There’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for why I attended a yoga class, five days before Christmas. I’m married. When you are a married man, you find yourself doing all kinds of things you never thought you would do. Taking showers is only one example.
As a married man, you are expected to fold laundry, take out the trash, clip your toenails every February, eat your vegetables, air up the tires, and sometimes attend coed wedding showers held in living rooms containing a lot of estrogen.
This is the marriage deal. You do things that no sober man would ever do.
So before my wife dragged me to yoga class she said I should wear a pair of “flexible athletic” pants. The only problem was, I don’t own a pair of flexible athletic pants. I don’t see why anyone would own a pair of flexible athletic pants when they could own a stiff pair of real pants. So I wore old sweatpants.
Right when I walked through the door, people could tell that this was my first yoga class. The yoga instructor just smiled when I came in and she said, “First time, huh?”
“How’d you know?” I said.
“You don’t have a yoga mat.”
The first thing anyone should know before they take a yoga class is that they’re going to need to buy a qualified yoga mat that has been approved by an actual yoga instructor, physical therapist, or Whole Foods Market employee. I don’t have any yoga mats for the same reason I don’t have any flexible athletic pants.
So the instructor gave me a complimentary mat that was pink with lotus flowers on it and a printed phrase which read:
“Good vibes only.”
This was our instructor’s favorite go-to phrase. She’d say this whenever she became frustrated with a studio full of ten pear-shaped middle-aged students who were no more capable of touching our toes than we were capable of qualifying for the 200 Meter in the Olympic trials.
During many of these yoga poses I heard precious joints of my own body pop. Once I lost my balance and fell on my tailbone. Whereupon the instructor appeared and helped me into an awkward position where I could have easily licked my own shoulder blade.
Then she calmly said, “Good vibes only.”
The man beside me was a guy named Rob. Rob and I got along famously. He told me this was his second class and he was only doing yoga for his wife’s sake. Because if Rob would have had his own way he would have been at home completing important household chores like watching ESPN.
Rob was great. We laughed a lot. And this brings up my main point:
Men are natural born smart alecks. We like to crack jokes at inappropriate times. We like to cut up. We aren’t trying to be mean spirited or disrespectful. It’s just in our genes.
Personally, I cannot attend any serious social function without making a few silly remarks under my breath. I am this way at every religious ceremony, graduation, baby dedication, and anywhere there is an open bar. I have found that many men are like this.
When I was a boy in Sunday school class, Bobby Dyson and I would be in the back of the classroom making up gag-names because to 9-year-old boys gag-names are the reason we get out of bed. Some of these names were ridiculous, such as:
—I. C. Butz.
Bobby and I would start laughing so hard that we couldn’t control ourselves. Our faces would turn purple from oxygen debt. I am telling you the truth when I say that I have never laughed as hard as I did in Sunday school class with Bobby Dyson. Never.
The more the teacher told us to cool it, the more the atomic bomb of laughter would swell and eventually explode. Finally we would be escorted out of the room to sit with our backs against a wall and recite scripture verses. But all it would take was for Bobby to say two words.
And we would be peeing ourselves.
So Rob and I were cracking jokes in yoga class because what else could we do? We sure as heck couldn’t do any of the poses.
We couldn’t help but laugh when the teacher referred to a certain pose as—this is what she actually called it—“the groin widener.”
If you are a yoga enthusiast, you probably know this pose all too well, and you probably know of its many muscular benefits. But if you are Rob and me, this pose is a gift from the gods of comedy. We started laughing so hard that Rob and I almost permanently widened our groins.
Pretty soon, people were giving us dirty looks in class. The instructor stormed over to us and just cleared her throat.
So the fun was over. Rob and I went into the hallway to simmer down because when you get older you realize that you’re no longer a kid in Sunday school, you’re an adult. And it’s just bad manners to disrupt someone else’s sincere attempt at widening their groins.
In the end, my wife took it all in good stride. She didn’t seem upset or embarrassed that I was acting like a mouth breather during class. And when it was all over, she was nice enough to let me walk the whole way home.
I was going to catch a ride with Rob and his wife. But Rob said, “Don’t look at me. My wife is the instructor.”
Good vibes only.