Tag Archives: Love

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.

Dear Gay Men, Do We Have A Problem With Promiscuity?

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As the average gay guy would tell you, one of the first things you do as a homosexual man is to reject the notion of homosexuality entirely – ‘I am not like the others’, you tell yourself, stiff-lipped – in fact, you’ll tell anyone who’ll listen – ‘I won’t let this define me’, ‘I won’t be the gay person’, all the way till you reach the quintessential ‘I won’t be who I am uncomfortable being.’

You complain about the stereotypes, over bottomless mimosas at brunch, hating other gay men for experiences you’ll never be able to have. You may hate (and hurt) yourself because you feel like you need to, before anyone else – straight, or from the very community you are reluctant to be a part of – has the chance to hate (and hurt) you first.

And then you download Grindr.

Sure, we crave acceptance like we crave gluten-free bread, but we all like to bite off a little more than we can chew. You are not like the others, you say, you aren’t a threat – and since being gay is linked to sex, that’s what you do – you attack the sex lives of others.

Like a voracious carnivore who’s gone cold turkey vegan, it’s quite the norm for gay men to behave in a certain way once they enter the comforts of a monogamous relationship. Glad to have been finally rescued from the shackles of Grindr, gay bars, and (the occasional) golden shower, they chide the irresponsible and irrelevant men they’ve left behind – lonely men who are still seeking the One in cyber space, or worse, the corner stall of the public restroom.

Never mind the fact that traces of his Hugo Boss still cling to the air in the dark smoking room of his favourite club – the same one with all the sexcapades – but as far as he’s concerned, he has nothing to do with that world anymore. It’s as alien as wearing crocs in public. But that’s the thing, whether we choose to take part in these activities or not, it’s still our world. If the gay community does really exist, which it does, before you point your accusatory (but manicured) fingers at me, then we have to accept that these kinds of things happen, but no, it doesn’t reflect on you in anyway (unless you let it).

Why are people (gay and straight) so obsessed with gay men’s sex lives?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The list of clichés attached to being a gay man can be as endless as the number of attendants at the Zara store, and equally unhelpful – we are stylish, hedonistic, sex-crazed and drug-addled party junkies, to just name a few.

Some of these will be self-perpetuating; there will always be hook-up apps, there will always be drugs, there will always be clubs, and the only reason these clichés exist is because such people exist.

It has always been easy and convenient for a gay man in a monogamous relationship to dismiss others as plastic and promiscuous, simply because it’s the easiest thing to do. “We are the new norm,” they think, “we aren’t ‘like everyone else’ – we are just as good as our ‘straight friends,’” they laugh.

But what they don’t realise is that they are creating new stereotypes of their own, which are just as toxic – the prissy gay man who thinks other gay men shouldn’t behave in a certain way that straight people wouldn’t approve of, so we could ‘fit in’.

There isn’t anything wrong with monogamy; in fact I’ve been in multiple monogamous relationships myself. It’s a wonderful idea, and for a lot of us, it’s the heartwarming dream, the proverbial light at the end of a dark, dreary tunnel. If you really want it, you should go out of your way and fight the odds to get it. Be the Netflix movie that you secretly despise. But that still doesn’t give you any reason to step on and snigger at people who don’t fall in line with your idea of dating.

Nor should those who reject the notion of monogamy scoff at anyone who follows it. It’s not exactly ‘heteronormative’ to want a monogamous relationship – I know plenty of people who have their Tinder on speed dial as well.

But then, the concept of gay monogamy has always had a different tangent from its straight counterpart. Straight relationships usually have set milestones – courtship; engagement; marriage; children; and grandchildren till you reach that constant state of bliss spent bickering over who gets the remote control (or control over the Netflix account) in the end.

What do gay people have? Fall in love, settle in and move in together… and then what? Get a dog? Get a couple of kittens? A twin Vespa? Get matching cardigans and go on a world cruise, maybe?

Until marriage equality and relaxed rules around adoption come into play, gay men will have to wait – and we might as well wait around with some company.

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

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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.

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


fantastic men and where to find them.jpg

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.