Tag Archives: Relationships

The Guysexual’s Brutally Honest Review Of Bro

 

bro_review

Men have always had it easy.

Gay or straight, the laws of online dating have always been balanced. Gay men have Grindr. Straight men have Hinge. But what about straight men looking to woo (or wingman with) other men, you ask?

Say hello to Bro, the app that everyone is talking about.

What it is: Launched in early 2016, Bro promises that it ‘goes beyond using labels, and is for men that are interested in meeting other guys — it’s as simple as that.’ It doesn’t say it’s a sex app (in those many words) — it’s for men seeking friendships, men who want to date, men who want casual hookups and all the permutations and combinations in between — without the baggage of old labels and questions by older relatives.

How it works:  Straight, gay or bisexual — Bro is an all-accepting sausage fest, and has no qualms about it. It’s online dating without typecasting itself as online dating. In fact, Bro advertises itself as the app that welcomes men who don’t feel welcome in the gay community. It finally lets people be what they shouldn’t be embarrassed of being — sexually fluid.  Sexuality is a continuum and not a binary, and bro recognises that. But beneath the blue and white, straight man-friendly exterior, does it really offer anything that Grindr doesn’t?

Yes, and no. There are less faceless torsos, more happy faces of people doing happy things. There’s always been a grey area between the boundaries of sex, relationships and friendship, and when an app asks you whether you are looking to find friendship, fun or ‘whatever’, Bro wins hands down in the grey department, all 50 shades of it.

I am neither a bro, nor am I straight — so I break both the cardinal rules when I decide to try it out — I am not one to shy away from finding true love, even if it’s with a potentially straight man. How do I do as a bro?

Not so well, but I’d let you be the judge of that with my five-day gaycation on the app:

Day 1:

I download the app with the vigour and hope that I usually reserve for the first day of a clearance sale. The app’s interface is bright, multi-racial and eye-catching, which is great — because that’s how I like my boys. After a quick sign up where it chides me for my stats, preferences and HIV status, Bro does what no other dating app does.

It asks me to sort myself.

Am I the beefy Jock Bro? A nerdy Brogrammer?  A muscular GI Bro? A preppy Bro? Casual Bro? Suited Bro? Lumber Bro, Hipster Bro or the ‘surprised-to-see-you-here’ fabulous Bro?

I choose the casual Bro because no hipster would ever admit to being one.

Once I am set, a grid of hopefuls show up — I am slightly disappointed. It’s a sea of men I’ve blocked on Grindr, long forgotten exes, a few friends, and men I’ve always seen around but never spoken to.

I dive in.

Day 2:

I start my second day with a fresh fist bump. It’s Gautam, a video editor who I went on a date with a few months ago. I’ve swiped right on Gautam on Tinder; Woof’d at him on Scruff, and starred him as a favourite on Grindr. I do the only sensible thing left to be done. I send a fist bump back at him, in the awkward way I would in middle school. (Side note: I’ve never really been great at fist bumping — the last person I fist bumped was my three-year-old nephew.)

‘What are you doing here?’ he texts me.

‘I was going to ask you the same question,’ I text him back.

‘Just checking out the scene on the other side of the tracks, bro,’ he pings back. We both have a laugh over it, ending our abrupt conversation with a crisp LOL from each side. We make plans to meet soon, but we both know that we won’t.

That’s the last I hear from him.

Day 3:

I strike up a conversation with a new face: 27-year-old Ankit’s profile says that he’s spontaneous, funny and charming, with a hairy chest. He’s also straight, and inconspicuously (but not surprisingly) from New York.

I say hello with a non-committal ‘Ssup?’ — could this be the start of a sitcom-level bromance (with six season and a movie) where we wingman each other at bars?

I wait for 10 minutes. I wait for an hour. I wait for a whole day.

He never replies, killing my sitcom dreams even before we can shoot a pilot.

Day 4:

Still reeling from the rejection, I open my bro with no new expectations. The app doesn’t disappoint — apart from two requests for my sexual preference, my message inbox is emptier than my heart. I switch off, vowing to never come back again.

I go back the next day.

Day 5:

I get fist bumped by a girl.

She tells me she’s bisexual; I tell her I am surprised. The awkward silence resonates forever, but my relationship with Bro doesn’t.

What I like about it: Like I said, it’s online dating without typecasting itself as online dating. In fact, Bro advertises itself as the app that welcomes men who don’t feel welcome in the gay community. It finally lets people be what they shouldn’t be embarrassed of being — sexually fluid.

But sexually lucid? Not so much.

What I don’t like about it: ‘Bro’ is for men who don’t want to commit — to labels, or a relationship. In fact, men can even ‘fist bump’ each other to show their sign of approval, so that they can be comfortable in their skin when they ultimately do ask each other for a blowjob (they are just one football jersey short of not really questioning their sexuality after using it.) This is my one grouse with the app; it puts heteronormativity on a pedestal.

And that’s the last thing that needs a throne in 2018.

Who is it for: Breaking norms and reestablishing sexual fluidity aside, I realise I wouldn’t want to go find bros before my hos. It’s simply not my cup of tea. Instead, I’d pass it over for a keg of beer and a beautiful boy who wants me for a little more than ‘whatever, bro’.

And for that, I’ve got Grindr and my wine shop on speed dial.

***

Guysexual’s Grade-o-meter:

Hookability: 3/10

Compatibility: 4/10

Usability: 5/10

Downloadability: 6/10

The Milestones Of Falling In And Out of Love

 

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

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

Hello

Congratulations! You have a new match!

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

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

Text-dancing

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

It feels hopeless.

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

And you’ll send him one yourself.

First kiss

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

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

Sex

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

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

The Honeymoon

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

Meeting the friends

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

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

Moving in

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

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

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

First fight

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

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

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

Moving away

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

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

Settling In

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

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

You’ve reached end game.

Every Man’s Guide to Surviving A Breakup

 

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It’s happened.

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

But I’ll tell you a secret.

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

1. Crisp white sheets

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

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

2. A super-sized box of condoms

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

3. Instant noodles

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

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

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

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

5. A strong resolve

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

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

6. An emptier smartphone

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

7. A Netflix account with high speed Internet

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

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

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

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

9. A yoga mat

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

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

10. Optimism

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

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

Dear Gay Men, Are You Addicted to Grindr?

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‘Are you a Grindrophile?’

If you’ve already been asked this question and are reading this column, purging through dating hacks and lists, the answer is probably yes. Which brings us to question number two — if Grindr was a boy, would you date him?

Don’t bother checking out his profile, there’s only one way to find out.  Every point you rack up on this super special-edition Grindr Bucket List Game brings you one step closer to having an epiphany — the same one that begs you to end it once and for all, and delete the beauty that Grindr is.

Continue reading Dear Gay Men, Are You Addicted to Grindr?

The Guysexual’s Guide To Heartbreak

 

Handling Heartbreak

It’s over.

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

Or maybe, you are Taylor Swift.

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

Let me tell you this.

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

But hey, listen.

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

Read me (no pun intended).

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

1. Get a haircut

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

2. Take a weekend trip

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

3. Take up a sport

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

4. Clean up your house

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

5. Find a new favourite restaurant

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

6. Find a new favourite wine

Because you’ll need a fresh crate every weekend.

7. Read the biggest book you can find

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

8. Spend a day in bed

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

9. Try out a poetry class

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

10. Cook up a fancy meal for one

You’ll need to get used to those.

11. Get all your STD tests done

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

12. Buy yourself a gift

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

13. Call your mom

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

14. Buy healthier food at the market

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

15. Make a playlist.

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

16. Join a gym

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

17. Start running

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

18. Write out an email to the ex

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

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

Just like this one.

20. Get back on Grindr

But only when you are ready.

The Guysexual’s Guide To Ghosting: Vol. III

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Cutting something out of your life only works when it involves one of these four broad categories: complex carbohydrates, processed sugar, cheap vodka and bad vibes. But that’s about it.

I’ll let you in on a secret. It’s not the same when it involves people.

As Arvind learnt the hard way (in the first of my terrifying three-part guide to ghosting), getting left in the lurch can truly be a haunting experience. People like to see death and destruction in horror films, not necessarily their relationships — and while dealing with it can be a terrifying ordeal (only made better with these life hacks), it’s fair to say that it’s a whole new ball game when you are sitting on the other side of this Ouija board of online dating.

Continue reading The Guysexual’s Guide To Ghosting: Vol. III

The Guysexual’s Guide To Being Ghosted: Vol. II

 

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As Arvind learnt last week, being left in the lurch (in the middle of a hypothetical relationship) can be quite haunting. One minute Aarav was muttering sweet (and legal) nothings into his ear; the very next, he had disappeared into nothingness.

Poof. It was that simple. Just like that, he was gone — having retreated into the ones and zeros to haunt another corner of the digital universe (or according to Arvind’s worst fears, another boy).

It’s happened to the best of us. For the uninitiated and the ignorant, ghosting refers to the highly anecdotally pervasive act where someone ends a relationship by simply disappearing. The Ghost does not give any explanations, leaving the ghosted to wonder where he went wrong.

Which brings us to the single most important question (after you’ve asked yourself how many bottles of wine you’d need to get over that messy break-up).

Do you feel like something strange is happening in YOUR (romantic) neighborhood? Are you worried about facing these demons of douchebaggery all alone? Scared that someone will spirit your feelings away? Keep those phones back in your pockets (and I’ll keep the horror puns to myself); because you don’t need The Ghostbusters on speed dial just yet. What do you do then?

It’s easy. Just read through, and follow this five-step process to make sure you survive what I call the ‘Halloween Hijinks of Heartbreak’:

1. Recognise you can feel angry

Go break that glass. Tear out that book. Punch that bag. Write that scathing email (but don’t send it). Watch a romcom. Watch a dozen romcoms. Watch romcoms till you get sick of watching romcoms. Shatter that vase. Scream out loud. Go for a run. Cry. Get sad. Feel angry. You need to.

Repeat till you make peace with yourself and are whole-heartedly happy, because you deserve every bit of it.

2. Don’t blame yourself

Unless you killed his pet dog, had sex with the twin brother or set fire to his house, it’s not your fault (and it never will be), so don’t even go there.

Now write out a list of reasons why you hate him and learn it till you can recite it in your sleep. You dodged a bullet with this one, so go celebrate with some beer (and a few boys).

3. Call him out

Teachers, lawyers, policemen, landlords and mothers — everybody needs answers, and so do you. Remember that it’s better to reach out for answers than reaching out for that large bottle of wine (although if you want wine, just go ahead).

Make sure that you are okay, and if you can get yourself to, ask him for a reason(s). If he replies — hear him out and make peace with it, because that will only save you countless hours (and bills) at the therapist’s. But stop at that one time.

He doesn’t want to get back, and neither should you.

4. Cut him out completely

Delete those texts. Erase those pictures. Unfollow him on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat and Unfriend him on Facebook. Remove every trace of him, (virtual and otherwise) so that the no bits or bytes of him survive — compete to make it full and final, so that you can never get back in touch with him.

Because sending him a sloppy text message (or forty) at a quarter past three in the morning does not earn you any prizes.

5. Know that there’s still some hope left in the world.

Will it happen again? Should you ever fall in love? Why don’t you just delete Grindr? Take Tinder off your phones maybe? How about going on a dating detox? Who needs the right guy when you have your right hand? Don’t think about it. Just because it happened to you once (or twice), doesn’t mean that it will happen every single time. Sure, the graphic designer with the soft, wavy hair and twinkling eyes might have seemed like the One, but there are too many fish in this sea (and too many graphic designers with soft, wavy hair and twinkling eyes).

Now go fish.
Just make sure you throw back the ones you don’t need.