him to do the same.

Moving in

You’ve made all the right moves till now, and you’ve officially reached move day.

Your toothbrush joins his, and your painkillers find their own little sweet spot in his shower cabinet. Your socks tangle with his, your underwear finds its own intimate drawer, you even find your side of the bed (the one that doesn’t face the window). You are just moments away from getting matching towels.

As you unpack and spread your life all over his, applaud. This is where the rollercoaster begins.

First fight

It starts off with something small. An unanswered phone call. An unfed cat. A vague remark on their weight that may or may not have coincided with their birthday. You begin with a few well-placed jabs — a passive aggressive joke here, an eye roll there, it’s all in good humour. And then before you know it, the riptide of witty banter transforms into verbal blows — Why? How? What? When?

As you bombard each other with words, stares, rolls of clothes and love bites, you have an epiphany. You are in your first official fight, but you’ll make peace with it — a scar that heals, but never fades. You’ll walk out of your cocoon into the next one.

Congratulations! You’ve moved on to the next level.

Moving away

This is when it gets tricky. Bags are packed, kisses are exchanged, but feelings are not. He’s going to leave a boyfriend-sized hole in your heart, and it sucks at your soul as if it were the last sip of Coca Cola. One of you is moving away. To a different school. To a different neighbourhood. To a different city. A different state. A different country. A different continent.

You survive, as long as it’s not a different person.

Settling In

You’ve reached that point when you can function without needing each other all the time. There’s love; but it’s hidden behind boxes of Chinese takeout and IOU’s on the fridge. You wake up, and kiss him without worrying about morning breath. Sometimes, you don’t even take a shower before dinner. You aren’t a jigsaw puzzle anymore, but you occasionally solve one on Sundays.

This might take weeks, it might take months, and sometimes, it might even take years. But when it does, take solace in the fact that you’ve reached the white noise. Enjoy the complacency.

You’ve reached end game.

Happy #ComingOutDay : the Guysexual’s Guide to Coming Out

Happy International Coming Out Day.jpg

Do you hear that low rumble in the background?

It’s the collective sound of a billion closet doors being thrust open, so that their occupants can finally step out and enjoy the sun (and their sexuality).

Happy International Coming Out Day, boys and girls.

Today, if a close friend, a colleague or a sibling puts down their low-fat latte, looks you straight in the eye and tells you that they’ve got ‘something important to say to you,’ there’s a very high chance you are going to be privy to a coming out story — unless you’ve got something stuck between your front teeth, that is (so before you put on your best understanding face, do check a mirror).

Coming out is a special milestone in every gay person’s life — a coming-of-age ritual that all of us have to go through in this convoluted journey of trying to ‘find ourselves’.

The real question is, do you need to come out to be at peace with yourself?

I think so. Coming out can be difficult for a variety of reasons — the fear of people’s reactions, the stigma of being ostracised, the conflict with your religious beliefs, and the acceptance of intolerance, to just name a few — but it’s honestly refreshing.  Your internal struggles feel less painful, and your life seems more beautiful.

So why this big fuss about International Coming Out Day when you can make the big announcement any day of the year?

Continue reading Happy #ComingOutDay : the Guysexual’s Guide to Coming Out