“Real Men Don’t Use Chapstick”


“Real Men Don’t Use Chapstick”

Illustration: Akshita Monga/Arré

Few things indicate more delusion wokeness than growing up as an upper-middle-class Indian male. Our existence is the equivalent of playing a video game on novice-mode difficulty while not realising being totally sympathetic to the sorry plight of the opposite sex. We’re allowed to stay out late, man-shaming is non-existent, and most of our overall douchebaggery is brushed away with a casual “boys will be boys.” Yet, most of us urban dudebros are exposed to the idea of gender equality early on in life. (But only a few of us genuinely believe in it.)

Let’s just admit that all us Urban Indian Males like to think we are woke AF? Yes? We fight the good fight against gender biases and toxic masculinity, don’t we? We go Dutch on dates, we don’t open doors or pull out chairs for our female friends, we ensure our partners “come” before us. But all of us have our breaking points, when the mask slips off.

Woke Dude 1: Prateek from Finance

Breaking Point: Unfulfilled potential of hypothetical romances

While Prateek puts “woke af” in his Hinge bio and routinely blogs about what classifies as microaggressions, he also secretly lives by a rule: “Ek ladka aur ek ladki kabhi dost nahi ho sakte.” Because even though he has internalised that patriarchy is bad, in his head, 1989 never ended. Nothing is more heartbreaking to him than seeing his buddy get “friendzoned” by the receptionist. But don’t write him off just yet. You see, deep inside, Prateek is just a hopeless romantic. He believes that all workplace friendships have the potential to end up like Sasha Grey and Tommy Gunn Jim and Pam from The Office.

Woke Dude 2: Arranged-Marriage Rohit

Breaking Point: Too much metrosexuality

Rohit has been married for four years and keeps putting up posts about how much his mother influenced his mindset on respecting all women. On a boys’ night out after a few Patialas, though, he doesn’t think twice before mocking you for paying attention to basic hygiene like using cologne, lip balm, manscaping, or getting a pedicure now and then. Because according to Rohit, testosterone cures BO, chapped lips, and is also all the grooming you’ll ever need.

Clearly, Rohit has life figured out. His arranged marriage at 22 to a wife who is okay with musky BO and a Donald Trump-like queef down there is truly a thing of envy. Rohit obviously has reason to look down at you since your life is devoid of such carefreeness.

Woke Dude 3: Nickleback Naresh

Breaking Point: Lana Del Rey lyrics

Naresh claims to be super enlightened and even wears pink linen shirts every now and then, because colour has no gender. However, he draws the line at a straight man like yourself listening to Adele and Lana Del Rey songs. Which is a valid point because Naresh himself has exquisite taste. The fact that he still listens to Nickleback and has a “Linkin’ Park Fan 4Lyf \m/” in his Tinder bio, despite being 26, is testament to Naresh’s large set of cojones. Of course he’s right! Everyone knows that listening to Adele’s “When We Were Young” makes you physically weak.

Woke Dude 4: Manly drinks Mahesh

Breaking Point: Raspberry Margarita

Mahesh mast aadmi hai, bro. He picks up fights with his parents to allow his sisters to stay out late and even admonishes Prateek for staring at a young lassie’s cleavage. So surely you can forgive him for dissing you because you’re drinking that delicious, bright drink with a swirly straw. Come on! What are you even thinking; are you even a guy?! Listen to Mahesh, who believes that “whiskey-dick” is the best gift to treat your partner with at the end of the night.

Your merry bunch of woke-bros are certainly a charming bunch and surely have your best interests in mind. But it’s okay to pay no heed to their mindless, drunken banter. In fact, spend hours binge-listening to that new Adele album and go nuts with the Raspberry Margaritas as often as you possibly can. It’s not as if anyone except them has two hoots to give about your masculinity anyway.