Do You Hit the Gym Just to Get a Man?

Spring is both the start of warmer weather and the end of my gym freedom. Nearly every machine is packed with seasonal Sams looking to gain new muscle before the summer. Now dudes are scrambling to lift as many kettlebells as they can while filling their Instagram feeds with sweaty selfies. Meanwhile, I’m stuck on the only working piece of equipment––a run-down elliptical next to a wheezing woman.

One evening, as I waited patiently for a cable machine behind two dudes in Lululemon, I heard one of them pant, “once I get a man, I’m done with this crap!” Suddenly, I was reminded of my friend from college who said those exact words. Since my friend hated the gym, he vowed never to lift another weight once he nabbed a guy. He felt that only his prime figure would land him in a relationship. Now, I’m left wondering how many guys hit the gym just to get a boyfriend.

It’s easy to feel that gay culture is body-obsessed. Our magazines, social media, and advertisements are filled with beefy chests and chiseled abs. Online, it seems like every few minutes I’m flashed a pair of man nipples. It’s no wonder a fit guy might feel more comfortable posting a pic of his torso rather than a shot of his face. Heck, I’ve even contributed to the sea of shirtless selfies. Perhaps, because of this media, the idea of having a gym-made body feels like the easiest way to grab a guy’s attention.

Once a boyfriend is obtained, does the gym matter? Your lover has likely seen you naked, and you’ve smacked each other around in bed a few times, so why grow those biceps? While many couples keep the gym in their routine, others might trade barbells for forks. I asked a few of my coupled friends, and they say that since they met, their gym consumption has gone down and their dining out has increased. Was that the goal all along?

Personally, I love everything from fine dining to In-N-Out––but I also love feeling fit. The two can go together, but it’s a lot of work. If I stopped hitting the gym, would my commitment to fitness suddenly feel like a lie? My boyfriend doesn’t mind whether I pack on the muscle or not. Yet, I am left wondering if he’d truly be okay if I stopped lifting and started lounging. He’d likely still find me attractive, but he might miss the way I used to look.

Then again, isn’t change our destiny? Relationships that last adapt to morphing bodies––thickness, wrinkles, and everything else. Our younger selves are usually fitter than our aged counterparts whether we lift weights or not. In other words, we aren’t always going to look the same. If change is the clear trend, shouldn’t we just expect it? Or are we buying into something that was never meant to last?

5 Ways to Zap Zits

Typical morning: You wake up and have the birds and squirrels help you get dressed. You start to hum a beautiful tune on your way to the mirror-mirror on the wall and then BAM! A pimple or 13. WTF? How did it get here?

First off, you are not @drpimplepopper, DO NOT POP IT. Do not touch it. Popping a zit can push the bacteria further into the skin or cause an infection. If the blemish gets infected it could cause scarring, and that problem lasts a lot longer than if you just left the zit alone. Here are some at-home and over-the-beauty-counter solutions to help aid you in a speedy pimple recovery.

Over-the-Counter

Paula’s Choice Resist BHA 9

Tatiana isn’t the only queen who believes in “choices,” I don’t know who Paula is, but she’s got them too. The main ingredient in this wonder potion is BHA (Beta-Hydroxy Acid), and that is another term for salicylic acid. The controlled and sustained salicylic acid in Resist BHA 9 helps to unclog the pores while the plant extracts help to soothe. You can use this on a single blemish, or over larger areas to help clean out and maintain problem areas.

Malin and Goetz Acne Treating Nighttime

The pimple-fighting ingredients in this magical concoction combine salicylic acid with 10% active sulfur to help dry out the imperfection. The organic camphor will aid in healing while the zinc will help prevent scarring. Do not shake, just dip a cotton swab straight down, pull out (that’s what he said), apply, and leave on overnight.

Home Remedies

More of a Frankie, less of a Grace, inspired spot mask.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Here is yet another amazing use for apple cider vinegar. Make a solution that is ¼ apple cider vinegar and ¾ water. Soak a cotton ball in the mixture and then dab it on the spot, let it dry, and then rinse. Apple cider vinegar has antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties making it a perfect pimple fighting machine.

Mariah’s two favorite things, other than butterflies and champagne, inspired spot mask.

Aspirin and Honey

Take one plain white crushed aspirin and mix it with a pencil eraser sized amount of honey! The aspirin is anti-inflammatory, and it also contains the number one acne fighting ingredient, salicylic acid. The honey’s antiseptic and antibacterial properties help to heal, so the combination of both is an amazing DIY mask that won’t break the bank. Advice: Do not do this if you are allergic to aspirin.

Butch Queen, first pimple at the ball inspired spot mask.

Tea Tree Oil and Aloe Vera

Take one teaspoon of aloe vera gel and three drops of tea tree oil, and mix well. Apply with a cotton swab. The potent antifungal and antibacterial properties of tea tree oil help to kill the blemish bacteria.

The Unbreakable Perfume Genius

Had he written his new album, No Shape, after the election of Donald Trump, Mike Hadreas – also known as American singer Perfume Genius – admits that he’d have made an entirely different record. “I’m still glad that this is the one that’s coming out now,” he says, “and I still feel that a lot of the songs are useful. But I would have been more overtly political and less personally political, maybe.”

Of course, the personal has always been where Perfume Genius’ music originates from. Hadreas’ first two albums, 2010’s Learning, and 2012’s Put Your Back N 2 It, were both somber and intimate meditations on addiction, self-doubt and destruction, loneliness, and living with a sense of inherent darkness. For him, writing music was a way of processing his much-discussed past of substance abuse and depression, and through his poetic honesty, he developed a dedicated audience that relished the mirror image of themselves being presented.

It was 2014’s confrontational, Too Bright, that saw the singer take a giant leap forward sonically and emotionally; he was telling the same stories but with more of a snarl. Songs like “Queen,” “Fool,” and “Grid” were a stark comparison to the musical fragility he’d previously exhibited and were an overt attempt to make people feel uncomfortable.

Things recently, however, have changed. “It’s weird singing “Queen” live,” Hadreas admits, “because that song is not directed at all the people that would be at the show. The last [album] was a lot of me singing at people.” Instead, “this one is more music for me and for the people listening.” The writing of “No Shape,” he says, was more immediate, the themes focused on the present, rather than revisiting the past to pick apart history to process it. “It was more me trying to write about how I felt right then,” he suggests.

Speaking to Hadreas over the phone is an interesting experience. He peppers his sentences with extended pauses, mulling over what to say next, and it leaves you wondering whether he’s extremely nervous or whether he’s just carefully considered. It’s something that’s also mirrored in his music. Album opener “Other Side” presents both sides – it’s glittering and phantasmagorical production offers up strong musical tenacity and assaults the senses, while Hadreas’ trembling vocals shift around the magic. Likewise, lead single “Slip Away” holds much of the resilience of previous album Too Bright, but without the accusatory finger pointing. “My life has become, I guess, a lot gentler,” Hadreas says of the change. “There’s way more room for me to be kinder to myself and to be not so scattered.”

Taking a pause, he continues: “I don’t know, my circumstances have gotten a lot better, but my brain still feels wired like it’s not there for that. I still feel detached from goodness for some reason, and I don’t know why. I kept up distance as a protection for a while, but I don’t think I really need to be so guarded anymore. That’s why I write songs because I feel a lot smarter and thoughtful when I try and figure it out. And there are things that, to be honest, I don’t really have figured out, and my songs are an attempt to do it.”

He admits that he finds this feeling of ennui embarrassing. “It’s a very luxurious problem to have,” he adds. “That’s why it feels weird to talk about because it feels really bratty. But I guess I have all these complexes and ways of thinking for a reason. It’s not like I just picked it. I’ve built all these defenses because they served a purpose growing up. But I feel like I just don’t need them that much anymore. Or, I just feel like it’s time to try and shake it all off.”

This dichotomy between finding happiness and living in pain seeps into Perfume Genius’ work, with tracks like “Wreath” and the Enya-esque “Just Like Love” – both jaunty with small flecks of melancholia – sitting next to likes of the depraved and frenetic “Choir.” And later, the haunting “Die 4 You,” supposedly the next single, is a beautifully disconcerting listen.

“It’s straight up just a love song, but there’s still this dread underneath that’s a little dissonant,” Hadreas says about the track. “I like that. It keeps things from being corny, or if something is just purely beautiful then it usually just goes straight into the background. Or you feel the beauty while it’s happening, and then completely forget about it, or don’t want to go back to it because there’s nothing to figure out.”

No Shape is intensely personal, but since the rise of far-right politics and infringements on LGBTQ rights, the album’s themes of domesticity, love, freedom, and resilience have taken on a new political meaning, too. “I knew everybody was fucked up. Like, I knew there was a huge part of America that was racist and homophobic – I’ve known that since I was little,” Hadreas says, letting out an inappropriate laugh. “And I’m always writing in the face of that and in protest of that. A lot of the songs are still very rebellious against that, and even against myself and whatever weird fucking shit I’ve developed and what I thought of the world growing up.”

In fact, the singer confesses, the recent election is part of what has inspired a potential relocation from Tacoma, Washington to Los Angeles. “I’m not that optimistic about what’s going on,” he says. “Even if people don’t always feel as accepting, at least the laws supposedly protect us. But it feels like that’s in danger of going, too, so it’s really just up to you and the other people that are on the other side. The way with how shitty everything is, I just need to see more of my people everywhere as a protection. I don’t know; I want my people around me.”

There’s also a worry about checking out. Hadreas says that he, “still wants to be, like, doing shit,” but admits that, as we enter into the next four years, he’s struggling to find a balance between shutting out world events and obsessing over them. “If I do pay attention I can just fucking freak out,” he says, “and I just ended up getting into such a fury. You have to find a way to feel some warmth and kindness, but not at the expense of being outraged.” One coping mechanism, he suggests, is to attempt to find humor in life’s complexities. “It’s just something that I can have more control over. Even my darkest memories, I can write a really dark song about them, but I can also laugh about them because sometimes they’re so over the top and insanely fucked up. I think it’s just a way to not take life so seriously, which I’m in danger of 24/7. It’s a way to check myself, you know?”

“There so many times where I’m, like, plagued by problems,” he adds. “I’m like, what am I going to do about those problems? And I’m obsessing over it. Then, when I really think about it, it’s like, who fucking cares? But they’re so close together; they’re so inconsequential but feel so consequential. I think that humor is a way for me to fucking knock it down.”

You hear artists talk about how writing music is like therapy, but Hadreas likens it more to an exorcism; it’s difficult and dark, but weirdly freeing. And, in spite of his insecurities, complexes, wavering stability, and less than positive outlook on the future, it does feel like No Shape is a self-assured portrait of an artist reaching a new stage in his life.

So, does Mike Hadreas – Perfume Genius – finally feel like he’s found a place for himself? “Yeah…for now,” he says, that creeping self-doubt an ever-present force. “But I sort of realized that I was capable of a lot more than I thought I was, in terms, of what I could sing about and how I could sing it.”

“But I know that next time it could completely change, too,” he adds, playfully, “and that’s one of the funnest parts of it.”

Gaychella: A Survival Guide for the Hennys

Coachella has turned from a music festival to a Forever 21 version of Mean Girls. You have all these cliques walking around in their fashions, with their connections and a giant cup of alcohol in their hands. There are a lot of girls you’ll likely see at Coachella that you would also see at brunch over the weekend. Then they end up at a gay bar, wasted, asking the DJ to play “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry, after they’ve added their hippie/tribal apparel to their shopping cart at CharlotteRusse.com. If you’re heading out there for the second weekend, here’s what would help make the experience an easier and more interesting one for you.

First off, let me say I am not the authority on everything cool. In fact, if I went to Coachella this year, I’d end up looking more like Susan Boyle than Selena Gomez.

Exhibit A: Me spotting some friends across the way at Coachella…

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here are some essentials I feel like would come in handy for my LGBTQ brothers and sisters:

1. Bee Repellent

Is Coachella filled with tiny flying insects that want to hurt you like that last guy you hooked up with who didn’t go slow in the beginning when you asked him to? No, maybe not. But you know what will be there? A very disgruntled Bey-hive. Beyoncé fans are going to be livid because of her canceling on them, and now they are stuck with a Coachella ticket, forced to listen to Phantogram on day one, just so she can give birth to the other two members of Blue Ivy’s new girl group. Now, this may only work on actual bee’s, but I’m sure if you happen upon a vengeful Beyoncé fan, this could take them out for at least a minute.

2. Locker Decorations

Bitch! Make that locker you have to rent to store your stuff all weekend look like the new Interior Illusions Lounge! Grab some stickers, feathered boas, rhinestones…whatever you can find! Bonus: It will also help you find your locker from long distances. #winning

3. Make It A Say Something Hat Festival

The sun is way harsh, Tye, but make it work by picking a hat that the children will remember! Don’t pop into HM, because you know their clothes are like the Wicked Witch of the West – meaning they melt at the first hint of rain, sun, air, someone staring at it… you get the picture. My suggestion is: the floppier the better (I usually only apply that rule to hats, wink wink), the more feathers the better, and find the most obnoxious color you can. Bonus: It will help your friends find you easier when you inevitably get separated.

4. Cheap..BUT CUTE..Sunglasses

Do NOT bring the Tom Ford sunnies you used your friend’s Solstice discount on to Coachella. Find a pair of cute and fun cheap sunnies for the weekend. Because if you don’t lose them, Becky with the good hair will when she asks if she can borrow them for a second. Then the next thing you know, you turn your head for one second, then there’s Becky hooking up with Bon Iver behind a ramen burger stand, and your sunnies are nowhere to be seen.

5. Bring Out Your Hair Bow from 2008

Remember that hair bow you bought after “Poker Face” came out in 2008? Well, now would be the perfect time to whip it out since Lady Gaga is headlining. Leave the frosted lip gloss at home, also leave your Ray Bans home (REMEMBER WHAT I SAID UNDER POINT #4?!). Beware the Beyoncé fans; they might “Single Ladies” dance slap it off of your head unless you know every lyric of Beyoncé’s verse in “Telephone.”

6. Funscreen

Girl, hop off that Banana Boat and let her sink. Everyone’s going to just pop into CVS and use their ExtraCare card to get the most boring sunscreen imaginable. But Zinka can change that! I know, it sounds like Zika virus, but it comes in neon colors so you can paint each other like it’s an episode of Skin Wars. Bonus: A hot guy will be like, “Can I try that?” And then you’ll be like, “Only if I can apply it. Also, ever hear of someone painting with their penis?”

The last thing you thought would be brought up in this article was the Zika virus.

Purchase Zinka here.

7. Green Laser Gloves

These are primarily for the Lorde fans. The second she comes on and sings “Green Light,” you open your Jansport, whip these out and shine them on stage. Making for a fun effect but ALSO great to point on her boobies and her Lorde labia for comic relief. See ya on the tennis court!

You can pick up a pair here.

8. Organic Lube

The last thing you want to happen is you find the second coming of Matthew McConaughey circa 2003, and he’s like, “Alright, alright… I only use organic lube! Go planet!” Because this is the festival where everyone pretends to be woke, but really they’re just fucked up and looking for their festival hookup. Cause bitch, if you truly cared, you would not be spending all this money at Coachella instead of donating it to a good cause.

If you care to donate to a good cause, check out https://www.donationplanet.org.

9. Lots & Lots of Aspirin

You’re going to need it. Whether it’s from the side effects of drinking, the fact that you had to butt fuck a speaker because you were pushed so close, or the effects of Becky talking about how she thinks some guy is into her because he asked her if she knew what time the XX was going on. Just come equipped with aisle 11 from Rite Aid in your fanny pack. Oh! That reminds me…GET A FANNY PACK. Also, reminds me…anti-Becky earplugs. Get those, too.

10. If You’re Camping…Do It With Taste

You don’t want to be the one camping whose tent smells like mildew and has urine stains on the side from that trip upstate that one time. Grab a potted plant, some cute decorations from Target, maybe a chenille throw, a wingback chair and 1000 thread count sheets. Just kidding! But make it fun. Go to Wal-Mart, get some pinwheels, some flags, some bubbles, a garden gnome, and a yoga mat to show off in the morning in front of that mysterious tattooed guy that looks like Jason Mamoa you keep eyeing and call it a day. #DownwardDog

All in all, the above could very well help enhance your 2017 Coachella trip. Some quick tips are to make sure you always have cash on you, some Chap-stick, gum, condoms, and shower supplies. Personally, I will not be there this year because I didn’t die over the line-up. With that said, I decided to make my own dream line-up, mostly filled with acts that wouldn’t ever be invited to Coachella obviously…

The Top Gay Beaches to Crash This Summer

You can tell yourself that you love the beach because you’re a sun-worshipper, surf bum, or outdoors lover (and that’s cool), but for the 99% of us that like checking out handsome fellas in banana hammocks slather themselves in oil, gay beaches have a clear edge. So plan your summer months right by adding one of these destinations for your next getaway:

Photo Credit:Sittixay Dittavong

Sydney, Australia

Infamous Bondi beach attracts characters from all walks of life, but head to the North end where the gay guys hang out. Nude beaches are a little harder to come by in Australia, but Obelisk Beach in Mosman is worth a visit.

  • When to go: Warmest weather is between October and April
  • Party time: Mardi Gras (March 2018)
  • Upside: High-quality lifestyle, hot guys, lots of sights to see
  • Downside: Can be pricey

Fire Island, New York

Escape the NYC heat, and head to Fire Island to cool off (and strip off). Manhattan gyms would be out of business if it weren’t for here. And now, LogoTV has a new show of the same name. We can’t wait to see how that one plays out.

  • When to go: From end of May to beginning of September
  • Party time: Pride (June 2017)
  • Upside: Great escape from the heat of the city, fun atmosphere
  • Downside: Getting there, finding a place to stay (plan ahead)

Tel Aviv, Israel

The most open Middle Eastern city, Hilton Beach is where you’ll find the guys hanging out – and just a handy walk into the city center. Expect it to be packed to the rafters on weekends when the weather’s goodwhich is pretty much all year round.

  • When to go: May – October (July & August are scorching)
  • Party time: Pride (June 4 -10, 2017)
  • Upside: Vibrant city with beach close by, eclectic mix of visitors from around the world, still warm in spring & autumn
  • Downside: Extremely hot during the summer

Ibiza, Spain

If you like to party hard and like your men bronzed and buff, then the white isle will not disappoint. Head to Playa Es Cavallet near the airport, then enjoy an after dinner treat in the dunes behind the bar and stick around after 4pm for when things really heat up with killer DJ sets preparing you for the night ahead.

  • When to go: June to September (July & August are the busiest months)
  • Party time: Pride (June 14 – 17, 2017)
  • Upside: Clubber’s paradise
  • Downside: It can be pricey

Photo Credit: Maspalomas Pride, Pro Gay Events

Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain

Attracting a wider age group, from Twinkies on their first vacay without Mom and Dad, to hot go go veterans, to bulky Daddies for cuddles. They head for the infamous Maspalomas sand dunes, which offer privacy when you want it and open spaces if you prefereverything and anything goes on here.

  • When to go: Warm all year round, hottest June to September
  • Party time: Pride (May 4 – 14, 2017)
  • Upside: Perfect for all budgets
  • Downside: Can be a little trashy sometimes

Cape Town, South Africa

Rack up those air miles and head to Africa’s cosmopolitan heartland, a vibrant city with beautiful beaches and even more stunning guys and a relaxed vibe. Two beaches are worth a visit; Clifton Three with its natural beauty, and the aptly named Sandy Beach.

  • When to go: January to late April
  • Party time: Pride (February / March 2018)
  • Upside: Great value for money, unique city with cosmopolitan vibe, great outdoor life
  • Downside: It’s a long way to travel

Photo Credit: Visit Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Playground for the beautiful, head to the southern end of Playa Los Muertos, where you can enjoy an abundance of water sports and eye candy. As the busiest beach, it’s a handy location to roll from the beach to a bar to your hotel.

  • When to go: November to May
  • Party time: Pride (May 21 – 28, 2017)
  • Upside: Easy to get to from the US
  • Downside: It’s a Spring Break hotspot, so choose your month wisely

Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos attracts a high caliber of sun worshipping guys from all over Europe and beyond. With no high rises, it’s a whitewashed, pretty Greek Island with a selection of friendly bars and a great daytime hangout at Elia Beach.

  • When to go: June to September
  • Party time: XLsior Mykonos (August 23 – 30, 2017)
  • Upside: Quality island with an attractive crowd
  • Downside: Can be expensive, and it books up early

Why I Use Grindr to Make Friends

I live in a high-rise filled with people that I rarely engage with. Sometimes we’ll chat in the elevator about the weather while our dogs gingerly sniff each other’s genitals until the doors open and we go our separate ways. In the city, where I’m constantly surrounded by people, I frequently find myself in these situations. It can feel strange to chat with neighbors––as though I’m already invading their privacy by coincidentally sharing a wall.

In recent years, my friend circle has dwindled because many have moved, become parents, or consumed by their career. So, I started searching. The bars in the city are far more crowded than the streets––and often just as isolating without a group. I don’t know many guys who date from the bar scene anymore, let alone find good friends there. Since meeting people in the city doesn’t come easy, I downloaded Grindr on my phone. At first, I was reluctant. I’d never heard of guys using it only to make friends, but I thought I would give it a shot anyway. My profile specifically states that “I’m just looking for friends,” and only about half the guys don’t read the text––which, I think is a pretty good ratio.

The biggest obstacle I’ve found from finding friends online is explaining that I’m actually just looking for friends. I’ll have a ten-minute chat with a guy who seems to have a ton of mutual interests, and then he texts me an unsolicited wiener shot. As nicely as possible, I redirect the conversation, sometimes even commenting politely on his junk––if it’s nice––out of courtesy, of course. Though once the air clears, I’ve already seen which of his testicles hangs the lowest and, for some reason, that now makes things weird for him.

On rarer occasions, a guy will become enraged about my mission for friendship. A few months ago, a gentleman with a photo of an almond as his default pic, heavily questioned my truthfulness. He believed that I wrote “friendship” as a method to “screen out old queens.” I still don’t know what that means, but I’m glad it didn’t deter me.

Even though I feel like some guys don’t believe my intentions, Grindr has worked out in my favor. Over the past few years, I’ve made about ten great friends from the app. Most are guys that live in my building or nearby, and like it says on our profiles, we share a lot of the same interests. Perhaps, that’s the benefit of using Grindr over meeting in-person. At a bar, I can’t see who my fellow beach bums are or where the travel-holics are standing. Admittedly, it does take a bit of work to search for friends online, but the hunt has been worth the effort. For the ones that don’t work out, at least I got to see some nice wieners.

Eight To Know Now: Berlin

Check this mix of dynamic, creative LGBTQ kids causing a creative scene and expressing the fuck out of themselves in Germany’s balls to the wall metropolis. Oh, and they know where to party.

NAME: Hungry
AGE: 23
OCCUPATION: Performer

Where is your safe space?
I feel pretty safe all around Berlin. There are a few areas that can get a bit annoying, but the right attitude gets you through anything. I definitely do have my favourite venues and events to just relax.

Favorite place to go out in Berlin?
Monster Ronson’s Ichiban Karaoke. It’s where we have our weekly party. Love the staff, love the venue, love our crowds.

NAME: Michael-John Harper or “MJ”
AGE: 29
OCCUPATION: Performance artist

Do you ever feel nervous to be your true self in public?
I did when I was in high school because I was teased. But I realized what people respected the most – and the point where I no longer felt nervous to be myself in public – was when I started to unapologetically claim ownership of the things that define my idea of myself.

NAME: LyraPramuk
AGE: 26
OCCUPATION: Singer, artist

Do you ever feel nervous to be your true self out in public?
All the time! I’m actually still pretty paranoid. I started transitioning a little over a year ago, and especially as a trans woman it can be extremely intimidating sometimes to be out in public. There’s such a vulnerability to existing as a trans-femme person in our culture. I often deal with anxiety when I’m out in public or in a mainstream environment for very long.

Favorite place to go out in Berlin?
Grunewald – it’s a forest in West Berlin.

NAME: Asbjørn
AGE: 24
OCCUPATION: Musician

Where and when do you most feel yourself?
Dancing is somewhat the perfect balance between letting go of myself, but simultaneously seeing myself from the outside, which I think is a hard balance to achieve on a fundamentally personal level. Being yourself while being conscious about how that affects your surroundings, you know?

Favorite place to go out in Berlin?
First a little live-swing at Vila Neukölln, then dancing my ass off at Schwuz (the small floor), and maybe a late night chat at Ficken3000.

NAME: Marshall Vincent Garrett
AGE: 24
OCCUPATION: Musician

Do you ever feel nervous to be your true self out in public?
Only in cases where I feel some pressure to click with people I don’t click with. I would say there’s a lot of incessant apologizing with not getting along with folks in a place like NYC. In retrospect, in my long time of living there, the word “cordial” comes to mind more than anything. I certainly told myself once I moved and settled in Berlin, that I wouldn’t waste my time. It’s been a fantastic decision.

Favorite place to go out in Berlin?
A friends flat, or my own, preferably with wonderful people, lots of beer, and other things.

NAME: Mikey Woodbridge
AGE: unborn
OCCUPATION: Full-time Mikey

What impact has social media had on your work?
I’ve been lucky enough to score some really amazing jobs and projects that would have never come up if I didn’t have a profile. It’s a powerful and important self-promotion tool, especially if you’re an artist or working in nightlife. I’ve done projects for Rihanna designing a custom outfit, countless party hosting or DJ jobs, photographic and fashion collaborations, and a film for Depeche Mode. They were all jobs earned mostly through having an Instagram account putting my work out there that way.

Favorite place to go out in Berlin?
I’ll usually always end up at Berghain on Sunday. The magic that happens there is unlike anywhere else.

NAME: Nikolaj Tange Lange
AGE: 36
OCCUPATION: Performer, writer, and singer-songwriter-producer in the project Nuclear Family

Where and when do you most feel yourself?
The self is a pretty fluid thing, I think. Whether I am on stage in a costume, on a leash on all fours, or at home on the sofa with a book and a cup of tea, I never feel like I am putting on a role that isn’t part of who I am.

Favorite place to go out in Berlin?
Gegen, Cocktail d’Amore, Herrensauna, and of course Lab-Oratory.

NAME: Ahmad Larnes
AGE: 35
OCCUPATION: Singer/songwriter

Where is your safe space?
A vocal booth.

Favorite place to go out in Berlin?
Berghain

Grooming Habits to Start in Your 20s

For most guys, your 20s are for exploration, finding out who you are, and working on who you will become. It’s also a prime time to start developing healthy habits and routines, and learning how to balance the good choices with the not so good ones. It’s perfectly normal to have no clue what you want to do with your life in your 20s, but at least you should start to invest in staying handsome longer. Here’s how you can do it:

1. Get to know your face

Not all mugs are designed the same. Everyone’s skin is unique and requires different maintenance. The most common categories are dry, oily, normal, and combination. Check out this Wikihow site to figure out your skin type. For most people, the basic maintenance will be same, but the details involving the products you choose will slightly vary.

2. Clean up your act

The most important thing to remember is that your skin is more like a sponge and less like a shell. Skin is covered in pores and all your pores really want is to star on the show Hoarders. You collect everything in your pores: dirt, sweat, oil, and all of the free radicals floating around the environment. It’s important to choose a face wash that doesn’t over dry your skin but also cleans it thoroughly. Give Youth to the People Age Prevention Cleanser ($36) a try.

3. Exfoliate

Your skin is a flesh factory that produces cells. Every day your body is making new healthy skin cells and getting rid of old dead ones. When old skin cells start to pile up, it can leave the skin looking dry and dull, and can cause blackheads and breakouts. In order to keep the production flowing smoothly, it’s crucial to exfoliate a few times a week. Exfoliation can be done either chemically or with a manual scrub. Take a look at Baxter of California Facial Scrub ($19).

4. Moisturize and protect

Moisturizer is key to creating balance in the skin. Even if your skin is oily, it still needs positive moisture to stay hydrated and firm. Applying a moisturizer is like giving your skin eight glasses of water, and usually have other benefits like anti-aging or anti-inflammatory. It’s imperative you wear a sunscreen, and an easy way to do that is to select a moisturizer that already has one in it. The sun is anti-aging’s Voldemort. Not only does the sun burn and cause cancer, it also makes the skin produce excess melanin which creates age and sunspots. A study by the American Society for Photobiology found that most Americans receive 18% of their sun damage before the age of 18, and then 10% each decade after. Wearing sunscreen now is like putting change away in your handsome face piggy bank. Try out MD Solar Science Daily Anti-Aging SPF 30 Moisturizer ($68).

5. Keep your eyes on the prize

One of the first places you’ll start to see aging is around your eyes. This area of the face shows a lot of expression. All the smiling, eye rolling, and WTF facial expressions will start to create “crow’s feet” or wrinkles. Part of this is genetic, and part of this preventable. Your skin is built like a mattress and box spring, and it has several layers and springs to help keep it firm. But after a while, the coils start to loosen, the box spring starts to crack, and the bed starts to sink in where you normally sleep. The same thing goes for the delicate skin around your eyes. If you start using an eye cream now, it’s like investing in a quality bed (instead of the one you most likely have from Ikea, since you’re a 20-something). Eye cream can also have other great benefits, such as de-puffing and brightening. Start with something lighter, and then each decade step it up for more maintenance. A great starter eye cream is Clinique All About Eyes ($32).

That Fresh Fit: Tailored Looks for Spring

So you’ve been trapped in meetings all day and have after work drinks planned, but don’t have time to go home and change. Be that elusive guy who can do both with cool tailoring looks created with casual shirts, and sneaker or boot styling to help make you look like you have beauty and brains. (Don’t stress, it can be done.)

Some of the strongest colors to come off the menswear Autumn/Winter ‘17 catwalks, teal and bottle green work perfectly for tailoring. Moving on from the olive tones that were so popular in the winter months, teal drags you into summer with head to toe tonal green looks. Sharp suiting with casual styling drags you from the boardroom and, hopefully, into the bedroom.

Jackets, left to right: HM, Topman, Paul Smith
Trousers, left to right: Topman, HM

Classic lumberjack shirts are given a more refined look when matched with clean jackets and streamline trousers. And the busy checked patterns help break up color-drenched suiting combos.

Left to right: Burberry,French Connection, NN07

Clean and classic leather belts break up head to toe color. Opt for black and silver, or matte black buckles for a more minimal look.

Left to right: Givenchy, Orciani, Dsquared2

Casual boots help dress down that smart, professional outfit, and work perfectly with a rolled up trouser hem. Sneakers give a bit more of a grown-up skater boy feel.

Left to right: Rossignol, Grenson,Common Projects

Living As An Undocuqueer In Trump’s America

Six years. That’s how long I have been out as a proud gay man. But 23 years is how long I have been an undocumented immigrant in the United States of America. My name is Jesus Chavez, I am 25 years old, and I am an undocuqueer.

As an undocumented and queer person of color, I live an undocuqueer life. I have come out as gay, and I have come out of the shadows as undocumented. These two parts of me have driven me to overcome obstacles, but also to live with anxiety and fear at the tips of my fingers.

During President Obama’s administration, we had hope. Undocumented youth, often led by those who are also LGBTQ, pushed for and won relief through a program called DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This two-year renewable program provided temporary relief from deportation, and a work permit for young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. Despite this program, the Obama administration still deported millions and separated families. This will only worsen under the Trump administration, raising even more fear in my community.

Over the past five years, since the beginning of the DACA program, I have been able to get a job, graduate college, and advance in my life. But all of that could be easily erased if the new president chooses to end the program, as he promised to do numerous times during his campaign. The goals and aspirations of almost 800,000 could be dashed away with just one executive action.

I was three years old when my parents decided to immigrate to the United States. What were their reasons… survival! We lived in an adobe home with a dirt floor, and no running water and electricity. Resources were limited, and my dad could not find work. I often think about my parents’ decision and the difficulty they faced for choosing to leave their home.

My experiences of being undocumented, gay, and carrying the weight of my parents’ aspirations have allowed me to be resilient and survive in this country — even though it often feels like many of its citizens would rather I just disappear. While I am lucky to have the support of my family when I came out, my rejection came at the hands of a government that refuses to accept that I am a citizen of this country, even if my birth certificate does not reflect that.

Being undocumented was something I had to conform to, embrace, and sometimes deny. It has complex layers that barred me from the normal parts of life many people take for granted — like driving and getting a driver’s license. For many people, finding a job can be a daunting task in itself. Now imagine working under the table, or having an employer discriminate against you for your immigration status, despite having a work permit.

On a more personal level, even dating can be tricky. You question yourself: should I tell him? Will he be accepting? Will he take advantage? Will he think I want to marry him to adjust my immigration status? Is he a citizen? Does he realize I can’t travel abroad? And so we undocuqueer people sometimes have to survive by going back into the shadows. This is the common ground that the immigrant justice movement shares with the LGBTQ movement. For many years, LGBTQ individuals hid their identity to conform to society and “feel safe.” And the sad reality is, in this administration, neither LGBTQ or undocumented immigrants are safe.

And while many people in the LGBTQ community cannot fully understand what it means to be undocumented, I want people to know that we are in this together and that hundreds of thousands of people like me are facing a significant threat. In my experience, the worst thing one can do is to dehumanize me without getting to know me; label me without understanding what “illegal” signifies, and threaten me with detention and deportation. I want people to know that Mexico is not “my country.” I haven’t been able to visit since I left as an infant. To deport me now would mean sending me to a place I don’t even know.

We may not know what is going to happen during this new administration. But we do know that as LGBTQ individuals, we are diverse. We all come from somewhere; we all have a story to share, and we all are individuals. But as individuals, we must also take the time to learn, to read, to share and grasp these stories, and avoid simple judgments hurtful to me and my undocuqueer community. We are living difficult times, but like many leaders before us, we will continue to fight and prevail to achieve justice for all.