Tag Archives: Modern Romance

#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 frankly don’t know how my life would be without my Gay Best Man — 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). 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

The Guysexual’s Guide To Every Heartbreaker In The World

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Sumit, an illustrator, met Zishaan, an interior designer, at a friend’s bring-a-single mixer.

It was a classic meet-cute.  A match made in architectural heaven, he would tell his kids one day. They had mistakenly picked up each other’s glasses (double vodka sodas with a hint of lime juice) and then bonded all night over their mutual love for the Big Little Lies Soundtrack. Before the party had ended, they had (consciously) picked up each other’s Instagram handles.

After a whirlwind first date at a local bistro, Zishaan had texted Sumit telling him that ‘he wanted to see him again. And again. And again’.

After the second — an indie movie at a derelict single-screen — he messaged with a stream of endearing heart emojis.

After the third, the designer made an in-joke about the chocolate chip sundaes they had just shared, just after he kissed him goodbye under the starry sky. He’d use that one in his wedding speech, Sumit had gushed to himself later that night.

Sumit had met a lot of men in his life: there was the It Boy he had spent months chasing (who dumped him for a socialite prince), the Gym Freak he had joined the gym with (who believed in free weights and free love), the Hipster he had gone vegan for (who sold him out for Alt-J’s concert tickets), the Sapiosexual who made him do crossword puzzles (and realised he was not as good), and lastly, the F**kboy who said he wanted to give Sumit all his love (but gave him genital crabs instead) — so many men, but none had felt the same way.

With his broad grin and broader shoulders, Sumit rightfully thought Zishaan was the One. He was charming, he was funny, he was full of those soul stirring words that made Sumit dream of Disney musicals. Plus, he didn’t have genital crabs.

But the one thing he was not?

Available.

Five dates in, Zishaan was always busy. He was always swamped with work. He was always attending a friend’s birthday. He was always a ‘let’s just chill next week?’ text away.

In retrospect, Zishaan was the quintessential heartbreaker — and like many others like him — he eventually pulled a Houdini, and disappeared without a trace from Sumit’s life. The Disney musical sadly couldn’t even make it to its second act.

Like Zishaan (and other self-diagnosed misunderstood men), the heartbreaker is the junk food of the dating pool — the Big Mac, the Whopper, the Crunch Taco Supreme — he’s good for a quick bite, but bad for your long-term health.

But can you really tell your Disney prince from the douchebag?

It’s simple. Wave away all that fairy dust, and scroll through this list before you start planning your tropical Bae-cation in Aruba: if the object of your affection checks five items on this list, he gets a yellow card; if he checks seven, he gets a red card, and if he gets more than 10, stop reading this list and send him a goodbye text right away.

Because there’s a chance he never will:

The heartbreaker wears his own line of perfume. It’s clean and invigorating, and has notes of cypress combined with hints of cardamom, cedar wood and a base of vetiver root, resulting in a blend that’s ‘comfortingly familiar and mature’.

He calls it Heartbreak, by ‘Me’.

*

The heartbreaker will look at you endearingly, and tell you that ‘he’s never felt this way about anyone else before’.

He’s also said this to three other boys in the past week.

*

The heartbreaker is quick to christen you with a pet name. It’s usually a variation of his favourite dessert.

It’s also usually a tactic because he doesn’t remember your name.

*
The heartbreaker disables his read receipts on Whatsapp, because it’s so ‘exhausting’ to keep a tab on all the conversations.

But he mysteriously won’t reply to your messages on Facebook Messenger.

*

The heartbreaker flakes like he Instagrams.

Incessantly.

*

The heartbreaker is a seductive blend of witty one-liners, intuitive pop culture references, heartwarming texts and dimples that run deeper than the Marina Trench.

All four have high success rates.

*

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

Misunderstood.

*

The heartbreaker has built his walls up so high, he’s thinking of selling them to Donald Trump.

He plans to do so at a profit.

*

Over bite-sized bits of cheese, he tells you all about his exes. Ishaan wanted to move in too early. Rohan would never stop calling. Ameya decided to tell his friends why they broke up. Atul begged to take him back by standing outside his apartment all night. Vaibhav called him a cheating scumbag. Anuj threatened to set his house on fire. Paarth asked his mom if she knew her son was a psycho. Ram stole his wallet. They were all so crazy.

He conveniently forgets to tell you their sides of the story.

*

The Heartbreaker calls himself a ‘lone wolf’. The Alpha of a one-man army. He never talks about his family, friends or anyone really significant, and seems committed to keeping it that way.

But yet, he’s always hanging out with them when you try making a plan.

*

As he hand feeds you breakfast one day, he’ll laugh and tell you how ‘everyone will warn you that he has a bad reputation’.

Only he’s not joking.

*

The heartbreaker doesn’t roll up his sleeves, because that’s where he ‘wears his heart.’

Only this time, he’s joking.

*

The heartbreaker only wants to ‘hang out’.

*

The heartbreaker leaves a breadcrumb trail of likes through three years’ worth of your Instagram pictures.

But he still won’t ask to follow you there.

*

You spend more time talking about the heartbreaker, than to him.

*

The heartbreaker doesn’t like to ‘plan’, he’d rather just ‘live’ the date.

In the confines of his living room, with pre-mixed cans of gin and tonic.

*

The heartbreaker flits through relationships like you flit through magazines at the dentist’s. In fact, he ended his last relationship just while you were ending your workout for the day.

*

When he asks you to come over for some #NetflixAndChill, that’s all that he wants to do — binge-watch a Netflix original and chill with canapés and a bottle (or two) of expensive wine.

Bonus points if it’s a bottle of York Sparkling Cuvee Brut.

Even more bonus points if he makes the canapés himself.

*

The heartbreaker is too conflicted/ too damaged/ too busy to be ‘in a relationship’. He wears it like a badge nonetheless, and uses it to introduce himself at mixers.

It works like a charm, especially when he mistakes your vodka soda for his.

*

See, but that’s the thing about our guy. He’ll tell you he’s not a heartbreaker.

And that’s exactly what makes him one.

So pull out those Band-Aids. You’ll need one.

The Potential Boyfriend Test

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Here we are.

It’s Valentine’s Day.

Things are going well, and you’ve finally managed to sink your claws (and your teeth, if you are lucky) into that perfect guy, just a few days short of Hallmark’s highest grossing holiday.

In fact, it’s never been better. You’ve had half a dozen great dates, with half a dozen happier endings — he’s clean behind the ears, dresses well and can even sustain a conversation (and more) well until the wee hours of the morning. What can possibly go wrong? He’s the opposite of every Taylor Swift single.

But hold on, you have to test drive the goods before you get onto the much-discussed boyfriend bandwagon — is he the ‘One’? Would he mind being called the ‘One’? Most importantly, is he the ‘One’ you want to get ‘one-on-one’ sangrias with on Valentine’s Day?

Don’t have the answers to any of these questions yet?

Well, just wind up your paramour through these 10 tests before you seal the deal (or book the table), and decide to change your Grindr status to ‘Committed’:

1. Ask him to eat a submarine sandwich in front of you.

Is he fast, sloppy and unaware that the mustard relish is dripping down his front? Choose wisely – because, if you’ve still not sealed the deal with the boy, this is an exclusive preview of what it’s going to be like when he goes down on you.

2. Switch off the Wi-Fi when he’s working.

His level of irritation is inversely proportional to how essential it is for you to date him in the long run (unless of course, he’s in the middle of a very important presentation, in which case, you are the one no one should commit to).

3. Tell him to joke about your best friend.

 This is a trick question: no one makes a joke about your best friend.

No one.

4. Get him to drive.

Does he speed through signals? Drives in a zigzag as if he were in an arcade game? Is he a honker? (That was another trick question: No one should be a honker!) It’s time to zip off in your own car.

While people who can’t drive are of the sexiest variety, you can still check up on him by sharing a cab – if he backseat drives and complains about how the air conditioner doesn’t work, he’s probably not the right guy for you. Why?

Because he’s a downright d**chebag.

5. Ask him to make a cup of coffee.

Pours the milk last? Doesn’t beat the coffee? Makes it that dull milky brown that you’ll never touch? No, no and an extra no. Plus, if he can’t even make a simple cup of coffee, he’s not ready to be in a real relationship yet.

6. Go on a weekend trip.

There are a thousand things that can go wrong when you spend 48 (or more) hours in each other’s company away from home. From flat tires, delayed flights to overbooked hotels – you have the potential to fight about anything from who sleeps on the right side of the bed to which one of you takes the cheap shampoo bottles back home. Well, think of it this way, if it doesn’t work out, you can always leave him behind.

7. Make him meet your most annoying acquaintance.

If he makes it through the night without rolling his eyes, nudging you or giving you the blank stare, then he’s someone you should sign up for right away. Any man who can see you at your worst (at making friends) definitely needs to see you at your best every day. Just make sure you tell him that he doesn’t need to see your awful friend ever again, otherwise he’d be the one reading this guide to replace you.

8. Take him to a restaurant with really bad service.

If he doesn’t roll his eyes, talk rudely to the wait staff, make faces at the food or tut loudly whenever the manager passes by; he’s the well-mannered guy you’ve been waiting for all your life.

9. Ask him what he thinks about feminism.

If he goes on a rant about how women already have equal rights, and how he could do with a seat on the bus instead; I’ll go on a longer rant about why you shouldn’t pursue him any further.

Because like his opinion, he’s clearly not worth it.

10. Call him.

Don’t judge him if he doesn’t pick up your call – he could be driving, at work, in a meeting, using the washroom, saving a baby from a burning building or even worse, dead. Reserve the judgment for when he doesn’t call back.

But then again, it probably means he doesn’t want to date you either.

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?

The Guysexual’s Guide To Red Flags

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So you’ve found The One.

He’s charming, handsome and well read, and is a hit with your family and friends. He laughs at your jokes and feeds you bits of his pudding, but most importantly, he:

– doesn’t message you only past midnight. Check.
– is not commitment-phobic. Check.
– is not mysteriously secretive about his life. Check.
– does not bring up his ex at all. Check.
– doesn’t get drunk every second night of the week. Check.
– is definitely not cheating on you. Check.
– is always available to talk. Check.
– loves you. Check.

You’ve personally scoured his life (and all his social media profiles) for a red flag, but you can’t see any. It seems like he’s perfect. But something still seems off. Do you give up?

Nope, because here are 10 home-tested ways to spot a red flag when you can’t seem to find a red flag at all:

1. He has a sense of humour that is cruel

While the occasional laugh at a stumbling child (or a man walking straight into a glass door) can be harmless, if someone finds humour in other people’s misfortune more than three times a day, it’s something to be scared of. Because at some point in the future, you may end up being the joke. It could be your hyena-like laugh or the way you slurp your noodles, or that one time you (almost) peed yourself through a re-run of The Ring.

Be with someone who makes you laugh all the time, not someone who laughs at you all the time.

2. He love-bombs you

What do you do the next time someone uses the L-word three minutes into the relationship? Pack up and head to the break-up bunker, because anyone who falls in love that quickly also falls out of it with equal ease (or sometimes, just deals with too many deep-seated insecurities about love, or lack thereof)

He might say that you are perfect and tell you how ‘he can’t believe he’s landed you’, but it’s a template he’s grown used to: it’s his defense mechanism to speed through what he thinks has potential, but more than often, it usually ends with a crash and burn. When someone says they love you early in the relationship, there’s a very high chance they are trying to direct it with their own terms, and if it doesn’t – things might only take an ugly (and a more resentful) turn.

3. You both have different life goals

You want to be animal rights activist but he wants to start his own barbeque restaurant? If you aren’t on the same page professionally (or financially), the chances of having a happy ending are next to nil. Clashing life choices aside, the last thing you want is for someone to hold you back from where or what you need to be – even if it means letting all the chickens go free.

4. And different sleep schedules

While it might seem like it’s not a big deal, the fact that both of you run on two different schedules will only run you into loads of problems (in terms of your social life, your careers and who drives you back home when you are passed out right next to the bouncer) especially when they are perking up to rage all night, just as you pull on your favourite clown jammies at 11 pm.

5. He doesn’t respect your boundaries

Does he tickle you jokingly even when you laugh and beg for him to stop? Call incessantly when all you want is a quiet day? Prod about your problems when you tell him you need time to think about them on your own?

If you are with someone who doesn’t respect your physical boundaries (even innocently), you are only two steps away from not having him respect you.

6. He says he hates conflict

You’ve heard the same sob story over and over again, over drunken fights at home or between arguments at dinner. He dodges all your accusations, and ignores all your pleas to come to a peaceful conclusion. And just when you are about to prod him for a reason and put an end to your couple-fuelled misery, he tells you he ‘absolutely hates conflict. It’s happened before with so many boys, and he can’t deal with it anymore’.

But don’t fall for it. He might as well as say: don’t confront me about anything in life, because I will ignore you or leave you. And somewhere down the line, he’ll tell all his friends how you were ‘just like the rest of them.’

7. He thinks all his exes are crazy

Ravi wanted to move in too early. Shyam would never stop calling. Rajeev decided to tell his friends why they broke up. Kunal begged to take him back by standing outside his apartment all night. Ahmed called him a cheating scumbag. Karan threatened to set his house on fire. Ryan asked his mom if she knew her son was a psycho. They were all so crazy.

Do you see the pattern? You obviously do. If a boy spews venom about an ex or two, it’s fine – we all have relationships that sour out. But if he badmouths every boy he’s ever been with, chances are he’s the problem.

8. He gets upset when you have to go back home

Could the movie last just ten minutes longer? Do you really have to leave after two ice creams? Can we walk around your block one more time? Must you leave right now? Can’t you stay the night? The morning? The day? The week? The month?

Makes you go aww? Naww, push those romantic aspirations back in your pockets, sir, because it’s not long before his ‘Don’t leave me so soon’s and ‘But we just met!’ turn into ‘You are leaving so that you can hook up with your ex right now, right?’

9. His sex drive doesn’t work for you

While there’s no wrong amount of sex that two people can have in a relationship, matching libidos are important for one to work. What if one half of the couple wants to get it on every three hours and the other thinks thrice a month is fine?

There’s no place for sexual chemistry in the sack when it’s already brewing with resentment, hurt egos, and an urge to get on Grindr and message the gorgeous man who texts from 800 metres away. At the end of the day, do you think you have different libidos?

It’s time you look for different partners.

10. He’s passive aggressive about tiny things

‘Your hair is a little too long.’
‘Try making it to dinner on time?’
‘Do you really need to go for a drink with your friends?’
‘I would have loved to see you yesterday, but it’s OK, I guess.’
‘Can you please send it to me before I have to remind you again.’
‘Just call me when you can.’

You know that little voice at the back of your head nagging you to end things? You should probably listen to it, because it’s not going to be passive aggressive like your paramour here.

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

 

Whats_falling_in_love_all_about_

 

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.