Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Mamma Mia 'Dhamaka' Weekend

This past weekend was indeed quite an eventful one in my life. It involved, singing and dancing like a total fairy to the groovy re-mastered music of ABBA, being embittered about a guy ditching up on plans, terrorist attacks upon the city, cheating on my diet to get over being stood up, therapeutic-coffee with Wolfie, and again, singing and dancing like a total fairy to the groovy re-mastered music of ABBA!

Friday, September 12th was a day I had long been waiting for. Even since it released in July within the States, I had been eagerly anticipating the release of Mamma Mia – The Musical Movie within India. In fact, I wanted to see this movie much more than the Dark Knight! I mean, what red-blooded gay man wouldn’t? It’s got Meryl Streep, a gorgeous Greek Island, tones of hunk-a-licious studs singing and dancing in Speedos, and the super fabulous evergreen gaylicious music of ABBA! Sure, the Dark Knight had the sexy Christian Bale in a hot black suit and Heath Ledger giving the performance of his life (in more ways than one), but still, on a strictly ‘fabulous-factor’, Mamma Mia totally outranks it!

What was even more surprising was that on the movie’s official website, it was mentioned the release date for India was October 3rd, and I had planned my big Mamma Mia bash in accordance. However, during the middle of August, I discovered the soundtrack album tucked away in a shelf at Planet M in CP, and on the CD case a sticker mentioned ‘Releasing this September!’ Needless to say I canceled the October bash, and called all my friends informing them that it’s coming out in September. However, since no date was mentioned whatsoever, and the official site still listed October 3rd, I had no choice but call off the Mamma Mia release party I had planned.
A week before the official release, TV commercials flooded the ‘English’ channels parading the soundtrack CD, and flashing the release date of September 12th. They even released the promo video of ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)’ which is sung by Amanda Seyfried, who plays Meryl’s daughter in the movie. Moviegoers would remember her as one of the ‘plastics’ from the movie Mean Girls (the one who got a job as a weathergirl as she could touch her boobies and tell if it was raining or not). The video featured a generous dose of teaser clips from the movie, which made me drool with anticipation even while dancing all around my room and singing along to the song - which just happens to be one of my favorite ABBA tracks ever!

I immediately called the two people I knew I just had to see the movie with, Wolfie and my hag! Wolfie’s cell was coming ‘not reachable’, and so I dialed my hag, who was in mourning of her boyfriend of two-and-a-half-years migrating to the states to pursue his masters, and she jumped at the opportunity of seeing Mamma Mia with me. Although she had no idea about the musical, and the only ABBA song she knew well was ‘Dancing Queen’, she was psyched about the fact of finally getting over her mourning-rut and have a fabu-licious time! Later on Wolfie called back and ‘howled’ at the thought of seeing Meryl sing and dance to ABBA songs!

A day before the movie released, my hag called, coughing and wheezing, canceling the plan of seeing Mamma Mia on its first day of release as she had come down with a case of viral fever. I felt bad, because I so wanted to see it with her and Wolfie on the first day on two separate times (I did the same with the release of Enchanted and Sex and the City, saw it for multiple shows during the weekend with different people – there are movie buffs, and then there are movie obsessors like lil ol moi). However, Wolfie was all set to see it with me on its first day of release, and so I was all the more excited!

Now before I carry on with the Mamma Mia story, I need to go back to a couple of weeks where I came across, Kapil, whose name has been changed for purpose of protecting his identity.

On a late Thursday night, I received a message from a guy on a site that I belonged on, let’s call this site, boys4dudes. It was a simple one-line message in which he mentioned that he loved my ‘masked’ picture, especially my beautiful green eyes. Rolling my eyes, I replied, ‘Thank you, although I can’t really take that as a compliment because just like my mask, the green eyes are a creation of Photoshop’. By the time the commercial break of ‘Everyone Hates Chris’ was over, I had received another message from him, claiming that it was alright, he preferred the shape of my nose and jaw to my ‘green eyes’. I laughed as this was in fact the first ‘original’ compliment I had received in a while. He had also attached a picture of him with the message. Not to be over critical, but it wasn’t the most flattering picture to send – bad camera angle which totally robs one of a chin, he was wearing a hideocous blue and white check oxford work-shirt, and he looked exhausted after a long day at work. Nevertheless, despite all that going against him, I gave him the official ranking of 7 outta 10, and proceeded to respond with a goodnight message, as it was time for me to head to bed and wake up the next morning for Yoga.

The next day, we exchanged a fleet of semi-flirtatious messages. Unlike the standard messages one tends to receive from the regulars on the sites, his messages were articulate, well structured, and he could flirt without coming across as too corny or cheesy. I got the impression that he was definitely an Air Sign (Gemini, Libra, or Aquarius), cause he was oh-so-smooth with his flirty lines. By the time it was seven in the evening, he informed that he had to go somewhere to meet his family for a dinner, and asked for my number so that he could call me later that night.

By eleven thirty that night I received a call from him. Usually I would never entertain a call at that time of night, but I was up and facing a case of weekend insomnia. Plus there was no Yoga to wake up for the next morning. We proceeded to chat with mild flirty undertones, but before we knew it, we began discussing a wide variety of subjects that had nothing to do with anything gay or flirty. From fantasy dream vacations, to the dreaded 2012 doomsday, we kept on and on without having a single weird silent pauses which are filled with um, er, and uh. This was indeed a rare feat, for rarely does one find someone from such sites with whom you have such great ‘phone chemistry’ without talking anything remotely x-rated. True, we did allow a few flirts to slip in here or there, but they were so well-timed and so well-placed, that it just added to the richness of our conversation. In fact, even when I joked about the lame shirt he had on in the pic he sent me, he laughed and claimed that it was his way of saying he was ‘straight-acting’.

By the time we realized it was one thirty in the morning, we gasped at the fact that we had been up chatting for two-and-a-half hours, without even realizing it. It truly didn’t seem that long, we were having so much fun, and he was one of the few people from such sites who made me laugh out loud on the phone (and not my fake-to-be-polite-laugh). We hung up after he said he’d call me on Sunday, as Saturday he would be slaving away in the corporate world during the day, and then at an office party at night.

The following Sunday morning, we stayed in bed and spoke on the phone for three hours nonstop. In fact, we forgot to even eat breakfast, as we were so engrossed in our conversation. We spoke about virtually everything under the sun. Be it teachers whom we despised while growing up (in my case, rotten Hindi teachers who were fat chinless bitches; in his case, rotten Vice-Principles on a power trip) or even favorite Pasta sauces (me – carbonara, he – pesto). We chatted about favorite cartoon shows from our childhood (me – Jem and the Holograms, he – Garfield), and even made guilty confessions about things we’d rarely admit to anyone else – example: me having a secret fantasy of being a Vegas-Style showgirl. Our phone chemistry was sizzling, and we didn’t even make any naughty innuendos yet. Although there was a lil discussion about the kind of underwear we wore to bed, and something along the lines of me being a whore for expensive gourmet chocolate with him claiming to do something with melted chocolate and a part of his body; however, the way we said it, it sounded sweet and playful. After three hours of chatting, we hung up and decided to get out of bed and take a shower and get on with our respective days.

If that wasn’t enough, he even called me in the early evening and chatted for a good hour-and-a-half, and then later at eleven to say goodnight (after I sent him a ‘goodnight’ text). Needless to say, I was one smitten-kitten!

As the week progressed, I hadn’t heard from him. It was now Wednesday, and still no sign of him. I had no idea what was going on, so I decided to call him. He didn’t pick up my call. I figured I’d give him the benefit of doubt and wait for a text or call from him. It was now Thursday, and the b-word didn’t bother calling or texting! I called again, but this time he disconnected the call. With a jaw dropped in appall, I called Wolfie and explained to him the entire scenario. When I told him that he was a closeted Top, Wolfie replied that it was standard procedure.

Apparently there is an unwritten game that goes on in the dating scene. Tops shower a bottom with charm and flattery and all the attention in the world, and then go MIA, to get the Bottom all riled up and chase after them. The way to get the Top’s attention back is to go MIA yourself, forcing the Top to get off his ‘high horse’ and call and once again shower you with attention. I was disgusted when I heard about it, for I personally can’t stand such weird games that just leave a person mindfucked at the end. After all, dating in the gay scene in this city is as it is such a hard thing, to add these kinda games into the entire equation just make matters all the more shitty. Wolfie advised that I shouldn’t get all emotional over him, in fact, I shouldn’t ever get emotional over someone until and unless I’ve met them live and in-person, and they call me afterwards as well. Disheartened by all the cynicsm that seemed to flavor the gay world, I hung up and began to pout at how stupid I felt for being smitten over such a guy.

Fifteen minutes later, he called! Although on the phone I was my usual cool-breezy self, the inner me was jumping with joy like a cheerleader on E. He explained that he was caught up working late nights at office on a super huge presentation that involved a major 9-figure business deal. Although ‘numbers’ rarely impress me, I was glad to just hear his voice after all this time. We went on to chat for an hour as he was taking a break from working on his presentation. On our Sunday conversation, we had planned on meeting up on Saturday the 13th. I asked if he would still be free to meet, he said he’d love to, as meeting me would be just what he needed in order to unwind from the hectic week. I suggested we watch Mamma Mia (he didn’t have to know I was gonna see it with Wolfie on Friday) and he agreed and asked me to text him the various show times and theaters near our respective areas for sometime in the evening. After we hung up, I called Wolfie and began screaming operatic notes of joy that he called. Wolfie laughed and began teasing me that I liked him. True, I was blushing like a ripe strawberry, but I didn’t care! This was gonna be one fabulous weekend!

On Friday the 12th, I rushed to Waves Noida and got the 11:10 pm show of Mamma Mia. The reason I went all the way there was because, on the opening of a movie, any Noida theater would be the only place one would manage to get tickets for the late night show. Plus an English movie, and that too a musical, is not something the average Noida-ite would be interested in. I remember when Dreamgirls was released, I saw it at Waves, where this group of college kids who were sitting behind me made comments like, “Yaar, ye kaale log itna chilate kyon hai?” Plus with the DND flyway, it only took 15 minutes to drive from my place over to Noida, so no need to rush at all.

Wolfie arrived at my place at 9, where to kill time, I showed him clips from Rocky Horror Picture Show, where we so fawned over Tim Curry’s outfit in ‘Sweet Transvestite’ (if Halloween is ever celebrated here, I’m so going as him), and we laughed at a young Susan Sarandon’s breasts being pressed by a hunky blonde Nord during ‘Creature of the Night’. Afterwards, we headed off to Waves with the Wicked Cast Recording blarring from my car speakers. I didn’t play the Mamma Mia soundtrack mainly cause I wanted to experience every song as ‘fresh’ as I possibly could.
Upon our arrival, we were shocked to see that there were a total of merely twelve people in the entire hall. And all except the two of us were hetero couples! We waited patiently in the lounge for the doors to open, where we began passing our ‘elitist-judgment’ upon the couples around us. One in particular was the lamest - very obvious looking call-center trolls that probably purchased the tickets so that they could sit in a quiet corner and make out. Who on earth would wanna make out in a singing and dancing gay extravaganza?!?!

Once the doors were open, to our surprise, all the couples were seated at distant parts of the hall, where as Wolfie and I were seated in the middle of the hall for optimal viewing! Giving us all the liberty to sing and dance without being bothered by anyone.

And so the movie began, with Wolfie and I clapping our hands and cheering for the opening credits. I let out a squeal of delight when I realized that the ‘Sing-a-long’ edition was released in India. A ‘sing-a-long’ edition is basically when musical movies are played in the hall with subtitled lyrics for all the songs for the audience to sing-a-long with the movie. So hence if anyone did object to our singing, we could say, “This is the Sing-a-long edition bitch! The producers ‘want’ us to sing and dance in the middle of the hall!” However, no one did object to our singing, and we sang and danced along to the movie!

The movie was even gayer than I expected! Not being one to give away any details to the plot (which to be honest wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out) but there are scenes where Meryl is dressed in gaudy-yet-fabulous 70’s ABBA-style clothing, and in not one, but TWO songs, a chorus line of hunky Greek men in Speedos dance and sing and flex their gorgeous sun-kissed muscles! Meryl sings like a dream, and Amanda Seyfried sings really good as well. Dominic Cooper, who plays Amanda’s fiancé in the movie is a total hottie, and throughout the movie, we see his gorgeous 6-pac abs! Pierce Brosnan sings like shit, but oh well, he’s still handsome and sexy despite being old and not having gorgeous 6-pac abs. Colin Firth looks hilarious in the brief flashback scene as a punk rocker, and we’ll all have a delicious surprise regarding him at the end of the movie. And look out for a bare ass scene with two-eyes tattooed on them.

And I won’t give out any more details, except tell you all to wait for the credits at the end. You’ll be in for a big song and dance extravaganza, with tones of costumes. So when you go for the movie, put on your dancing shoes and wear your most fabulous 70s inspired garb, and grab all your girlfriends and ‘girlfriends’ and have a gay ol time singing and dancing in the middle of the hall.

After the movie, Wolfie and I exited the hall singing and dancing away to glory. All was super-fabulous and bright, until Wolfie asked me if Kapil called to confirm which show and which hall we’ll be seeing the movie at. I checked my phone (like a good boy I always put my phone on silent mode while watching a movie), and to my disappointment, there was no missed call, nor a text, from Kapil. I didn’t want to rain on my parade that night, so I just rationalized that he must be slaving away late in the night working on his presentation so that he could spend tomorrow with me. In my head that sounded like a reasonable explanation. Although personally, I find it downright rude when someone doesn’t bother at least sending a text to confirm plans the night before.

The next morning, I was semi-freaking out. The b-word still hadn’t called me. I was up at nine-thirty and was pacing up and down my room visualizing numerous possible scenarios as to why he hadn’t called me yet. By the time it was eleven, against my better judgment, I decided to call him. No answer… Damn him! In a dramatic diva-esque moment, I decided I’d never speak to him again, with a whole Audrey Hepburn inspired ‘Just you wait Henry Higgins’ moment from My Fair Lady. By the end of my rant, he called.

Jumping towards my phone I almost scraped my knee against the bed, but answered it in my sweet-yet-demure-sexy ‘Hello’. He was groggy, which meant he was asleep hence he couldn’t answer. In my head I was all ‘Aw poor baby is working so hard’, but I still maintained my level of demure. When I asked what time we’d be meeting today, to my horror, he bailed out on me claiming he had to go to a family function this evening. Upon my asking what kind of function (I used the iciest cool tone possible while the inner me was spitting fires of rage), he informed it’s some kind of prayer ritual as a post nuptial celebration for his sister’s wedding. I can’t really put my finger on it, but there was something in his tone that was just screaming BULL SHIT! However, being the ‘lady’ that I am I was all calm and poise and smiles, and informed him that we can reschedule accordingly.

I called Wolfie immediately after and narrated the entire conversation, and he too agreed that the whole post nuptial ritual thing was a big excuse. And even if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t have taken him more than two minutes to send me a text or whatever, despite the excuse that he only found out about it late last night. Wolfie tried to remind me that this was part of the whole ‘mindfuck’ game that goes on in the dating world and that I should get over it, and despite all his wise words of both comfort and wisdom, it still hurt me.

Embittered by the entire experience, I tried to drown my sorrows with a the DVD of The King and I, later that afternoon. I don’t know if it was due to the fact that I had seen the movie countless times before, or that I had a late night with Mamma Mia, or that I got my hopes up over a total dud, but while Yul Brynner danced around the room with the fabulous Deborah Kerr, my lids began fluttering and my mouth widened as I collapsed on my arm while curled in the fetal position –my standard afternoon catnap position.

Awoken a few hours later by the trail of sleep-drool that trickled down my arm and Rihanna’s ‘Don’t Stop the Music’ blaring from my cell, I stumbled out of bed and dragged myself to where I kept my phone for charging. Answering it with a groggy, ‘Hello’, my hag hollered back at me with a bellow of concern, “ARE YOU ALRIGHT? IS EVERYTHING OKAY?”

“Huh?” I responded as I stretched my arms in a yawn followed by the standard scratching of my bum.

“Geeze, I understand you are totally clueless of the world around you, but for goodness sakes, put on a news channel for a change!”

“You know darling, this isn’t the best time to really mess with me, I’ve just been…”

All the latent sleep that was within me had now been banished. A terrorist organization known as Indian Mujahideen, had sent a mass email to every media channel across the country that nine bombs were planted in strategic locations of the city five minutes before the first one exploded in the densely populated Gafar Market, followed by two explosions in the famous Connaught Place market, which is the heart of the city, another one at the India Gate monument, and one more at Greater Kailash M-Block Market district. CP and India gate were barely a 10 minute drive from where I stay. It is reported that more than 30 people were killed with over a 100 injured badly.

The news channels were flooded with images of charred and rotting corpses on the streets, as well as, people sobbing at the shock of witnessing such a terrible tragedy, and having lost their friends and loved ones. Reporters were trying to make sense of what was going on, as every minute there would be all sorts of random updates. Especially since there were still four live and unexploded shells hidden somewhere within the city.

I was ever so thankful that none of my friends and loved ones were hurt in any which way by the explosions, but the site of all those corpses, and all those people on the street, lying injured and helpless, and all those crying out loud with agony over the loss of their loved ones. It was a tragic, and in a way, a humbling experience for me.

Luckily, the authorities managed to discover the remaining four unexploded shells and diffused them successfully.

Let us take a moment of silence to acknowledge this incident and pray that justice is served and that all those who have been affected by this tragedy are able to recover and heal and move on with their lives successfully.

(Moment of silence)

On Sunday, I woke up relatively late and was still feeling bruised about being stood up by Kapil in such a manner. I guess it had been so long since I finally had such great mental chemistry with someone, even over the phone, that I made the seemingly cardinal mistake of letting my guard down and developing feelings of some sort for him. I couldn’t understand that why would he spend all those hours on the phone with me and lead me on in such a manner, if he truly wasn’t interested in me to begin with? Was it some sort of twisted way of trying gaining a ‘one-up’ over me in a lame jr.high-style power-game? Was he just bored that he decided to kill sometime and talk with a random stranger just until something better came along? Or was he just like a typical Delhi male and just interested in a quick lay and then got cold feet when he realized that I wasn’t the kind of guy who would just hump anything that came my way? I began replaying all our phone conversations within my head, pacing up and down my bedroom, in the hope of finding some possibly logical reason for such behavior. Then all of a sudden, I remembered the immortal words uttered by Jack Berger from Sex and the City –

“He’s just not that into you!”

At first it did calm me down, only to later bring out to later bring out the waterworks as I just realized that I got hung up over a guy who I had not even met in person, but was also not that into me! Considering I am still a little fragile when it came to my issues with my body and the way I appear, it just wounded my ego all the more. Seriously, could I be a bigger schmuck?

Before I could further wallow in self-pity, my student called to inform me that he would be arriving about fifteen minutes late for his class, causing me to realize I had wasted my entire morning just obsessing over lame-ass Kapil. Showering and changing at hetero-male speed, I had my breakfast and prepared myself for the tarot class that I teach. Upon his arrival, my student who had been with me for about two months, brought over a box of imported chocolates as a token of his appreciation. I was so touched by his incredibly sweet and thoughtful gesture, that as a thank you, I gave him a lil Oracle Reading before we proceeded further with class. Sometimes, when a person is so down, the slightest display of appreciation can enhance their mood dramatically. We had a wonderful class where we sat and joked a lot, while at the same time, I got him to open his mind and expand his intuitive abilities with some fun yet very helpful exercises.

Afterwards, I began watching the DVD of Hairspray, and began singing along with Tracy Turnblad and the entire wacky cast. All was well and good, till she began to sing, ‘I Can Hear the Bells’. This is actually my favorite song in the movie, however, it began reminding me of how I got so hung up over Kapil, that it stirred up all those pathetic feelings within me. The worst part was, the box of chocolates that my student had gifted me were smack in front of me. I know emotional eating is a bad thing, and since I’m losing weight, it’s the worst thing to possibly ever do. And in two years of following my nutritional plan, not once did I allow myself to cheat on my diet, except on the designated day of the month where I was allowed to. But the box was right there, and they were delicious coconut and caramel filled chocolates with all their cocoa goodness! Before I knew it, I had swiped three and stuffed them in my mouth simultaneously.

Shocked and appalled by what I did, I immediately grabbed the box and gave it to my maid, instructing her to hide it in a place where I could never find it, and ran over to my phone and called Wolfie, telling him that I simply HAD to meet him, especially after how I pathetically caved in. The minute I got off the phone, I rushed over to my bathroom and gargled with hot saline water, trying to get the chocolate taste out of my mouth, followed by a long self-imposed scolding, telling myself that no man in this world is worth getting blue and comfort eating over!

Meeting Wolfie later that evening was just what I needed. It got me outta my house and the fresh air really did help clear my mind. We went to a nearby CCD outlet, which to our surprise was virtually empty. I guess people were still freaked by the bomb incident that they were scared to leave the comfort and security of their houses to risk going to crowded market places. Nevertheless, we sat in a plush comfy corner where he began reassuring me that Kapil was a complete and total prick, and that I was way cuter and definitely deserved better than him. It took a while, but finally, he convinced me that I really was better off, and that he was really just another ‘game playing’ wanker. I was still disheartened over the fact that someone would really stoop so low to playing such twisted games just for some kick or the other. Then again, The Bull was like that, and the games he played were worse.

After more consoling, followed by lots and lots of therapeutic bitching, we both left the CCD outlet with bright smiles and giggles and headed back to our respective homes. I caught up with my weekly indulgence of Desperate Housewives, and finished off the DVD of Hairspray, feeling all the more empowered watching Tracy Turnblad kick Amber’s snooty ass in ‘You Can’t Stop the Beat’. Nothing really can kick a my mood up better than a fun musical song and dance number. Dancing and bitching are seriously the best form of therapy. As well as, belting out your feelings in the form of a fabulous song.

The next day, feeling all the more upbeat and fabulous, my hag called me, informing me that she was ditching her work early in the afternoon to meet me. Apparently since her boyfriend had moved to the States, she was feeling the pinch long-distance-relationships bring along with them in a big way. She came over and over hugs and sugar-free lemonade, she poured her heart and ranted all about him not calling her despite having all the free time in the world. I guess it’s all kinds of men, gay and straight, that just love playing power-games of not calling.

Without a moment of hesitation, we got into my car and headed towards Saket for the 7:10 show of Mamma Mia. A once super crowded market where finding a parking space is a nightmare, Saket was virtually empty. I guess people were still freaked out about the entire bombing incident. On the plus side, we easily got tickets, and once again, our hall was virtually empty, giving us all the liberty to sing and dance with the cast of the movie and the fabulous ABBA numbers.

And that was my superfun fabulous Mamma Mia ‘Dhamaka’ weekend!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Delhi - A Lonely Place for the Gay

A city of more than three hundred thousand inhabitants, the city of New Delhi is a vast ever-growing city where the cogs of progress and real estate development churn at superhuman speeds. With the boom of industry and the economy rising at rates that make the powerhouse nations of the west quiver, more and more people flock to the city in the search of opportunity, and to be part of the New Delhi dream – earn a handsome six-figure income, drive a flashy car with an impressive subwoofer speaker system to make up for pint-sized gentiles, dine at classy eateries where they spend a fortune on excessively marked up food while making an ass of themselves by trying to sound ‘high-class’ by ordering “champagne on the rocks”, and finally, drop top dollar (or should I say rupee) on a swanky house in the super posh South Delhi districts (or in the water-sparse concrete jungle NCR regions). And yet it can be such a lonely place, especially for those folk who live on the queer side of the rainbow.

At first, I used to feel that I’m just overreacting, and that the city of New Delhi was full of like-minded gay men who see there’s more to life than scoring a quick-fuck off the internet. For a lot of time, I did my best to believe in it. However, in the time that I’ve spent within the gay world of New Delhi, I’ve realized that the further one searches for a special someone, the lonelier they end up feeling. And it’s not just about meeting nice guys, because despite the numerous disappointments, I have come across a few genuinely nice people (who are indeed a rare commodity), but it’s more about finding people who can really become a part of our lives in a whole complete manner.

The first thing that presents itself as an obstacle to finding such people is the whole issue of “coming out”. A country, let alone a city, that has leaped the bounds of progress ever since we gained independence from the British colonizers more than sixty-years ago, still holds on to attitudes towards homosexuality that have solely been ingrained into our minds by the foreign invaders and the times in which they invaded (and proof can be seen in an old Victorian law stated in Sec-377 of our constitution). Hence majority of us still remain in the closet, and hence limit our gay lives to the sleazy pick up lines of the next horny wanker online. Being closeted also prevents one from having a proper relationship with another gay man, as one wouldn’t be able to openly declare their love for someone, nor even be able to hold hands while walking in public without being too paranoid about “what will people think?” Those who believe being in a relationship means having someone to screw on a regular basis in discrete places (such as parking lots of malls, or dark deserted gardens at night) or whenever they have a ‘place’ to themselves, are seriously delusional. Unfortunately, that’s the definition of a ‘relationship’ for almost the entire gay scene of the city – which is unfortunately filled with closet-cases.

Then comes to the ‘cultural’ factor of the gay populous – they simply aren’t cultured. True, the term ‘culture’ is subject to perception, however, this is the same city where someone actually said, “I can’t stand the ballet – I see no point in watching fat women scream in Italian”. Gay culture is severely lacking within the gay folk of this city. Very rare would one find someone who knows the difference between Patti LuPone and Patti LaBelle, Joan Collins and Joan Crawford, or even Stephen Sondheim and Stephen Schwartz. In fact, if one has even heard of them is an achievement on its own. Being brought up to believe Bollywood with its cheap knock-off plot lines and gaudy song-and-dance numbers to be the be-all-and-end-all of culture, they’re alienated from some of the more ‘finer things’ of gay culture. A minute percent has ever been able to see gaylicious movies such as Sound of Music, West Side Story, Singing in the Rain, Funny Girl, or even the camp classics like Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar, and even The Birdcage (although I prefer La Cage aux folles). Their idea of a gay movie is solely restricted to the direct to DVD releases from production companies like Falcon and Bel Ami.

The idea of a gay icon for them is someone like Whoriah Scarey, or Senile Die-on, or Hennifer Ho-pez, and even Shitney Beers – although Madonna is someone well loved, but barely known among the gay folk here. What about Barbra Streisand? Where are the lovers of Liza? Judy Garland anyone? (although ask someone if they’ve seen The Wizard of Oz or Meet Me in St.Louis, and they’ll look at you as if you’ve spoken an ancient alien dialect). Bernadette Peters, Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor (‘I will survive’), Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman), Bette Midler, Lana Turner, Bette Davis, Debbie Reynolds, Julie Andrews, Audrey Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, Madeline Kahn, Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, CHER?!?! Seriously, how can anyone claim to be gay without knowing and loving these lovely ladies of gay-icon-dom! But then again, majority of the denizens don’t even claim to be gay due to their closet-status. Hell, they call themselves ‘bisexual’ despite almost never having sex with a woman!

Plus the people of Delhi tend to take a judgmental turn on things without even knowing anything about them to begin with. One such person claimed to hate Barbra Streisand because he hated the shape of her nose without even watching a single movie or hearing a single song of hers. It was only after Jordan Sparks performed “Woman in Love” on American Idol, did he limewire the song to discover Barbra sung the original. He ended up eating his words after melting at the sound of her voice and ordered Prince of Tides, The Way We Were, and Funny Girl on DVD. Another person claimed to hate Broadway musicals because he felt all they did was scream and shout and jump around. After I played a youtube clip of the Broadway smash hit Wicked, did he become an instant lover of all things Broadway! A third claimed classical music was only for losers stuck in time till he sobbed to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet suite. Then again, the average gay man in this city thinks gay music are Bollywood ‘Item Numbers’ such as Beedi Jalayle and Dard-e-disco.

And speaking of Disco, let’s look at the options for Gay nightlife within the city. There is the infamous ‘Pearls n Petals’ that has been mentioned in depth in the very first blog post made here (My First Date), which has the same amount of class and sophistication as a truck stop in Manesar. A McDonald’s franchise is classier, with better looking patrons! Then there is the once-a-month Salvastion Star party that is held at a ‘secret location’, where the cover charge is excessive like the price of the bad quality drinks, and it is only open for barely three hours. The music played in both the places is sleazy Bollywood trash, the kind cab and auto-rickshaw (‘tuk-tuk’) drivers love blaring from their cheap stereo systems, and it’s not really the kind of place one would expect to meet someone soigné (if you have no idea what that means, it clearly shows where you stand). When I crib about this to others, claiming that I wish I could go dancing somewhere that plays good music, they ask, why not go to a straight club. I would, however the ones that play decent music are exceptionally few, and they have a strange rule known as ‘couple entry’. So hence if I ever feel like dancing to good music, I’m stuck to the privacy of my bedroom shaking my booty to Madonna’s ‘Give it 2 Me’. It’s the only place I can dance like a pussy-cat doll without worrying about either being groped by a slimey ‘uncle-ji’ or asked by a straight club in broken English that one can only dance on the main dance floor with a ‘female partner’.

Okay, so maybe night clubs and bars aren’t the best places to meet men of exalted quality, but where does one go? There are no museums worth going as they can’t really hold a candle to the Louvre, or the Met. The theater culture here is depressing – don’t expect Broadway extravaganza’s to be performed here. Opera and ballets are virtually non-existent – except for the rare times they have government sponsored shows at Sri Fort Auditorium, where the troupes that arrive are never really the kind one would ‘pay’ to see anywhere else. There are a few small activism groups out here, but they have this whole sort of ‘elitist’ complex where they think non-members are below them, so no point trying to join them unless and of course you have connections, or are willing to throw in a ton of cash.

So with a lack of ‘culture’ and a lack of watering holes to meet and greet, one might rationalize that perhaps one should look beyond that and search for someone who can make you laugh with their witty conversational skills. In this city, especially in the gay scene, finding someone who can carry of a conversation beyond ‘asl’ and ‘top, bot, or vers?’ is indeed a rare feat. If one does find someone willing to make pleasant conversation, it usually revolves around some sexual fetish of sorts, how much money the other makes, what part of the city they live in (that’s a whole different sort of class-disparity again), cock size and other measurements, Bollywood gossip, who slept with whom, and whether they spit or swallow. I remember this one time I went on a coffee date with someone who claimed he wanted to know me on a deeper soulful level, only to discover that he had no hobbies, no passions, no dreams, just a never-ending thirst to ‘stuff every hole I can find with my big 7in dick’. And those who do go beyond that, it’s almost hard to have a conversation with them as they’ve either never read any piece of literature that wasn’t enforced upon them by their schools, nor are they aware of anything remotely ‘cultural’ to discuss, except lame TV shows like FRIENDS (I prefer Will & Grace, better humor and wittier dialogue, and doesn’t revolve around corny cliché’s).

Now some of you might think that I’m just being too big a snob with too many expectations that are quite unrealistic, especially in a city like New Delhi, where the idea of being classy means being a slave to labels. However, at the end of the day, is it really too much to ask for a likeminded soul (who just happens to be cute to look at as well?)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Falling in Love with a Teacher: An Ode to Brother Patrick

September 5th is one day that holds a special place in my heart. Throughout the country, this day is celebrated as ‘Teachers Day’ – a day to honor all teachers. This day was created by our second president, S.Radhakrishnan, who was also an academic philosopher (and probably an anal nit-picky Virgo).

To be honest, I never really got along with most of my teachers. Who could blame me? I was always stuck with teachers who were either menopausal and took out their frustrations of their lost youth over young impressionable children; or with aging man-hating spinsters (*cough-cough-closest dykes-cough-cough*) who went all fem-a-nazi on us. The fact that I spent majority of my educational years in all-boys-catholic-school just made matters worse for me. Now some of you might think a gay twinkling schoolboy like me would have enjoyed being surrounded by all that budding testosterone. True, I would have enjoyed that, but my fellow classmates were ug-um-let’s just say they ‘offended my lady-like sensibilities’.

However, there was one teacher who made all those years of school worthwhile – Brother Patrick. An Irish catholic priest who came all the way from Belfast, Brother Patrick was like one of heaven’s angels who had descended upon earth to make my sixth grade year the best school year of my life. A thick tuft of ebony hair and sparkling eyes that resembled the lush Irish countryside, he made my heart flutter each time he passed by our school corridors. He first came to our school when I was in the fourth grade and since then I had developed one of the biggest crushes on him ever. Some of you might think that might have been a bit too early to develop a crush – even a gay crush, but I’ve always known I was gay since a really long time (since I was 5 actually and saw Madonna’s Like a Prayer video – long story). When I discovered that he would be assigned to teach our class in the sixth grade, my heart did a triple somersault leap into the air.

Usually I would always sit in the last two rows of my classroom, spending all my day doodling images of my favorite cartoon show Jem and the Holograms (the most gaylicious cartoon ever), however, for the sake of Brother Patrick, I sat in the front row smack in front of the teacher’s desk, where I could get the best view of him. Although his dreamy Irish accent made it a bit hard for me to focus on his class, as I’d be swooning with delight on the inside, his was the only class I paid attention in – a bit too much attention actually. While others would probably just hear his lecture, or laugh at the odd joke here or there (he had a darling sense of humor), I would notice the way his lips moved as he rolled his R’s or pursed his P’s. I’d love how the tip of his tongue would thrust against his front teeth for the T’s, and how his tongue would roll at the L’s. Needless to say I was thinking of better things he could do with his tongue.

It was a challenge though, as he taught a subject I used to abhor – science. The science teacher’s I’ve had almost all my school-life were boring mindless drones that resembled extra’s from Night of the Living Dead. However, Brother Patrick sparked a sudden passion within me for science. True, it died down after the sixth grade, but while it burned within me, it was a bright flame, that was partially fueled by the massive crush I had on him. He was such an entertaining teacher. He would make us sing formulae for elements and equations to help us remember them. He would play games in the form of Pictionary or Charades in order to make learning more interactive. There would be little skits where we would demonstrate the laws of physics in practical day-to-day life. And we’d have such great projects that made doing homework so much fun. And even though I was endlessly teased about it, I really was the teacher’s pet in his class. I would always be the first to raise my hand for a question – even if I didn’t know the answer, just hearing him call out my name would make me blush like a ripe tomato. Lucky for me, I was a good guesser, so managed to get almost all the questions correct, and was always rewarded by a friendly pat on my back – which totally sent shivers down my spine.

Sometimes just for the sake of livening things up, Brother Patrick would take us outside the classroom, and out to the playground, where he’d make us do crazy fun stuff to teach us. We would have swinging contests (I’d always win them) to learn about oscillation. We’d use the see-saw to learn about the lever (effort, fulcrum, and load). We’d whirl around like dervishes and fall onto the ground in order to learn how to feel our heartbeat rise and then fall eventually. We had a pet caterpillar that was kept in a large glass case in our classroom, where we’d watch it eventually spin its cocoon, and later turn into a butterfly. When Brother Patrick tried to release it, the butterfly fluttered gently away, but then returned to rest upon his shoulder. The entire class laughed, but I could tell the butterfly did that because it could sense he had a good soul.

During PTA meetings, I would so drag my parents only to meet him. Unlike the other teachers, who would constantly complain that I sit ‘lost’ in their classes and keep doodling in my notebook, Brother Patrick would always say I was a ‘fine young lad with a brilliant mind’. On the outside I smiled brightly with my chest swollen with pride. On the inside, I was like Tracy Turnblad from Hairspray the Musical, singing “I Can Hear the Bells”.

For some reason, I felt deep down inside, Brother Patrick was gay. Although he never made any clear indication of it, he did leave subtle signs of it that I with my highly attuned ‘gaydar’ seemed to pick up quite easily. For instance, the extracurricular activity he was assigned with was Drama and Theater, and since the time he first joined us, he would choose the gayest musicals ever to be performed. First it was Cats, which solely comprised of the cast dressed up in cat-suits and prancing around stage belting power ballads. Then it was The Wiz, a modern day updated version of the Wizard of OZ, the gayest tale ever! And with me, it was Joseph and his Technicolor Coat, a musical where Joseph was gifted a fabulous sparkling rainbow coat by his father, and his brothers got so jealous that they beat him up for it. The only kind of men that I know of, who would beat someone up for a sparkling rainbow coat, are evil drag queens from the lower-east side of New York.

Perhaps it was just my imagination, but I felt he had a little skip in his walk that might have also indicated him being gay. After all, his pleated white robes did resemble a long skirt at times, especially when he’d run across the corridors (something the other teachers and Brothers’ frowned upon) to get to his various classes. Sometimes I wondered what he would wear under his robes, because sometimes one could get a clear outline of his rather sculpted butt when he would bend over to pick up a pencil (kinda like the “Bend and Snap” from Legally Blonde).

The best was during the Christmas pageant. Our class had to re-enact the birth of Christ, and I played the Virgin Mary – could I be gayer? Backstage I was totally psyched up. Not only was I playing the role of the Virgin Mary (or as the Italians call her – Madonna), but I got a chance to wear a fabulous wig, with full makeup, and a stunning white gown with pantyhose and silver pumps, and not risk getting beaten up. Brother Patrick was in charge of costumes, and he claimed he made a special effort for mine, and he personally helped me put on my lipstick. Once applied, he made me purse my lips upon a tissue paper to prevent blotchiness, and then made me look in the mirror and whispered in my ear, “You look smashing darling, blow a kiss because you look lovely”. If that’s not gay, I don’t know what is?

During the Teacher’s Day celebrations at school, we would have a special assembly where the students would perform something to honor the teachers. Although such things were usually done by the senior classes, I pulled some strings (i.e. threw a sobbing diva fit) and got our class to perform something special for Brother Patrick – a rendition of “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”. By the end of it, he had tears in his warm kind eyes.

Afterwards, I stayed back after school to help with clearing up the assembly hall; I went over to Brother Patrick’s chambers that were located on school grounds with a special present for him. When I handed the gift-wrapped package to him, he smiled and said I shouldn’t have gone through all this trouble. Inside was a handmade card where a likeness of him was drawn as an angel, with the words, The Lord sent us an angel in the form of a teacher, Happy Teacher’s Day Brother Patrick. Along with that, there was a book of Irish poetry, and a vanilla candle that was shaped in the form of an angel. He was so overwhelmed with joy that he embraced me with a big bear hug that in my mind lasted a blissful eternity, followed by a tender kiss on my forehead, which I still remember till this day.

As the school year came to an end, I went over to Brother Patrick’s chambers to discuss something, when I happened to see him packing his things in a brown box. Upon my asking, he informed me that he was summoned to go teach children at a small village near the Himalayas where a new convent had opened. I was crushed, but it took every ounce of strength within me to smile and wish him all the best and not shed a single tear. However, I became a sobbing mess of phlegm the minute he mentioned that in all his years teaching at our school, I was one student who would always have a special place in his heart. He hugged me and calmed me down, assuring me that no matter what happens, he’ll always include me in his prayers. I mustered a smile at his gentle words of encouragement, but my heart truly was crushed at his departure.

For almost two months, I went into a period of silent melancholy. School was never the same without Brother Patrick. No longer did I have a passion for Science, let alone school in general. No longer did I sit in the front row and raise hands to answer a question. There was no point in doing so, none of the teachers could hold a candle to Brother Patrick and his beautiful presence and charmingly cute Irish accent.

I had almost lost hope, till the next September the 5th, when we had another Teacher’s Day celebration in school. Throughout the special assembly, I squatted in a quiet corner, reading one of my mom’s Mills and Boons novella (it was my idea of ‘porn’), when in the midst of it all, a special announcement was being made by a familiar voice. It was Brother Patrick! He was invited to be the special guest at this year’s celebration. My heartbeat began to resemble a dribbling basketball being pounded against my chest as I tossed away the novella and sat in attention, looking at his beautiful presence up on stage. He spoke about what it meant to be a teacher in India, especially in our school. His accent was still charming, and his eyes still sparkled like emeralds, and his smile was still as youthful and joyous as ever. Once his speech was over, he received a thunderous applause – he had charmed all teachers and all students under him, especially lil ol moi.

Once the celebrations were over, he was surrounded by a hoard of students clamoring for his attention. He was kind and courteous to all. When he saw me in the crowd, he told me to meet him at the guest chambers. There, he had a special present for me, a silver crucifix pendant, which he said he prayed with to give blessings to me. I was so touched that I hugged him in a heartbeat with tears spilling out from my eyes.

I never heard from Brother Patrick after that day. Rumor had it that he was now travelling through convents in South East Asia, teaching underprivileged children and performing acts of Christian charity throughout. Sometimes he visits me in my dreams, where we’d have long jovial jaunts in the lush Irish countryside, indulging in delicious pies and goblets of Baileys. Sometimes I wonder how I would have turned out had Brother Patrick continued to teach us at school. Maybe I could have been a scientific scholar, maybe I could have been an honor student. Hell, for him, I would have even converted to Catholicism and taken a vow of priesthood, just to be close to him. But then again, maybe fate had only wanted us to spend a year together and learn whatever lessons we had to from each other.

Here are the lyrics to the song ‘For Good’ from the musical Wicked, a song that best can represent the bond between the two of us.

I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you...

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend...

Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you

Because I knew you

I have been changed for good

And just to clear the air
I ask forgiveness
For the things I've done you blame me for

But then, I guess we know
There's blame to share

And none of it seems to matter anymore

Like a comet pulled from orbit (Like a ship blown from its mooring)
As it passes a sun (By a wind off the sea)
Like a stream that meets a boulder (Like a seed dropped by a bird in the wood)
Halfway through the wood

Who can say if I've been
Changed for the better?
I do believe I have been
Changed for the better

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Nipple Pinching Flight Attendant

Being a flight attendant is like a dream job for many gay men. You get to travel all over the world wearing uniforms that make you look cute and adorable, with free hotel stay as well. You get to meet and greet all sorts of people – from celebrities and big power players in first class, to the suburban middle-class ruffians in economy. You get paid to smile, to look young, and keep fit – what gay man wouldn’t just love to be paid for that? And the best part is – you can also become a regular patron to the infamous ‘mile-high club’ (if you have no idea what that means, you so need to get out a little more often).

One of the things that I love about most flight attendants, at least the ones that lived in my fantasy world, is that they have a sense of poise and graceful charm about themselves that very few ‘civilians’ tend to possess. In fact, many people in the hospitality industry in total give the impression of being well-groomed and well-read and having quite a culturally enriched upbringing. With their knowledge of the way different cultures mesh with each other, and their ability to know when to bow before a Japanese businessman, and how Italians view cheese in a different manner than the French, one might think they stand in the same ranks of many cultural anthropologists.

That would have been true in cases of swanky airlines with attendants that have grown up in more gay-friendly and well-cultured environments. The Indian gay flight attendants, especially the ones raised in New Delhi, the city where people consider being ‘greasy’ as someone who applied too much hair gel, are a different story all together.

One such person is Rajiv, whose name has been changed for the purpose of this story.
What I liked about the way Rajiv approached me on gaydar was the way he used a mild casually flirty opening message, without sounding too corny or too cheesy. A rare feat indeed!

After a few messages online, we graduated onto yahoo, where our banter took a mild, yet cheeky, flirtatious turn. Unlike most of the men that one would chat with online, he had a rare quality that charmed me a whole lot – he made me laugh. And not just in the friendly ‘lol’ manner. I was laughing to the point that I spat on my monitor. Okay, I know that’s gross, but still, any man that can make a person laugh like that has got to be witty. Then again, it was 2 am and I was having a bout of insomnia, I could have just been an easy mark.

He was cute, but not in accordance to my extremely high standards (which leads me to be super-critical of myself), but more in the average Delhi-gay standards. He was reasonably tall (180 cms), light skin with blue-ish eyes (I prefer a golden tan with hazel or green eyes, but Delhi-ites have an obsession for all things ‘Gora’). He wasn’t well built, more of the naturally slender kind who don’t really need to work out and yet never really skinny nor fat, just slender (yes, I was jealous of that fact – why does god have to be so mean and give me cellulite!) What I liked was that none of the pics were too “posed” nor looked like they underwent a digital autopsy via Photoshop. Plus, he had that cute naughty schoolboy grin that no matter how hard he tried couldn’t mask the mischief going on in his mind.

The next night we chatted over the phone, and unlike most conversations that revolve around a third degree slew of questioning, we chatted about random things and made seemingly boring topics to stimulating battles of wits. From the exceedingly materialistic and spiritually shallow upbringing of majority of Delhi children, to how Delhi girls have no idea how to dress (that shall be a topic reserved for another blog). However, despite the seemingly casual breezy conversation, something about him just didn’t go well. My spidey-senses were tingling, and not in a good way.

When he asked me where I lived, I mentioned that I lived near a rather upscale part of town. Usually I would get a response like, “Ah okay, cool… I live in so-and-so place” and then the subject would change accordingly. I didn’t really expect the following – “Ooooo someone has grown up in the lap of luxury!”

I wasn’t really offended by that remark, although it did make me wonder where on earth he got off making a comment like that. For the curious reader, I’ve not lived in the lap of luxury, nor had a silver spoon in my mouth (or elsewhere). I just have good tastes and am well-read, and know enough about good manners to know that it’s very improper and downright rude to discuss things like wealth or similar with a complete stranger. In fact, even with friends it’s bad to talk about money. Doing so gives the impression your parents raised you to have a soul-less existence.

However, not wanting to be labeled judgmental, I ignored that remark and tried to change the topic with a quip about the latest season of Nip/Tuck. Unfortunately, Rajiv wouldn’t take a hint. He went on and on asking questions that I personally find quite offensive. How much do I earn? What all cars do I have? Do I only wear labels? So on and so forth. Finally I faked a yawn and informed him I needed my beauty-sleep in order to wake up fresh and early for Yoga. He ended the conversation with a tarty jab about sleeping on silk sheets.

Another thing that irked me about him was that he always tried to portray me as some kind of Casanova that juggled men. At first it does seem flattering, but then he just would go on and on and on without known when enough was enough. For instance, one Monday morning, he asked me what I was up to, to which I replied jokingly that I was trying to adjust to the drudgery of the week ahead. He then went, I see and you’re adjusting your appointment book. I replied, as a matter of fact, yes. And he went, I see, so it’s Tom at 10 am, Dick at 1, and Harry at 3, when is the time for me? Arching a quizzical brow I replied, “Darling do you really think I’d just bed any Tom Dick or Harry?” in the hope of diffusing the moment. He then went on about how I probably have men around the clock chasing me, and then more quips about the area I live in.

Perplexed, I decided to call Wolfie, the only gay man I can trust to listen to my tales-of-woe in the dating world and give me a complete and honest feedback.

“YOU’RE DATING RAJIV!!!” the ever-blunt Wolfie bellowed.

“No, I’m not ‘dating’ him! I’ve not even met him. Although he’s been pushing to meet me so much” Which was true, he had asked me to meet him in person over 5 times already, and it hadn’t even been a week of chatting over the phone. Not that I wouldn’t have accepted, but he kept insisting to meet at the drop of the hat. For those who wonder why that’s a problem, read parts one and two of The Art of Dating.

“Did he ask you to drive to some weird far off place?” Wolfie questioned.

“Why yes, in fact he wanted me to drive up to Sarita Vihar of all places! I never even knew such a place existed until I checked with Yahoo Maps. ” My geographical skills are exceedingly poor.

“That’s because the bastard is too cheap to go anywhere else. He lives near that area and only goes to places close by, or where his office cab can take him to if on the way to the airport. Plus the guy is a total pretender!”

“He is? Do you know him?” Of course he would know him, Wolfie knows virtually everyone in the gay scene. Aquarians – they sure do get around.

Wolfie went on to tell me about his date with Rajiv. He too was charmed by Rajiv’s wit and his calm relaxed and non-intimidating style of flirting. He too was pestered to meet him as well. On the eleventh time, Wolfie was free to meet him, and so they met up at a café near Deer park.

Once there, the first thing Rajiv did was comment about Wolfie’s weight. Like me, wolfie is a bit on the heavier side, and hence we both share a common bond of working our butts off to be thin – him by means of killing himself on a treadmill and home-weights, and me by a macrobiotic diet and yoga (so Madonna-chic I am). Wolfie was taken aback by Rajiv’s blunt comment, and said nothing, only to be shocked when Rajiv commented, “Lose 10 kilos more and you’ll look presentable enough.” Bastard!

Throughout the evening, Rajiv kept eyeing Wolfie in the creepiest manner. And anytime Wolfie mentioned anything seemingly innocent, Rajiv would perversify it and make it sound crude (come would become cum, peanuts would not be something that is edible, and let’s not get started on what all he did with ‘cream’). By the end of the evening, Wolfie didn’t just feel bad about himself and his issues with his body, but was completely offended in more ways than one. And the fact that Rajiv’s baby blue eyes had their mischevious sparkle replaced by a lecherous glaze didn’t help at all.

Just as he thought the worst was over, Rajiv walked Wolfie to the parking lot, where in broad daylight reached out and pinched his nipples. When he let out a tearful yelp, Rajiv pinched the other one. “What the fuck are you doing?” snapped Wolfie, covering his chest with his arms as if he was a woman in a bad b-grade Bollywood movie rape scene. Rajiv replied that he was so turned on by Wolfie’s nipples that he couldn’t help but sneak a pinch. Before Wolfie could reply, Rajiv went, “Gosh I so wanna fuck you in the ass, let’s get inside the backseat of your car and steam things up.”

Without a second thought Wolfie pushed him aside and drove off like a screaming fairy on the last day of a shoe sale. I’m glad Wolfie didn’t give in. It was a shitty thing to do. Make someone feel selfconscious and then shamelessly hit on them. It’s just making someone feel vulnerable and then take advantage of them when their defenses are low. Such moves are often made by date-rapists, child molesters, and sleazy casting-couch agents taking nightly auditions. To top it off, Rajiv continued to call Wolfie, begging for a hook up. It took three weeks to get him to stop doing so.

The minute I got off the phone with Wolfie, I deleted Rajiv’s number from my cellphone. He still calls. He still leaves text messages. Too bad they get deleted without being opened.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Art of Dating - Part 2: The First Date

So, you finally managed to score a date with that hot guy from the online sites. Now is time for Act II in the courting ritual of the classy gay man – The first date. Not many people know this, but the first date is an extremely important event in the dating world, because if the first date is a total bust, forget about ever meeting the hot guy again. If he does agree to meet you despite a tragic first date, he’s either completely desperate and has low self esteem issues, or he finds you amusing and adorable at your worst. The second is highly unlikely, so don’t even bother counting on it to ever occur.

Before you ask someone out, it’s essential to at least have some chemistry online. True, one can’t really judge a person online; however, if you two can’t even click despite the apparent anonymity and the security of being shielded by computers and digital technology, it’s very unlikely that you two would click offline. It’s one of those things that even though may make you sound judgmental, almost always holds true - just like being bad on the dance floor equals being bad in bed. Although, I have been on first dates with people I’ve had barely any online interaction and they’ve turned out to be wonderful, however, they rarely make it past the first few dates, and it just leaves you disappointed that you wasted time over nothing.

Planning the First Date

Once you’ve discovered the two of you have good chemistry online and you do like them for their personality as well, it’s time to plan the first date. Now exchanging numbers is an iffy area because in the world of online dating – especially in the gay world – privacy is almost always an issue. If one of you isn’t comfortable exchanging numbers before meeting, it’s best to plan the date via chats and/or email. The pro – you can maintain privacy, and if the date doesn’t go so well, you breathe a sigh of relief that you are in no danger of being called again. The con – anything online loses the personal touch, and in case something happens last minute, you can’t call of the date without making the other feel stood up.

If you do decide to exchange numbers, it’s the initiator who makes the first call to plan the date. Keep the conversation light and casual, and for heaven’s sake, please keep the conversation on a PG-13 level. Anything more explicit than that just ruins any chance of having a romantic spark ever. Mild flirtation is always appreciated, but make sure it’s at the right time and the other person is clever enough to know the difference between a casual flirty compliment and a come-hitter-pick-up-line (and make sure you know the difference as well).

When to fix a date? Well, this is the tricky part. In a perfect world, the best first date is held sometime in the late afternoon/early evening on a Friday – the day of Venus, the goddess of love and all that jazz. However, with the onslaught of BPO’s and brutal rat-race corporate culture, it is essential to ask about their schedules and days and times that are convenient and match it up with your schedule and fix a day of the week and time that’s good for the both of you. This way both of you can feel comfortable without feeling the need to rush for the sake of schedule. And it’s best to try for sometime between four and five in the evening. The reason why that time is good, apart from being a time one won’t feel overstuffed or have their dinner appetite ruined, is that a first date should be casual and comfortable, and hence nothing can be better than grabbing a nice cup of coffee at a coffee shop.

Never ever go to a Barista or a CCD though – going there is almost like taking someone out to McDonalds for dinner. Instead, go to a non-evil-corporate chain coffee house that has comfy seating with a soothing ambience, and big cups of coffee in order to keep conversation flowing longer. However, if you find it hard to find such a place, or too expensive (as they tend to be), then settle for Costa Coffee. True, it’s a chain, but it’s not cheesy like Barista or cheap-looking like CCD, and the coffee is absolutely delicious and cups are generously sized. I’d personally recommend trying a medio size Café Mocha with cream, and if you aren’t counting calories, sweeten it with brown sugar - it’s heaven in a cup!

Now this part is important. It is essential to keep a good amount of time between the day of planning the date, and the day of the date itself. Along with the strains of one’s schedule as mentioned above, keeping a good amount of time shows you care for the individual and respect their time and convenience. I personally say it’s best to keep at least five days of a gap – i.e. if you wish to meet on the weekend, call sometime Monday or Tuesday. If you call by Thursday to plan for a weekend date, that’s acceptable, but it kind of gives a mild hint that you had nothing better to do on the weekend and hence thought you’d just pass some time with the person you’re pursuing. If you call on a Friday or on the day you wish to meet, it clearly gives the impression you don’t really care for the person and are selfish enough to believe that anyone can abandon their plans just for the sake of meeting you. So on the safer side, keep a gap of at least five days, and on the night before, call or text to confirm it.

Appearances DO Matter

By that I don’t mean the way you look, because I’m sure by the time you’ve planned your first dates, you have exchanged pictures (real ones and clear face pics – cock picks don’t count and are a big no-no you perv) and both of you find the other reasonably decent looking to agree to meet with in person. However, the way you present yourself in real life matters a whole lot, because it’s the first impression you shall make with someone offline, and this may be a cliché, but it’s exceedingly true – a first impression is an always lasting impression.

Now the theme for the first date, as we’ve established, is casual, and comfortable. However, don’t go dressed in track-pants or Bermuda shorts and open-toe sandals; being comfortable doesn’t equal to being shabby.

Only wear a pair of jeans if you’re in your twenties (and sometimes early 30s if you’re athletic and have a cute butt), because anyone older in a pair of jeans just gives the impression you’re either trying too hard to recapture your youth, or you’re just the Indian version of a redneck farm hick. However, many Indian men tend to fall into the trap of wearing pants that are only to be worn in corporate settings and formal occasions, so to be on the safe side, go with something cool and comfortable, and linen! Whatever you wear down below, make sure it falls nicely on you, flattering your legs by making them appear long and lean, and makes your ass look nice – don’t make it look too flat or like the rear half of a Maruti Swift. Shorts of all kinds are a big no-no, and only if you have well muscled calves can you try wearing Capri-pants.

Round collared t-shirts again are to be worn only if you’re in your twenties (or early thirties if you’re fit and can carry it off). A nice collared t-shirt would look good on all ages, or even a cute lil button-down shirt would look good. However, if you’re on the heavier side and wish to mask your ‘curves’, try wearing a light colored t-shirt (round necked) with a dark colored button-down shirt on top (unbuttoned of course), that way you can easily create the illusion of not having too many ‘curves’ – although it really wouldn’t hurt to take up yoga or join a gym. If you wanna experiment a little, here’s something a friend tried and looked really cute in. Take a light colored button-down shirt (full sleeved) and pair it up with a dark waist-coat of an intricate design. However, make sure you can carry it off well.

Never ever wear those big bulky sport shoes! And the same goes for open-toed sandals. Wear shoes that flatter your attire, and complement your personality. Boots are only to be worn if they are chic, not the cowboy nor the transvestite pole-dancer variety. I personally love my Converses, they are comfy enough to walk around all over and shop all day in, and trendy enough to wear almost anywhere. A good rule of thumb is that your belt and your shoes should be coordinated. It’s the cardinal rule of accessorizing.

Always shampoo and condition your hair on the day of the date. I don’t care if you use any other product (such as gel, hairspray, mousse, wax, etc); just make sure your hair looks neat and presentable. My grandmother once said that you can tell a whole lot about a person by the shoes they wear and the way they keep their hair. Trust me, it always holds true!
To those who complain and crib about getting pretty for a date think about this – would you like it if your date came as a total slob?

The Date Itself

Once the date is planned, and you’re done making yourself look pretty. It’s time for the date itself. Arrive at your meeting point at least fifteen minutes before the due time. That way you can grab a nice table and avoid having to stand and wait. Plus, punctuality is a virtue that’s rarely put into play by the average Delhi-ite, and having to wait for someone is my personal peeve, so arriving early will make a good impression on your date. However, if someone is more than 20 minutes late, that person doesn’t deserve your time.

When your date arrives, smile and wave him over in a friendly yet subtle manner (you don’t wanna look like a kid waving at Donald Duck in the Disney Land parade). If you really like him, head over and personally escort him to where you’re sitting, and pull the chair out for him – being a gentleman is always a good thing. And pay him a compliment once you’re both seated, but make sure its genuine and heartfelt and about something you do really like about the way he looks at the date, men too like to be adored you know.

If the coffee shop is the kind where you’ve got to go up to a counter and order, a good way of making an impression is to ask your date if you can get him anything. Usually men already have their favorite style of coffee (and that can even say a whole lot about their persona but more about that another time), and hence they don’t need to really hem-and-haw about it (unless they’re a fickle Libra or a nitpicky Virgo). This way you can sashay up to the counter and order it for them on their behalf. A man that takes charge of any situation is a big turn on. Unless of course your date suffers from Florence Nightingale syndrome (or as my best friend and I have termed it “Flo”), then they’ll just love a helpless mess who can’t do anything right.

If the coffee shop is the kind where waiters comes to the table then ask your date what they would like before the waiter arrives. Ordering for your date is another thing that’s charming. However, make sure you do it in a tone that’s friendly and shows that you care for your date, not in a tone that makes them feel emasculated.

Conversation is Key

This is the sole purpose of keeping the first date comfy and casual. To TALK! Get to know your date better, discover his individuality, his beliefs, and his dreams. Be a good listener and smile and nod when apt, however, don’t clam up and expect him to keep going on and on about himself (unless he’s an Aries, Gemini, Leo, or Sagittarius), take an active role when required. A good sense of humor is so important on a first date, especially a little subtle dry wit used at the right time and place - for the love of God (or Marc Vanderloo) stay away from toilet humor and crude jokes that involve cuss-words and are pornographic in nature. However, a casual flirtation is always appreciated at the right moment, and sometimes it’s fun to put a flirty spin on things. Just be sure you don’t come off too strong or too desperate.

Given below is a list of topics one should NEVER discuss while on a first date (or any date or romantic situation for that matter). If you have to ask why they shouldn’t be discussed, I strongly suggest you invest in a course or a book on manners and etiquette:

  • Sexual history and exes (lovers, partners, fuck buddies, the girl you experimented with just to be sure you were gay)
  • Religion
  • How much you hate your job (no one likes a whiner)
  • All your accomplishments (no one likes a brag)
  • Educational Qualifications (It’s a date not a freaking job interview)
  • Financial Status and Income (unless of course you wanna give the impression you’re a gold digger)
  • Future Plans
  • Medical issues
  • Celebrity gossip (do you really want to give the impression that your life revolves around E!)
  • Your mother (this goes especially to all men who are Cancerians)
  • Your secret fantasy of being a burlesque dancer a la Satine from Moulin Rogue
  • The fact that you can fit a fist in your mouth

Who pays?

Okay, we live in the twenty-first century; one should always pay for their share. However, it doesn’t hurt to be romantic and offer to pick up the check (after all, the one who asks always is supposed to pay). If your date insists on paying, try negotiating with a playful “you can get it next time”, however, if he’s still insistent, allow him to pay his half graciously. If your date doesn’t hesitate at all or expects you to pay for him, then he totally is an entitled prick! And if he doesn’t thank you afterwards, lose his number.

And I have to say this – paying for the date doesn’t guarantee sex afterwards, let alone another date.

Ending your date

If all goes well, and you two click well, offer to walk your date over to their car. Hug, and based on how comfortable and “out” the two of you are, give a mild kiss on each cheek (muah muah). I’m an old fashioned romantic, hence I believe that it’s best not to kiss deeply nor go to bed with on a first date. However, it depends form person to person – although, if you really want this to be a potential relationship, don’t shove your tongue or dick into him on your first date. Also, only say you’d call him or keep in touch with him if you intend on doing so. If you don’t, then just smile and say, it was nice meeting you, have a lovely evening ahead, and then turn and walk away. It’s that simple!

After Date Manners

Later at night, at a decent hour, send a text message stating how much you enjoyed the pleasure of his company and look forward to doing this again sometime. If he replies along the lines of wanting to meet again soon, call the next morning and plan to meet sometime again (remember the 5 day gap rule between planning a date and the date itself). Now many people feel one should wait 3 days after the first date before calling. I feel that only worked when one was living in the 1950’s with girls who wanted to grow up to be Betty Crocker. Do you wait three days before telling an employer you’re going to accept the job? No, because the job will not be available by then. The same could go with your date. So seize the opportunity and plan your second date.

And that leads us to the end of this part. Stay tuned to part 3 – The second and third date!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Art of Dating - Part 1: Making the First Move and How

Before I start this post, it is essential that we clearly define the term date, for in a city like New Delhi, where English is one of the most butchered of all languages (due to the fact the denizens so eagerly fuse it with Hindi and peasant regional lingos of their respective states), a simple term like ‘date’ can have so many misconceptions. After all, this is the very same city which says the act of asking a person out on a date is called ‘propose’ – yes, I too was shocked and appalled at this!

According to the Merriam Webster’s dictionary, a date is an appointment to meet at a specified time, especially, a social engagement between two persons that has a romantic character. This should not be confused with the term booty-call because not all dates are blatantly about cold no-strings attached sex.

Now this might be a bit of a shock to most people who read this post, but about seventy-six percent of the denizens of this city, not just the gay ones, have no clue about how to plan out a first date, let alone a second, third, or fourth. It was probably in the late eighties that the term ‘date’ began to be used in metropolitan lingo, and later on, the term spread through the masses all over. However, it clearly seems like none of them really know the etiquette involved, as well as, how to go about the entire process.

So without further delay, here is a little guide that when followed, will assure a ninety percent improvement in the success rate of your dates and your dating life in general.

Asking someone out

Knowing how to ask someone out is half the battle. Many a times people hesitate to do so and cite numerous excuses about why they do so – be it “a bottom never makes the first move” or “I prefer being asked not asking” and my favorite “it goes against my lady-like-sensibilities”. Whenever you give yourself such an excuse, it’s complete bullshit, because at the end of the day, it’s just your own low self-esteem issues and fear of rejection that prevents you from asking the perfect person out on a date. Majority of the times, people even claim to be shy, but the truth is they can’t differentiate between being shy and fearing rejection.

Now if you’re hungry, do you wait for food to magically crawl over onto your plate (unless of course you’re Korean and eat live squid)? If you’re thirsty do you wait for water to pour itself in a glass in front of you? No – you go satisfy your hunger by either preparing a meal yourself or going/ordering out, and when thirsty, you get off your lazy butt and pour yourself a glass of water. Being ‘shy’ and ‘lady-like’ doesn’t hold you back from eating when hungry and drinking when thirsty, and hence it shouldn’t really hold you back from asking the cute guy you’ve been eyeing on the gay personals site for oh so long.

What’s the worst that can happen? They say ‘no’ or don’t respond to your message? Big deal! Dating is risk. It could or it couldn’t work, but it’s a risk either way. At least when you make an attempt, you have a fifty percent greater chance of that person agreeing to go out with you, than if you don’t make an attempt due to your ‘shyness’. So next time you’re browsing through gaydar, manjam, or guys4men, or the various other sites out there, and you see the guy you fancy. Send him a message! The best guys are never single for long, hence make your move now before you regret it and live in a melancholic slump of “what if?” and “if only?”

The opening message

Now this is another essential aspect in the entire ritual of dating someone in the Delhi Gay scene, especially via online dates. Given below are a few sample messages that have been sent to me over the past few days. These messages are the kind one should NEVER send someone they are interested in. Why? Well, such messages clearly indicate the sender is socially illiterate and the lack of articulation is always related to a lack of dating and sexual etiquette. These messages are completely unedited and presented in their original form, with the exception of the telephone numbers, those for sake of privacy (and saving them the humiliation) are edited out.

Message One:

“hey mate i am 26 m 32wst 5.8ht fair good looking guy looking forno strings attached fun and more....would u be interested?”

Now such a message is a big no-no if you really wish to make a formidable impression on the guy you wish to impress. Your profile mentions your age and height, so repeating it in a message just makes it futile and repetitive. Including your waist size, and stressing that you’re ‘fair and good looking’ just shows you lack personality and have to rely on what you consider are your good-looks in order to make up for mental stimulation. Further on, make up your mind about what you’re looking for, is it “no strings attached fun” or is it “more”? Never are the two mixed, unless of course you’re looking for a ‘fuck-buddy’, in which case, it’s best to say so clearly. However, if you are really attracted to the person whom you are sending this message, by stating you’re looking for a quickie hookup goes to show that you feel you’re below the standards of the recipient and hence offer yourself like meat hanging in a butcher-shop, just for the sake of getting some kind of attention from them. Big mistake, as it will just end up eating at your own sense of self-worth, leaving you just hollow from within.

Message Two:

“m 28 5 11 sdel yahoo id is indieuswrld”

What’s the matter? Don’t think the recipient is worthy a basic, “Hi” or a “Hello” or even a friendly, “Hey There”? Is that the impression you wish to give? And to top it off, you’re giving your messenger ID away to a complete stranger. For all you know, the recipient might just send spam your way and clog up your inbox with viruses and spyware. If you wish to take it further to your respective chat programs, wait until a ‘third’ message is exchanged from both parties, that way it shows that the other is interested in you. And never presume the other person is on the same chat program you’re on. For all you know, he might just be on MSN. So always politely ask them if they’d like to chat with you online first, and then ask them for their respective chat ID, that way it shows you care.

Message Three:

“Hi dudie..wats up...ths s mukul in gurgaon...29..slim fair hairless body ...lets talk ovr the ph thr text msgs...or I can call u if u wan...my no 981012345....nt looking for life time relation,,,but a great frndshp...for quiet a gud time...thx”

First of all, if you type out a message, make sure you know how to spell and know the basic rules of grammar; messages like this only give the impression of poor grooming and a rather shoddy educational upbringing. Secondly, when specifying where you live, it’s always “from” not “in” a particular place. Thirdly, by saying you have a “slim fair hairless body” just gives the impression that you’re an overgrown Albino Chihuahua that lacks any depth or personality. Fourthly, an excessive use of short forms and abbreviations just shows that you’re lazy, as well as, lack the ability to construct a comprehensive sentence. Fifthly, the only kind of people who give off their numbers at first go on an online dating site are either pimps and hustlers, or the kind of person who defines their self-worth by how many hookups they’ve scored. I would only suggest the sender to get an STD check up at the earliest. Also, realize giving your number randomly over the internet can lead to numerous things, from identity theft, to having a stalker. Sixthly, such a message claims that the sender isn’t looking for a “lifetime relation but a great friendship”, I’m sorry, but I believe a great friendship is a relationship that’s supposed to last a lifetime isn’t it? Seriously, if you do not have a command over a language, use the language you’re most comfortable with. I could go on and on about this message, but I’m sure you the reader has got the point.

Message Four:

“Iam Rahul . if you intt pl call 980012345. in this time i am in c.p”

Now, we’ve already covered the perils of giving out your cell number and using abbreviations and incorrect grammar in the previous message. However, the second half of the message “In this time I am in C.P” just gives the impression that you think your time and convenience goes above that of the person you’re interested in meeting. Such a message just shows you’re selfish and shallow and lack any depth of character and personality.

Now that you have seen the kind of messages to AVOID sending, some of you might be wondering, what kind of message could you send to the man you like without coming off as a total social moron, here’s a tip – Keep it Simple!

You don’t need any fancy pick-up lines, nor do you need a long elaborate message. And for goodness sakes don’t ask a person’s ‘asl’, their age is mentioned on the profile, and on a gay site website everyone is male (barring the rare tranny in New Delhi), and asking one’s ‘location’ in the first message is just dumb, as the profile mentions it already. A simple message like, “Hi, how you doin?” can work wonders. It’s short, simple, and to the point. Another good opening message can be, “Hi there, I really liked your profile, it had a special quality about it that’s so rare to find.” However, make sure the person’s profile is actually worth the compliment for its written content, not the pics displayed upon it. Never focus primarily on a person's picture or how hot they are, that just gives the impression that you solely view them as a commodity, and let's face it, nobody wants to be treated as a commodity. We all want to feel special and appreciated, and the best way to do that is to express it through a genuine and heartfelt compliment.

And once a few messages have been exchanged, go ahead, ask them out for a cup of coffee – the ideal first date is best kept at something cool and casual like a coffee shop. But more about that in Part 2 – Planning the first date!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Hookup from Hell

It had now been three entire months since I had made my first sojourn into the gay scene. During this time, I had learned so much about the (so-called) gay culture within New Delhi that I would later learn would be essential to my survival. I learned that the term ‘straight-acting’ was almost always used synonymously with the term ‘closet-case’ by the denizens of this city. I discovered that drag-queens were treated with abhor and scorn for being true to themselves, unlike majority of the ‘bisexuals’ who chose to live in denial of who they truly were. I learned that those whose profiles that were sparse in content belonged solely to those looking for a quick lay. And those who claimed they were looking for something more than a quick lay would magically change their minds the minute they exchanged numbers with a hot guy that was well-endowed.

Things were going pleasant with The Bull. Well, at least for him things were going pleasant. At first I was thrilled to be his ‘good friend’. We would speak on the phone for hours discussing every possible subject under the sun; from my obsession with Broadway Musicals – particularly the musical Wicked – to him going commando in linen trousers as the material felt amazing on his tool. Everything was going great, till he began giving me intimate details (that being the most ‘polite’ way of putting it) about his rather active sex life. He wasn’t what one would call classically good looking. He was rather short (5’7), his body was average but far from fit (alcohol can really affect a once toned physique), and if you took a close look at his face, you’d probably be reminded of a potato. If you had to think of a celebrity look-a-like for him, it would probably be Tom Drake – who played the role of John Truett in Meet me in St.Louis. And despite all that going against him, he certainly got a whole lot of action. But then again, he was a Taurus; they’re all hung like a bull. And like Judy Garlands character in Meet me in St.Louis, Esther Smith, I too found myself oddly drawn to The Bull despite my better judgment (and no, not because of what lay between his legs).

The worst part was that he would go on about his numerous sexploits in the manner casual acquaintances would talk about the weather – frank, to the point, and without a hint of hesitation. Even if he did get the slightest thrill of bragging about them, his voice showed no such indication of it. From male models to college professors; from married men to barely legal teens; from preppie clubbers to gym bunnies, and I could go on further, but just typing all this is giving me a complex. And even though majority of the times I would feel a mixture of disgust, jealousy, and wonderment over how he never managed to get an STD, I listened to it all patiently with the calmest smile I could muster. After all, that’s what ‘good friends’ are supposed to do … right?

One afternoon, whilst in the middle of narrating another one of his McNasty tales, the bull questioned why I never shared with him any gory details about my sex-life. Well, if it was someone else, I would have just given my usual schpeel - ‘a lady never tells’, but since we were well passed the stage of conversational etiquette, I told him that I honestly couldn’t bring myself to have a one-night stand with someone. And it’s true, I had never had one. Well, there was Laurent, the French man who gave me the best four hours of my life till that time, but that’s another story for another time. The Bull guffawed and told me that there was nothing to having a one night stand, claiming it’s the best way to release pent up energy. And since both parties knew it was only for the night, there would be absolutely no strings attached, and hence it’s a total win-win situation.

Although my mind wasn’t really convinced by that, my body spoke another story. Granted, I don’t go around having sex whenever the urge comes about – Bel Ami movies always help out – but it had been a really long time since I had any kind of action, and well, the way The Bull kept going on and on about his sex life, it did get me all hot and bothered. I suppose one of the many things that did keep me from indulging in random hookups was that I still wasn’t happy about the way my body looked clothes off. True, I had managed to lose quite a bit of weight in those three months, making me look quite cute in my face-pics, but being raised in a very looks-conscious household, I tend to be super critical about my appearance in general. To top it all, people in Delhi tend to have what’s known as a ‘small-town-mentality’ and hence gossip and rumors spread at the same rate as they would in high-school. And the gay community here would be like ‘The Plastics’ from the movie Mean Girls.

However, I rationalized that perhaps it would be a wise idea to indulge in a one-night-stand with someone just visiting Delhi, preferably from a different country all together. I figured that way in case things went bad it wouldn’t really become common knowledge with every single gay man within the tri-city area (also known as the National Capital Region or NCR). Although May wasn’t really tourist-season and that did reduce my chances greatly. But fate has a funny way of conspiring, and within a few minutes of my pondering, I got a message from an Indian guy visiting from London.

I couldn’t really make out what he looked like, as the pic he sent me was a full body one taken at a distance with a large pair of Ray Bans covering half his face. However, he was wearing a beautiful tan Dolce jacket with a stunning Hermes scarf around his neck that didn’t make him look queenie. So I figured that if the man could carry himself well and wear trendy labels, he would at least be presentably chic up close. Plus he said he was a Sagittarius, shameless hookups are their middle name. After exchanging a few messages back and forth, we arranged to meet up at the PVR Saket complex the next day.

I couldn’t sleep at night. My stomach was churning as if it were creating a cocktail of excitement, panic, and trepidation with a dash of anticipation. Paranoid thoughts races through my mind, ranging from whether or not I’m gonna become a total man-ho like The Bull or whether I might contract a sexual or social disease from the random stranger to whether or not my Latina-esque booty would end up being a bigger liability than it already was. Curses to be born a man with a pear-shaped body!

However, the fear of getting ‘panda eyes’ on my flawlessly bronzed skin was far more great at the moment – hey, I wanted to look my prettiest best – and hence I played Madonna’s Something to Remember CD in a loop to serenade to sleep.

The next morning, to my horror, I got a zit! And not just your common garden variety zits, but those icky puss-filled ones that look like a bright red cherry right on your forehead. Okay, maybe I was exaggerating, but considering what was supposed to happen later that day, I was screaming operatic notes of horror. Without thinking twice, I ran out to the market dressed in the exact outfit I wore while sleeping – a pair of boxers which had Bubbles from the Powerpuff Girls on my ass area, a T-shirt from my XXXL days that had the slogan ‘Deliciously Full’ sprawled across my chest, and a pair of lime green slippers with a faux fur lining (any chances of hiding my sexuality that day were exceedingly slim) – in order to get my secret weapon against any form of facial acne, a facial scrub made from lavender and tea tree oil. To my horror, the shop keeper informed me that the company that produced it had gone belly-up and he sold had sold his last stock a couple of days back, leading me to perform another operatic screech.

I began to run back home in a frantic manner. I was almost run over by an SUV while crossing the road. The driver pulled over ahead of me and got out and tried to block my path. I told him to let me go as I was having a life-or-death emergency (to me my skin is one), but he insisted on giving me a lecture on how I should be more cautious while walking on the roads in Delhi. Aggravated beyond comprehension, I bitch-slapped him tightly across his cheek and announced in my Diva-tone, “Outta my way Biatch!” and ran as fast as my slippers could allow me. In an almost Cinderella-like twist, the strap of my slipper came apart and I was forced to run the rest of the way barefoot. The fact that I had to abandon one slipper hurt more than the hot tar road that had been insulated by the Delhi sun – they were incredibly pretty!

Back home, I was pacing up and down in panic. Not only was I gonna have cold no-strings-attached sex in less than three hours, but I had a zit and a missing slipper to deal with. The whimsical side of me reasoned that perhaps a Prince charming would find my slipper and come searching for me. The logical side reminded me that it would probably be the driver of the SUV hunting me down to kick my ass. Luckily, I remembered an old herbal remedy that required turmeric paste, red sandalwood powder, and a mashed banana, and quickly made a paste of it and applied it generously upon my face, with an extra dollop where my zit was. Within an hour of application, the zit had visibly reduced quite a bit, and my skin had a luxuriant radiance about it. Pleased with the results, I began my elaborate ritual of ‘pretty-fi-cation’ while belting out “I feel pretty, oh so pretty” from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story – the best song to sing while getting ready before a date of any kind. Donning a black Hugo Boss golf t-shirt and a pair of indigo jeans that hugged my butt in the most flattering manner, I headed off to get laid.

Upon reaching the Saket shopping complex, I checked my reflection in my car’s rear view mirror. I don’t mean to toot my horn, but I was looking rather cute, and for some reason I was feeling all the more calm and breezy about meeting him and indulging in a hookup. Besides, hookups are common place in the gay world, and it’s almost part of the complex unwritten code of conduct that stated every gay man had to indulge in them once in a while. So with that, I headed over to Om Book Shop, where he would meet me in the ‘fiction’ section.

When I arrived, there were about three people in the fiction section. None of them were dressed in labels nor looked remotely pleasing to the eye. Biting my lip, I headed to the self-help section and grabbed a copy of “Men are from Penis and Women are from Bras” and pretended to be engrossed in it while eyeing to see who could possibly be my hookup for the afternoon. Within the span of five minutes, two of them had picked up their respective books and had headed out and it was just my luck that the ickiest one was left behind.

His face was more or less structured to resemble a chimpanzee, with a fat bulbous nose that was took the attention away from his thin rodent-shaped mouth. Calling his hair line receding would be a compliment for him, and unlike his picture, he was dressed in the shabbiest clothes ever – a cheap Sarojni Nagar sleeveless tee with ratty torn jeans. It made me wonder if the labels he had donned in his pics were cheap knock offs. Taking a deep breath, I decided to approach him, after all, I hadn’t gone through all the drama of the morning just to head home empty handed (although now I wish I had).

“Hi, are you Siddharth?” I asked (not his real name) by flashing my Venusian smile trying to generate all the charm I could muster.

“You’re fatter than I thought” he replied brashly – so much for English manners.

Arching a quizzical brow, I remained silent but made sure my eyes indicated that his comment was offensive and in my mind I felt like telling him that at least I didn’t look like the mutated half breed of an ape and a rat, but being brought up by a strict appreciation for good manners made me use the subtle approach of silence. Being a Sagittarius, subtlety of any sort is just wasted on them, and he quickly added, “But I suppose you look nice” to which I flashed my ‘I wanna smack you but wont’ smile.

“Alright, let’s get a move on, we have three hours before my mum comes back from Kirtan” he announced while heading out of the store. Great, while his mother was praising the lord in a prayer-meet, I would be screaming the lord’s name in vain in her son’s bedroom.

To top it off, he had come via taxi, and expected me to drive him back to his place. I didn’t mind, it was just a ten minute drive, and plus I just wanted to get this over and done with as soon as I could. So once there, he began to get all paranoid about neighbors seeing him and all. So he got out of the car and told me to park it around the back and enter through the back door. Too exasperated to argue, I just nodded and followed his royal cuntyness’ orders.

Once in his bedroom, after he locked all doors and windows and drew all the curtains shut, he ripped his shirt off revealing a not so fit torso that had NOT been recently shaved and jumped on top of me, shoving his tongue down my mouth. Wide-eyed I felt like I was about to choke, I pushed him off me and gasped for air as I asked him to slow down a bit. He rolled his eyes, “fine but hurry up, I wanna get this over with before mum comes home” as if I wanted to re-enact the scene from Titanic, where Leo and Kate were in the car, with him!

However, his tone magically became nicer after I kissed him, “Mmmm … you’re a delicious kisser!” I smiled cockily at my mild triumph and I continued kissing him as he let out soft moans of pleasure between kisses. Although I can’t say I had much practice prior to this in kissing, so I guess I’m just a natural (wink wink). Kissing him however, was not so pleasing to me as like his chest, his face hadn’t been recently shaved, and the stubble was really itching me and made my face feel as though it was gonna burn. A word to all the men who are reading this, either shave your stubbles or use a good moisture regularly if you wish to keep one. It’s murderous to kiss a human cheese grater.

The worst was when he removed my tee and lay on top of me, let’s just say I had to run home and apply a week’s worth of aloe cream on myself overnight to soothe the swelling his chest stubble caused. He was a clumsy lover, very wooden and no fluidity in his movement. I honestly wasn’t even enjoying myself and the voices in my head were singing a chorus of “I told you so” with a verse of “this is what happens when you do the McNasty with a random stranger online”. The experience itself was rather nasty.

“Sat-Sri-Akal Aunty Ji!” He answered his cell phone promptly after two rings, jumping off me as if I had the plague and got up on his feet and began conversing in Punjabi that was laced with his East-London accent, “Ki haal hai?”

With nothing better to do, I began thumbing through a men’s health magazine he had laying around his room, as he continued conversing with his paternal aunt and filling her in with all the trivial minutiae of his life. Just as I was engrossed in an article that was discussing the pros and cons of penile implants, he began tapping his watch frantically, indicating we were running out of time. I shrugged my shoulders as I didn’t know what to do as he was still on the phone. Without a second to spare, he kicked off his Jockeys to reveal his surprisingly hard dick (surprisingly because I found it hard to imagine someone maintaining an erecting while talking on the phone to relatives from their pind) and motioned me to come over and service him off. I would have said no, but just like Taureans are hung like bulls, Sagittarians are hung like horses, and being primarily fueled with testosterone, I just couldn’t help myself. Never ever blow a person in the middle of a telephone conversation, it makes them moan in all the wrong places, and giggling at the fact causes your teeth to hurt them a little – although quite frankly he deserved it.

Within fifteen minutes, he got off the phone and announced, “Oh fuck! You give the best head ever, I just gotta lay ya now!” Charm was definitely not his forte.

So I layed on my back, lifting my legs up and wide in the air yoga style, while he began the first of many unsuccessful attempts to penetrate me. You see, the genius did bring a set of rubbers with him (Kohinoor brand, pistachio flavored) but conveniently forgot the lube. He refused to rim me because he ‘didn’t do that’ and hence decided to use a variety of products down there. From talcum power to lotion to even VLCC shower gel. Nothing worked, leaving an icky-poo paste between my legs. I pushed him off and ran into the shower, cleaning my ass off that mess. Can you blame me for not having an erection throughout the entire ordeal?

Once I was cleaned up according to my standards, we decided to try to wing it sans the lube. Big mistake! Sometimes men who are blessed with a large endowment are unfortunately cursed with the disposition of not know what to do with it or how to use it well. He could barely get his head inside before I began letting out moans of anything but pleasure. He begged me to keep my volume down as he didn’t want the neighbors to hear about it. I snapped back that he should try shoving a ripe cucumber up his ass without a lube and try to remain calm and serene. He shut up and suggested we try another position. So we did. We tried seven more and got the same result. It was now that I realized that penis size doesn’t really matter at all, it’s technique that counts a lot more.

Disappointed I just pushed him off and gave him a hand-job till he came all over himself. I refused to let him return the favor because for all you know, he might just break it off considering how clumsy he was. Plus I still couldn’t bring myself to keep an erection going as the entire afternoon brought me no pleasure what-so-ever.

I showered again and quickly began to put my clothes on. He grabbed me and to my surprise he was hard again and stroking himself, “We still have an hour more to go you know”, and shoved his tongue again down my throat. Another note to men who are reading this – shoving your tongue down someone’s throat doesn’t make you a passionate romantic kisser. I pushed him off and made up a story of having movie plans. He didn’t have the courtesy of walking me to the door for he was afraid what the neighbors would think and so I marched off without even saying a polite goodbye.

I got into my car and sped back home with tears streaming out of my eyes. I was filled with a gross feeling of putrid disgust at myself for having done what I did. So strong was the sick feeling in my stomach that I pulled over at some random street corner and ran to the bushes nearby to throw up in revulsion. I crawled back into my car and began frantically dialing The Bull, hoping he would hear me out. He was in the middle of a meeting but asked me to come over to his office area where he would meet me down in the parking area.

Once there, I narrated the entire incident to him, and even though he listened patiently, instead of sympathizing with me, he just shrugged his shoulders and went, “Oh well, at least you didn’t fuck him!” and after finishing his ciggie, he headed back into his office as he got a call from his supervisor, promising to call back later in the night – which he didn’t.

Upon reaching home, I spent three hours in the shower, scrubbing myself with a pumice stone to make sure I had every bit of that guy’s icky essence off me. Curling into bed, I swore to myself – Never again would I ever let such a thing happen to me again. To quote Samantha Jones from Sex and the City – “Fuck me badly once, shame on you; Fuck me badly twice, shame on me!” I realized that I just couldn't bring myself to casually be with someone who not only didn't respect me as an individual, but would also just leave me feeling all the more disgusted by myself. I guess it was never the physical thrill that I was after, but more of a connection on an intellectual and emotional level. True, it's hard to find, especially in a city like New Delhi where the average gay man has an IQ smaller than his dick and empathy the size of a pea. I still remain hopeful in my quest of finding a like-minded-soul.

And this is why I never indulge in hookups and one night stands with random strangers off the internet.