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Posted on 22-08-2016

I recently matched up with someone on Tinder, and after a bit of chatting back and forth we exchanged phone numbers. He ended up calling me later that evening and we continued our lighthearted chat. I was actually enjoying our conversation, so after about twenty minutes of speaking to him, I decided to be the ‘bigger person’ and ask him out for coffee. His response? “Oh that’s cool, but I don’t think I’m interested – you sound a bit too gay for me”

Masculinity is something I’ve often thought about in the context of my dating life. It was something I battled with in my early years of coming out, thinking to myself that being more ‘butch’ would make me more attractive to other men. Everything from the clothes I wore to how I talked to people I tried to tone down, until my wardrobe resembled something of a desert palette and my voice sounded like I was a drag queen battling an asthma attack. Even as a kid, being called the ‘girl’ of the class made me resent why I spoke differently, why I didn’t like sports, or why I was probably the only one whose uniform was still immaculately clean at the end of the day.

I look at the dating profiles of guys and in addition to the ‘No Asians’ rule, it’s easy to spot the guys who pride themselves on still being an ‘alpha’ male. The rugged, gym-cut guys who sneer at anyone who messages them who isn’t also ripped to kingdom come. The ones who want to go out for beers, spend days at the beach or pool, posing with fellow masc dudes and the such. None of these activities are specifically ‘masc’-only, but they seem to be common themes with some of the guys I come across. What the conversation with my Tinder match made me think about was what exactly defined a guy as masculine? Is it looks? The people he hangs out with? Whether or not he indulges in ‘traditional’ masculine activities?

As someone who falls on the slightly more camper side of the spectrum, I’ve spent time trying to figure this out for myself. The way I dress, my body language, or even the tone and pitch of my voice have often been used as red flags to inquire about my sexuality. It’s annoying to read profiles where guys want ‘straight-acting’, ‘ macho’, ‘masc’ people to message them – we’re already singling out each other based on our nationality, age, and sexual preferences, but now we’re just flat-out saying no to guys who basically wouldn’t fit into the macho spectrum of sexuality.

I’ve come a long way in my life to realize that it’s never a good idea to try and mask who you are or change some part of yourself just to pleases the masses – I tried being a chameleon and blending in, but I’m much happier being a loud-ass flamingo instead.

Love Is Love

Posted on 13-06-2016

Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail. Love is eternal. There are inspired messages, but they are temporary; there are gifts of speaking in strange tongues, but they will cease; there is knowledge, but it will pass. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

Years ago I was watching an episode of Queer of Folk on DVD. The episode depicted the main characters at their favorite haunt, Babylon, surrounded by people dancing, drinking, and celebrating life. In the next scene, a concealed bomb goes off, shattering the night and filling it with screams of terror and cries of pain. I remember watching this and thinking to myself “What maniac would ever want to do this in real life?”

I’m reminded of this episode as I read about the chaos that took place at the Pulse club in Orlando. I picture the 50 people who went out for just another great night who now lie motionless on the floor or on stretchers. I think about the 53 other people who were rushed to hospital in the early hours of the morning, wondering if they will live to see the next day. I watch politicians make sweeping statements about gun control and hate crimes yet have no real idea what any of their words mean. I cry over screenshots of text messages from terrified people to their parents as they cower in bathrooms while gunshots ring out. I break down over friends tweeting photos of people that they’ve lost, knowing that no amount of words can fill the void they now feel.

I am furious at media outlets who were first to cover the story but conveniently left out the fact that this was an attack against the queer community. Gay clubs are one of the few ‘safe’ spaces for queer people to frequent – the fact that something like this happened proves that even the places we think are safe are still prone to fits of madness from people who will not be reasoned with. One of the first and loudest cries were for stronger gun control laws in the U.S, but that’s just a pipe dream. There are so many senseless shootings that happen in the U.S, and no one seems to be giving a shit about changing anything. You want to keep your fucking guns? You can do that if it’s your right or whatever you want to call it, but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD can you make it harder for people to get their hands on such instruments of destruction? And just to make things that little bit extra difficult, gay men in Orlando are banned from giving blood unless they’ve been celibate for a year. Thankfully, there are hundreds and hundreds of people who have been lining up to donate blood, so much so that blood banks are almost at capacity.

I don’t want rainbow profile photos or status updates – I want people to write or speak to those in power, those who can make an actual, tangible difference in this world. Those who can pass the laws that need to be passed and say the things that everyone thinks but no one is brave enough to talk about. So many innocent lives were taken this week, and so many families and friendships are forever changed by this loss. No amount of words, vigils, flags, or prayers can console the grief these people and the community at whole is feeling right now.

The season finale of Queer as Folk ended with a scene back at Babylon, which now lay in ruins. But as Brian closed his eyes, the familiar music played once again, the lights shone down on the dancefloor, and the crowds once again appeared to celebrate the night. It is a metaphor for where we stand today – broken, bruised, but not defeated, and never silenced.


Developing updates here (via BuzzFeed)

Tinder: When Your Match Has PMS

Posted on 16-03-2016

A few weeks ago I was travelling and decided to fire up Tinder to pass the time in my hotel in the morning. Usually I can match up with some ~decent~ guys around for a chat or maybe even a coffee, and after a few swipes I matched up with a guy who was also visiting from NYC. I sent him a few messages to introduce myself, and later in the day he replied. We chatted a bit about what we did for work, what we thought of the city we were visiting, and generally it was a pretty much normal conversation. That is of course, until he asked me when I was free to meet for coffee and all hell broke loose. These are exact screenshots of my conversation with him before he unmatched with me, and honestly I think I dodged a serious bullet here:


When Your Work Life Invades Your Dating life

Posted on 11-03-2016

Going on a date seems like such an old-fashioned thing to do in this day and age, but I still love them. The anticipation, meeting for the first time, the initial awkward conversation – it never seems to get old. But every so often, I’m gently reminded that dates can turn into horrible things and that I’m better off locking myself in my apartment and watching reruns of Will and Grace.

To put things into perspective, the person who asked me out was no stranger – I knew him in a professional capacity, and every so often over email we’d flirt back and forth, or coyly chat each other up at events. He worked in PR, something I have a love/hate relationship with on a daily basis. It was a fun cat and mouse game – neither of us really making the first move to see if things would go anywhere, and to be honest I was quite happy with that. So it was actually a surprise when I got an email out of the blue from him, point-blank asking me out to dinner. Apparently our incessant flirting was fun, but he felt ‘there was more to me that needed exploring’. The restaurant he had chosen was fairly new, and it seemed innocent enough, so I accepted his invite graciously.

Date night rolls around and I meet him at the restaurant a few minutes behind schedule. The venue is nice – a bit garishly decorated for my tastes, but still cozy. I sit down and attempt to flag down a waiter so I can place a drinks order, but he shoos my hand away. “Don’t worry – I’ve already ordered our drinks and food…you’re going to love it”. I shoot him a puzzled and slightly annoyed look, but he doesn’t seem to pick up on it. I decide to let it slide and we carry on our conversation, pausing only when the drinks and food arrive at our table. I gawk slightly at the amount of food he’s ordered for just the two of us, but he doesn’t seem to be concerned. “Don’t forget to Instagram everything!” he adds with a laugh. Hilarious.

For the most part, dinner itself is an amicable affair, and just when I think that perhaps this dinner date wasn’t so bad after all, the shit hits the fan. The bill arrives and I promptly reach for my wallet to split the bill, but he happily adds “Oh don’t worry about that – your food is free tonight!” I expect he means that he’s paying with an Entertainer voucher or something, and by my puzzled look he works out that I don’t quite understand. “This is a new client I’m taking on board, so I wanted to bring you down to review it and let me know what you think. Did you like it?”

So my much-looked forward-to date night turned out to be none other than a sham for more stupid PR drivel. Yes ladies and gentlemen, it appears that even in my dating life, I can’t escape the clutches of PR.

Tinder: This Is Why I’m Swiping Left

Posted on 18-02-2016

I have to admit I was sort of late to jump onto the Tinder bandwagon. The thought of another dating-type app on my phone sort of filled me with dread, but a good while after it launched I decided to check it out. Over the past year or so I’ve met a total of three guys in real life, even though I’ve matched with a lot more. The general flavor for Tinder is that you get caught up in that initial rush of “OMG THE LIKED ME TOO” which quickly descends into boredom once you start chatting with the person and they don’t really have much to say. Sure, it’s a refreshing change from the “got dick?” messages I’d probably get on other apps, but truth be told Tinder isn’t doing much for me at the moment.

But what it is doing for me is making me realize that I’ve swiped left on a TON of guys, all with very valid reasons. My friends who’ve seen my Tinder-ing in action keep saying that I’m picky or that I have too many expectations (when did that become a bad thing?), but I disagree. There are just some things that if I see on a profile, I’m immediately swiping left.

  1. You’re in a group photo: to reiterate this, you’re supposed to put a photo of YOURSELF up. Not a family photo. Not posing with a group of six friends on a night out. No. Just a photo of yourself. I don’t want to be playing ‘sexy guy roulette’ to try and figure out which one you are, only to be disappointed when I check out your other photos and you’re not the stupidly attractive person that I zeroed in on from your group pic.
  2. You’ve uploaded the same photo: This one kills me every time. Oh it’s a nice photo of your face. Oh it’s a nice photo of your face with a filter applied. Oh it’s a nice photo of your face in black and white. Oh look I’ve just swiped left.
  3. You think Tinder is a political platform: Seriously – the number of times a person’s profile photo has has some sort of political or social agenda to it is mind-boggling. You’re on Tinder mate – if you want solidarity with a group of people, this isn’t the right place to be barking on about it.
  4. You think Tinder is Instagram: Keep your lame-ass inspirational quotes for Instagram – no one has time for that bullshit when they’re trying to find someone’s G-spot.
  5. You’re posing with an exotic animal: If I see one more person posing with a tiger with a massive thumbs up, I’m going to break my phone. Why hasn’t nature weeded out these freaks yet?
  6. You’re posing with a child: I don’t care if the child in question is related to you in any way or not, it’s an immediate swipe left. WHY WOULD YOU UPLOAD THIS WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU
  7. You’re posing with a wine glass and/or are clearly drunk: Maybe leave some of the alcoholic mystery to our second date?
  8. You have no profile text: While I agree a good picture is a must-have, profile text is just as important. And don’t be stupid and write your ‘stats’ in your profile text. I want to know deep your personality is, not how many inches it is.

Got any more Tinder hangups? Let me know in the comments!

Why ‘Fag Hags’ Are The Worst Kind Of Women

Posted on 13-02-2016

fag hag (noun, informal / derogatory)
noun: fag hag; plural noun: fag hags
  1. a heterosexual woman who spends much of her time with homosexual men.

Yesterday I was winding down the night with some people celebrating a friend’s birthday at his house. The night was going quite well, furiously fuelled by drinks and the occasional drunken singing. I of course was composing my sober self in a corner, chatting with a few people I had struck up a conversation with. Among them was a couple, quite chatty and seemingly harmless, and clearly into each other. I’ve been speaking to this people for no more than twenty minutes, when during a lull in the conversation the woman pipes up and says “Don’t be offended, but can I ask you about your sexual orientation?

Now I’ve had this question thrown at me by strangers a number of times before, and whether not it’s in their right to ask such a thing is a whole other story. But I entertained the request and professed my love for ‘man parts’, much to the group’s intoxicated amusement. That would have been the end of it, except it seemed that I had unintentionally become the topic of conversation for the next half hour. “Are you dating anyone yet?” came next, which I swiftly shot down with a polite “No”, and a brief explanation of the ‘No fems, no fats, no Asians’ dating policy that seemed to often apply to me.

The new discovery of my singlehood seemed to excite my female admirer, who then caught me completely off guard with “OMG I have this amazing friend I should set you up with? He’s a TOTAL power top! Like a SERIOUS power top. Like he’s always fucking bears. Like BEARS! OMG! You would love him!

If I was one to drink, I don’t think there was enough alcohol on that table to save me from this woman. After I politely declined her very generous offer, she insisted that I give it a thought and see her friend. I changed the topic quickly, moving on to talking about work and the possibility of visiting London, to which she chimed in with “OMG if we’re in London together and you’re going clubbing, you HAVE to take me with you – I am SUCH A FAG HAG!

And there it was, bright as day, the two words that I loathed hearing. The ‘fag hag’ concept is not new to me, fuelled by disillusioned women who love being showered with attention by their gaggle of gays. It’s one thing to have a group of friends who are predominantly gay men, but when you crown yourself as their ‘queen’ and therefore proudly label yourself a ‘fag hag’, you’re seriously making an absolute shitshow of yourself. I remember some years ago going to a club in London with a friend, and while the night had started with just the two of us, mere hours later she had rounded up pretty much every gay man in the building and brought them to our table. They were of course fawning over her, and she was eating it up. One of the guys exclaimed “Fag hag in the building!” which brought out whoops and cheers from her and the rest of the men she had corralled, but not from me. The very term repels me, and I would never stoop to describing any of my female friends as such. I have plenty of women that I have strong friendships with, and it’s a special and treasured dynamic that isn’t based around my sexuality, or my magical powers to give them makeovers at the drop of a hat. There are plenty of women and gay men who love this ‘fag hag’ attitude, and it really is a bit of a shame sometimes. There are plenty of reasons why a gay man and straight woman should be friends, but her invisibile ability to attract every gay man within a 1km radius should not be one of them.

What #UAEJournos Say And What They Really Mean

Posted on 13-12-2015

This blog post was submitted anonymously and with little editorial correction. 

In my several years in PR, I’ve learned to correctly navigate the perils of working with journalists. You get some amazing people who are quick to bounce around ideas for a story with you, or graciously decline your story pitch and explain why it wouldn’t work for them. Then of course I moved to Dubai and everything I thought I knew about journalists went up in smoke.

The #UAEJournos are a special brand of people – I think by now I’ve met everyone I’ve ever needed to meet, so it’s safe to say that this list of observations covers everything you need to know. It’s certainly not an exhaustive list, but it’s a great starting ground for anyone who’s floundering in the bowels of #UAEPR and needs some guidance. Print it out, share it with colleagues, get it tattooed on your arm if you have to – hopefully it will save you time, energy, effort, and sanity.

So here is a handy list of what #UAEJornos say to you and what they really mean:

I can’t make it for your event = I’ve found a better event to go to.

I’m not sure if I can make it for your event = Will you be sending an Uber/limo (real request) to pick me?

I have another event to attend at the same time = I’m going to another event where the probability of me walking away with better freebies is higher. Soz.

Sounds good, can you send it to our editorial inbox and we’ll check it out? = This story is crap and I just want to get back to work, so send it to an email address that we basically use as a junk box for annoying PR.

I’m not covering stories like this, but can you send it to my other editor XXXX = Neither of us are interested in this story, but at least you can bug someone else besides me?

What time is the event? = that’s the time I will leave the office.

The event’s in the evening? = is it really worth my while to come to an event after work hours?

We can publish that if it’s exclusive to us = I probably won’t publish that story but I don’t want any of our competitors to run it either.

I don’t think I got that email = I got the email, I just deleted it anyway.

I can’t see that press release – can you send it again? = Send it again so I can re-live the joy of deleting it without opening it.

Sure, I think we could maybe do a story with that = We’re not going to do a story on that.

Sorry, I couldn’t include that product in our guide = you didn’t send me a freebie like everyone else did. Soz.

How soon can you send that over? = I really only need it by next week, but please drop what you’re doing and send it to me immediately anyway.


Not Into Asians

Posted on 07-10-2015

It’s the same story every day. Boy meets boy, boy chats with boy, boy likes boy, boy says ‘sorry, not into Indians‘.

I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a chat with a guy that didn’t begin with “Hi, from?” The moment I tell someone that I’m Indian (or Asian as per the various apps), I’m either blocked or get the swift “Sorry, not my type” response.

What’s even more infuriating are the guys who write in their profiles “Love all guys, hit me up with a msg!” followed by “No offense, but not into Asians“.

Seriously, you can’t make this shit up.

I went on a drinks date last night to a bar, following a great online coversation I was having with a guy. He was nearby, we were bored, so drinks were settled on. We met, sat down, chatted for a while longer, and then after about 15 minutes with me, he straight up said to my face “I’m sorry dude, but this isn’t going to work out – not attracted to Indian guys, sorry should have said earlier“.

It honestly felt like a slap to the face – dealing with this sort of response in real life is totally different from hearing it online. I just sat stupidly afterwards drinking by myself before heading home to bed. I’ve often wondered (wrongly) if my nationality really is such a big deal when it comes to dating. Are guys that closed off that they only date guys based on what passport they hold? It honestly is the worst feeling to have – that you’re not worth speaking to or even meeting for a drink just because you’re from a certain country.

Welcome to the cesspool that is my dating life, ladies and gentlemen.

This Is What Happens When A PR CC’s 400 Journalists On An Email

Posted on 26-08-2015

Ah PR.

It’s often a thankless job, especially when you’re at the mercy of journalists (shout out to #UAEPR). But every so often, you have to stop what you’re doing an educate someone in how not to work in PR.

Every day journalists are sent press releases – some good, some bad, some irrelevant to what they cover. Which is sort of expected really, so it’s just a simple matter of deleting the rubbish ones that come through. But this morning was a total riot, as one PR person decided to do a double whammy.

To put things in context first, the press release was about a product that a pregnant mother had dreamt up while she was in bed nursing a broken foot. “The Holding Cell” is a little bit of plastic that slides under your mattress and holds your cell phone while you sleep. Because of course, the idea of a bedside table is dumb as fuck. It’s currently on Kickstarter trying to raise $22,000 to make this plastic dream a reality:


But this blog post isn’t about shitty Kickstarter ideas, but rather about the PR that sent it. Because in their infinite wisdom (or lack thereof), they decided to send this press release to 400+ journalists. All in the ‘CC’.

Yup, I’m not kidding around, all of us were in CC as plain as could be.


And that’s of course when everything went to shit. The first blow was dealt by lovely Noreen:


Owen pitches in with a gif (the first of many)


Federico summed up the situation perfectly:


Jordan was clearly ecstatic:


By this time the poor PR having realized their mistake, decided to try and make the best out of a terrible situation:


Full points for effort, but Brock was quickly dethroned by Cody:


Which was quickly followed by this scathing comment from Katie:


Charles straight up said what we were all thinking:


While Steve tried to lighten the mood a bit:


But Shanley was having none of this bullshit in their inbox:


Bur thankfully Noreen and Anne were not impressed by this outburst:


And that, is what happens when you cc 400+ journalists on a terrible press release.

The Date

Posted on 16-08-2015

I’m late.

I hate being late. It’s a sign that you haven’t thought things through. That you haven’t planned ahead. But today work was threatening to engulf me completely, and I wasn’t about to spend yet another evening staring at my computer screen. I check my phone for messages and then remember there’s no phone reception down here. I stuff my phone back in my pocket and vault up the stairs, politely escaping the hoards of tourists trying to navigate their way. I’m twenty minutes late already, and within minutes I’m back on the street, the cool evening air whipping around me. I zip my coat up higher and walk up the street, fingers digging deep into my pockets for warmth. I glance at my reflection in a shop window and notice to my dismay that my once elegantly styled hair is now a messy mop of haphazard streaks, blowing in the wind. I reach the restaurant door and quickly compose myself, before running my hands through my hair to make it look as presentable as possible.

I step through and the warmth inside rushes towards me, warming up my alarmingly cold fingers. I mumble a feeble “I’m meeting someone” to the waitress who greets me, and I scan the busy tables for him. In the least-crowded corner I spot him sitting at a table, a bottle of red in front of him and his glass in hand. Fuck, I mentally say to myself, and move over to join him. He instantly brightens up and sets down his glass, standing up to give me a hug. His breath is warm against my neck for the brief moment we embrace, and his shirt has a slightly earthy, wooden scent to it. I was beginning to think you weren’t coming, he adds playfully as we sit down. I smile sheepishly and apologise for my lateness, but he dismisses it almost instantly. You’re here now, so don’t worry about it.

A drink appears in front of me – a tall martini glass with a frosted rim and a light pink concoction. I’m about to ask the waitress what it is when he interrupts me. It’s virgin, don’t worry – I think you’ll like it. I lift the glass to my lips and my tongue savours a light and slightly sweet drink with hints of strawberry and ginger. He watches me take a sip and raises his glass to do the same. Cheers, I say confidently, meeting his gaze and clinking our glasses together. I got you something, he adds, reaching into his pocket. He places on the table a bright white and red coloured ball on a stick, loosely wrapped in cellophane with a small red bow at the bottom – a cake pop. You were talking about Red Velvet some time ago, so I thought you’d like a sweet treat, he adds craftily.

It’s adorable and cheesy at the same time, but I smile at him and pick up the delicate confection. We lock our gazes again, and I can feel his urge to reach over the table and kiss me. I wonder what that would look like here – what other people who say or if anyone would really care at all. I would just have to lean over the already diminutive table and kiss him, smelling that familiar woody scent once again. I shut the moment out of my head and snap back to reality rather abruptly. Thank you, I say as he smiles for another sip of wine.

We’ve played it safe tonight with Italian, though I know we could have certainly found a less popular place to have a more intimate evening. But above the din and clinking of glasses we talk about work, travel, families, relationships, and food. The conversation is now effortless between us – the wine certainly helping things along – and the more I talk the more at ease I become. I look at him again – really look at him, and take in his many details. A slight scar near his left eye, round glasses that he keeps pushing back, light and wispy hair that would look better cut short, a smart shirt with the top button unbuttoned, and a playful and slightly boyish smile that comes to light every so often. In that moment I realise that I don’t want the evening to end, as cliched as that sounds. Because that would mean having to wait for a text or call the next day or the day after, to see if we should meet again. Or we continue to meet and start to like each other even more. I drag him halfway around the world to a friend’s wedding, and we have the best night of our lives. We grab last minute tickets to a show and don’t care that they’re terrible seats because he’s sitting next to me and laughing along. He attempts to coerce me into loving the great outdoors, which is a terrible, terrible idea, but he is stubborn and refuses to give up. We throw a dinner party and friends comment how perfect we look together. We travel to see families at Christmas, and spend New Year’s Eve on the rooftop freezing in the cold but keeping each other company before running back indoors. He asks me to move in, and suddenly it is as real as it’s ever been for me. No games, no drama, no second-guessing, no lies, no bullshit. Just him and I and our many years ahead.

No – this evening, this night, this date, is all I will care to remember.