I Realized I was Gay While Playing Street Fighter II

Flashback to 1993: Jurassic Park had just been released, Madonna was touring the world with The Girlie Show, and Sylvester Stallone and Jean-Claude Van Damme were fighting baddies on TV with their fists of fury and kung-fu kicks.

The early 90’s also marked the time when amusement arcades saw one last resurgence in popularity, a renaissance for the business before the final surrender to the arrival of video game consoles and home entertainment. Thanks to the launch on the market of Japanese fighting games like Street Fighter II and Tekken, arcades were buzzing again with a new wave of enthusiastic players like me, geeky kids and preadolescent boys, taking our first steps into the world as fully-fledged gamers.

Like most 12-year-old boys back then, I loved spending most of my time surrounded by blinking “Insert Coin” signs and cacophonous 8-bit melodies blaring in loops from permanent demo modes. Unfortunately, my reserved personality and social awkwardness did not allow me to fully enjoy those coin-operated heavens of flashing lights. I ventured into the arcades by myself, circling around the machines like a timid tiny shark, watching the other kids play while I was nervously fiddling with the tokens in my pocket. I was too shy to ask someone to join me, and whenever it was my turn to play, I made sure no one was watching.

My gaming choices were the main reason for my lack of video game buddies. Whenever I played Street Fighter II, for instance, I always picked one and only one character: Chun-Li, the first successful and popular female protagonist in an action game. Her legacy paved the way for strong ladies like Lara Croft or Jill Valentine from Resident Evil. Chun-Li became my instant favorite, not only because of her iconic looks and powerful air attacks, but also because by choosing her I was able to explore unprecedented options of gender nonconformity.

The gaming world for me has always been a place where I could behave unconventionally without any real life consequences, and even if I was probably too young to clearly understand my blossoming sexual orientation, the adoption of such a strong woman to defeat legions of macho fighters felt amazingly satisfying. Unfortunately the other boys did not understand why I would use Chun-Li instead of the more popular options like Ryu or Ken. Older kids started teasing me. So the day one too many “f” words was thrown at me, I simply resolved to stop playing in front of other people, dreaming of the day I would find a gaming partner who would bear no judgement.

When I finally received Street Fighter II for my Super Nintendo console, it was one of the happiest times of my life. At last, I was able to find shelter in the privacy of my house – no more peer pressure, no more competition with aggressive adolescents. The enhanced graphics of the new 16-bit console were groundbreaking for the time, and I remember feeling reverential respect for the superbly detailed images, as well as an increasing familiarity with the group of exotic combatants that I controlled in the game. All of the sudden I could not keep my eyes away from the buff bodies on my TV screen. What was happening? Why did Ryu look so strong and seductive in the opening credits, with his bulging veiny biceps and the promise of chiseled muscles under his white kimono?

And why was this warm feeling of desire so similar to the mix of curiosity, attraction, and vague sense of envy that I felt every time I furtively glanced at the other boys at school during PE or in the gym’s changing room? The alluring victory poses of these digital fighters showed me a universe of powerful men with rock-hard abs and ripped torsos, a glimpse of an alternate reality where I was in total control, and where one day, possibly, I could have become as invincible as those aspirational demi-gods. At the time, I was not sure about the word that defined what or who I was, but I knew that my feelings for those moving pixels were powerful and real, and all I desired was to be able to share this passion with someone else, a kindred soul that could understand what was going through my mind. But it was 1993, and I was nothing but a lonely 12-year-old gaymer who felt like a single-player in a world of multiplayers.

Flash-forward to 2017, almost 25 years later. The gaymer community is rising quickly and establishing itself within popular culture, thanks to increased visibility and interconnectivity available through online gaming and forums. Despite most games still being marketed to white straight teenage boys, LGBTQ storylines and characters have been introduced to many mainstream video games, sending to the new generations of gaymers a message of inclusivity and hope. The Street Fighter franchise has landed its fifth chapter, and for the occasion Capcom has created a new character, a bearded and shirtless “hot Ryu”, who has had boys and girls alike screaming “Daddy!” at this new digital persona.

And there is a happy ending for my 12-year-old gaymer self, too. I have been lucky enough to find someone to love and play video games with, a guy who doesn’t judge me when I kick his ass at Street Fighter with my beloved female characters. The second player controller is not collecting dust on a shelf anymore, and I am now confident enough to send a message to those boys who made fun of me at the arcades back in the day.

Come and fight me, guys. Chun-Li and I are no longer afraid.

Un-hangover Yourself

You wake up gasping for breath like you’ve been shot, your mouth is dry like the desert, and what feels like razor blades falling down your ear canal is actually your alarm. The haze slightly subsides, the migraine begins to creep in, and you realize you have around thirty minutes to get your shit together and convince your boss you weren’t out all night, starting with your face.

Stay calm. Here are five beauty products to make you look like you’re a responsible adult that only had ‘one drink’.

1. Glamglow POWERMUD Dual Cleanse Treatment

I found Glamglow when I was traveling, and it honestly took around three years off my face in ten minutes. At first, I thought I was being ripped off, but it revolutionized my face regime. You can literally have seven shots of tequila, follow with double vodka sodas, and still have super clean velvety skin the next morning. So after cleansing your face with a facial cleanser and patting dry, this goes on!

2. Elemis SOS Survival Cream

It’s important to have a daily moisturizer and a backup moisturizer that can literally pump the elixir of youth back into your face. Elemis is formulated as a high performance, daily skin moisturizer, but this skin treatment cream is the optimum solution for sensitivity, irritation, dryness, and blemishes (naturally your perfect sidekick when you’re hungover AF). Once you have finished your face mask, tone, and then slap this baby all over your face and neck.

The powerful formula of marine extracts, lavender, and myrrh instantly soothes problem areas and leaves the skin perfectly hydrated and comfortable after a night of debauchery.

3. Visine Maximum Strength

This is going to be your best friend to get rid of the redness and irritation in your eyes. I recommend putting this in as soon as you’re awake so they’re crisp and hydrated. Don’t wait until you get to work. You might need a couple of rounds of it.

4. Quicksand by Hanz Defuko

This is for those of you who are lucky enough to pull of Viking length hair or something a bit more ’One Direction’ inspired. Quicksand will save you time so you can skip the ‘wet hair’ bit of drying your hair when it’s already a mission to stay alive.

Quicksand is one part styling wax and one part dry shampoo. The gritty formula contains diatomaceous earth, a soft granular rock similar to pumice that sucks up excess oil on the hair and scalp. So it’s perfect for oily, slept on hair.

5. Anything by Le Labo

Lastly after you shower, you need to have something beautiful to spray on your once disgusting self. I recommend Le Labo because their fragrances are so soulful and arresting, and people in your office will be so taken with your scent that they’ll hardly notice any other flaws.

Here are some extra home remedies that will help you (at no cost, only copious amounts of willpower) before crashing and after rising to help you get back to normal.

Before crashing:

  • Drink two pints of water to stop dehydration.
  • Take two painkillers to prevent a headache.

After rising:

  • Drink two more pints of water (your body needs it).
  • Eat a proper meal with carbs, fat, and sugar to absorb alcohol.
  • NO coffee. It’ll cause a headache and promote your old friend anxiety.
  • Eat plenty of fruits to rebalance sugar.
  • A simple breathing exercise and meditation can soothe the pain away.
  • Put two tablespoons in the freezer for 15 minutes, and then hold under your eyes until they are warm, this will minimize blood vessels and puffiness.

Or my personal fave recovery method? Sit in a bath of extremely hot water (for approx. 15 mins) until you sweat out all of your toxins, and then take an extremely cold shower to wake the system up. Shaving and a beard trim are also crucial.

Hang in there.

Do You Even Conceal, Bro?

Whether you have a first date, big interview, or just need to look your best, every guy should have a concealer in his grooming arsenal. Here are our five favorite concealers:

Glossier Stretch Concealer

Miracle worker.

I feel a little bit like the girl in Swimfan when it comes to this concealer: Obsessed! The texture is a light to medium and does wonders under the eyes. The micro-waxes move with the skin and never crease. The finish is hydrated and natural. It seriously looks just like healthy, hydrated skin. This is a great option for guys who do not want to be clocked wearing make up.

Milk Makeup Concealer

All purpose handyman.

The convenient stick applicator makes this concealer great to carry with you. Just dab it on and blend it out with your finger. This is a solid medium finish, and it’s great for any blemishes and for putting under the eyes. The melt technology helps the product sink into the skin for a flawless finish. This would be a great addition to any gym bag.

Tom Ford Concealer for Men

Gag on the eleganza.

Tom Ford equals luxury, and this product is no exception. This sleek roll-up and easy to use stick formula concealer is worth its heavy price tag. The full coverage factor makes this stick great for photos and formal events. This product is also really great for oily skin types, and the long wear formula doesn’t break down throughout the day.

W3ll People Bio Correct Multi-Action Concealer

Ingredient conscious.

If you prefer to avoid artificial chemicals like parabens, propylene glycol, and dimethicone, W3ll People is the brand for you. Not only is this concealer vegan and made from sustainable energy, W3ll People replaced the harsh chemicals with beneficial natural ingredients like algae, coffee, peptides, and pomegranate. This concealer brightens and de-puffs while concealing.

NYX Concealer Jar

Amazing price, amazing product.

This high power concealer is full coverage and only $5.00. NYX makes high-performing products for very reasonable prices. This concealer is heavy duty and great for covering any kind of imperfection from blotchiness to pimples. The staying power of this concealer is ideal for a night out dancing or even the gym. You can also pick this up at almost any drug store. Just be careful not to use too much.

Selecting a shade:

Try to find a perfect skin match, especially if you’re looking for blemish coverage. The concealer should melt perfectly into the skin with no signs of demarcation. The only exception to this is if you’re focusing primarily on coverage for under your eyes. In that case, you can go a shade lighter to help brighten up your face. If you prefer shopping online, I recommend Googling swatches on someone’s arm to help you select the color. The shoppable color selections can be misleading.

For the most natural application, use a clean finger. Take a tiny bit of concealer, and place it on the tip of your finger. Then, take your finger and gently dab until you have sufficient coverage. The heat from your finger will help the product melt into the skin. If you apply directly from the tube or stick, you could risk applying too much. Here’s a great tip: If you’re focusing on under your eyes, imitate a Nike check by starting in the inner corner of your eye and follow up your cheek, blending along the way. For extra effectiveness, apply a great eye cream first.

If He Ignores Your Message, Should You Send Another?

We’ve all seen that hot, local guy online who makes our toes curl. He might be the mysterious stranger with the perfect amount of scruff and an adorable smile. Or he’s that geeky jock or that twink with the swimmer’s build or that furry stud—whichever flavor fits your fancy. Sure, you’re just basing your attraction on one pic, a few words, and a possible Instagram link. Yet, you’re pretty certain that if you met up, the encounter would be nothing short of a great time. So, you take a deep breath and send him a quick hello.

Then, he doesn’t write back.

Maybe he didn’t see it? Nope, he was online in the last 30 minutes, and you sent the message two hours ago. Maybe he’ll get back to you later? Or maybe he won’t. Without talking to him, you’ll likely never know. You already feel like a stalker for checking his online status. But, this isn’t just some guy, it’s the total stud you see online every day, and he loves road trips or rock climbing or Pokémon—and you could easily pretend to love that crap, too.

So, if he’s totally your type and he didn’t message back, should you write him again? You know, just in case he didn’t see your first contact or there was a glitch somewhere. Do you wait a few hours? A few days? A few weeks? Never? Or do you just bomb him with “Hi” over and over until he questions your sanity? If you’ve ever fallen prey to the “hi monster”—that guy who writes “Hi” or “Sup” to you every day until you eventually block him—you’d know that tactic feels restraining-order-worthy. So, without coming on too strong, what do you do?

Personally, I wouldn’t message someone again who didn’t reply to me. If you’re both in the same area, he can see you, too, and send a message if he feels like it. However, if you still want a second try, wait at least four days. Some guys need a lot of time to message back. It’s possible that he didn’t see your first one or that he forgot to respond. It’s also possible that he just didn’t like your profile. The worst that could happen? He blocks you. The best? You hang out!

However, there is a fine line between a second hello and becoming the “hi monster” – namely, if he ignores you again, don’t keep bugging him. It’s also best to avoid writing “I sent you a message and didn’t know if you got it.” A message like that isn’t a good start to a fun conversation. Keep it light, keep it real. Still, understand that sometimes the local eye candy is just meant to be—well—eye candy. Rejection doesn’t say anything bad about you. How well you handle being ignored, however, that speaks volumes.

The Ultimate List of Movie Bitches

Kathryn – Cruel Intentions

Our high school idol, coked-up Kathryn (Sarah Michelle Gellar) snorts her nose candy through a crucifix and tries to shag her hot step-brother, all while making her schoolgirl uniform look high-end. Plus, we love a girl who knows what she wants: TO GET LAID. Trust blonde bimbo Reese Witherspoon to screw it all up.

Debbie – Addams Family Values

Poor Debs (Joan Cusack). She just wanted a few nice things. What did she get for her troubles? A marriage to that potato, Uncle Fester, a MAL-I-BU BAR-BIE from her parents and, in the end, electrocuted. WHAT ABOUT DEBBIE?

Nancy – The Craft

Another misunderstood angel, Nancy (Fairuza Balk), just wanted to get out of her trailer trash hell and have a little magical fun. What happened? Bloody goody-two-shoes Sarah shit all over her plans and got her locked up in the booby hatch. Oh well, at least you look fierce, Nancy.

Rebecca & Gladys Leeman – Drop Dead Gorgeous

All Becky (Denise Richards) and Gladys (Kirstie Alley) wanted to do was win a little beauty pageant. Is that so bad? Even if it did mean bumping off the competition to do so. Good news: Becky DID win. Bad news: she got torched inside the belly of giant swan, while murderous mastermind Gladys is now some big Bertha’s bitch in the state pen.

Regina George – Mean Girls

Regina (Rachel McAdams) worked out before any of us that Lindsay Lohan is nothing but trouble. The bitch got her mowed down by a bus, and she ended up attending her prom in a spinal halo. But don’t cry for our bitchy Regina: a quick trip to TMZ now will tell you which of the two ended up on top. Sorry, Linds.

Amber – Clueless

Cher didn’t even do her assignment! How was Amber (Elisa Donovan) supposed to do hers?

Miranda Priestly – Devil Wears Prada

Miranda (Meryl Streep) pretty much redefined Head Bitch in Charge. That is all.

Courtney Shayne – Jawbreaker

“Satan in Heels” Shayne (Rose McGowan) wasn’t going to let something like an accidental murder fuck up her life. I mean, what about prom?

Shelley the Barracuda – First Wives Club

Though we loved “Princess Pelvis” Shelley (Sarah Jessica Parker), she made the fatal error of crossing Bette Midler. Sorry Shellz, you mess with the Bette, you get the horns.

Regina – Beethoven’s 2nd

So basically snappy dresser and Jersey girl Regina (Debi Mazar) was supposed to put her life on hold because two dogs wanted to fuck? Ridiculous. Debbie, we’re so sorry your beautiful jumpsuit got ruined in the name of dog sex.

Christy Masters – Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion

No sympathy for this one. Christy Masters (Julie Campbell) made our spirit animals Romy Michele sad while they were dressed in their amazing Madonna outfits. We hope your baby DID look like a monkey.

Gail Weathers – Scream

Journalist witch Gail (Courtney Cox) wrote the book on exploiting other people’s misery for your own fabulous gain. She’ll send you a copy!

Being Gay and Jewish is the Chicest Thing Ever

Like most closeted 17 year olds raised in an Orthodox community, I did not think being gay or Jewish was remotely chic. Eventually, I graduated from high school and came out; three years, two Lady Gaga albums, and one British boyfriend later, I loved being gay. But I could not forgive my Jewish schools, teachers, synagogues, and mentors for leaving me in the dark my first 17 years. Out of anger, I did my best to create a life devoid of any Jewish affiliation. I failed epically, primarily because…I am the most Jewish person ever. Everything about my curly hair, chest hair, mild anxiety, and Barbara Streisand obsession screams American Jew. It got to a point where people would laugh in my face when I tried to deny that I was Jewish. Faced with a serious problem. I used the gay heritage I loved as a framework to understand my inextricable but wholly unwanted Jewish heritage. I found that I like being Jewish for the same reasons I like being gay. This comes as no surprise because the gay and Jewish communities have a lot in common.

Jews and gays have always existed and lurked in the shadows of history. They often experience prejudice and violence at the hands of the same oppressor. Anti-Semitic societies tend to be homophobic, and Jews and gays were murdered alongside each other in the Nazi concentration camps. Most importantly the gays and the Jews are both survivors. Despite societal intolerance, systematic governmental oppression, and genocide, both groups thrive today.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently said, “The true symbol of the United States is not the bald eagle. It is the pendulum. And when the pendulum swings too far in one direction it will go back.” On one hand, both communities have legal protections, governmental funding, and media visibility. On the other hand, we have a sharp rise of anti-Semitism since Trump’s election and a new Attorney General who voted against every major piece of LGBTQ legislation since serving in Congress. How can a gay or a Jewish person ever feel truly safe?

Therefore, in these moments of relative peace and acceptance, it is vital that the Jewish community and cisgender gay community stand by others who need help. To me, being gay means protecting anyone anywhere who is discriminated against for who they love or their gender identity. To me, being Jewish means taking a stand against any type of religious or racial discrimination. Since Trump took office, I have seen both of my communities step up in a very serious way.

I saw a massive Jewish presence at the Trump travel ban protests. At least five signs blared the Elie Wiesel quote, “No Human Being Is Illegal,” and kipot dotted the crowd. In Battery Park, hundreds of Jews chanted “Never again” as the Statue of Liberty stood behind them. The night Trump rescinded federal protection for transgender students, I posted on Instagram about a rally at Stonewall. Thirty friends met up with me beforehand so we could walk over together- all gay men. We carried signs that said, “Fuck with our sisters and you fuck with us.”

I love having two communities I can turn to in a crisis. My ancestors, my friends, and I have all been persecuted. Therefore we know to show up when others are persecuted. When I feel weak or broken I find strength in the challenges my ancestors overcame. I think to myself that if they can do it, so can I. Anybody who is gay or Jewish or black or Muslim or Mexican or an immigrant or part of any previously oppressed group can call on that same power. My intersectional identity allows me to draw from two incredible power sources. And I think that’s just the chicest thing ever.

IG:
Adam
Rooney

From Teen to Dream

It’s no secret that with fame comes change. Change as in fillers, stylists, trainers, and a lot of contouring. Now, people do grow up, and that causes your looks to change on their own, but let’s be real…a lot of it is also from the help of a local Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. And it’s not always good makeup and you watching what you eat. Because no, gurl…YOU DID NOT OVERDRAW THOSE LIPS. YOU GOT FILLERS. Let’s see who else has morphed over the years, whether through the help of doctors or just being filthy rich.

Kylie Jenner

Ok, let’s start with the obvious one. She went from Peppermint Patty to Jessica Rabbit in half of a year. And she tried saying she overdrew her lips with makeup…well then she must have found the horniest artist at Marvel Comics to draw that body. The wise Latin poet, Shakira, once said that “Hips don’t lie,” and she was right. Jenner’s hips can’t lie about the silicone valley that lies beneath. If we all had her money, we’d also all look like the Bratz aisle at Target.

Gwen Stefani

She was “Just a girl,” but now she looks like a greeter for the Church of Scientology. “Hello…thank you for coming! Xenu will see you in a moment to have you sign your life over for a billion years…” If she ever denied having any sort of fillers or work I’d be like “Don’t speak…oh dang, wait, you can’t! That face is froze!”

Justin Bieber

It seems like most guys in Hollywood don’t have too much plastic surgery, but they do have paychecks that rely on them being hot. And those paychecks also pay for the best trainers, personal chefs, unlimited supplies of Hydroxycut, and Tummy Tea for their Instagrams. So Bieber seems all natural, but he did go from looking like “My friend’s lesbian sister” to “My friend’s lesbian sister that finally went F to M.”

Nicki Minaj

Girl bye. I’m thinking “Anaconda” was an autobiographical piece, no? “My Anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns, hun.” It’s a classic tale of girl had little A so girl goes and gets some more A and becomes a bouncy castle.

Queen Bee A.K.A. Beyonce

Has she had work done? Let’s say no, no, no, no, no…BUT what she did do was ditch that JCPenney prom dress, the 12-pack of butterfly clips from Claire’s (I mean, she also ditched the other members of Destiny’s Child obvi), and she got some STYLE.

Britney Spears

Britney Bitch went from the Limited Too to Fredericks of Kentwood. Sure, she’s older on the right, but that does not explain what happened to her face. That smile makes me feel like she has prosthetic cheeks on. I think it’s probably because she barely moves that mouth. I just hope Britney is at least using it for that fine model from the “Slumber Party” video she’s seeing…or at least lip syncing to porn while she’s on top of him.

Adele

She could have it ALLLL…and by the looks of it she did. But how can you deny how great this woman is? Whether you like her music or not, whether you like her makeover or not – at least the “Hello” singer has an entertaining personality. This looks like the hard work of a diet plan and an amazing makeup artist. And ditching that Roxxxy Andrews make-up smock for couture.

Aaron Taylor Johnson

Two words…ZAD DEE. At first glance, I’m sure you’re wishing he was holding YOUR golden globes in his hand on the right rather than that statue…and then you’re like, milk did a body good. And this is some good ol’ natural results from actual puberty, a gym, and a barber. But I’m going to petition for him to have nude scenes in every movie he makes from now on.

Ariana Grande

All T? All Shade? This is not just real puberty. This is the work of Doctor Zizmor. She went from looking like my Italian cousin who shops at Hot Topic and dies her hair with Kool-Aid to a mini Kardashian in my pocket. I don’t want to be too shady, but this is definitely a meatball to filet mignon scenario.

Zac Efron

To quote my favorite lyricist, Vanessa Williams, “You went and saved the best for last.” And only best because that picture on the right is enough to have me inhale a bottle of Rush and draw a Zac Efron face on my hand. I’m sure there was no surgery by any means…but a subscription to ProActiv, a trainer, lots of gay porn to get out that pent out aggression, and some oil. More, please.

Insta-Censored

Instagram is great for makeup tips, puppy memes, and bomb selfies – this is a fact. The app has, however, also changed the way we date. Remember when Marc Jacobs accidentally posted a nude selfie he had intended for one man’s eyes only? The designer taught us all a lesson that day: all it takes is a strategically-placed selfie, a few coded emojis, and a deliberately suggestive caption to ensure all the boys on your ‘follower’ list will slide into your DMs.

However, this tried-and-tested strategy – essentially the “bend and snap” of the iPhone age – may be about to die out. Just a few days ago, Instagram announced a new policy intended to crack down on what it deems to be ‘sensitive’ content by blurring certain photos which breach the – unsurprisingly vague – rules. In an official statement, Instagram’s own account posted the following explanation: “While these posts don’t violate our guidelines, someone in the community has reported them and our review team has confirmed they are sensitive. This change means you are less likely to have surprising or unwanted experiences in the app.”

There are, of course, well-documented restrictions already in place. The app is known for its censorship of art and hypocritical attitudes towards male and female nudity – nipples are, for some reason, a particular source of offense – and for unjustifiably removing images so often that Molly Soda and Arvida Bystrom teamed up to release ‘Pics or it Didn’t Happen’ in response. Not only does the book provide a home for hundreds of censored images, accompanying captions detail the often bewildering explanation and therefore highlight the inconsistency of the app’s guidelines.

If Instagram’s censorship policy is already vague at best, what exactly can be achieved by blurring ‘sensitive content’? Furthermore, what counts as inappropriate enough to be blurred but not offensive enough to be removed?

A glimpse at the potential pitfalls recently came courtesy of YouTube’s controversial ‘Restricted Mode’ which was called out for alleged homophobia. User Rowan Ellis was one of the first to notice that the site’s restrictions were filtering out non-sexual, non-explicit, queer content including music videos and trans makeup tutorials, whereas other investigations seemed to suggest that keywords like ‘gay’ and ‘sexuality’ were almost universally banned.

Like Instagram’s new policy, videos caught in the ‘restricted’ filters were not removed by YouTube but instead blocked in ‘Restricted Mode’ which, the site said, was a feature intended to create a family-friendly site for in-school use. The problem, however, was exacerbated when videos restricted by the guidelines were demonetized, essentially meaning that LGBTQ+ users were losing valuable ad revenue for merely choosing to discuss their sexuality. Although YouTube apologized, the damage had essentially been done.

Put simply, this is important. Sex education is mandatory in schools, LGBTQ+ sex education is not. Queer identities are often erased by national curriculums, meaning that YouTube is a valuable source of information for inquisitive teenagers. The same can be said of Instagram to an extent – the site provides a platform for others to seek out queer, gender non-conforming, and trans users, all of whom could either educate young users on identity politics or provide a valuable recognizable face for teens questioning their own sexuality and gender identity.

It’s also no secret that sponsored Instagram posts are becoming a key source of revenue for influencers, meaning that this new ‘sensitive content’ filter could become a resource for homophobic accounts to restrict content based on their own prejudice. This is, of course, speculation, but it goes without saying that vague censorship guidelines have never been particularly kind to LGBTQ+ communities – our existence is often sexualized, stereotyped, and deemed ‘inappropriate’ by default.

So, not only will the possibilities of luring in thirsty new dates be restricted, the guidelines could also have implications for young users who rely on the platform to see representations of themselves often absent from their own surroundings. This may be speculation, but an app’s deliberately fluid language is inherently speculative. In fact, this is the problem – by relying on a free-floating definition of ‘sensitive’ and omitting an exhaustive list of restrictions, these platforms allow for cultural definitions of ‘inappropriate’ content usually buoyed by discriminatory attitudes to become enforceable.

Finally, the new guidelines introduce yet another barrier for young LGBTQ+ influencers using their social media platforms to discuss the important issues which, despite what historic, homophobic legislation would insinuate, does not equate to the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality. Discussions of queerness and sexuality are not ‘inappropriate’ by default; ironically, modern youth is the demographic most in need of this education in order to understand today’s rapidly-changing world. So, it may be time to say goodbye to hashtags like #thirsttrap and #instagay once and for all – a departure revelatory of an increasingly sanitized world still reluctant to truly engage with ‘sensitive’ discussions.

First Date Looks That Aren’t Basic

Date & Drinks Look

You were supposed to be on your way to meet him 30 minutes ago, but the only thing you’ve figured out is which pair of underwear to put on. The last thing you want before a date is a fashion emergency, so here are some of the top must-have looks from the men’s catwalks that you can throw on anytime you want to show a new guy you’ve got great taste.

90’s grunge becomes a bit more polished with an oversized denim trucker jacket and color blocked shirts, creating the perfect smart casual look. Pink tones are huge for spring/summer ’17 and will continue to be popular moving into the winter season too (so you can get your money’s worth). Opt for tailored chinos in darker pink tones and wear with chunky boots in brown or burgundy.

Let’s break down your options:

The classic denim trucker jacket is a closet must have item. A boxy silhouette and relaxed sleeves help smarter looks become more casual.

Left to right: Topman, RTA, Levi’s

Classic black, grey, and white combinations give that all important color block look, but without having to rely on brighter colors. Bowling shirts remain a key item as we move into summer and work perfectly unbuttoned over shirts and vests.

Left to right: Marni, COS, Andrea Pompilio

As candy pink becomes one of the hottest colors from the season following the fall/winter menswear catwalks, we look to salmon tones for an easier way to wear the look.

Left to right: Zara, PT01, American Eagle

Burgundy and red tone boots are perfect to chuck on for the season, with buckles working for smarter styles and contrast laces bringing through the more casual side.

Left to right: John Lobb, Red Wing

Want an accessory to top it all off? The backpack keeps its place as a key item on the runway with a new minimal look. Go for easy black and oxblood tones.

Left to right: Want Les Essentiels, Eastpak, Y-3