Tag Archives: LGBT

The Guysexual’s Brutally Honest Review Of Bumble

 

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Contrary to what we will tell you, gay men are obsessed with the idea of finding a sense of normalcy. This implies that gay men are obsessed with the idea of finding companionship.

But what does that mean?

We are obsessed with dating apps. We live them. We breathe them. We devour them. We can’t have enough of them. If you’ve been an avid reader of this column, you’ve probably read all ten of the brutally honest dating app reviews I covered last year. But it’s 2019, and I’ve got more ground to cover.

Without further ado, make a beeline for a fresh new beginning to last year’s hit series, and come say hi to Bumble.

What it is: Bumble may have started in 2014 as a safe space for women to ‘date, meet and network better’ by sending the first message (and making the first move), but when have gay men ever let a good thing go to waste?

We came for your fashion. We came for your sleepovers. And now, we come for your dating apps. ‘Why do the gays need to infringe on our space?’ the vilest of bigots would ask, ‘Won’t they think about the children?’ they’ll yell.

As a self-aware, self-loving gay man, let me tell you something.

If our next big love isn’t hidden behind a mesh of profiles on the dating app of our choice, there’s a very big chance he’s not waiting for us at the bar with free drinks (and if he is, there’s a chance he might give us chlamydia). He’s not waiting at the bookstore. And contrary to most rom-coms, he’s not waiting for us at the airport. Conventional ways of finding love are nonexistent for the quintessential gay man of today, so we look for every opportunity that comes our way, hungry for love — including dating apps that aren’t meant for us, in the conventional sense.

Also, we’re really bored of talking to the same people on Grindr.

How it works: Like most dating apps in the market, Bumble is a clearance sale of Facebook/Instagram profile pictures. You can swipe right to ‘Like’, or turn left to ‘Oh-I-don’t-think-so’. You collect the ones you love, and ignore the ones you don’t.

Before you start swiping, you do need to fill out your profile – a few pictures, a well-worded bio, some personal questions (but not like the ones you get asked by your nagging aunt), and a quick verification later, you are ready to start looking.

However, in this case, the app comes with three different modes to look in – date eligible men with Bumble Date, meet new people with Bumble BFF, and network with aspiring entrepreneurs with Bumble Bizz. That’s three different apps for the price of one (or if like me, you chose to go for the free version, the price of none).

But there’s a catch (if there wasn’t, would this even be a dating app?). Once you’ve matched, you only have 24 hours to strike up a conversation before your prospective partner disappears into the dregs of deleted chats and long-forgotten matches. This is a problem, yes, because sometimes it takes me longer to decide what I want to have for dinner.

Which is funny, because all I am looking for on Bumble is some dessert.

What I like about it: Bumble is the wingman you secretly pine to have in your corner. It nudges you to meet the cute guy over at the bar (with Bumble Date), pulls you into its huddle of really cool friends while asking you to join their squad (Bumble BFF), and also gets you to hustle for that perfect job you’ve been dreaming about ever since you left college (Bumble Bizz). It’s the best friend you need, but honestly, judging by your track record, don’t deserve.

When has a relationship app gone beyond the portals of romance?

Before Bumble, never.

What I don’t like about it: Bumble was first founded to challenge the antiquated rules of dating – by letting women make the first move, it literally puts them in the driver’s seat when it comes to navigating the datingscape. So what happens when the gays take over?

A lot of confusion. Who makes the first move? Is there a first move? Do we stop and ask each other ‘who’s the man and who’s the woman in the relationship’? Is the app sensitive to not stereotyping gay men? Is the app even for gay men? Before you get into a giant debate about #NotAllMen, let me stop you right there.

Bumble has bigger problems at hand. I spent all of a week sifting through a carousel of (very pretty) women, only to realise that I had to change my settings to get my preferences (and my sexual orientation) right. And once you’ve got that out of the way, it’s the interface that stings.

Yes, Bumble is the complete package when it comes to finding you your future soulmate/bff/job/Netflix original, but since it lists all your matches together, there’s a high chance you’ll be left looking like a bumbling idiot. Sure, the matches are colour coordinated so that you don’t mix them up, but what if you accidentally hit your business connection up with a ‘what’s up dawg’? What if you mistakenly ask your (rather platonic and woefully straight) future best friend out for a hookup? Or worse, what if you ask your date to write you a LinkedIn recommendation?

Rating someone according to their dating game? That’s one testimonial no one wants to see.

Bonus feature: Remember how scores of gay men complain about the constant fear of being catfished on a dating app? Imagine spending hours talking to someone whose profile pictures look like they are straight out of the GQ magazine, only to realise they’ve probably been copy-pasted from GQ.

With their video chat and voice-calling feature, Bumble lets you sort out the cool cats from the catfishes. Now if it only had a feature to sort people out according to their sexual identity…

Who is it for: For men* who don’t really have the time (or the space on their phone) to shift between LinkedIn, Facebook and the dating app of their choice.

Disclaimer: When its sole target audience of women is not using the app, of course.

Guysexual’s Grade-o-meter:

Hookability: 4/10
Compatibility: 9/10
Usability: 6/10
Downloadability: 7/1

Dear Straight People, What Does Your Favourite Queer Eye Guy Say About You?

 

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Three seasons in, I love Queer Eye.

Five fabulous (but not so fabulous that they intimidate you) gay men coming together to school bigots groom clueless straight men into better versions™ of themselves, without adhering to the tropes of being catty, conniving or cocky (as the media perceives us to be)?

What’s there not to love?

Sure, the show can be a TRP orgasm, but I find it only slightly grating to see the community peddling its talents in exchange for acceptance. It’s offensive for us to have to fight for our rights by showing how important we are (as masters in our fields, possessed of an almost supernatural sensitivity to fine living) in the heterosexual grooming ritual. But maybe, there’s no way around it. I’ll just sit here in a corner, feeling upset about hetero people taking advantage of queer creativity since forever.

Until then, here’s what your favourite queer guy from the ‘Fab Five’ says about you, readers:

Jonathan Van Ness

Racked with guilt for having said something mildly homophobic a few years ago, you overcompensate now by wrapping yourself up with queer culture references and iconic gay catchphrases – which is why it becomes so important for you to win the ‘Ally of the Year’ award. You want everyone to know that you care. You want your Instagram followers to know you care. You want your crush to know that you care. You care with a vengeance.  You care so much that it hurts.  In fact, if your care could be qualified, it would be produced as a Broadway musical.

It would obviously star you.

You’d want to believe that you could walk into a room and steal the spotlight immediately, because you are fierce and/or fabulous. And why won’t you?

You have the sum total of one gay friend. But that doesn’t stop you from stringing him (it’s always a him) along to all your shopping excursions at the mall/bar hopping scenes across town. You are constantly trying to set him up with other gay people you know (which are few and far between, like that one guy you met while waiting in line at your favourite pub’s restroom) because you desperately want him to get married and find, true eternal happiness.

But don’t pat yourself on your back so hard; you are only doing it because you want to steal the spotlight as maid of honour. You’ll want to kill it at this hypothetical Hallmark-worthy wedding with your speech (which you already have prepared), but you’ll probably end up saying something like ‘dating would have been so much more fun if I was just gay…’

Side note: If you wrongly use ‘Yaas Kween!’ one more time, your fingers might fall off as they snap.

Tan France

You kissed someone of the same sex back in school, and you are probably convinced it could happen again. Thus, watching Queer Eye is your way of showing your solidarity for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Clearly, you don’t want to be too obvious about it, so siding with Tan seems like the perfect choice — you don’t want people to think you are a poser now, do you? Because we all know how you think about posers — something you are very vocal about online.

You like having debates like you love telling people how comfortable you are with the queer spectrum, but your personal favourite is the one time you spent six hours dissecting Diet Sabya’s identity at a house party. You describe yourself as an intellectual. You hate it when other people call you that.

Side note: You don’t really know what a French Tuck™ is, but you make sure you use it in every conversation you can. Also, you roll your eyes at fashion bloggers on Instagram, but secretly like all their posts (because their stories are on mute).

Antoni Porowski

Everybody loves Antoni. He feels so…safe and easy. You like that he is gay, but ‘not really gay’. Antoni — with his GQ hair and loopy lopsided grin that strums at your heartstrings like a Pablo Neruda poem — doesn’t fit the cookie-cutter mould of the gay stereotype everyone (including all the gays you follow on the internet) despises. He’s different, you tell yourself. He could be you. ‘Why are more men not queer?’ you ponder, ‘why are more men not like him?’

But then again, you probably think it’s a compliment when you tell your queer acquaintances (because you don’t have real queer friends) that they can pass off as ‘straight’. You mean it in a nice way, because you are a nice person.

Now, let it slowly sink in that you are terribly shallow, but it might not register because you are trying to decide which of his #ThirstTraps to leave a thirsty comment on. Because, let’s face it – you probably only like him for his movie star good looks and his guacamole-making skills (although you’ve ignored all the click bait about his questionable cooking skills.).

Plus, you might just have a fetish for washboard abs.

Karamo Brown

Like the kids say, you are woke, but not so woke that people can make fun of you.  It’s your favourite quality about yourself. Your friends would describe you as an ‘all-around lovely person’ even though you aren’t the most hilarious one in the bunch.

You still love your friends.

Liking Karamo makes you feel like you are being inclusive (as everyone should be in this world, you tell friends at parties). However, whenever you are talking about your gay friend, you make sure you use the word ‘choice’ when you are talking about his ‘lifestyle’. It doesn’t stop you from getting bottomless mimosas for brunch with him every other weekend. You take a picture then, and hashtag it your #HappyPlace.

Your Instagram bio describes you as a life coach and a go-getter, but your friends aren’t sure whether you mean it in a sardonic way. You have a lot to say, but no one takes you seriously because your feed is full of stock photos of Internet quotes.

You probably stole some of them from meme accounts.

Bobby Berk

Let’s face it. You are only here because your girlfriend wanted you to watch the show so that you could ‘be more attuned with your feelings, and find your inner sensitive self’.

But then you got hooked. Sure, Antoni knows his avocados and Tan can really help you with your sartorial choices (or lack thereof), but it’s Bobby who does all the hard work, but hardly gets any credit.

Just like you. In fact, why does Bobby not have his own show, you ask angrily. He’s so good at design, and construction, and…stuff, you yell at no one in particular. Everyone else just nervously giggles.

You’ve always thought of yourself as the underdog, someone who’s on the outside. You are quiet, but you can also be quite the handful when you are talking about your passion projects. You don’t just like Bobby, you want to beBobby. He’s a painful reminder of all the times you were assigned group projects in school, but ended up doing all the work by yourself.

Now, your favourite past time includes talking about (but not working on) DIY kits, critiquing design at the dinner table, and hoarding old editions of Architectural Digest. It’s all tasteful, but unremarkable.

Made In (Gay) Heaven: A Queer Man’s Guide To The Amazon Prime Original

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Amazon Prime’s Made in Heaven dropped its full season on Friday, and I won’t be lying when I say that I was a tad bit apprehensive about watching the show.

Excited, yes. But also very apprehensive.

On paper, it seemed too good to be true. Created by Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti who helmed the iconic (and my eternal favourite) Gully Boy? Check. Starring a cast of good-looking actors with even better acting chops? Check. Exploring (but not mocking) the inner recesses of Delhi’s upper-class elite? Check. Lots of sex, drugs and rock & roll? Check. Just about every commendable indie actor gracing the guest cast? Double check.

Like I said, the show could be every Bollywood junkie’s wet dream (come true) – because it looked like it had everything. In fact, if this were a boy, I would have wooed him with flowers, and taken him out on a La La Land-inspired date.

But that’s the thing. Like most boys I’ve dated, this had the potential to blow up in my face (no pun intended). Why?

Over drinks many months ago, an anonymous insider told me about a WIP wedding-themed show with a meaty gay character (who had a meatier storyline). Said anonymous insider had thought it would make me happy.

I had only sighed.

In the past, Bollywood’s treatment of homosexuality has been both over-the-top and under-the-belt – queer men have been packed in bright florals and skintight trousers, only to become cookie-cutter caricatures of themselves. I honestly don’t mind the flamboyant stereotype, but contrary to (most of) Karan Johar’s films, there are more queer sub-cultures that are waiting to be voiced.

True, the 2019 cycle of representation has been iconic – from Shelly Chopra Dhar’s ‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga’ exploring a lesbian love story, to Sridhar Rangayan’s ‘Evening Shadows’, a touching tale about a city-bred man coming out to his small-town mother – but they came with their fair share of triggers. Take the former, for instance – where the central voice of the reason in a queer narrative is still a CIS heterosexual man. A nice understanding man, but a CIS man still the same.

So you can imagine my apprehension when I jumped right into Made In Heaven (armed with a bottle of wine and Chinese takeout) with an open mind and a heavy heart. Did it make the cut?

It didn’t just make it; it nailed it.

Without giving away too many spoilers, Akhtar and Kagti’s Made In Heaven is the most honest representation of Delhi I’ve ever seen, coming a close second to Anuja Chauhan’s fascinatingly funny ‘Those Pricey Thakur Girls’. The number of things I liked about the show would make this sound like a love letter, so I’ll stop (because I never know how to deal with unrequited feelings).

And that’s one of the best compliments it can get.

Made in Heaven is a binge worthy show about rich society wife Tara Khanna (Sobhita Dhulipala) and her gay business partner/friend Karan Mehra (played effortlessly by (a rather straight) Arjun Mathur (I know because I checked), who solve cases plan weddings, while dealing with the trials and tribulations of their own personal lives – philandering husbands, snoopy landlords and bone-breaking loan sharks, to name a few.

And this is where Arjun Mathur steps up and completely changes the game as an actor playing a strong, sensible gay man. For a character to shine in such a giant crowd is commendable, especially since there hasn’t been such an all-encompassing cast since the Game Of Thrones series. So how does his queer representation appeal to the mehendi-wearing, Marlboro-smoking queer man in me?

Because he could be anybody. He could be your brother. Your friend. That popular kid from school. The class bully. The owner of your favourite jazz bar. For all we know, he could even be your wedding planner. And Karan Mehra is all of them. He’s your everyday gay man™.

The everyday gay man™ plays video games with the same enthusiasm he shows in attending queer soirees. He flits in and out of V-neck tees, but wears bespoke designer kurtas to engagement parties. He loves his wine, but he drinks beer too. He struggles with coming out to his parents, but he’s also struggling with debt. He has sex (full fledged #NSFW sex, but not too #NSFW because I know my mildly conservative mother binged the show without batting an eyelid) with lots of lean, toned attractive men, but feels lonely without his ex.

But hold on, the show isn’t just about aesthetically pleasing queer men having (aesthetically-pleasing) sex with each other. It’s about so much more.

Because MIH doesn’t just toy with the idea of a queer storyline; it polishes it and puts it up on the mantelpiece proudly, for the whole world to see (and give coveted looks at). And there’s no token gay man here, there’s an entire spectrum of gay men – gay men who are about to be married, gay men who are already married, gay men who are in same-sex marriages, and gay men who never want to get married. For a show that’s heavily built on the premise of wedded bliss, this seems like an inside joke that we are all privy too.

And then the show does something else.

It dwells deep into a world that’s still not rid of Section 377, and brings queer culture (and rights) front and centre; in a way very few movies (or Indian television shows) have done in the past. And before you know it, you feel the scary repercussions of the age-old draconian law as it pushes the main character into a plot that we all need, but don’t deserve.

Suddenly, he’s the central hero (or anti-hero, based on how you look at the string of broken hearts and broken men he leaves behind) – coming out to his parents, owning up to his life and taking a stand for queer rights, all in a span of three episodes. The beauty of Made In Heaven’s queer narrative lies in the fact that Karan’s character is never a bumbling sidekick or the token comic relief; he’s the main lead.

Akhtar, Kagti and Alankrita Shrivastava’s writing constantly challenges the norms of love, relationships and marriage, but they seal the deal with their conversations on sexuality. The coming-out sequences are as gut wrenching as they are heartwarming, and while his small talk with his various paramours makes for great television, it’s Karan’s final conversation with his closeted landlord (played by Vinay Pathak) that steals the (wedding) cake.

Made In Heaven makes gay people what the media has never managed to do – it makes them real. And if this is the path they have chalked out for a second (and hopefully, future) season, I’ll gladly walk the aisle with them.

Conclusively, if I have a question for the makers of the show, it is this – how (and more importantly, why) do all the queer men in the show look like they ‘ve stepped out of the cover of GQ magazine?

And secondly, if and when I plan to get married, how do I get the fictional ‘Made in Heaven’ company to come plan my wedding with one of these aforementioned men?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What We Talk About When We Talk About Gay Men And Casual Sex

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Love stories can be weird.

I meet Shamita, a high-flying lawyer at friend’s birthday soiree. She’s pretty, she quips about pop culture and politics, and makes Kim Kardashian jokes over dinner – I find myself instantly attracted to her. Over drinks, we bond over our mutual appreciation for menthol cigarettes and men who refuse to commit.

Am I falling in love?

Not so fast, lover boy. Somewhere over our third gin-and-tonic, as we bemoan the lack of desirable men (but not mates) in our lives, and are this close to being each other’s back-ups when we are well in our 40s, Shamita throws the quintessential jab at my sordid dating history:

‘But it’s okay if you are a slut, you are gay!’ she splutters, as I gently thump her on her back.

‘Umm, what?’

‘Yeah, that’s the whole point of Grindr, isn’t it?’ she grins.

Is that supposed to be endearing? Amusing? Consoling? Comforting? My platonic love story – like all my other romantic escapades – dies an early death. It was too good to be true anyway. Plus, she hasn’t read my piece from last week, where I rebuke people (such as her) for so harshly judging the love lives of flippant gay men (such as myself).

I am not amused.

As a 30-year-old gay man, I have no qualms about being on Grindr (or any other dating app for that matter). I have heard the ‘buh-dupe’ sound everywhere I’ve gone – the club, the gym, at Starbucks, my favourite restaurant, and this one weird time, from the pockets of my local general practitioner.

Apps like Grindr (and the motley crew of matchmaking apps it is part of) have been the gold standard for men to meet (and mate with) other men. But then again, what about dating (read: hook up) apps for straight people? Certainly, Tinder might be the closest thing to a hook up app for non-gay folk, but it absolutely falls short of being a full-fledged mate-making service. There’s no space for sexts and all the ensuing unsolicited dick pics. Surely, gay men aren’t the only group of people who want to engage in casual (but also toe-curling) sex. So where is the disconnect?

It’s in the relationship that people believe gay men have with their ideas of casual sex. Is it the first of many nights of morning-afters? An all-access pass to the neighborhood sex clinic? A jigsaw puzzle of ‘what not’s’ before you find your ‘why not’? A patchwork quilt of essential bouts of heartbreak? Or most importantly, the first stop in your rites of passage of finding a relationship?

What is it not?

A parameter for approval by anyone else. While acceptance by ‘this’ society is useful in many ways, we lack foresight when we try making it our primary goal. LGBT equality stands for many things – better representation, more visibility and the scraping away of prejudices and the patriarchy. But most importantly, it stands for living the best lives we can lead.

Equality has never been about being palatable to society. It’s about having the freedom to do whatever you want to do, just like our heterosexual friends – our relationship with NSA sex included. We have half a dozen other battles to fight, because when you are already dealing with transphobia, racism, sexism and violence against LGBT youth, there simply isn’t any time (or fu*ks to give) about who is having sex with whom, and how often.

Just remember one thing: You’ll never win with a homophobe, just like you’ll never win with your mother. So there’s no point trying to please one (mothers on the other hand, are a different case). Instead, go live your life as vividly as you can. That can mean swiping at gold-rimmed mason jars for your wedding registry, or swiping right on half a dozen boys on Tinder in a single night.

At the end of it all, you have to do ‘you’.

Or just about anyone you want to.

How Do We Find Love, In The Time of Tinder?

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It’s the week of Valentine’s Day.

Urvaksh, a 30-something banker, loves plaid, almond milk lattes and artisanal beer. Like most quintessential gay men that I know, Urvaksh is on the lookout for ‘sweep-me-off-my-feet’ love – the kind that you find in dog-eared romance novels and primetime soaps. But as is the case with quintessential gay men, Urvaksh is also ‘hopelessly’ single. A status that stings more so during this painful week; suddenly, Netflix feels lonely, and bar deals (two for the price of one) seem too taxing to finish.

But Urvaksh isn’t one to give up. He takes ‘finding love’ very seriously – a trait that’s equally heartbreaking and heartwarming in gay men around the country.

To further his cause in finding romance, Urvaksh goes out on a new date every week (while sleeping with thrice the number of people in the same time) – and falls in love every fortnight. It’s a tough life, but he survives (and so does his company-provided credit card). But that’s not where his rat race for romance ends. Urvaksh has premium memberships with Grindr Xtra, Scruff Pro and Tinder Plus, which means that he has paid big bucks to find the elusive ‘Mr Right’.

So can ‘Mr Right’ get here right now?

He should. That’s three times the boys (on Tinder), an infinite supply of blocks (on Grindr) and billboard-style exposure (obviously, on Scruff). This way, an unlimited crew of underwear models, upcoming fashion photographers, Type A consultants and highflying entrepreneurs can spot him before anyone else does. The stats are definitely on his side, but the stars?

Not so much.

‘It’s just not working out,’ Urvaksh tells me over a drink, at a gay shindig in January. He’s Super-Liked boys on Tinder, favourited the nicest profiles on Grindr, Woof’d appropriately at hirsute men on Scruff and even looked around more than once on Hinge (although he feels quite unhinged after his experiences there).

‘How hard is it to find someone you can just have a conversation with?’ he asks me, but doesn’t give me time to respond.

‘… And no, I will not have drinks with someone whose username is ‘CockRings7’. Tell me, why are all the nice boys not online (read: available)?’ He blows off steam (and smoke) in my face. Honestly, who’s to blame, when someone ends his Grindr profile with the classic ‘only 9+ cocks apply’?

Urvaksh does, but I don’t bring it up. Instead, what I do tell him is that all the nice boys are online – they are just complaining about the fact that there are no nice boys online.

‘I think I should just go off dating apps, I really can’t do this anymore,’ Urvaksh tells himself, and I wonder why I am even a part of this conversation.

‘Now can you just be my wingman at this party?’ he pleads, finishing his beer with one large chug.

Uh-oh. That’s why.

The Internet says that dating apps make romance conveniently fast and easy; it’s like fast food – deliciously satisfying, but really, really bad for your health.

But when has the Internet ever been right? Anyone who says that finding love on dating apps is easy has never spent hours trying to figure out what the gorgeous photographer means when he sends you an ill-timed ‘eggplant’ emoji. Does he like aubergine or is he just hot and horny? It’s a mindboggling maze of deciphering smiley faces.

And fast?

Nope. I’ve spent months chatting up multiple Mr Right Now’s’ in the search for Mr Right – and it’s been as painful to watch as an episode of Splitsvilla (but then again, equally high on drama).

It’s a tale as old as time; fuckboys, douchebags and dimwits aren’t custom-made at a secret Grindr factory, they’ve been around since eternity. So is Grindr (and the motley crew of matchmaking apps it is part of) killing romance in the dead of the night, behind locked phone screens and locked doors?

Let’s get it straight. It’s not.

Technology has been facing the brunt for being the cause of most of our world’s problems – the television stands shamefaced for its contribution to the rise in gun violence, the refrigerator regrets its hand in rising child obesity, the microwave has been getting in the neck for global warming and the steam iron might as well have been the single reason for frayed denims.

“I wish I could meet someone the old-fashioned way,’ Urvaksh sighs, as I light up another cigarette. What’s the old fashioned way?

Strangers wobbling out of a bar together into 17-odd months of regrets, slurred voicemails and alcohol-induced arguments? Being awkwardly set up by friends at a house party just so that they don’t have to listen to your scrambling singledom survival stories over scrambled eggs at brunch? Bumping into someone while waiting in line at a coffee shop just to realise that they like their coffee with milk, weeks later?

If you think your next big love isn’t hidden behind a mesh of profiles on the dating app of your choice, there’s a very big chance he’s not waiting for you at the bar with free drinks (and if he is, there’s a chance he might put it on your tab). Conventional ways of finding love are dying out and for good reason, because we just don’t have the time (or the hope to leave things on chance). Instant gratification is in.

Sure, Grindr can be that dark dreary place that you’ll be in an on-again, off-again relationship with (because on more than one occasion, you’ll be propositioned for a golden shower at 2 am, that’ll make you want to shower multiple times after), but in this Instagram-obsessed world, it helps you reach out to people like never before – with or without filters. Plus, a relationship built on a dating app is no less real than the one forged over mixed-up orders at your neighborhood coffee shop.

Still struggling over why you are single on Valentine’s Day? Maybe it’s time to introspect – could it be something to do with your personality (or lack thereof)? Could it be something to do with the fact that you are seeking out people’s preferences in bed rather than their preferences in life? Or could it be the fact that your profile description says that you are ‘looking for a soul mate to share a life with’ but you go by ‘WildTop4U’?

Maybe, but I feel like my Netflix rom-com is on its way. Now pardon me, while I go swipe left on every boy on Tinder.

#PrideTalk: 37 People Tell Us What #Pride Means To Them In A Post Section 377 World

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We’ve come full circle, boys and girls.

In less than a week, the city walks its eleventh ever Pride March – which means, the city’s (and the country’s) gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender brethren will take to the streets to walk for freedom, for love, and for everything in between.

This year is a monumental one as it marks the city’s first ever Pride March after the Supreme Court’s decision to read down parts of Section 377, thus making same-sex relationships legal (and the world a happy place again)!

Which is why, to honour the day and prove how important the cause is, I asked 37 queer folks what #Pride means to them in this (ever-so-slightly) progressive world. Our relationships may be legal on this bright(er) day, but we still have miles to go before we get the rights we deserve: workplace equality, the right to marry, anti-discrimination laws. The list goes on, but the questions don’t.

I asked, and the answers poured in from everywhere. Here’s what they all had to say:

Finally being and cherishing who I am and not giving a damn about what the neighborhood aunties will think.
Arnav, poet

Not having to assure people that you like ‘girls and boys’.
Harikesh, legal consultant

Being able to express myself the way I really want to. As the best (and truest) version of myself.
Kartik, copywriter

Stop trying to obsessively define queerness. Be inclusive. Be loving. Be kind. Be cool.
Mahima, writer

In fact, it shouldn’t need a definition. I don’t need to explain what, why or who. Straight people don’t come out or give explanations, so why should we?
Thangsing, blogger

Self-acceptance. As a biromantic homosexual, it took me 17 years to accept who I really am.
Arunava, chef

Not making a conscious effort to hide my sexuality.
Saumya, student

Feeling brave enough to wear makeup and heels as a cis man.
Harshvir, daytime diva

Pride means, to be you.
Harsh, poet

Not feeling guilty for loving or wanting what your heart truly desires.
Tanvi, team leader

Joy.
Arzoo, illustrator

As a bisexual woman, I want reactions to be ‘OMG tell us about her!’ instead of ‘Oh, so are you gay now?’
Diya, Netflix addict

Being as proud of your crush as your straight friends are of their’s.
Ronak, marketing intern

Breathing freely.
Ananya, student

The strength to come out to my parents.
Soham, not disclosed

Being able to take all the negativity that has been thrown my way, and make it my personal strength.
Arjun, MBA student

Companies capitalising on a social movement.
Alankrita, HR professional

It’s plain, pure joy. The joy of homonormalisation!
Tushar, baker

Professing my love without the fear of trolling.
Pokhraj, student

People not saying things like ‘I’m okay with queers as long as they are not affectionate in public.’
Hiranmayi, Tumblr connoisseur

It’s all about being someone you’re proud to be and not ashamed to accept.
Anukul, management trainee

A sense of knowing and appreciating who you really are.
Iti, architect

Finding love and the strength to finally come out to my parents.
Dirk, entrepreneur

Educating others about the LGBTQIA+ community and not feeling uncomfortable because of it.
Prajwal, fashion student

The right to just be. To be treated without prejudice or discrimination, just as an equal.
Chittajit, science enthusiast

A colourful world.
Eklavya, college student

Focusing on the rights and freedom of the lesser-known members of the queer spectrum.
Rakesh, chemical engineer

Pride still means the same, pre or post Section 377: Be yourself unapologetically.
Paartho, columnist

Freedom.
Abhilash, consultant

The granting of civil liberties and marriage rights.
Kavita, panel moderator

Finally owning that runway walk I pretend to do on the streets — fierce and liberated.
Shethin, lawyer

Developing positive self-statements.
Naveed, writer

Greater responsibility to ensure some real change happens in the society.
Indrajeet, queer rights activist

Loving myself first.
Hruday, actor

To be more positive towards my sexual orientation and fellow 250 million queer folks around the world.
Rashi, chartered accountant

Breaking stereotypes, and making straight people realise the different shades of the queer spectrum.
Lokesh, researcher.

Being ‘normal’.
Rishabh, graphic designer

The Queer Guy’s Guide To New Year Resolutions for 2019

2019_resolutions.

 

2018 came to an end, and so did my dreams of ever finding a happy ending.

As I pretend that my seventh glass of champagne is only my second, it’s time for me to ask those questions all over again – what do I remember 2018 by? The number of boys I ghosted? The number of boys who broke my heart? The bad decisions I woke up to (and with)? The bottles of prescription drugs I wolfed down? The shots I downed to forget? The hangovers I’ll never be able to forget? The hours I spent at therapy after? The resolutions I vowed to make? The resolutions I’ll effectively break?

As gay men (such as myself) parade into the new year making resolutions (and asking questions) that we’ll only give up on a week later, here are a few that I hope that don’t get lost in the sea of confetti, cheap champagne and regrets.

Want to know what they are? Simply slide into 2019 with this queer guy’s guide to NYE resolutions (but not like those ugly dick pics that slide into your Instagram DMs):

Ditch the dating apps, but don’t ditch out on the dates

There really is a high chance you’ll find the next big love of your life at the bookstore, or your favourite neighborhood bar (and we won’t judge you even if it happens at the gym.).

Then again, don’t lie about your age, height or weight on your online dating profile

72 kilograms are sexy, and so are you.

Don’t dismiss someone who’s considerably older or younger than you are

But make sure he’s legal.

Put an end to the ‘New Year, new me’

You’ll always be you. If people could change overnight, we would never have so many seasons worth of great television.

Be a nicer person. If you can’t, try till you succeed

Gay men have the potential to be a lot of things – charming, well-dressed, effortless, established, articulate, artistic or even high on drugs. But still, a lot of us choose to be d**chebags.

Take an active interest in politics

Because some of these decisions actually prevent gay men and women from receiving equal rights, which is just plain sad.

Let your biggest regret this year be not eating that last cupcake

But you should go ahead and eat it anyway.

Stop answering texts from the ex

There’s a word for it. It’s called ghosting.

Read more, but don’t read more into what other people said to you

Books are sexy and mysterious, just like the hot guy who makes eye contact with you at the bar (and then disappears forever). Reading online lists doesn’t count though, unless you are reading this one.

Do something that frightens you, not someone who frightens you

The list can include learning how to tap dance, skydiving and eating alone at a restaurant. Things the list should not include? Having unprotected sex with a complete stranger.

Exercise for health, not your crush’s phone number

If you want those six pack abs that you can eat sushi off, make sure you are doing it for yourself (Side note: even though eating sushi off your stomach can be quite unsettling).

Be okay with being single

There’s always 2019. And 2020. And 2021. And 2022. And so on.

Understand that brands don’t make the man, manners do

Very few men who have the latest Louis Vuitton bag will want to hear about your day at work.

Don’t be afraid to end a relationship that’s not going anywhere

Especially when the only place it’s going is downhill, with prescription bills.

Actually enjoy experiences, instead of just Instagram-ing them

And if the ratatouille doesn’t look as good as it does under the Aden filter, don’t eat it.

Tell the next boy you like how you really feel about him

The world would have more romances if less people were scared of sending two text messages in a row.

And if he doesn’t feel about you the same way, respect his choices

Because, boys and men, consent really is key.

Stop all the self-hating

If there’s one thing that I love more than money, it’s myself.

Be happier

Go on, you deserve it.