Don't Ask

They say June is for brides (who 'they' are and why they say it is unclear, bit it's a saying - not unlike 'baby fishmouth').  It is also, therefore, for engagements, because weddings inspire weddings. At least that's how it seems.

Apparently, no one told my friends about this June thing, though, because they're all getting married in September. This September I'm invited to four weddings and 12 engagement parties. Obviously, I will not be attending all of these events.  The last of which I called tonight to send my regrets.  My friend, Rose is affianced to her longtime friend/short time boyfriend, Rick. Aw.

So I called Rose to wish her the best and say that I will not be able to come to her engagement party, and she told me the excessively detailed whole story of their engagement. I won't go into that here because honestly, I'm glad she's excited and happy and this post is not about the engagement itself.

The part where I had to hold my tongue was when she told me how he "asked for permission" from her father before he asked her to marry him. She thought it was sweet and romantic. I think it's creepy and outdated.

Wilbur and I have had this debate for years. He thinks it's okay and cute. As I said, I disagree.  In general, I think that marriage is, largely, outmoded (and yes, I'm married so let me finish), but it's part of an important emotional tradition so it has value. I think the whole asking-for-your-daughter's-hand-in-marriage is archaic and insulting.

Forget for a moment that this woman you're asking for has a mind and will and life of her own and isn't the prize cow at the fair, and consider that you're  telling her parents a piece of news that should be hers to tell. You're also setting up a set of expectations that shouldn't be there.

I had a friend who actually got engaged to a man I knew she had been planning to break up with because she didn't want to disappoint her parents who had, according to her boyfriend, given their heartiest blessing to the union. She did break it off long before any wedding took place, but still...  A lot of women feel a lot of pressure regarding marriage and family.  Don't add to the pressure by involving (probably) the most influential people in her life.

The decision to get married should be private. As should the option to say no. Imagine if you go to the father and then she says no.  Now you've added embarrassment to the equation.  Sure, most men feel fairly sure a woman will say yes before they ask, but there are plenty of times that this isn't true, too.  And now let's get back to the fact that she's a person with a mind of her own and not part of a property exchange. I'm not my father's to dispose of as he sees fit anymore than I am my husband's.

And the idea that they're talking about my future without my being in on it is insulting.  I know a lot of people feel differently about this and if you're okay with it, great. Maybe I took a few too many women's studies classes and read too much Sandy Bartky.  It's likely. And possibly I'm putting too much importance on this, but I feel like this is part of what promotes larger and more glaring instances of sexism by easing women into the idea that it's okay if someone else says what's good for you.

This idea dates to a time when in asking for a woman's hand, you were announcing your willingness to relieve her father of the burden of caring for her and asking what else the father would throw in as a thank-you for taking her off his hands.  It just doesn't sit well with me.  Any more than pronouncing people "man and wife".  Why is he still man, but I turn into "wife?"  But I digress...  I just don't like it.  We can make our own decisions (well most of us can) and unless you're dating jailbait, you don't need anyone else's permission.

Okay.  Tirade over.  We'll never speak of it again.




I'll tell you a secret. I'm pretty sure that I'm mostly done with Bikram. I won't say that I'll never do another Bikram class, but now that I've been doing other types of yoga, Bikram has fallen to my least favorite class.

Truth is, though, I've always known this day would come. Even when I was going to class every day (or possibly because I was going every day) I knew one day I wouldn't want to do that class anymore.

Part of my problem has always been that I've never had the warm fuzzies for the man himself. I know I'm in the minority here, but he rubs me the wrong way. That's all there is to it. And that was always a cloud over my practice. Not that I went through class thinking about how he isn't my favorite guy, but it loomed. It's kind of like finding out your favorite actor is an asshole. It doesn't ruin the movies he's in, but you never feel quite the same about them.

The other thing is, is that lately, I feel hemmed in by the repetition. It doesn't make it easier to meditate anymore, it just makes me feel like sighing.

I'm not saying I can't find ways to grow in the 26/2, because I can see lots of ways that I can go forward in all of the postures, it's jus that, well, I'm sick of it. I'm tired of finding new depth in a posture. I want to find new depth in my practice overall and Bikram isn't getting me there.

I haven't drunk water in a Bikram class for months. I always take it in just in case some unforseen overwhelming thirst comes upon me, but it sits at the back of my mat, untouched. I have a small towel, also, but it's only for the end of class so I can wipe off a little before I walk out into the chilly lobby. I've even found a place where I can go through a whole class without any unnecessary movement.

I'm ready to move on. Sure I can work the postures more, but I can do that in another class. I feel like I'm not making any progress mentally in Bikram and so, I'm pretty much done.

It helps that my chosen yoga studio is no longer a Bikram studio. I have a lot of options and I'm lucky that way. If Bikam were still my only option, I'd do it rather than do nothing. And possibly, had the studio not gone away from Bikram, I wouldn't feel this way.

What I do know is that I'm moving on. I appreciate all that Bikram has done for me, and now I'm heading in a new direction. I took one last class at one of the other studios to be sure and as I lay in final savasana, I realized that it would be my last class for the forseeable future and it felt good. Good to know, good to acknowledge, and good to be done.



Recently, I was in a yoga class with a couple of Matt's coworkers. One of them, we'll call her Shelly, belongs to the same studio we do and she brought her coworker, we'll call her Sunny, with her.

I've been in class with Shelly a few times. She's pretty consistent with her practice. She tends to like the back corners, though, so sometimes I don't even see her until class is over.

Sunny is not a regular practitioner of yoga, although her sister is a Bikram teacher. But she's done it enough that she knows the poses by name and knows what a class is like.

Another thing I should mention is that Sunny and Matt sort of dated briefly. I say sort of because neither of them was calling it that and she was also sort of involved with a couple of other people at the same time. Nothing major (at least as far as Matt understood it). When she found out that I was moving to Vegas, though, she sent Matt a ridiculous email written in a state of extreme intoxication that said, in summary, that she never told him before how much she really liked him and she was sorry about that but that he should have known and that he was an asshole for not forcing it out of her.

So, my relationship with Sunny has always been slightly odd, but overall, I like her. She's entirely insane (really), but she's a good converstionalist and she's pretty funny. We're never going to be more than casually acquainted and that's just fine.

Anyway, Sunny has put on quite a lot of weight in the last couple of years and is trying to get back into a routine of regular exercise. Cool. And this brings us back to her coming to yoga with Shelly.

Even though Sunny knows I do a crapwad of yoga, she was surprised to see me. And this is where the idiocy began, I think.

I saw the look on her face when she spotted me. She covered well, but she was clearly not pleased.

Given the option, I tend to set up in front or middle mostly. So I was in the middle. Sunny came in and, instead of setting up with Shelly in the back, set her mat right next to mine. Okay. Weird, but okay.

Class started and I could feel the competition radiating off her. I'm not competitive by nature, so I don't really get it, but by eagle, her constant appraisal of me in the mirror started to give me the giggles.

I fell out of eagle and tried to get myself together. I finally gathered my composure by scratching myself really hard on the back of my hand.

Eagle down, only a hundred and seventy-four more poses to go... Or that's how it felt anyway.

Standing head to knee was fine for me. It's a pretty strong posture for me, but again, I could feel her looking at me. And I could see she was trying to push futher in than pose than she should.

The ridiculosity of the situation grew with every pose. I tried (really hard) to ignore it. But the laughter kept rising in my chest.

I coughed and 'sneezed' and pinched and poked and scratched myself silly so I wouldn't burst into bone-rattling laughter. All the while Sunny was doing her damnedest.

I was half tempted to 'throw' my practice so she would go a little easier, but I didn't. And then between sets of triangle, she went down, white-faced and breathless.

She got up again by second set of separate leg head to knee and ego-ed her way through the rest of standing series looking like she might die. By spine series her face wasn't white, it was redder than Rudolph's nose and her breathing was labored. We got through the rest of class without her passing out or me laughing, but it wasn't a good class for either of us.

Still, the ludicrousness of it was hilarious to me. I mean Christ on a cracker, dude. Yoga is supposed to be about your own practice wherever that is. Not about how your practice compares to mine.

We all walked out together and she still looked like she was going to barf and die. She called in sick to work that day. Yoga isn't supposed to make you sick - at least not past barfing a little every now and then and not so you miss work.

So that's my cautionary tale of idiocy for the week. Take what you can from it - even if that's just that there are several methods to stop unwelcome fits of laughter from erupting in class.



Towards the end, I held on until my fingers were all bone and blood and ache. If he'd been holding my hand, it might have worked, but I was gripping crumbling ledge and he was doing other things. He didn't even step to the edge until after I'd realized the pain wouldn't stop until I let go and started to fall away. By the time he'd found a rope, I'd already hit my head on the ground below and then he stood and watched for too long before I got up, hurt but not dead, angry at myself for waiting so long to relieve the agony.

But he was a fragile soul. Unaware of his frangibility. So when I started getting hopeful emails later - hopeful for a return to what he never understood was agony for me - I was definite. Firm.

See some time before I'd met him, someone did me a great kindness by not allowing me to torture myself. This person, another man, hadn't allowed me to hope that things would change between us.

At the time he did it, I was crushed. But overall it allowed me to stop myself. I could put that man out of my heart.

So I tried to do the same for the fragile man who I left on the roof. I told him that I didn't want him to write or call. I told him that it would be better for both of us if we broke clean.

He did what I asked -- until recently. Through a mutual friend, he let me know he's not well. This saddens me, but I'm also pissed that he's doing this to me. I can't be there for him. Not only because I don't want to, but because we left that kind of relationship behind. It's inappropriate of him to ask. And I can only respond with silence. Fuck.