5 pieces of financial advice for living with a roommate

Splitting rent with a roommate saves money — and it can be the ticket out of your parents’ house (which means no more sneaking those Grindr tricks in through the basement window). But while living with a gay brother from another mother can be rewarding, it’s important to protect yourself and make decisions that don’t hurt your finances. To make this living sitch work with few financial disagreements, here are five money tips for bunking with your bestie.

Have a separate roommate agreement. If you’re renting an apartment, you and your roommate will have a lease agreement with the landlord. But in addition to this agreement, you should also establish a roommate agreement between the two of you. Before moving into the apartment, you obviously sat down (or should have) to discuss how to handle expenses. Since money can be a touchy topic, the agreement you come up with shouldn’t be a verbal one. Even if you walked away from the discussion on the same page, you need to get everything in writing so there are no misunderstandings down the road. Some roommates choose to split all expenses evenly down the middle, but you and your roommate may come up with a different agreement — perhaps a 70–30 split, for instance. If you don’t get anything in writing, the person paying more may later claim that he’s being taken advantage of. Creating a separate roommate agreement may seem like an unnecessary step, but it can save you from a lot of heartache and stress.

Buy your furniture separately. When furnishing the new place, some roommates decide to purchase furniture together so it’s not a burden on one person. But in all likelihood the two of you will not live together forever … and even if you don’t realize it today, buying furniture together can create problems once you make the decision to part ways. This can start disagreements about who gets what items, and if you and your roommate part on bad terms, these disagreements do nothing but add fuel to the fire. To make it easy on yourself, agree that everyone buys their own furniture pieces. Once you’re ready to move out of a shared apartment or house, each person leaves with what they brought into the living arrangement.

Dont be afraid to be a landlord. When you and your roommate apply for an apartment together, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to confirm your employment and income. But if it’s your home and you bring in a roommate, it’s your job to take over those responsibilities. This can be awkward and uncomfortable, especially if you don’t have landlord experience. You may not feel comfortable asking a stranger or a friend for their financial information. But if you want to avoid potential problems, never choose a roommate based solely on what they say they earn. If you don’t confirm this information, you could end up with a roommate who’s not capable of covering their expenses. You don’t have to get too personal, but you should at least call your roommate’s employer to confirm they work for the company, and get a copy of their most recent paycheck stub. Don’t feel bad; you’re doing what any landlord would do, which is ultimately protecting yourself.

Maintain a financial cushion. Although getting a roommate can improve your finances and help you save money, you shouldn’t blow all your extra cash. It’s important to maintain a financial cushion, just in case your roommate bounces. If your roommate moves out before the end of the lease, and you move out because you can’t afford the rent by yourself, you’re also in breach of contract. This can trigger litigation and credit damage. But if you prepare for the worst-case scenario and build a “just in case” fund, you can possibly save enough to cover the rent until the end of your lease.

Keep your finances separate. Regardless of whether your roommate is a best friend, never combine finances. This person is not your spouse, so there’s no need to combine your bank accounts. Some roommates have one joint bank account exclusively for household bills, and each person deposits their share into this account. To each his own. Just know that this approach can lead to problems, especially if one person isn’t as responsible with money. This person may dip into the account to cover personal expenses or fail to deposit his share, which forces the other roommate to pick up the slack. A better, safer approach is each person writing a separate check from their own checking accounts, and then including both checks in an envelope to the landlord or a utility company. Or if you’re paying bills online, one person can give the other cash to cover his share. Your landlord and utility companies don’t care how you pay a bill, as long as you pay it.

— Mikey Rox

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

9 ways you should not to come out over the holidays

Last year, I wrote a rather pointed column for the Frivolist called “9 reasons why coming out on a holiday isn’t a good idea,” which detailed the consequences of revealing your sexuality at an already stressful time of year, and it drew a fair amount of criticism (Dallas Voice wouldn’t even publish it). I stand by that piece, despite that I was branded a homophobe for it — though, I did provide my rebuttal to that misnomer — but this year I decided to take a lighter approach. So, sure, go ahead and come out around the holidays if that’s what you want to do. Just please, pleeeease don’t do it these ways.

Grindr1. Sneaking in a Grindr trick in the middle of the night. Nobody wants to get caught with their pants around their ankles while grandma sneaks down to the kitchen for a midnight slice of pie. Keep your tricks in the bag while you’re at home for the holidays, or at least be courteous enough to bang it out in a nearby parking lot and send him home with a parting gift.

2. Asking your gay uncle to do your bidding. OK, so your mom and your gay uncle are super-close. They trust each other, love each other, and there’s nothing that could drive a wedge between them. Until you came along, that is. Avoid this situation by resisting the urge to ask your gay family members to come out for you. Certainly you can ask them for support, but your coming out is just that — yours — and it’s not fair to put someone else in an awkward position if you don’t have the courage to do it yourself. If that’s the case, wait to come out when you’re confident and ready. You’ll have a better experience that way, and you won’t feel guilty by causing a potential rift in a perfectly good relationship.

3. Performing a short holi-gay skit. If your family wants to see a show, they’ll go to the community theater; no need to perform a three-act play on all the ways you’re gay right before lighting the menorah. If you crave attention that badly, and a thunderous applause for coming out, do it among friends at another non-specific time of year so you’ll have their undivided attention and they’ll have something to reminisce about for years to come.

427081.TIF4. Bringing your boyfriend or girlfriend without notice. Bringing a same-sex guest whom you’ve courted to a holiday meal without notice is not only a blind side, it’s rude as hell. In fact, this tip applies to all people — LGBT or not. Unless you’ve RSVPed for the additional person, you should arrive alone. If an exception needs to be made last minute — and, OK, it happens — call the host in advance to ask permission. If it’s your boyfriend or girlfriend you’d like to bring, at least that gives everyone a chance to process the impending situation a couple hours before it’s in their face.

5. Cueing up the adult video you star in. Sexting is fairly commonplace now — just ask everybody on Tinder and Snapchat — as is making private videos on your phone or computer. There’s nothing wrong with it either, so long as it’s consensual. I can guarantee, however, that the guests at your family’s holiday table don’t want to watch you get stuffed harder than that Thanksgiving turkey as they sit down to eat a delicious meal. Thus, refrain from cueing up your sex videos to break the coming-out ice, and steer clear of any professional videos you’ve made, too; despite the higher production value, it won’t make those giblets any more appealing.

6ThinkstockPhotos-477714048. Getting held up at the airport because of your dildo. If you thought telling your family that you’re gay will be difficult, just wait until you have to explain your penchant for big black rubber cock.

7. Preparing a monologue on all the ways everybody already dhould’ve known you’re LGBT. Quell your inner Robert Shaw and resist the urge to dramatically lambaste your family members for not recognizing the innumerable ways you’re gay. In fact, your sexuality may be a non-issue for your family — maybe they couldn’t care less about who you’re sleeping with as long as you’re healthy and happy — so just get to the point so they can all move on… to dessert.

8. Inviting your family to your local drag show. Nobody’s ready for that tragedy.

9. Leaving subtle hints, like filling the DVR with Rob Williams movies. As much as I love Rob Williams movies (Make the Yuletide Gay is a totally cute Christmas flick, and you should watch it), filling your DVR with his repertoire of sexy but seriously gay work is a cop out to coming out. Set aside some time with your family to speak for yourself and come out in a manner where all members can process the information, ask the questions they need to ask, and move on. Besides, there are so many other awesome gay things on this time of year — like the drunk AF “Judy Garland Christmas Special” — and you’ll need all the free space you can get.

— Mikey Rox


—  Arnold Wayne Jones

7 ways to get out of your big gay rut

GrindrFeeling more Marilyn Manson than Marilyn Monroe lately? Trade in that rut for swagger and strut with these seven positive ways to shake things up when your spirits are down.

1. Diversify your group of friends. I’ve never been keen to surround myself by mostly gay friends, yet I see it all time within the gay community, especially those in urban areas — which, of all places, offers the most diversity. The inherent problem with this practice, as you might image (or experience, if you’ve fallen into this trap), is that when everyone has similar interests and tastes and personalities, it makes it hard to feel like an individual who brings value to the group. If I’m talking about you, maybe it’s time to take a break from the Broken Hearts Club and spend an evening or two with a few folks who are vastly different from yourself. You don’t have to give up your gay besties for good, of course, but enjoying conversation and activity with equally fantastic friends who don’t want to yammer on about last night’s Grindr conquest might help put your friendships in better perspective.

2. Self-impose a hookup app hiatus. I have a love/hate relationship with Grindr and other hook-up apps, as I’m confident most LGBT people do. On one hand, they help you satisfy those cravings for instant gratification when all goes according to plan, but on the other, they’re a catalyst for feelings of loneliness, self-loathing, and sadness when nothing pans out. Especially when someone in whom you’re interested is being way harsh (no need to be rude, gentlemen!) — and who the hell needs that? If your constant presence on these apps is keeping your head hung low — for reasons that aren’t physically satisfying — take a break and roll your dice in the real world for a while.

3. Ditch the toxic bang buddies. We’ve all had that bedroom buddy, at some point in our lives, who’s always down, always has something negative to say, and, as a result, always tries to bring you to their very unhappy level. If there’s a person in your life currently that fits these characteristics — and it’s adversely affecting your own attitude — you’ve got to cut your losses. Talk to the person first and explain how they’re coming off – maybe they just don’t realize it. But if this is a chronic issue that doesn’t improve, make a clean break and move on with your life. Pessimism begets pessimism, and that’s no way to wake up every day.

4. Give yourself a mini getaway. When I’m at my breaking point, fed up, had enough, I know it’s time for a vacation. It doesn’t have to be a grand getaway or an expensive escape, but a change of scenery is sometimes required. In some cases I like to check into a nearby hotel to veg out and relax while other times I’ll head back to my old stomping grounds to kick it with my homies. If you don’t have that much time to spare, at least set aside a few hours to treat yourself, like with a massage or just silent time at home, for instance. Either way, a mini-getaway helps me put the pressures of life aside for a minute, de-stress, and think of healthy solutions on how to addresses whatever issues I’m experiencing.

5. Reevaluate your adult priorities. What do you want in life – and are you pursuing those goals in a way that doesn’t compromise your integrity, morals, finances or future? It’s easy to get caught up in all the noise of the world — like relationships and careers that are going nowhere, binge drinking and drugs, and lamenting missed opportunities — but, trust me when I tell you, in hindsight it’s all a waste of energy. Considering that, then, why not just skip the BS and focus on what actually matters — your own wellbeing. Learn to love yourself and you’ll be less susceptible to making poor decisions, both personally and professionally.

6. Step up your fitness game. It’s scientifically proven that exercise makes you feel better, think more positively, and enhances your own body image – the latter of which, whether we like it or not, is helpful in the gay community. Over the past year, I’ve completely transformed my body from a sedentary lump into a tight-and-fit powerhouse with confidence to spare. It’s quite incredible, actually, how your perspective on life changes when you commit to your own health. Winks from sweaty, built boys don’t hurt, either.

7. Present your best self in every way. Aside from your physical and mental fitness, there are other ways you can boost your self-confidence, including how you dress and how well you keep up your personal hygiene. A fresh haircut can go a long way to help you stand taller, as can a great outfit. Further improve your appearance by keeping facial and body hair trimmed (if that’s what makes you happy), clipping nails, splashing on cologne and tanning safely (I prefer professional spray-on versions). When you greet the world feeling awesome, everyone around you will notice. Play on, playah.

— Mikey Rox

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘Openly Jake’ takes on closeted Matthew

Openly Jake'

‘Openly Jake’ Reynolds

Today in my inbox, I found an email promoting the latest video by “Openly Jake,” about one of the latest “anti-gay pastor is really gay” scandal. So I went and watched the video, and found myself enjoying it. So I thought I’d share with you guys.

Jake Reynolds is one of the folks from the web series The Spinoffs. That bit of info didn’t help me any, because I’d never heard of The Spinoffs. But maybe you have. This is what Jake has to say about himself and his “Openly Jake” vlog:

“As much as I love living with my crazy-awesome roommates, I kinda wish I was living in the Marvel Universe. Oh yeah, and I’m gay. (What did you think the “openly” was about?) JK! My vlog is about a lot of other things too. It took me years to finally tell the truth about myself, so that’s what I’m all about: truth. Even though a lot of it is funny (cause honesty can be the funniest thing), I also talk to other people to find out what’s “real” about them, and I even talk to myself about that. I’ve got a long way to go and a lot to learn. Sometimes life is just silly! #AmIRight? haha”

Jake’s latest vlog, which you can watch below, offers his take on Pastor Matthew Makela who reportedly “counseled” a suicidal gay teen by telling the young man that he should just go ahead and kill himself, since he was going to hell anyway for being gay. Makela, Jake points out, got caught advertising for a boyfriend — or at least, a fuck buddy — on the gay dating app Grindr. Makela described himself as “a top who likes to cuddle” looking for a bottom, and included shirtless photos of himself.

You can read more about Makela here at Salon.com. You can watch Openly Jake’s take below.

—  Tammye Nash

Another anti-gay-voting Republican is outed, and he’s ok with that

Screen shot 2015-04-28 at 5.20.03 PM

State Rep. Randy Boehning

Another Republican lawmaker with a record of anti-gay votes has been outed by someone he sent photos of his junk to on Grindr. But in a refreshing change of pace, this guy isn’t trying to convince anyone he really isn’t gay.

According to InForum.com, North Dakota state Rep. Randy Boehning of Fargo says his exchange on Grindr, complete with a photo of his penis, was made public in retaliation for his vote against SB 2279, which would have protected LGBT North Dakotans from discrimination. Boehning didn’t say who he thought was behind the outing, just that he had been warned by a Capitol employee that another legislator was going to out him if he didn’t stop voting against gay rights bills.

InForum reports: “The exchange came to light when Dustin Smith, a 21-year-old Bismarck man with no known connections to the Capitol, contacted The Forum earlier this month, saying he recognized Boehning from a gay dating smartphone app called Grindr. Chatting under the user name Top Man!, Boehning sent Smith sexually suggestive messages and, in the early morning hours of March 12, an unsolicited photo of his penis, according to exchanges reviewed by The Forum.”

When first asked about the Grindr messages two weeks ago, Boehning declined to comment. But on Saturday, April 25, the lawmaker confirmed that he is Top Man!, and said that sending the photo was not a lapse in judgment on his part because, well duh! That’s what gay guys on Grindr do!

He told The Forum: “That’s what gay guys do on gay sites, don’t they? That’s how things happen on Grindr. It’s a gay chat site. It’s not the first thing you do on that site. That’s what we do, exchange pics on the site.”

Boehning also said that he is attracted to women as well as to men, and that he is relieved that his secret is out: “The 1,000-pound gorilla has been lifted. I have to confront it at some point.”

He also said that he voted against the anti-discrimination bill because he is representing the interests of his constituents, and that’s the way they wanted him to vote.

—  Tammye Nash

When it comes to dating (or hooking up), do you have a racial preference?

“The heart wants what it wants,” the saying goes, but even if that’s the case, does broadcasting a racial or ethnic preferences on a hookup app smack of honesty … or racism?

It’s a question many gay men have probably asked themselves in the age of Grindr, Scruff, Growlr, Jack’d and other such apps. “Not into Asian guys — sorry, just a preference” is probably familiar to some. Others are more coarse: “No blacks! No exceptions!”

This summer, the blog Angry Homosexual took up this cause with an experiment: The author (himself Asian) posted two profiles on Grindr with equally impressive stats and pictures. The only difference? One profile was for a white guy, one an Asian. And the author found that the white guy did a lot better in the dating market.

According to him, there’s a hierarchy that goes “white, Latino (honorary whites), Mixed, Asian, Black, Indian, etc.” I’m not sure where he gets all those stats, but I won’t dispute them here.

Anyone who knows me knows that I do not discriminate on race or ethnicity. I have been in relationships with white, Southeast Asian, Arab, black, mixed race and Latino men over my adult life. To me, hot is hot … and nice is nice, interesting is interesting, a good person is a good person. Am I attracted to men who “turn me on” more than those who have good qualities but I don’t find physically appealing? Sure, we all do. But race is never a factor for me.

I wonder if, once you start dating outside your own race, you have a sense for physical beauty that’s more expansive than if you never did. For instance: If you grew up idealizing blond hair and blue eyes, chances are black, Latin and Asian men don’t fit into that. But what if you dated a bald guy? Once you got beyond the color of the hair, and developed an attraction for a sleek head, would you start to think, “Hmmm… dark-skinned heads can be nice, too.”

The question I have about this, though, is: How do you feel about guys who express those preferences on their hookup profiles? If they aren’t attracted to one race, do you appreciate them being up-front about it so you don’t waste your time? Or is that assertion of one preference a breach of social decorum?

And maybe just as importantly: Does it matter what your race is? I mean, you rarely see “no white guys” on app profiles, so is being white the advantage the Angry Homosexual says it is? But I have seen black men saying “not into blacks” and Asians who do not wish to date other Asians. Is this better or worse?

And what about guys who only want a different race? Some men will ask, for instance, “You into black guys?” Is being into someone because of their race better or worse than not wanting someone for the same reason?

And how do you personally react when you see a same-sex interracial couple? Is it still a taboo?

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Straight dudes download Grindr for the first time

IMG_4093I learned a new phrase from a straight dude today: “Down to clown.” That’s the same as a hookup, I gather. I learned it watching this video, in which about nine straight guys get on Grindr for the first time. I can’t think these guys present the typical hetero men with their easy-going attitude about gay sex, but as for sex in general … well, it’s just proof all men are basically horndogs. In any event, it’s a fun watch.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Del. deputy attorney general charged with rape of teen he met on Grindr


Daniel Simmons (New Castle County Police)

Police accused Delaware’s deputy attorney general Friday of raping a teen boy he met on the gay hookup app Grindr, the News Journal reports.

Officer Tracey Duffy told the newspaper that Daniel Simmons, 34, a deputy attorney general assigned to the New Castle County Misdemeanor Trial Unit, was charged with four counts of fourth-degree rape.

The investigation was launched in March, after police learned of incidents involving a 16-year-old boy, whom Simmons met via the popular gay dating app Grindr. Duffy said that Simmons was identified as the perpetrator early in the investigation but that he did not meet the teen through his job as a prosecutor.

Delaware’s Attorney General’s Office was notified of the investigation conclusion Friday and approved a warrant for Simmons’ arrest, the News Journal reports.

According to a statement released by the state Attorney General’s Office Friday night, Simmons was placed on administrative leave.

“These charges are serious and will be addressed through the criminal justice system,” spokesman Jason Miller said.

According to UPI.com, State Attorney General Beau Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden, who created Delaware’s Child Predator Unit has yet made a comment about the incident.

Bail information has not yet been released. Other details are being withheld to protect the teen’s identity, CBS Philly reports. Authorities believe there are other victims, however.

—  Steve Ramos

Gay adult film actor Arpad Miklos dies; anti-gay activist caught on Grindr

arpad-miklosThese two stories caught my eye in the gayniverse this morning:

• Arpad Miklos, pictured, the adult film star of more than 50 porn movies discovered by Kristen Bjorn, was found dead in his apartment at age 45, the victim of an apparent suicide, according to Out.com. Not much else is known at this time, other than Miklos is merely the latest gay porn icon to pass in recent months. Josh Weston died last year of AIDS-related illness, and Falcon star Erik Rhoades died last summer.

• We also learned that Matt Moore, an “ex-gay” blogger for the Christian Post, confirmed that the photo and profile on gay hook-up app Grindr recently is, in fact, his. Like a lot of other “former” gays caught on the prowl, Moore merely acknowledged the “lapse” and moved on. “I am wrong in having been on Grindr. I haven’t changed my views on homosexuality, the Bible,” he told atheist blogger Zinnia Jones.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Grindr honors Dallas Voice, other locals in gay mobile app’s Best of 2012 Awards

Voting is in full swing for our own 2013 Readers Voice Awards, and if you haven’t cast your ballot already, you should hurry up and do so now for a chance to win two free tickets on American Airlines. Click here to vote.

While we’re eagerly awaiting this year’s Readers Voice results, we thought we’d share the Dallas winners of gay mobile app Grindr’s Best of 2012 Awards, which were released this week based on user surveys conducted between Dec. 5 and Dec. 22 in Big D and nine other cities.

The winners include Dallas Voice, which was named Best Local Gay News Outlet. Although I’m not sure what our competition was, something tells me that if you look at the cumulative amount of time our staff spends on Grindr, we probably deserve the award.

Here are all the local Grindr winners followed, after the jump, by the full press release with national winners and winners from other cities:

Gym with the hottest guys:  24 Hour Fitness
Best place to get a haircut: Supercuts on Lemmon
Best place to take a first date: West Village
Best Sunday funday: The Grapevine
Favorite gay bar/club: The Round-Up Saloon
Favorite bartender: Dylan Brown
Best gay night/party: Purple Party
Best DJ: Brandon Moses
Fiercest drag queen/nightlife personality: Krystal Summers
Local hero/community advocate of the year: James Doyle
Best local gay news outlet: Dallas Voice


—  John Wright