Tag Archives: Love

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

#GalentinesDay: 20 Women Tell Us Why They Love Their Gay Best Friend

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Valentine’s week is over, and if you are not sweeping the empty chocolate wrappers and confetti off the floor, you are probably dusting off the pieces of your lonely, broken heart (in which case you must go read the Guysexual’s guide to every heartbreaker in the world). What can I say; it’s a tough world.

If you are a single gay man such as myself, how do you find love? More importantly, how do you find love that cannot be bought in a bottle, or prescribed over-the-counter?

That’s where #GalentinesDay comes in — it celebrates the truest, most fairytale form of love there is — the love between a gay man and his girlfriend(s). After all, every one knows that the Girlfriend is the essential crown of every gay man’s crew, and the love they share is as real as Kim Cattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker’s online feud. So why not celebrate that instead?

This Valentine’s Day, I decided to ask 20 different women what the gay men in their lives meant to them. The answers poured in through texts, emails and voice notes. One even sent a rap.

Here’s what the goddesses had to say:

 

Having a gay best friend has been one of the most empowering relationships I’ve ever had. Whether it’s been about shedding my insecurities, approvals I’ve needed for the length of my skirts or the boys that I date, or more importantly, conversations which have helped me decide which course I should study moving forward, the decisions made by my friend have always been spot on.

Just like him.

And when you’ve got razor sharp wit on a principled, loyal friend who’s always up for fun, who would want more?

PS: Did I mention he’s also handsome?

— Prakritee Yonzon, Law professor

What does having a gay man as your best friend do to your life?

Firstly, you get answers to ALL your homocurious questions (with the right amount of sass, of course). Plus, you get to have a partner-in-crime for all your voyeuristic ventures. Because, here’s the best thing about Galentine’s Day: with them, there’s no such thing as judging (or being judged). If THAT doesn’t make your life easier, there’s isn’t much scope for anything else to do so. Here, there’s never a monochrome scare; because having a gay best friend means having limitless colour in your life.

And we could all do with some colour in our life.

— Reema Mukherjee, journalist

One word.

Everything.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

— Richa Raut, architect

In a world where romantic love is celebrated and revered above all else, there exists this bond of platonic love between friends, which finds its best representation between a girl and her gay best friend!

He is the guy who gets rip roaring drunk with you at brunch, hits on the same boys as you do, encourages you to unleash your inner Goddess, and battles the hangover with you the very next day. He is the guy who is always a phone call away. He gives you pointers on sex. He tells you when you’re being a b*tch and when you’ve got to be a b*tch. He binge eats ice cream with you. He isn’t afraid to tell you the outfit makes you look fat/desperate/old. He sings along to Beyoncé with you. He lets you blast Adele when you need it. He reads the same books, and likes the same cocktails. He makes you laugh and he makes you shake your head with exasperation.

In short, he is the brother who is the soul sister you never knew you needed before you met him.  He makes you find space in your life for him because you’d be crazy not to want him around.  If I could sum up all of this in one sentence?

He is the realest and truest form of love.

— Ramya Dharmaraaj, lawyer

 Love is four-letter word that can be interpreted and used in so many different ways. But for me, each time someone says the word ‘love’, I can only picture a few people in front of my eyes.  My friend here is one of my lifelines.

I’ve had a number of straight guy friends and girlfriends but none can compare to this man. He comes up with unadulterated, impartial advice — something that you can trust even with seven blindfolds on. I bet God smiled when he made this beautiful human being and whispered chants as he poured in the purest of a soul into his ears. He made me believe in platonic love and having no expectations out of a bond. A bond of pure love, a friendship that comes with a smile each time he utters a word.  I am not exaggerating when I say that I’d trade all my straight friends for this one. As long as promises me that he’ll always be there.

Just like he always has been.

— Akriti Sheth, artist

The only thing that changed when I found out that my handsome friend was gay was the slightest crushing of my heart, and that’s only because it was unfair that I would never be able to date such an amazing soul.

It’s endearing to find someone who gets excited about my life more than I do — which is why I think he’s my official power source, on bad days and otherwise.

He lights me up. Pun intended.

— Komal Balani, brand strategist

Having a gay best friend is basically discovering a level of comfort you didn’t know could exist — they aren’t just the best fun you’ll ever have, they will be close to you in a way nobody else can even touch.

And that’s as uplifting as it can be.

— Saumyaa Vohra, editor

 I love my friend for his sass and honesty, and his unbridled positivity in life, a combination that most men lack — especially cute men such as him. Having him as a friend in my life is like a three-tier chocolate cake — because I’d never be able to have enough of him.

Only, his sexual orientation is the icing on top!

— Sakshi, photographer

First things first, I’m a realist. Ok Iggy Azalea song reference aside, I am a realist which means I know exactly how difficult it is to connect with somebody on multiple levels, and to always succeed in having a conversation where you feel an instant match of wavelength.

Thank the heavens I got that with my friend. We might not talk for weeks, but when we actually do, it’s like we never stopped. The best part is that our core beliefs and principles are the same. And our candour gets me, every time! Nothing is out-of-bounds for us; we can literally talk about everything outrageous under the sun without having to be politically correct with each other. From talking about all the boys who broke our hearts (because we have the same lives) to talking about pop culture references that broke the Internet (because we have the same tastes), it’s been one epic journey.

Someday we will travel the world together, living the good life and checking out cute guys but until then, I’ll just show him off to Mumbai as my hot and charming gay friend. Because #IGotMyOwn!

— Amrita Hom Ray, PR professional

Having a gay man as your best friend is nothing like the stereotypes that people talk about — instead, it gives you true perspective of how life can be the same and yet so different for the community.  It allows you to step back, and look at your own prejudices, your own self and your relationships — my friend here helps me become a better person and a better member of the community.

And that’s half the battle won.

— Devika Mehta, movement therapist 

I’ve known my GBF for all of three years, but it’s like they say — in true connections, the amount of time you’ve known each other is completely irrelevant. He has taken up so many roles in this timeline: confidante, bridesmaid, partner-in-crime, and a true inspiration in the way he lives his life!

His resilience, the character progress he’s shown, his utter and complete honesty are all things I value deeply. He’s never shied away from living his truth, which is a difficult thing to do for anybody, but probably more so for him. I know that we’ll continue to grow together as time goes by — as we already have — from being at constantly drunken social situations to sober-planning our future shenanigans!

— Zara Ahmed, psychologist

The best thing about having him as one of my best friends? Having someone who’s there to support and back me up no matter how ridiculous I’m being, and always having someone I can share my dreams and views of an idealistic future with — just because I know he wants the same things in life.

My life wouldn’t be half as awesome as it is without him, because he’s the Betty to my Veronica! The only difference?

We don’t have any Archie to fight over.

— Shivani Singh, B-school student

This is what I have to say to my friend: For all the laughter you bring to my life and for all the madness, I want to thank you for being you.

PS: Just know one thing, when the snow falls and the wind blows, I’ll never let you be that lone wolf.

— Madhuli Thakker, public health researcher

 Imagine befriending a man whose sole interest in you doesn’t depend on the size of your breasts or the width of your hips — that’s a gay best friend right there. As men, they are genuinely interested in YOU as a person and THAT makes all the difference.

Can you imagine getting that kind of attention from the opposite sex (without any expectations) and having fun at the same time?

That’s exactly how refreshing it is.

— Ankita Thadani, interior designer

 

Who doesn’t love a bundle of delight that’s always ready to give you advice from the male perspective? It’s the fun bit of mansplaining!

— Reema Paranjpey, student of health policy and administration

Having a gay friend opened up unheard of avenues in my life. I might have come from a background where the word ‘gay’ was taboo (and I blame society for that), but my friend sprung into my life, opening it up — and made me realise that no man can be a better friend than your gay best friend.

Especially one that makes you his priority.

— Shreea Kadam, film producer

 Look! Up in the sky!

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane!

It’s your Gay Best Friend!

That guy who’s still dancing when the party ends.

He never cans on spontaneous holiday plans,

But somehow has time for your failed romance!

With sassy comebacks and heartfelt words,

He knows just what to say when it hurts.

I’d exchange 10 girl friends for my GBF, honey,

Especially when this one’s worth more than all the money.

— Ila D’Cruz, architect and rapper

I can’t speak for all the ladies with gay besties, but mine sure does add a whole lot of sparkle (and glam) to my being. He’s got his cheeky comebacks down pat, death stares to kill and a sassy style to match. He’s got a way with words and a way with the world.

Yes, he might be really cool, but that’s not the only reason I love him. He’s there for me in times of need, is all ears when I talk about life and whine about love endlessly. And, most importantly, when my life feels grey and glum — he appears like a rainbow in the sky.

Here’s hoping that come rain or not, he’ll always be there to make my life more colourful.

— Namrata Kedar, fashion writer

I frankly don’t know how my life would be without him, because a life with a sassy partner/friend is just endless hours of laughs and eye rolls and more laughs (there’s a lot more, but I was told to keep it short).

A gay best friend might have started off as a season’s must-have accessory a few years ago, but now he’s so much more. Which is why I think that having a close gay friend is a perennial must-have/indispensable/can’t-do-without necessity of life.

I miss my GBM, now that we are in different countries. But our love and friendship is just as strong, if not stronger. After all, distance does make the heart grow fonder. Supporting his right to live and love is just about the basic most thing I or anyone could do for such a man (men) who does so much and brings so much warmth and radiance in my (our) life(s). Happy Galentine’s day to my GBM, who’s no longer just my gay best friend, he’s my family. For now and forever to come. I love you and I pray your light shines even brighter with the years to come.

— Shamika Haldipurkar, marketing executive

Having my best friend is undoubtedly the most ‘awesomesauce’ part of my life – I use this word only because it encapsulates our entire relationship. It’s that delightful.

There are times when we don’t talk or meet for days on end but when we finally do, it’s as if we never stopped. Every time we meet, I feel happier and lighter! I could go on and on, but that’ll never do him justice. I truly admire him, and wouldn’t want him to be any other way (i.e. straight).

— Sshruti Barrve, stylist

Fantastic Men And Where To find Them


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Like I’ve said before, the list of places to not go looking for your next boyfriend is endless.

From the gym, to the gourmet supermarket, to your neighbourhood park — each place (and all the ensuing boys who frequent it) needs to be given a wide berth when you are trying to go from zero to Hallmark movie in the romance department.

Is it a depressing world?

Yes.

Does that mean you need to give up on the idea of finding true love?

No!

See, the list of places to not go looking for your next paramour might be a bottomless pot, but so is the list of places where you can find your next big summer fling — and I’ll tell you something — it doesn’t need to restrict itself to your neighbourhood watering hole or the local gym.

Want to know where you can find your next big (and hopefully, final) happily-ever-after? Here are my top four places to go scouting:

1. Your daily commute

Remember how they say that the journey is more important than the destination?

For most of us, commuting to work can be quite boring — travelling from point A (home) to B (work) can take almost two hours every day, which is time that you’d rather spend lifting weights at the gym, or chugging down shots at the bar.

It’s time to leave those cars at home, cross over to the public transport lane, and make things less taxing, and more relaxing. Whether your eyes sympathetically meet over a co-passenger who’s digging deep into his nose, sigh at the same instant at a delay announced over the train’s disembodied speakers, or bang into each other accidentally (of course) because of your metro’s faulty braking systems, there are potential mates lurking everywhere — and they have an open seat waiting for you right next to them.

Now, how about using your daily commute for something more meaningful — from point A straight to your new ‘B’eau’s heart?

The next time you take the train, or metro or bus to work, look up from your phones. You just might spot your next date. Hold on to the railings (or him, whichever is more convenient), and let your body do the talking. You’ll be taking the last train back (to his arms) in no time.

So are we all aboard?

Side note: If that doesn’t work for you, think about all the fuel (and money) you’ll save taking public transport to work. That’s where your gym memberships and shots at the bar come from.

2. At your work place

Anyone who says business should not be mixed with pleasure has clearly not felt the thirst as they make eye contact with the hot colleague at the water fountain.

They say that falling in love with someone at work might jeopardize your professional ethics, and might potentially make everything awkward — but isn’t everything in life awkward anyway? From tripping on your birthday cake when you turned twenty-three, to having a visible wine stain down your trousers’ front that one time at an office party, life has been one awkward marathon. So why stop there?

Being in a relationship at work only makes you work that much harder — no one likes to be given the cold shoulder by a colleague or a Wednesday morning yelling by the boss in front of someone they share an apartment with. This is not only work, it’s your relationship working out.

And the perks?

You get to carpool every day, spend boring meetings secretly texting each other across the table, and roll your eyes unanimously as your b*tch manager chomps away on his sandwich a little too loudly. It’s everything that makes a Monday morning at work seem like a Saturday night at home.

Plus, any chance you get to make your co-workers jealous is a chance well earned.

Side note: Is steamy ‘after-work hours’ sex in the pantry, a part of your bucket list?

Consider it done. Just beware of the hot coffee.

3. At the bookstore

Yes, bookshops still exist and meet cutes still happen — like they say, if it can happen in the movies, it can happen in real life. Plus, if you like to read books (and boys), it’s always best to go the source. Can you imagine cuddling with a book (and your future soul mate) and a hot cup of coffee all evening long (till the store’s working hours, obviously)?

You obviously can. But how do you meet your book-loving bibliophile for that to happen? Maybe you share a sneak peek at each other as you exchange side-eye glances at Chetan Bhagat’s most obvious plot twists, or gasp out loud together at Agatha Christie’s less obvious ones. Your hands could reach for the same Haruki Murakami masterpiece, or unanimously brush away another one of Jackie Collin’s potboilers. But what’s the best bit?

It doesn’t even matter if you are not on the same page (pun intended), because you clearly are going to be on the same book.

He finally walks over, and asks you whether you would recommend the book you are reading (Erich Segal’s Love Story, from the beginning of this chapter). You smile, and he sits down next to you. And there, as you coo about how you absolutely love the vanilla-like smell of old books, and passionately explain why a real, physical hardcover is always better than a PDF, he’ll nervously ask you out for dinner. How can you be sure?

Because, he obviously will (it’s Erich Segal’s Love Story, after all). What if he doesn’t?

Well, there’s always a discount on the bestseller’s section.

4. At a Volunteering Op

Volunteering can be amazing. For starters, you are giving back to society, and secondly, you are also teaming up with other like-minded individuals, who like you, are clearly the nicest people that make up a mere 1 percent of the world.

Take up a cause that actually matters to you (apart from your sole purpose of shacking up with a saint) so that you have a chance of ending up in Santa Claus’s list even if you don’t end up in someone else’s bed. Teach underprivileged kids. Help out at a community kitchen. Sign up for a pet adoption service. Join a beach cleaning drive.

Maybe as you clean up the shorelines of your city, you can clean up the mess your life is at the moment, by meeting someone who could be the much-needed positive influence on your life.  How about giving a chance to the wavy-haired gentleman with the deep tan and deeper dimples who’s picking up the plastic bags?

Sign me up, please. Plus, if you get to rack up some good karma as you build a ‘Habitat For Humanity’ for your heart, what’s there to complain about?

Fantastic Men And Where (Not) To Find Them

 

Fantastic men

There are a great many places you can fall in love in this world.

You can heat things up with the cute accountant at work, and have a water cooler romance over post-it notes and sneaky encrypted emails. You can exchange anecdotes with your flat mate’s colleague at a housewarming mixer, before exchanging numbers (and sweet kisses) at the end of the night. You can even share a giggle as you reach out for the same book — Erich Segal’s Love Story — as the bearded heartthrob at the bookstore (who ultimately buys it for you for your first anniversary). Your daily commute. The farmer’s market. Your sister’s reunion.

The list of places to find the next big love of your life is endless.

But then again, so is the list of places where you shouldn’t be looking. Want to know which ones to skip? Here a few spots you should definitely avoid:

1. The gym

I’ll tell you a small secret. The gym is indeed a great place to cruise, especially when it’s pumped up with machine after machine of glistening muscle (we’ll all pretend we don’t see the cellulite fat) — so don’t get me wrong when I say that it can be difficult to not let your mind stray, considering there’s very little to look at apart from the all the biceps, arms, pecs, or worse, men wearing really tight cycling shorts.

But that’s where your proverbial ‘man of steel’ dreams end.

It’s difficult to look for love at the gym, when more than three quarters of your potential mates are busy looking at their abdominal muscles. Sure, you might find a helpful hottie who gives you tips on everything from the best way to eat raw eggs to effectively holding a plank for longer than 40 seconds, but there’s a catch (that has nothing to do with the one in your lower back.) Yes, he’s just offered to split his protein shake with you post your workout — but he’d rather be splitting your legs in the showers instead. Let’s get it straight. Mr Right is probably not sweating it out by the sauna, because the only way you can spot your next big love at the gym is by spotting his reps in the free weights section — and you’d probably do it wrong.

It’s better that you leave your working out for the bedroom.

2. Your gourmet supermarket

Picture this.

You are stocking up on your supply of chicken breasts (free range) for the week when you make eye contact with a tank top-wearing muscled hottie by the cheese section. He’s picking up feta and Gruyere, while you are busy thinking of picking him up.

You dart past the counter selling organic olive oil, rush through stacks of multigrain pasta, and scuttle over to the refrigerated area to help yourself to some cheese (and a view of his well-defined buttocks). A quick peek into his shopping basket (a trolley would suggest he stays with more people — parents, a wife, or worse, a tanned boyfriend who teaches French and holidays in Rio) reveals the following items:

  1. Organic quail eggs (ooh, a hipster)
  2. Kale and spinach (he’s getting his fibre)
  3. Almond milk (a vegan?)
  4. A six pack of Gatorade (we’ve got ourselves a runner!)
  5. Anti-fungal cream

Eww. You’ll pass. You slide away from the cheese section, far away from your five-minute fling, and his (possibly) soiled jockstrap. The fact that you can’t really fall in love with someone over his shopping list aside, what else does that teach you?

That it’s probably not a good idea to follow someone down the aisles of your neighborhood supermarket — because that’s not how most ‘How-We-Met’ stories begin (restraining orders, yes). Now how about you go get those avocados that you actually came here for?

PS: the contents of someone’s shopping basket are no measure of the contents of their bedside drawer — your peppermint tea-loving crush just might be a BDSM-loving dark soul back home.

But then again, so could you.

3. The park

The park is a treasure chest of things to do and places to see, some of which include:

  1. Going for your morning jog, which is just a brisk walk because you can’t manage to wake yourself up so early in the morning.
  2. Enjoying yoga because it’s a great photo op.
  3. Complaining about how the world has too many children.
  4. Sneaking up on couples hidden behind bulbous trunks (and under shaded groves) so that you can report them.

Sadly, falling in love is not one of them.

Because do you really have time to smile at the handsome man running next to you, as a gaggle of snot-faced cyclists swerve past? Can you really lock eyes over brats locked in a fistfight? Is it easy to exchange hearts over an intense game of hide and seek?

Nope.

Plus if he’s not here with his wife, children and a golden retriever who poops along the sidewalk — every single man who comes to the park has the potential to be on the Neighbourhood Sex Offender’s list, especially if he’s here all by himself.

And if that still doesn’t get to you, maybe the signboards will. Stuck between the ‘Don’t walk on the grass’, ‘Don’t pluck the flowers’, ‘No loitering’, ‘No soliciting’, ‘No littering’ and ‘Playground equipment is for children only’ — you really don’t get the time to be out on the prowl. Can one really find love with so many rules?

Not really. Now go smell the flowers.

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.

Every Man’s Guide to Surviving A Breakup

 

Guysexual-10001

It’s happened.

So you’ve just gone through (what you feel is) the worst breakup of your life. You’re standing all alone in your apartment, with your now-no-longer-jointly-owned cat, half of your belongings, and half of your heart. You’re single and stressing out over waking up to an empty bed, and an emptier life.

But I’ll tell you a secret.

You’re obviously going to get through it. All you need are a few essentials to start over before you get back in the game. So how about you prep your house (and your heart) with this essential Post-Breakup Bachelor Pad Survival Kit?

1. Crisp white sheets

Nothing screams the single life than brand new white sheets, completely devoid of the stains and smells of your monstrous ex.

It makes your dull, depressing apartment (and you) appear larger and brighter, and is the perfect background for the various vacation flings you’ll bring back home over the weeks to come.

2. A super-sized box of condoms

All the vacation flings that you bring back home aren’t going to cover themselves.

3. Instant noodles

You’ll need packets and packets of instant noodles, because you won’t feel like cooking anything more complicated. It’s your 4 am friend and you can douse it with everything you’ve got — the spare bit of ricotta cheese, some tomato ketchup, a little smidgeon of Tabasco, oregano that you painstakingly collected over years of pizza deliveries, a healthy drizzle of soy sauce and the dozen expletives you didn’t use in your goodbye email.

And as you wait the quintessential two minutes for the water to boil, you can cry. Because that’s enough time to cry your heart out.

4. A tub of your favourite ice cream flavour in the fridge

Ice cream solves what retail therapy can’t. Enough said.

5. A strong resolve

Every once in a while, you’ll have this sudden urge. It will hit you in the middle of the night as you toss in bed, or when you are answering emails at work. It might even hit you when you’re writing out a birthday card for the best friend. This is the urge to get back in touch with your ex, and ask him to take you back. You’ll beg, you’ll plead, you’ll reason, and you’ll hate.

For those tough moments, you’ll need a tough heart.

6. An emptier smartphone

Delete the texts, the pictures from your vacation last year, the bill receipts from your dates, the sexts you sent each other on your anniversary and the screenshots you saved to use in a fight later (and did). Delete it all. Cleanse your phone, and then use it to call a friend over. Call all your friends over.  Share your ice cream and your instant noodles with all of them. Repeat till you are happy.

7. A Netflix account with high speed Internet

The only remedy to the perfect post-breakup life is HD quality television, free of commercial breaks (and moments to linger back to your vile ex.)

Good luck binge watching through three seasons of Black Mirror as you try your best to chew on your lukewarm instant noodles from last night.

8. A bottle (or crate) of Cabernet Sauvignon stacked away in the closet

There’s nothing like some Bordeaux loving to get you out of your slump, and into bed with the cute writer you’ve been flirting with all of last week.

9. A yoga mat

At some point, you’d open the blinds and want to lose all the ice-cream induced weight. You’d want to get back in the dating game. You’d want to look like the best version of yourself.

On that day, you’ll buy yourself a yoga mat (because deep down you know you’ll never stick to a gym membership right till the very end). You’d effectively end up using the mat as a background for your next Grindr picture.

10. Optimism

One day, after an hour’s worth of Pilates on your new yoga mat, you’ll sit up straighter than before and tell yourself that this isn’t the worst moment of your life. You’ll throw out the leftover ice cream and drink the last bottle of wine. You’ll wash the noodle-stained vessels and put them away. You’ll tell yourself that you’ll be OK.

You’ll eventually start believing it. Because you will be OK.

The Guysexual’s Guide To Heartbreak

 

Handling Heartbreak

It’s over.

You’ve cut the cords, the phone calls and your heartstrings. You’ve had those two tubs of ice cream at once. You’ve not showered for days. You’ve blamed everyone from your mother and your best friend to that boy who sat behind you in seventh grade. You’ve heard (or wept to) Taylor Swift’s entire playlist on loop.

Or maybe, you are Taylor Swift.

See, dealing with a break up is only half the battle won, because getting over heartbreak is where you need to get your troops out (unless you are TS, in which case you’ll just write another hit song about it) — it’s time to bring out the Kleenex, boys and girls, because this is going to be a long one.

Let me tell you this.

Mending a broken heart is worse than trying to put together a torn gift voucher to Ralph Lauren (and it’s even worse when you’ve lost your heart to ghosting). While glue can be therapeutic, you’ll need time, and space, and multiple bottles of self-belief (with even more bottles of wine) to walk out of your shell.

But hey, listen.

While it might seem tough, it’s not impossible. What do you do to soften the blow of a breakup?

Read me (no pun intended).

Now heal away with this extremely helpful handle-your-heartbreak bucket list and fall in love with yourself (and someone else, hopefully) sooner than you can drunk dial your ex on a lonely Tuesday night:

1. Get a haircut

Deal with the split and the split ends with a quick makeover; one that probably doesn’t cost as much as a wardrobe do-over.

2. Take a weekend trip

You don’t need to go to Corsica or Rio to find yourself. Head off to the nearest beach and drown your worries in draught beer.

3. Take up a sport

Any sport. Preferably one that involves balls, so that you imagine your ex’s face every time you hit it with your racquet.

4. Clean up your house

Remove all the letters, clothes, toothbrushes, and love notes he left behind. Donate. Cleanse. Repeat till happy.

5. Find a new favourite restaurant

Remember sharing Maki rolls and miso soup at your favourite Sushi bar? Feeding him wasabi peanuts and grinning like idiots over sake shots every Saturday night? You don’t need to anymore. It’s time to make new memories with a new menu card.

6. Find a new favourite wine

Because you’ll need a fresh crate every weekend.

7. Read the biggest book you can find

That’ll save you a lot of time thinking about him.

8. Spend a day in bed

Watch as many Internet fail videos as you can, and make sure you do so in your favourite pyjamas.

9. Try out a poetry class

Channel all your angst into a class. Any class. Try something that interests you. Maybe try poetry. Although your chances of turning into Pablo Neruda overnight are very low, you’ll have something to laugh over next year — preferably over wine, with a new squeeze.

10. Cook up a fancy meal for one

You’ll need to get used to those.

11. Get all your STD tests done

If you are going to start over a clean slate, you better be clean.

12. Buy yourself a gift

And post it to your home address. Act surprised when you receive it. Repeat till you believe.

13. Call your mom

But make sure she’s not in one of her patronising moods.

14. Buy healthier food at the market

Avocadoes are magical. So are ‘multigrain buns-are-better-than-your-man-buns’.

15. Make a playlist.

And fill it up with all the songs that your ex hated — let that be a constant reminder to not go back.

16. Join a gym

If you are going to be working up a sweat every time you think about your break up, you might as well burn calories while you’re at it.

17. Start running

Learn to run fast, not run away from your problems.

18. Write out an email to the ex

Pour your heart out, talk about all the good things and the bad things. Talk about the one time he puked over your shoes after his 30th birthday, and how he got you cupcakes to make up the day after. Vent out your anger. Laugh at your in-jokes. Tell him everything you ever wanted to say; cry about it after, and just when you are about to hit ‘Send’, delete it.

19. Read a book or a blog about getting back in the game

Just like this one.

20. Get back on Grindr

But only when you are ready.