The Human Touch

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For the fifth time in two months, Equinox bumped one of my favorite classes (Precision Running) and pushed it back to 8:45am. This decision was made to accommodate the uber-hostile Booty Blast/Cardio Scuplt/Zumba crowd. Those classes are so popular that the gym wanted to offer something else high-intensity for the members who can’t fit into the 8:30 Cardio Sculpt class.

The studio was unnecessarily warm, a result of a demanding member who hauled one of the gym’s maintenance men in to the studio to turn of the air conditioning.

“It gets really warm in here without the AC,” I said.

The woman shook her blonde messy pony-tail. “We prefer the air conditioning to be off,” she said what I believed was a Russian accent.

“Who’s ‘we’?” I snapped. I shrank inside myself hearing the bite in my response.  “How come no one else is here is backing you up on that?”

“Well, when they get here, they will.”

I continued doing stretches for my hips, ignoring her. She got up and dimmed the lights, because of course she did.

“No air conditioning is better for your body,” she continued. “It keeps your muscles warm.”

I moved my legs into diamond pose and dipped my head, chewing on the inside of my lip.  Yes, it also makes me light-headed. I remained silent. I don’t like creating tension in the minutes leading up to a yoga class. Nobody wants to deal with that. The time before class starts is for people to get centered. The frosted double doors open and a man enters and heads to the sound system in the front of the room.

“Hello,” he said.  He removed his black knit beanie to reveal his box braids. “I’m subbing for Nick today.”

My shoulders drooped. Boo. I look forward to Nick’s class every week. In addition to his challenging poses, he always dispenses a morsel of wisdom to chew on as we lay in Savasana. Joe connected his iPhone to the sound system and the opening bars of John Legend’s “All of Me” streamed through the speakers. Joe’s moves were your garden variety Vinyasa moves: down dog, up dog, chair pose, twist in prayer, etc. This is the problem with subs; their practices are always super basic because they don’t know the experience level of the class. Thirty minutes in, sweat dripping from my forehead and plop plop plopping on my yoga mat,  my head was swimming. I had to tap out and fold into child’s pose, I was so dizzy. (Speaking of dizzy, how about those Comey hearings and Trump’s response, amirite??) Thankfully, I was able to recoup and finished the final ten minutes of the more vigorous practice.

“Lie on your stomach,” Joe said. We all followed the call and roledl over. “Pile your hands on top of each other and rest your head on them, then turn your head to the right.” Next up on the playlist Joe brought was Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars.”

If I lay here/If I just lay here/Would you lie with me and just forget the world.

The sing itself is kind of cheesy. If you’re like me, when you hear it, you immediately think of Mer/Der on Grey’s Anatomy. We all should be lucky to find someone who looks at us the way Derek looked at Meredith.  (Or how James Comey looked at Kamala Harris, am. i. rite?) So, like the song suggested, I just lay there, eyes closed. Feeling a hand on my lower back, I sucked in my breath  Joe was rubbing his hand in a soothing circle on the base of my spine. My eyes flickered open, a tightening building in my chest. Luther Vandross’ “A House is Not a Home” begins to play. My sister loved Luther Vandross. I start thinking of the mornings she used to drive me to school, stopping at Dunkin’ Donuts to get us both coffees and taking the long way because she knew how much I hated junior high. Hot tears roll out from my eyes and onto my mat. Joe stays there, kneeling by my side, patting my back like a mother trying to calm a colicky baby.  I hadn’t realized how raw I was feeling. In fact, if you had seen me before class you would have thought I was in great spirits. It was the unexpected display of care that Joe provided that unleashed….something… inside of me.

There aren’t many opportunities for affection in my life. People talk self-care, and I’m a big believer in it, but to me nothing can replace physical affection and touch. That desire is another reason I seek sex in times of loneliness. As I walked home from class I wondered if Joe sensed I needed the extra attention and if so, how?

My tears at Joe’s kindness reaffirmed what I said in my previous post: I long for a substantive connection with a man. Opening myself up the way I have over the past year has made me crave affection. So much so that I re-activated my OKCupid profile after flirting with a hot guy guy at Fairway. Well, initially he was hot. A reedy six feet plus, he walked into the elevator and smiled at me. I saw the Red Sox cap he wore on his bald head  and was prepared to ask him if he was from my hometown when his son rear-ended him with their carriage.

“He just got his driver’s permit,” he said.

“How old?”

“Twelve.”

“Ahh,” I said, nodding. “Almost a teenager. Now I get it.”

“It could be worse,” he said. “He could be a girl.”

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That was disappointing. My sour mood was sweetened when I got home to two messages from men that had liked me and I’d liked back. That’s a far cry from what I’m used to with these sites and apps, but I’m keeping an open mind.

In other news, I’m getting closer to my sculpted yoga back goal.

I dont have the yoga back i want just but I'm getting there. #yoga #fit #skin #selfie #muscle #dontquit

A post shared by ATWYSingle (@atwysingle) on

And before I go, can we talk about this article for a moment?

http://www.townandcountrymag.com/style/home-decor/a9997929/amanda-blum-kids-arent-welcome-in-my-house/

Let me say up front that I will always defend Amanda Blum. She used to write for xoJane and refused to contribute to that dumpster fire of a shit show after they published that essay from the woman who was glad her mentally ill friend was dead. Writing doesn’t pay well, and jobs can be difficult to come by, so Blum’s decision to turn down offers from xoEditors is that much more admirable. But back to the article:

I am having this existential crisis over a Facebook invite I am about to publish, and the crisis hinges on one phrase: Adults only, please.

This makes my brunch sound more like a swingers’ party than the tasting for a new peach French toast recipe. But my house is tiny—not Tiny House tiny, just regular tiny— with a cubbyhole kitchen, sharp corners, precariously placed knick knacks and one very enthusiastic doberman. I find myself occasionally having to yell, “80% of the humans in this kitchen — get out!” And the bottom line is: Kids don’t fit.

I saw this article posted on Facebook by a woman who can not shut the fuck up about her two kids, so I wasn’t surprised at how offended she was by it. Every commenter slammed the author, calling her a narcissist or unpleasant. Ever the contrarian, I stuck my nose into the conversation to say I agreed with Blum. If I go over to your house, I play by your rules, even if that means having every conversation interrupted by your “adorable” toddler or having to tolerate the shrieks and howls of young children. In return, you accommodate my requests if you wish to come into my home.

I’m not a fan of kids. Young kids, that is. Tweens and teens are cool. I can hang with them. But children? Nah. I’d sooner stick my tongue in a fan. I wouldn’t want them in my home or at a dinner party.  They’re tiny wrecking balls.

What annoyed me about the comments was how offended everyone was that the writer made her disdain for children so obvious. How dare she! What a monster! Listen, nobody is obligated to like or enjoy children. That doesn’t make us cold or shrewish or insufferable. Throwing those accusations around is no different than judging a woman for opting out of having kids of her own.

Thoughts?

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4 comments

  1. Yoga sometimes will shift things inside you and make you cry. It’s why I love/hate yoga sometimes. I cry after working on hip openers. The hips are known to house old emotions, and it’s natural to cry as a release when doing them. How good of your instructor to sense that and support you when you needed it.

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  2. Agree 1000%. While I enjoy the pics and stories on FB from a few friends who are in their late 40s and have small kids, I do *not* enjoy small kids in person. PERIOD. Most of my circle of friends have no kids or their kids are grown. Nothing irritates me more than a gathering where one person brings said mini-me, and every topic of conversation becomes scrubbed and sanitized and non-adult in tone. I am an adult, I like to do adult things, and enjoy these adult things with other fellow adults without having to water-down and or scrub conversations of any possible topics not meant for adult ears. The author is *not* a jerk; she is just expressing a personal preference – her home is a “child-free” zone, and that is her right to keep it that way. *sigh*

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  3. I have a friend who is a bit isolated and just went through a breakup, and I was consoling her and briefly rubbed her back and she blurted out “can you do that more? I just need to be touched”. She’s a very open and emotional person, so it wasn’t hard for her to ask, but it still brought a tear to my eye.
    I think in previous eras, we had a lot of touch: generations lived together and siblings shared beds until teenage-hood. Most women had children, which is very touch-intensive. If you didn’t have children, the hairdresser, tailor, or cobbler might be more hands-on than today (like fitting your clothes to your body), and many people considered massage a key part of self care. Affection between same-sex friends was more acceptable or non-sexual than it is today.
    Of course society was much less open and had *tons* of serious issues, I’m not trying to paint a rosy picture here. But one thing about a slower pace of life and smaller communities meant that the human touch was more a part of life.
    I also agree about kids: they’re fine, for like….30 minutes.
    My sister has a 3 year old and we used to do “sunday funday” where I would swing by after nap and we’d hang out, then put him to bed after dinner and watch a little TV. I had to take a look at how I was spending my time after getting into a relationship, and I realized I was really clockwatching if I showed up at say, 3 or 4. I mentally made a note to move it back to dinner only, then stay through bedtime, bath, and TV just the two of us. I wasn’t enjoying the half-sentences, meltdowns, constant need for attention, and worry I felt about safety around him and this was a well behaved, nice, sweet kid!

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  4. I figure kids are like any people – some are cool, some are like fingernails down a chalkboard (and I suppose there’s a middle ground for “meh, they’re okay, I guess”). I agree – her house, her rules.

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