Tag Archives: rules

RULE NO.13: 30 IS NOT THE NEW 20

Modern Gay Guide

The video that every 20-something must watch.

Throughout my 20’s I’ve lived by the motto that “20’s are for learning, 30’s are for earning”. This has helped me survive the long days at work or hours spent in the library at university but I’ve been tempted to give it all up in the spirit of YOLO (You Only Live Once). During those stressful days when I wonder why I’m working so hard for very little immediate return, YOLO thoughts play on repeat through my head. Shouldn’t I be running around, enjoying my youth without a care in the world? Isn’t this the time for experimentation and exploration? Can’t I just put it all off until I’m in my 30’s? Am I too young to be working this hard?

Clinical psychologist Meg Jay, puts forward the argument in this TED Talk that your 20’s are your most formative and defining years of your adult life. What you do (or don’t do in your 20’s) has a lasting impact on the rest of your life. This is the video that should be mandatory for every 20-something. Watch below and share your thoughts.

Photo Credit: Richard Phibbs

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RULE NO. 12: IF YOU WANT TO FIND LOVE, PUT YOUR PANTS BACK ON

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Personally, when I’m about to have sex with a new partner I want to be able to unwrap the present, not already knowing what the gift inside looks like.

My mom and dad have been married for 32 years. Theirs is a relationship out of a fairytale. They actually remind me of Allie Hamilton and Noah Calhoun from The Notebook. It’s not that my folks have ever been engaged to other people or that they’ve lived in the Southern States of America. My dad has never built a house for my mom and as far as I know my mother isn’t an heiress. As a matter of fact, my parents and these characters have nothing in common except their undying love for each other. I have never seen two people who are as much in love, apart from the movies, quite like my parents. Their story truly ends happily ever after which is problematic for a person like myself who doesn’t believe in Hollywood endings.

One evening, while I was chatting to my dad about another one of my failed relationships, I asked “Dad, what’s the secret to meeting your soulmate?”.

“There is no secret” he responded, “everyone is just so overexposed these days that there is no magic or mystery in relationships”.

His words instantly struck a chord me with me. I’ve always felt nostalgic for the bygone days when men would court their love interests and couples would create relationships founded on newly learnt knowledge of each other. Perhaps this is why The Notebook is a favourite amongst gays and single women. We’re all hoping that one day our Noah or Ryan Gosling will appear out of anonymity and save us from singledom. But nowadays, with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Grindr, Manhunt, Scruff, Dudesnude etc it seems that nobody remains anonymous for long.

There are no surprises anymore, no intrigue or mystery surrounding people. Not only do I know what you look like without your clothes on but I know what you ate for breakfast. I’ve witnessed all the holidays you took with your ex-boyfriend, your intimate moments in bed together, the walks along the beach, what he bought you for Valentine’s Day. Hell, I’ve even seen the collages of pictures from each week you were together (and I noticed when they stopped too!). I know what you look like in your underpants, I’ve seen your entire wardrobe, I know all your friends and I even know which is your favourite movie. I’ve witnessed all the songs you listen to on Spotify, read all your funny jokes, followed your check-ins at your favourite cafes and know who else was there with you. I’ve virtually met your mother, grandmother and siblings. I’ve seen the inside of your bedroom, know what car you drive, where you have you hair cut, how you take your coffee and what your desk at work looks like. I’ve seen pictures of you when your were a kid and to be honest your were #cuter when you weren’t so vain and wore a shirt more often. Which makes me think, who takes those “selfie” shirtless pictures for you anyway?

Now before you accuse me of hypocrisy, I openly admit that I am responsible for partaking in many of the previously listed activities although I draw the line at soft-core porn. Quite frankly I find it all rather attention seeking but before I digress too far let me bring it back to the purpose of this post. In a time when we are all encouraged to be more linked-in, wouldn’t you prefer it if people kept their face out of your book? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if new love interests had the opportunity to discover all your subtle character traits for themselves? Personally, when I’m about to have sex with a new partner I want to be able to unwrap the present, not already knowing what the gift inside looks like. If everyone’s already seen the package on Instagram, where’s the excitement?

So before you complain about never meeting your Prince Charming or that your relationships never last, step away from the gym mirror, lay down your phone, put your pants back on and ask yourself “what would Noah do?”.

Image: River Viiperi (Paris Hilton’s boyfriend) for Interview Magazine. Here are some more pictures from the September 2012 underwear editorial featuring other male models.

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RULE NO.8: IF IT MAKES YOU FEEL BAD THEN STOP DOING IT

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When do you feel the worst about yourself?

At the gym?

When you check Instagram or Facebook?

When reading gay men’s magazines?

When you’re at a nightclub?

When you log onto Grindr?

When you hang out with certain “friends”?

When watching porn?

Why don’t you….

Change gyms? Or try yoga?

Delete Instagram? Unfollow certain people? Limit your time on Facebook?

Read a book instead of buying a magazine?

Do something different on a Saturday night?  Stay in with one person you really like and watch crappy TV?

Delete Grindr? Approach the hot guy in the street?

Stop spending time with people who make you feel bad and make new friends?

Watch an inspiring lecture online instead of porn? Ted.com is a good place to start.

It can be hard to pull yourself away from things that make you feel bad. Some may call it an addiction to pain while others may say it’s a result of self loathing but whatever it may be it’s certainly something that we’ve all experienced. The knowing that you’re making yourself feel worse but being unable to stop yourself. The worse you feel, the more you do it. Does this sound familiar?

Challenge: For one week DO NOT log onto Instagram or Facebook, DO NOT go out to clubs, bars or social venues you frequent regularly (unless they make you happy), DO NOT spend time with anyone who has made you feel bad in the past , DO NOT use Grindr and DO NOT look at porn. I did. And after one week the results were amazing. I felt more relaxed, less anxious and most importantly my self-esteem was lifted. This may sound like a late night infomercial but the only thing I’m selling is an easy approach to increasing your happiness (and it’s free).

There is much scope for discussion on this topic but in the meantime, take an inventory of all the things that lower your self-esteem or make you feel bad about yourself and for one week, just one week, commit to not indulging in any of them. Let me know the outcome.

What makes you feel bad about yourself? Did avoiding these things for a week make you feel any different?

Photo Credit: Baptiste Radufe by Serge Leblon

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RULE NO.4: GAY MEN SHOULD NOT CONGREGATE TOGETHER

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Generally it is estimated that one in ten people is homosexual. I would suggest that this is a safety mechanism, designed by nature to stop gays from destroying each other.

My experience of being around too many gay men at once is rather negative.  Before I go any further, I want to stress that I am a strong believer that one’s perspective affects one’s experience so the following observations may not be true for everyone. If that is the case, I would love to hear your thoughts.

It’s best to explore my argument with an example. There’s a local venue in my city that gay men frequent religiously on a Sunday afternoon. This particular venue has become quite the institution and is filled, no matter what the weather conditions may be, with gay men of various ages, persuasions and types. You would imagine that such a gathering would be open and friendly, and offer the potential to meet new people and mingle with old acquaintances. On the contrary. This venue is reminiscent of the school canteen (although everyone is a litter older and buffer). Boys are no less cliquey and judgemental than they were in high school. The lunch tables may be replaced with bar tops and the chocolate milk with $5 ciders but the atmosphere is just the same. It is an atmosphere of arrogance, separation, judgement and suspicion. Everyone may be tightly packed into the huge courtyard space but there is little communication between strangers and no sense of community that previous generations of gay men were known for. And what’s worse, it is as if by osmosis that I too act like one of these guys.

I’m not sure what it is that creates this disconnect between people. I’ve asked myself if perhaps it’s a phenomenon native to my city or if it’s because our communal insecure psyche is so strong when we’re gathered together. Or maybe we’re just inherently more judgemental and superficial than straight people? Whatever the reason may be, I leave the bar on a Sunday night feeling worse than when I arrived (and that has nothing to do with the amount of alcohol I’ve consumed). I promise myself that I wont be back the next week which is actually very disappointing when you think about it. We should be creating spaces that empower each other, that promote community and self-love. There are enough places in the real world where gay guys feel uncomfortable, what a shame it is that we’ve created gay spaces that make us feel the same way.

I was never one to frequent gay venues or to follow the gay social circuit. This was partly because most of my friends were straight and the few gay friends I had didn’t enjoy the “scene”. It was also partly due to the fact that I had lived in this city all my life and had observed the community from a distance, questioning whether I wanted to be a part of it or not. But when so many of my closest friends left me for exotic cities overseas I thought that friendlessness would offer me the opportunity to explore my local gay community. In retrospect, although I now know a lot more gay people than I did 5 years ago, I feel more insecure about myself when I spend time with them and  find myself engaging in idol chatter more frequently than I did when hanging out with my straight friends. What’s more is that I haven’t actually made that many meaningful relationships with those guys that I have met. The best gay relationships that I’ve had in the past whether they be with friends, boyfriends or one night stands, were with people that I met outside of typically gay situations. Which makes me wonder “are gay guys in groups toxic?”.

Let me know your thoughts.

Are gay guys in groups toxic?

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RULE NO.1: THERE ARE NO RULES (EXCEPT FOR ONE)

francisco-lachowski

I am a sucker for self help books. I cannot satisfy fast enough my appetite for reading the latest New York Times Best Seller on “How To Live the Life You Imagined” or “Grow Rich by Thinking”. While most of my peers are on the internet shopping for clothes and accessories or looking at porn, I’m trawling Amazon for obscure books on self esteem written by psychologists from Sweden. And looking at porn.

It reached the point when my shelves, side tables and cupboard couldn’t accommodate any more books by Tony Robbins that I asked myself “Why am I so fascinated by this genre of literature?”. The answer was simple, I was looking for a definitive solution. A formula to life. A set of rules that when followed would guarantee money, success, fame, a Brazilian model boyfriend, fabulous friends, a SL55 Mercedes (and Range Rover Sport), limitless funds to travel, an apartment in New York, a house in the Hamptons, four children, a dog, a live-in masseuse and a pool boy who wore cutoff denim shorts while singing “she works hard for the money” a la The Birdcage. Surely if I read enough then eventually I would have sufficient knowledge and life would unfold seamlessly? I realised that I was missing the point.

While many self help books spruik the benefits of simply reciting affirmations to achieve success or visualising your life as you want it to be in an approach that I can only describe as the “fast food” method, there are many books that offer true insight into how to improve your life. The former category is rather shallow and taps into people’s laziness and need for a quick fix in order to sell copies while the latter category takes a more spiritual approach. Summed up rather briefly, the “fast food” method gives you rules to follow in order to find fulfilment in whichever area you are lacking while the “spiritual method” teaches you that there is only one rule. And that rule is the importance of being true to yourself. When you are true to yourself, everything else falls into place. The things that you really want become clear and you often find that they are significantly different to the things you valued before. True happiness can only come from within and in order to access this happiness you first need to honour your truth.

Why do so many gay men suffer? I believe that it’s because for so long we have denied our true selves or hated our true selves. We have created beautiful bodies to hide behind, adorned our exterior in flashy clothes, involved ourselves in bitchiness and drama all in attempt to deny our inner pain, a pain caused by avoiding our inner truth.

This is why rule number one is the most important rule of all. There are no rules in life more important than honouring your true self. Only then can one find true fulfilment and happiness. Some of the richest and most successful people I have come across are also the most miserable. They followed the so-called rules of life which indeed lead them to money, success, fame but once they started living the lives they thought they always wanted, they realised they were still unhappy. To be happy is to be true to yourself. That is all there is to know.

So put down the self help books because I have done the readings for you and it can all be summed up  beautifully in one sentence, written by my favourite author Eckart Tolle:

True Salvation is fulfillment, peace, life in all its fullness. It is to be who you are, to feel within you the good that has no opposite, the joy of Being that depends on nothing outside itself

What do you think is the key to happiness? Comment below and share your thoughts.

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