Do I Need The Perfect Body To Find A Man?

In this week’s Hola Papi!, the advice column by writer, Twitterer, and prolific Grindr user John Paul Brammer, a reader writes in asking for help with the fact that he keeps losing weight, but men keep expressing dissatisfaction.

And while we all have a body type we find most sexy, his question helps our dear columnist launch into a larger discussion on body image and love for queer people everywhere.

If you want his advice, just email him at [email protected] with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start out your letter with Hola Papi!


Hola Papi!

I live in Germany, I’m 28, and I’m tall and chubby. In January this year, I started to work out, change my eating habits, and lose weight so that I could feel better about myself and be healthier. I already lost a big chunk of the pounds I wanted to lose, and a while ago when I hit my intermediate goal, I pulled myself up by my wig straps and got back into the game of dating.

But here’s the thing: Every single guy I went on a date with, no matter if he was big or thin or muscular, told me to either lose or gain more weight, and that we can’t date until I did so.

Here’s my question: What the F am I supposed to do? I really would like to have a new boyfriend. As I said I’m 28 now, but feel like I’ll never find one, and I really don’t know how to handle this shit anymore. I get that we’re all shallow c u next Tuesdays, but come on.


Body Issues

Guten Tag, Body! It’s always a treat when I get to go international in these columns. It gives me the illusion of being abroad, despite having not left my home in weeks. But it’s okay. There are stray cats who keep me company from outside my window. I have named them all. They have distinct personalities. They think I am their mother.

Anyway, I don’t know what has changed since I last set foot in your country, but scheisse! (I will stop now, I promise) Since when do people ask you to lose or gain weight on the first date?

That’s the easy part of your problem: If someone says they don’t want to see you until you’ve changed your body, then they don’t deserve to see you at all. They don’t deserve to see anyone for that matter. They should be put in time out from seeing people until they stop that. They are rude and should be punished.

But now comes the hard part we have to reckon with: It’s not so easy to dismiss body issues in the gay community. They are all over the place, and they influence pretty much everything.

If I were more of a hack, I would tell you it all comes down to self-love, or that you just need to be confident. Perhaps I would hit you over the head with a platitude, something like “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” or “it’s what’s on the inside that counts.”

But for now, screw that. As a body dysmorphic and a sufferer of an eating disorder, I know what it’s like to navigate gay spaces in both a thin and a husky body (though, certainly, I haven’t experienced it all!) and I know what it’s like to feel less-than because of my looks. And, Body, it does not feel good!

You and I are not alone in that sentiment. Did you know that gay men are way more likely than straight men to develop eating disorders? Did you know that gay men are also more likely to report feeling inadequate about their bodies? Something is going on here, and it seems we’re struggling to address it as a community.

Body, I swear, sometimes being a gay man feels like a competition. It’s like we’re constantly comparing ourselves to the next guy: how many people we’ve hooked up with, how many likes we got on our selfies, how many hot friends we can recruit into our squad. If you get caught up in that mindset, it can make you feel constantly inadequate. It can make you feel like you’ll never be enough.

But the thing is, you are enough. And not every gay man is going to make you feel like you need to gain or lose something before you’re worth it. I don’t just mean in the context of potential boyfriends, either. I mean the guys you surround yourself with, even the ones you don’t talk to.

Think about this: If you actually followed through with one of these assholes and lost the weight they asked you to, do you really think they’d hold up their end of the bargain and start dating you? And if they did, wouldn’t that be even more of a nightmare? You’d be with a guy who only valued you because you changed yourself to accommodate him. Doesn’t sound healthy! Some red flags are going up here!

The same principle applies to the people you associate with, the bars you go to, and the company you keep. It can take a lot of willpower, and it’s not always going to be pleasant, but if you can figure out how to stop seeking the approval of people who absolutely don’t have your best interests in mind, you will be a whole lot better off.

Meanwhile, try seeking out spaces where a wider variety of body types are affirmed. Find some friends you can openly speak to about your struggles with your body. Mental health and body anxiety are taboo topics to some folks, but keeping quiet about it is partly why we’re in such a bad place with eating disorders as a community.

And while it might sound a bit cheesy, I wanted to finish up by giving you a secret weapon. It’s a little something I tell myself that genuinely helps me whenever I start to fall into the trap of comparing myself to others or feeling like I hate my body.

I think about something I like about myself. Maybe it’s my intelligence, or maybe it’s that I care about my friends, or maybe it’s that dogs seem to want my company. Then I think about how that trait that I like, whatever it is, is a part of me. It’s a tangible, physical part of me, no less real than my arms or my stomach or my eyes.

I don’t need to separate myself into “good” and “bad” parts. I am a complete whole, and my body, even if someone judges it just by looking at it, is good enough to contain and conduct all these wonderful things I like about myself. So how bad can it be, really? Not bad at all.

Here’s Why You Should Stop Having Sex With That Ex

In this week’s Hola Papi!, the advice column by writer, Twitterer, and prolific Grindr user John Paul Brammer, a reader writes and tbh he probably should have listened to Dua Lipa before asking for advice but alas.

Anyway. Our dear reader broke up with his boyfriend for some very good reasons, but now they are still friends AND still having sex. Oy vey. And he’s needing advice on whether he should continue down this path or cut him off entirely, because dear ex-boyfriend is still not good for him.

Thank goodness our very own Hola Papi got a PhD in the subject area of: Men you shouldn’t date.

If you want his advice, just email him at [email protected] with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start out your letter with Hola Papi!


Hola Papi!

My boyfriend of a year and a half and I just broke up, and I’m not sure what to do. He wants to still be friends but we’ve been broken up for a month now and still have sex, and I still love him.

I’m not sure if I should cut him off or stay in touch in the hopes that he comes back because when we broke up he said it was to work on ourselves. We have had problems in the relationship, like me choosing my friends over him or like when I almost cheated on him with my ex.

I’ve been friends with this girl for six years now and she has always been there for me, so I wanted my ex and her to meet and get along. They have similar personalities but always seemed to clash, and when they would I would always take her side. I did this for about a year while in the relationship until I finally started putting him first.

To explain the time I almost cheated on him, my ex messaged me out of the blue and said he wanted to have a threesome with his fiancé and me and so I said yes. I never actually went, but I had intended on going. Eventually my ex found out and we had a serious conversation. Now I would never eventhink of cheating, but I was going to because I didn’t value relationships then as much as I do now.

The problems weren’t just on my side. We had a break, and when we got back together I went through his phone and found pictures of another guy on there and we were in a committed relationship so I was obviously upset. He said he met the guy online during the break and hadn’t talked to him since and he just forgot to delete the pictures.

A little while later, I went through his phone again and found two dating apps on his phone, Hot or Not and Plenty of Fish. He said he was using them to find friends since I’m too jealous for him to meet people any other way.

Now that we’re broken up, my friends tell me I should just cut all contact with him, but I still love him and want to stay in touch so he can remember that he loves me and come back. But I feel like he’s just going to move on and I’m going to hurt all over again. What should I do?

Missed Disconnection

Hi, Disconnection!

You should cut off contact with this guy and work on yourself. There’s a lot going on here, and none of it is positive. To say there are red flags here would be an understatement. This is an Olympics Opening Ceremony’s worth of flags, which are red.

So, first of all, stop having sex. Dua Lipa did not carry the New Rules down from Mount Sinai for you to be getting under him instead of over him. This is 101 stuff right here.

Second of all, him regularly clashing with your friends, and you viewing those clashes as a matter of “taking sides” instead of determining who is in the right or wrong, is a bad sign for the relationship. Sure, there is a point where skirmishes might make us evaluate our priorities in our lives and which relationships we value most. But here it just sounds like you’re shuffling around a MySpace top eight (do you kids remember that? Can I make that reference) which is Not Good.

Third of all, characterizing that activity with your ex as “almost cheating” seems a bit generous. You may not have gone through with the threesome, but if I found out my man had gone behind my back and confirmed one with his ex, like all but filled out the Google Doodle while we were together, that would be just cause for a breakup.

Number four, you going through his phone, regardless of what you found, is a breach of trust and privacy. He is in the wrong for having those apps on his phone without telling you, and his excuse sounds a bit shaky (if it isn’t, and if you really are too jealous for him to make friends through other channels, then, again, we have work to do), but I think, hope, pray you realize this is toxic behavior on all fronts.

I’m not here to scold you, Disconnection. I don’t want you to get hurt. I don’t want this guy to get hurt either. This whole situation, though, reeks of baggage that neither of you have checked before stepping onto the plane together. You need to spend an extended period of time apart to work on these problems so that they don’t arise again in your next relationship.

That could mean therapy (everyone should get it!), it could mean talking to friends about it, but it will mostly certainly mean being honest with yourself about your behaviors and what needs to change.


What To Do When Your Boyfriend Is Jobless And You’re Annoyed

In this week’s Hola Papi!, the advice column by writer, Twitterer, and prolific Grindr user John Paul Brammer, a reader writes in to lament that his boyfriend isn’t growing up quick enough for him.

The pair have been together for about a year and during that time the boyfriend has shown little gumption towards working or pursuing any dreams at all. And this reader wants to know:should he stay or should he go?

But before he makes that choice…our dear Papi has some tea for our reader about himself that he may need to sit down for. We did.

If you want his advice, just email him at[email protected]with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start out your letter with Hola Papi!


Hola Papi!

I’ve been seeing this guy for around a year and he’s everything you could ever want except he is massively lacking motivation. We go together great, but I’ve noticed that he really isn’t adept to handle adult life. We’re both only 21 and so I understand that each of us still has a lot to learn. However, I feel like he really can’t look after himself.

Since starting dating, he’s dropped out of university, was unemployed for around 6 months and has only recently found a job that you can barley called part-time. His decisions are starting to affect us since we can never do anything exciting, as he can’t afford it! I’m sick of waiting around for him to get his act together and I have told him this. He always promises he is going to stop letting me down, and every time I believe him. But now I’m starting to wonder if I will always be waiting for him to get it together.

I feel like I’ve grown up a lot and I’m looking to be with someone that I can see the world with. With this one I’m lucky if we even go to the pub. Do you think I should try to be more understanding, or should I ditch him and move on?



Hi, La-Z!

I think you are looking at this as a temporary problemyour boyfriend is underemployed, and he has some growing up to dowhen it might be a more fundamental difference in personalities. In other words, he isn’t very motivated or ambitious, and aside from pleasing you he doesn’t really have a desire to change those things.

So, first thing’s first, figure out if that’s the case. Is he upset that he can’t find a job? Does he talk about passions he wants to pursue? Or is it, as I suspect, not a big deal to him? If it’s the latter, you can’t really change that, and a long-term relationship with him (you seem to be looking into a future together) could prove frustrating. You have different values and expectations.

For me, I don’t need a guy to be successful or economically well off to be interested. But as an intense person, I get nervous at the prospect of being with a guy who has no drive or pursuits. One isn’t necessarily superior to the other. There are many virtues to being extremely laid back. It’s a lifestyle thing! And it sounds like your lifestyle (I want to go out, and not just to pubs) is incompatible with his (but lying on the couch is free, babe).

I think it’s important to note that our worth as people ought not be defined by our output or our jobs. We shouldn’t approach people that way. But when one partner isn’t self-sufficient, it can turn the other into a babysitter, which is not the tea, especially at 21.

And not to go all “investigative journalist” on you, but whom exactly is funding his lifestyle if he’s only barely got a part-time job? Is it you? If so, then I must stress that Papi is single.

In any case, you can’t parent this guy, and you can’t want things on his behalf. Twenty-one is young enough to have plenty left to learn, but it’s old enough to take responsibility for your decisions in life, like dropping out of college, for example, and taking six months off from the grind.

So while I don’t judge him for his choices or his lack of gumption, my assessment of your dynamic is that if you’re not willing to put up with this current frustration you’re feeling, it’s probably not going to work out in the long term.



Want To Do Long-Distance? Well, You’re Probably Not Ready

In this week’s Hola Papi!, the advice column by writer, Twitterer, and prolific Grindr user John Paul Brammer, a reader writes in with a story that sounds like it was ripped from some movie you saw in a theater once.

An American boy came to his home in Argentina and they fell right into a romantic relationship. However, as he realized that the American would one day have to go back to the US our dear reader pressed ‘eject’ on the relationship.

And now with only a few days left with him in Argentina, he’s confused about everything. So, of course, he’s writing into our Hola Papi who has some words for him.

If you want his advice, just email him at [email protected] with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start out your letter with Hola Papi!


Hola Papi!

So last year, I started dating an American guy who came to my country to work (I live in Buenos Aires) and it was awesome for a while (I knew he was supposed to be back in the States the next year, so we just tried to go with the flow).

After a few months, we got more serious and became exclusive. We always avoided the elephant in the room: “What will happen after you leave?”

For me, the option of a long distance relationship was off the table because, honestly, even if you try to see each other often, it’s still a miserable situation. I’ve done it before and it made me incredibly unhappy.

Months passed and it was incredible until I started getting very anxious about the fact of him leaving and theidea of just being a part of his adventure in a foreign country. I explained it to him, and we decided to call it off (against his will).

It was very hard for both of us knowing that he was still in town and we were nottogether, so we decided to be friends. It didn’t work out well, because we were constantly jealous and suspicious about what the other one was doing so we were fighting a lot.

I even deleted him on Facebook and blocked him on Instagram for my own mental health’s sake.

Now we are finally getting along a bit better (I’m still jealous about what he might be doing but I have to say, I’m a pro at hiding it by now). I have him back on IG and we speak often but lately, he sort of reads my texts and answers them hours later! How should I handle that? Should I care less, or give him a taste of his own medicine?

He only has a couple more days in town so I don’t know how to handle it properly. I obviously want to be with him, but I really don’t want to hurt afterwards.

P.S. I started dating someone else the past month and I think it’s going in a serious direction! But I still want to be able to say proper goodbyes with my American guy.

This timing sucks!


Cry For Me, Argentina

Hi, Argentina!

For starters, let’s get the hard part out of the way. This might sting a bit, so prepárate.

You have no room to be giving him “a taste of his own medicine” for leaving you on read, because you broke up with him. You framed it as “we decided to call it off,” but then immediately clarified: “against his will.”

There is no “we decided against his will.” There is only “I decided” in that situation, and your decision was to break up with him because you, understandably, are not a person who does long-distance relationships. That’s valid! That is a move you can make.

But you can’t tailor his response to you breaking up with him to suit your wants. The slow texting thing is the kind of request you could log with a boyfriend, and he is no longer your boyfriend. The circumstances really do suck. I’m with you there. But that’s what happens when we go with the flow. Sometimes, it goes off a cliff.

So you have nothing to be jealous about. Jealousy can be an involuntary reaction, sure, and I’m sensitive to what you’re feeling. But I think it stems from a sense of unjustified possessiveness over this guy that you need to let go of, which is why I too am in favor of you figuring out how to properly tell him goodbye, even if it’s just to yourself.

Are we clear that we’re on the same team? Good! Because we are. I want you to feel better. That involves you exploring the possibility that you’re being selfish here.

It’s going to be hard while he’s still in town. I’m not going to lie. It sounds like a really sad gay indie movie, probably one that makes liberal use of a sepia camera filter. But saying goodbye can take many forms. I’m not saying block him and completely cut him off with no notice. Expressing yourself and communication would be a good thing here.

But it needs to end in a finite place. Don’t make it the kind of goodbye that creates new loose ends. Tell him openly and honestly how you feel, and wish him well so you can continue with this new guy you’re with. That would be fair to both.

Rip the Band-Aid off, girl! And don’t go searching for him on social media again until the prospect of seeing him with someone else doesn’t bug you so much anymore. Because he deserves someone else. Just like what you’ve got.



Am I Ready to Move In With My Boyfriend?

In this week’s Hola Papi!, the advice column by writer, Twitterer, and prolific Grindr user John Paul Brammer, a reader writes in with some suspicions that will have your hairs standing up on the back of your neck.

He’s in love with a boy and wants to move in with him. But lately things have been feeling weird…and he’s showing signs that Papi believes are not so good for our dear reader.

He sees the flags BUT love has his heart strings and he’s all confused. You know who is not? Papi.

If you want his advice, just email him at [email protected] with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start out your letter with Hola Papi!

Hola Papi!

I’m in a tight spot right now with my boyfriend. We’ve been dating for about nine months, and it’s been going great. We’re both in college and we’re even thinking about moving in together next fall. I’m really falling for him, and I’ve never been so excited for something.

There’s something going on though. There have been a couple of odd things happening over the last month or so, and I’m not sure if I should be worried, concerned, or upset. He takes two or three phone calls per day, and never in front of me. The other night I walked into his bathroom and he was taking nudes in the mirror (he was super embarrassed and tried to hide it when I walked in!).

About a week ago, I cooked dinner for us because he had a big presentation in one of his classes and when he got home, he got mad at me for cooking, telling me that he was tired after a long day – he ended up yelling at me and leaving to go back to his apartment for the night. He gets mad a lot more than usual. Little things like not responding to a text leave him not talking to me for the rest of the day.

This is so unlike him. I’ve never seen this side of him before. We started out without any problems and now I feel like he’s trying to derail us. I’m worried that he’s up to something bad, but whenever I try to talk to him about anything, he finds a way out of it.

I know that this is a bad cliché, but this is one of my longest relationships, and I really think I love him. I just don’t know what to do to get to him.

What should I do?

Worried Lover

Hi, Worried!

Just in case you don’t read the rest of this letter, I’ll start here: Don’t move in with him. That’s a recipe for disaster at this point.

The worst situation is you end up living with someone who gets mad at you when you cook for him (what?) or you don’t text back fast enough. Living with someone is a huge commitment and will provide plenty of stressors that it doesn’t sound like he’s capable of handling: Who bought the toilet paper last time? Whose dirty dishes are these? Why didn’t you tell me you were having guests over?

Girl! It’s just not realistic.

Now, since he’s not communicating what’s going on with him and thus has left us in the dark, I can only speculate on what’s happening here, so bear in mind that the following is just an educated guess.

He’s engaging in self-destructive behavior in his relationship because he doesn’t know what he wants and he’s hoping to push you into deciding. It sounds like he wants space from you, and perhaps the prospect of moving in together is making him feel smothered, but at the same time wants you to answer him promptly when he texts you.

The nudes thing, hmm, I can see why it would arouse your suspicion, especially paired with the private phone calls, but we can’t assume. Again, we lack sufficient data because he is unwilling to provide it. That’s an even worse sign, and you need to let him know that one of your needs in this relationship is honesty about what’s bothering him when it starts to affect you and your dynamic.

If he can’t do that, then you don’t need to be with him at all, and you should feel free to make that clear when you have “the talk” with him. It’s an altogether healthy and necessary boundary to have, unless you just love how he yells at you out of nowhere sometimes because you made him food and then he leaves you guessing as to why.

I don’t think you should move in with him either way, but if he is able to open up and tell you what’s really bugging him, then it could be something you could work through togetherlike his fear of commitment, or his need for space, or his struggles with vulnerability.

Or maybe he’s going through something really personal and tough right now! It’d be great if you could be there for him through that. But he has to let you.

This smells like emotional immaturity that takes time to grow out of and you don’t need to be sharing house keys with that in your college years.


How To Deal With The Perils Of Adding An Ex On Snapchat

In this week’s Hola Papi!, the advice column by writer, Twitterer, and prolific Grindr user John Paul Brammer, a reader writes in with only an issue that could happen in 2018: they want to add their ex on Snapchat.

Our dear reader had quite a rollercoaster of a relationship with said ex and they tried to stay in communication even after breaking up but found that when drunkenly communicating it wasn’t the most healthy.

However now Snapchat tempts our dear reader as he tries to move past someone who keeps checking out his story feed. What’s a boy to do? Ask Papi.

If you want his advice, just email him at [email protected] with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start out your letter with Hola Papi!

¡Hola Papi!

Your column is amazing, and you’re amazing. Thank you for that.

Okay, so. I dated a guy for a year, dating-dating, as in the title “boyfriends” and whatnot. He is the second guy I’ve ever dated, and the first guy I’ve ever truly loved. We broke up almost two years ago (1.5 years ago to be exact. You said to be detailed!)

When we first started dating, he considered himself “straight.” I would tell him, you know, you’re dating a guy…. that’s not quite straight. But he would brush it off. I figured I’d let him figure it out on his own. His actions toward me demonstrated that he was comfortable with me, and that he wanted me. Side note: He’s the one that wanted to make it official after going on a couple of dates! I eventually caved due to my interest in him. Another side note: He never had an issue with public affection.

Pretty soon after, he came out to one of his friends. His friend got him to accept that he was bi, and that was that. It was a huge step for him.

Our anniversary was nearing, and I wanted to ensure we were on the same page before taking it further. I asked him if he saw himself marrying or settling down with a guy (I specified that I did not mean me, any guy.) He answered with “I don’t see that happening. I see myself with a girl, and I see myself having biological children.”

Then the break-up follows… Always the one to take the initiative, he told me that I would not do it myself, and that because he can’t provide me with what I’m ultimately looking for, that it was best to break up. Which, we did. Made sense.

So since then, we deleted each other off of everything. Wouldn’t talk for months. In some instances, we would drunk text each other (me) or drunk call each other (him), blah blah blah.

One time, he calls me, and I can tell he’s really down. He doesn’t want to mention the actual reason. He wanted to confirm that I didn’t hate him. He told me he was doing this with everyone that had ever been part of his life. He mentioned that he had asked his brother (let’s say Luke) if Luke was bi (I think he was projecting) and that his brother got really upset at the question.

He and his brother are really close, and he told me that if he were to come out to anyone in his family, it would have been Luke first. This conversation with his brother really discouraged him. We talked for a bit, and I texted him support and encouragement. I would check on him for a few days until he sounded better.

Months later, we added each other back on Snapchat, and he would flirt with me. I would flirt back at 50 percent of what he would.

This would go on for a few weeks. Eventually, it got to me due to some comments being made, and I let out all the emotions I had held in since the break up. I was just so confused and hurt.

I blocked him off of everything after this, because I obviously could not handle talking or flirting with him due to the feelings I still had for him. He apologized and said he was really sorry (he was never very emotionally aware). It was sincere. Chapter closed.

We were good. We distanced ourselves. The last time he called me was to provide me with his friend’s phone number, who had just graduated law school…. who will specialize in immigration. He told me to keep it handy due to, you know, Trump. That was that.

Fast forward to the present. I think I will always care for him. We haven’t talked in about 8-10 months. I’m at a better place in regards to what I felt for him. My main question is: would it be okay for me to add him on Snapchat again?

I just want to check that he’s doing good without being too intrusive. I don’t necessarily want to reach out to him over text, because I think that’s a bit different.


Snapped! Honey! Mija!

First of all, thank you for writing in. Second of all, let’s not pretend you wrote this escandaloso telenovela pitch to inquire about adding a man on Snapchat. We both know it’s deeper than that.

I think what you’re asking me is, “If I finally close this chapter for good, is it okay if I leave a bookmark in case I need to go back?”

And the answer is: That’s not really closing the chapter!

My heart breaks for you and this guy. You know, I had a similar situation with my first “boyfriend.” We spent all our time together, were physical together, but he kept telling me he was straight and that he just wanted to be “normal.” It’s hard, when you love someone who is confused. You want to figure things out for them so things can be easy.

But, no, I don’t think you should add him on Snapchat. I think we have ample evidence to help us predict what will happen if you do. Snapchat may feel less personal than texting, but at the end of the day it’s a channel of communication, and when you two communicate, old feelings stir up.

In fact, I think a text, sent only when absolutely necessary, is better than hovering around on Snapchat where he can see that you’ve watched his story and vice versa. I think that’s still how Snapchat works, anyway. I don’t know. I deleted it when Rihanna told me to.

I hate how his brother reacted to him coming out as bisexual. That’s so damaging, and he seems like a sweetheart all things considered. But that’s not your journey, mi corazón! You’ve got to let him go and let him handle it.

That’s not just what’s best for him, but it’s what’s best for you.


How To Forget About That One Person That Broke Your Heart

In this week’s Hola Papi!, the advice column by writer, Twitterer, and prolific Grindr user John Paul Brammer, a reader writes in to share a sad, sad story.

After hooking up with a friend, he fell desperately in love with him and that friend, um, didn’t return the favor at all. Now our dear reader can’t get him off of his mind even after cutting off communication with said love.
And he just wants it all to end. Can Papi help? Maybe. Let’s find out.

If you want his advice, just email him at [email protected] with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start out your letter with Hola Papi!

Hola Papi!

Where do I begin? I am French. 20. A musician. And I feel broken.

Last year, my best friend introduced me to this guy she went to college with. We liked each other almost instantly, and we had sex a few hours after we met. It was the second time I had sex in my life. Now I wish we hadn’t.
We had sex again, and again, and again. And then we texted a lot because it was holiday and we were both at our parents’ houses far away from each other. And then the worst happened, Papi: I fell in love with him.
At first, I didn’t even realize I loved him. It took me a few months and the sight of him kissing another boy to realize that one, I was madly and irrepressibly in love with him, and two, he did not love me back at all.
We had one last conversation (not a nice one) in which he half told me I was a psychopath, and I half told him that he was the biggest asshole ever. And then we never saw each other again.

I tried to get over it. I really tried. I went back to living my life. I made friends, played music. The one thing I didn’t do though is have another relationship, because, well… guys don’t really notice me, and the only other guy I tried to get close to rejected me.

It’s been more than a year. I look like I got over him. I rarely speak about him and what happened between us. When I do, I do it like I don’t care.
But the truth is, not a single day goes by that I don’t think about him. I don’t think I love him anymore, but I still think about him, and sometimes I wish he would come back, although I know he won’t. Moreover, I can’t even imagine myself in a relationship anymore, although getting a man and making a home and a family with him was once one of my greatest dreams. When I try to, it feels ridiculous and out of place.

I just want to forget about him and what happened, and I can’t.

Am I broken? Will I spend the rest of my life thinking about a guy that has forgotten me for sure?


Hi, Almost!

I’m glad you are French. That just sounds neat. Being French and all. Also, wonderful touch on the “madly, irrepressibly in love” bit! Stephenie Meyer is shaken, retired, quaking. Twilight has been pulled from the shelves. Who is Edward Cullen? Wigless. Irrelevant.

Anyway, the issue here is that you are trying to mourn a relationship that did not happen, and your infatuation with this guy has prompted you to build a narrative around him that makes him bigger than he needs to be. You don’t need to let him go. He’s already gone. You need to let the idea of him go.

You laid out some really intense emotions, and I responded strongly to them because I can relate to catching feelings for an emotionally unavailable man and then pretending he was “different.” I don’t mean to downplay this person or your experiences with him. But when we look at the facts of your case, we have a guy you hooked up with and wanted to be with, but he rejected you. That is something that can be overcome. It’s regular-degular rejection.
I don’t think you’ve tackled the rejection yet. That’s the phase that comes after letting go, and you have not let go of what you wanted this guy to be. I think that’s a choice on your end. It’s easier to keep him there, in that “almost” place, and blame everything bad on the tragic situation. You can blame it for being the reason you’re single. You can slap his face on other guys who reject you. It’s at least a little bit convenient, isn’t it?

You aren’t broken. You just aren’t healing because you’re loitering here in the infatuation stage. This man, who from my perspective has acted exactly as many, many men do, has subsequently become your solar system. That has more to do with you than it does him or your dynamic with him.

I also think you’re also making excuses for not putting yourself back out there. So many people say, “Guys just don’t like me.” But who are “guys?” All of them? I do not believe it, Mimi. You’ve tried to get close to one other person who wasn’t feeling it. One. That is not a bad track record, Almost! You should see mine. Egad.
And don’t worry so much about not being able to imagine yourself with another guy. You are 20 years old. At 20, I could not have imagined that at 27 I would be writing an advice column on the app I used to hunt down closeted frat boys in Oklahoma. Yet here I stand before you.

Life’s a trip! Lean in.


This Is Why You Shouldn’t Catfish Your Boyfriend

In this week’s Hola Papi!, the advice column by writer, Twitterer, and prolific Grindr user John Paul Brammer, a reader writes in with quite a tale: he’s catfishing his boyfriend.

The two recently met and he fell hard, but one day he decided to get back on the apps…and that has now led him down a long and tangled road that leads us to here: Hola Papi! giving some tough advice. And you’re not ready.

If you want his advice, just email him at [email protected] with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start out your letter with Hola Papi!

Hola Papi!

I’ve been having trouble in my relationship. I’m in my early twenties, and I met this guy 40 years older than me on Grindr. I’m really glad I did.

The first time we met, it was just about sex. But we ended up falling for each other and started a “relationship.” It was, and is, a long-distance relationship. We met when I was on vacay at the beach (we live kind of near). We’ve found a way to see each other and work it through. So we had been dating for a month, and I hadn’t been using Grindr. But I hadn’t deleted it yet either. I opened it to delete it one day, just to free up space on my phone. I opened the app, but then I found out he was still active on there and he had been online three hours earlier. I opened another gay dating app we both had. Same story.

On our first three dates, he told me he wanted a real “thing” with me, that he was deeply in love with me, that we would find a way to be together, and that he really hadn’t expected this. There was lots of sweet talk, Papi. I thought I was his one and only. When I confronted him about why he still had the app, he told me: “Just to make contacts.” He said he had friends on there and he just wanted to talk with them, and that he would not and had not had sex with another guy.

I really believed him, even though I know Grindr is usually for other purposes. We kept dating two more months, and then I had a peek through his phone one day and he had another profile on another app with suggestive pics, and he still had Grindr and two other apps.

I decided to make a fake profile on one of them and put some pics from an attractive guy the same age as me, and we began chatting there. He sent me nudes and told me he wanted to have bareback sex, and I, as the fake guy, told him the same.

To add more drama, I began using my older phone with another number, and we’ve been chatting and sexting there. He even told the fake me to go visit him. We’ve agreed I will “visit” him. I tried to arrange my “visit” on the dates the real me is supposed to visit him, but he told the fake me that I could visit him a week earlier. He has also said there is a possibility “we” (he and the fake me) could fall in love.

I think we can all agree that I’ve lost it. It’s all I do or think about all day. It’s been difficult lately trying to focus on college. I tried to break up with him, but he is such a sweet talker. He keeps swearing I’m his one and only, and that we can work things out. Last time we met, he refused to have sex with me because I wanted to use a condom and he didn’t. He told me I have trust issues, and that I don’t trust him.

I’ve heard that older guys have more experience, that they know how to play the game. I really thought having a relationship with an older guy would be good for me.It was all a fantasy, I guess.When I try to be mature and cut him off, he always finds the right words to say. I feel he has a lot of control in the relationship.

I kind of think he is a player and I’ve been tricked and fooled.

I really don’t want to break up with him. He is so handsome, and besides sex and drama, we’ve shared wonderful moments together and deep conversations.

I’m so caught up in this!

I just really don’t know what to do, or maybe I just don’t want to do what I know I should do.

Please help!!

Miss Catfish

Hello, Miss Catfish! Break up with him.

I want to make that loud and clear. You need to break up with this guy. The issue isn’t whether or not you should break up with him, because the answer is you should. The issue is gathering the strength to do so and then sticking to that decision.

You know what’s wrong here and what needs to be done, but allow me to help you crystallize it.

Because this handsome man is older, you think on some level he might know best because he is more experienced. He knows you think this, and he is using that as leverage to get you to question your moral compass that is trying to point you in the direction of “NOPE.”

Age does not always mean maturity, as evidenced by the fact he has lied to you multiple times and is exchanging nudes with fake profiles on Grindr behind your back.

A healthy relationship isn’t one without mistakes, Miss Catfish. It’s one where there are open channels, like candid dialogue and check-ins, to address issues like adults. When one or both parties lose faith in these channels, they become corrupted, and the issues are allowed to fester. The dynamic turns toxic.

You creating a fake profile on a dating app to catfish your boyfriend is a toxic action that I can’t condone, as is sexting him on your other number. But you selected it as a channel because the healthy ones are closed and unreliable. They are unreliable because your boyfriend has lied to your face and continues to lie to your face, and you are lying back.

I want it put in no uncertain terms that this relationship is at the very least manipulative and at the very worst abusive, particularly the part where he shamed you for not wanting to participate in bareback sex and made it about you having trust issues.

This isn’t me saying he’s evil. This is me saying he’s bad for you and you need to pack up, block him, and move on for the sake of your own health. If that upsets him, then I look forward to responding to his letter.


Here’s Why You Need To Stop Obsessing Over ‘Bad Timing’

In this week’s Hola Papi!, the advice column by writer, Twitterer, and prolific Grindr user John Paul Brammer, a reader reflects on a friend that could have been a lover if he had just let him.

Our dear reader admits that this friend adored him more than anyone ever had before including boyfriends but he didn’t give it a chance then. And now wonders what could have been.

Nowhe can’t stop wondering: Is “bad timing” a real thing? And if so, how does one turn that bad into good now? Well, Papi has some thoughts.

If you want his advice, just email him at [email protected] with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start out your letter with Hola Papi!


Hola Papi,

I recently went through a bad break up that has me reeling and questioning the type of guys I am attracted to. It has me thinking back to a guy that I had friend zoned in the past.

We had a really great friendship, but he always wanted more. I never met someone who adored me like he did, not even my ex. I rejected him because I wanted passion and butterflies and undeniable chemistry. I am now thinking that was the wrong decision, and starting to believe that I was being shallow and blind to what I had right in front of me.

Thinking about what could have been is driving me crazy. I wish I could go back with the knowledge and experience that I have now, but it’s too late.

My question is… do you believe in bad timing?

What If

Hello, What If!

You must be like me. No matter how busy I get, I always find time to ponder life’s most useless question: What if I had done something differently?

I’ve made some questionable decisions in the “choose your own adventure” book of life. It’s true. I have a few “What if?” guys myself. Let’s melt them down into one guy and name him Henry, because I can do that, and it’s up to me. I am the decider.

Henry, whenever and wherever he manifests, is always super great to me. When something goes wrong with some other guy I was pursuing, I think, “Ugh! Henry! Why didn’t I choose Henry? Henry would have provided for me in the harsh winter, warmed up my soup when I was sick, and defended my honor on various social media platforms.”

But the timing is never great for Henry and I to be. I’m always “in a weird place right now” and he’s “fictional.” Still, it’s very tempting, when I’m lonely, to build my imaginary almost-life with him, one where we summer with his family in Tuscany, and his father murders me in their quaint vineyard, and it becomes this whole international ordeal.

Scratch the murder. That was weird.

To your point, do I believe in bad timing? Of course I do. Just like I believe in good timing and everything in between. But there’s no real point in worrying over what could have been. Because it wasn’t, and it never will be.

Perhaps “it,” your relationship with this guy, lives on in some alternate universe where you chose differently. But until we get our hands on a portal gun and drum up the courage to murder our alternate selves, bury them in a shallow grave and assume control of their lives, we’ll just have to make do with the present.

I’m not saying that’s something I am fully prepared to do. I’m just saying that’s what it would take.

Anyway, painting an ideal relationship on the blank canvas of your Henry won’t do you any good, and it’s a waste of time. What we can do is be cognizant of where we are now and try to work through some of our present obstacles to happiness.

For example: Are you suffering from low self-esteem? Does it feel uncomfortable when people treat you well, because you secretly believe you don’t deserve to be treated well? Is your opinion of yourself so low that other people having a high opinion of you must mean there’s something wrong with them, and so you turn away good people?

Are you terrified of commitment, but don’t want to admit it, so you cherry-pick flaws in otherwise perfectly fine individuals and then use those flaws to justify distancing yourself from them? Or have you perhaps simply not found the right person yet, and you’re putting too much pressure on yourself to find a man and find him right now?

These are legitimate ways we sabotage our happiness, and they are questions we can ask ourselves and find solutions to, with a bit of help. The question of “what if,” however, is not among them. There is no solution. There is only reflection. Which is fine, but when we ruminate too long on it, it stops serving us very quickly.

In sum, you are projecting a perfect relationship onto your Henry because he can’t shatter the daydream with reality. It might have been a good relationship. It might not have been. It doesn’t matte now. Drop that thought and work on you instead!


Where Have All My Gal Pals Gone?

In this week’s Hola Papi!, the advice column by writer, Twitterer, and prolific Grindr user John Paul Brammer, a young reader has some queer high school drama and needs some #help.

While she has had a gaggle of queer lady friends to help her get through high school so far…there’s been a recent change. The gal pals that used to do everything with her now only stick together, and our dear reader finds herself clueless as to what is happening.

And she now feels that she’s being iced out because she’s just not queer enough. Thank goodness for Hola Papi.

If you want his advice, just email him at [email protected] with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start out your letter with Hola Papi!

Hola Papi!

A big midwestern hello from Indiana! I have some queer high school melodrama for you. I’m 16, and can’t help but feel like all of my queer gal pals are leaving me behind.

Over the summer, they all shacked up without telling me, leaving me confused and single (which isn’t their fault, but still). They made plans with me for winter formal, canceled on me at the last minute, and then proceeded to make plans without me and with the other queer gal-pals (I gave up and went to a debate competition instead). I also just found out that one of them had a birthday party without inviting me, and they don’t even know that I know about it.

This letter probably paints them in a really negative light, but I promise they’re not mean or doing this on purpose (I think). When they talk to me, it feels great. They’re always saying that they love my style and how I can make anything look like a trend. They don’t spread rumors nor do they gossip about anyone (gay or straight), and when I share classes with them, we always have a great time being gay and smartasses in the back of the room, and it’s always great to hang out with them.

But whenever someone more exciting (or gayer) comes along, they leave me, and I’m back to square one. I just feel like they never make an effort, and I’m always the one who’s trying to impress them, or god, I don’t know, just trying to be their friend.

Papi, is there something wrong with me? Am I not gay enough for them? I know that this may seem trivial, but it feels like the end of the world for me.

Please help me,
Isolated Lesbian

Ah, at lastqueer high school melodrama. I can literally feel my electrolytes replenishing, Isolated. Let’s sit together in the cafeteria and talk about the cool kids, shall we? Great. Let’s get into it.

It sounds like you’ve got a case of squad envy. The Cool Queers are cordial with you and like you well enough, but they haven’t invited you into the inner sanctum of birthday parties and winter formals.

Though I have to tell you, I think you made the right decision in going to the debate competition. Who wants to dance with teenagers when you could be fighting them for points? The choice seems obvious.

Anyway, I wish I could tell you this was exclusive to high school. But in my experience, while high school itself eventually comes to a merciful end, most people continue being high schoolers well into adulthood, and Cool Queer Syndrome persists.

You’ve still got your Insta-famous queers, your ridiculously hot queers, queers who are smarter than you and queers who dress better than you and queers who are funnier than you.

It can all feel terribly intimidating. Especially when you feel like you’re a mediocre person adrift in a sea of excellence, just treading water and hoping against hope someone throws you a lifesaver. It can also be very tempting to seek approval from these people, because maybe their approval would mean you are worth approving of.

But friends aren’t supposed to work like that, Isolated. We shouldn’t be worried about being impressive enough, or good enough, or gay enough to be in a crew. Friends are supposed to be a refuge from those feelings.

Personally, in my best, healthiest friendships, we actively remind each other how uncool we are. Vehemently and creatively, I would add. If you can’t let your guard down among your friends, then are they really your friends?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying these folks think they’re too cool for school and are excluding you because they think you’re some kind of irredeemable loser with bad clothes and heterosexual taste in music. You said they were nice, and while I don’t love that they’ve canceled on you a few times (at least a red flag), I’m willing to take your word on it.

Have you tried being upfront and just asking to be better friends? There’s no harm or shame in that, and if they are as great as you say they are, they won’t be cruel about it. I’ve done this to positive effect! Just said, “Hey, I’d like to hang out more.” I have good friends who started out that way.

But if they cancel plans again or aren’t receptive of being closer, then they’re not the right people for you to be close with, no matter how shiny and gay they are in your mind.

Sure, it would suck. But you can’t let other people be the stewards of your self-worth. You’ll leave high school at some point. You’ll go your separate ways with this pack. But what won’t change is that you’ll still be you, and you’ll still be charged with caring for and loving you.

I hope things work out for you and this group, mostly because I am pro Queer Girl Squad under any circumstance. But I hope even more that you are able to affirm yourself as gay enough and good enough with or without their validation.

That’s what will get you far in this life, Isolated. And that’s what will get you to the right friends.