At what age do men stop with the “hyper macho” routine?
I mean, really; there comes a time when women are no longer impressed, other men don’t care, and the most plausible outcome is you’re going to hurt yourself doing something dumb.
Before you think I’m talking trash about someone else, I’ll come clean; the question is rhetoric; I’m referring to myself. What makes this mystery more opaque is I’m not even a “macho” kind of guy; I’m more the “sensitive, touch-feely” type. After all, I watch Glee, I own several pair of shoes, I accessorize, eat tofu, and, truth be known, I’ve been know to shed a tear or two during “chick flicks.” (But I’ll try and hide it.)
Recently, I joined a gym so I could take Zumba classes.
(By the nature of the fact that the driving force to enroll was to attend Zumba instead of weight lifting ought to tell you a little something about my “macho score” also.) While examining the schedule, I noticed a Yoga class that fits in my day. I’m feeling a bit soft around the middle and stiff along the edges so I consider attending. (Yoga? Yikes! Yet another telltale sign of non-machismo…)
Admittedly, I was a bit put off — and intrigued — by the title of the class: Yoga for Stiff People. I mean, from a marketing point of view, it’s perfect. It sets up an image and it tells you what to expect. However, from an I’m an-aging-guy-who-lives-in-denial-and-refuses-to-admit-that-I’m-getting-older perspective, I considered it too easygoing. After all, my veins are coursing with testosterone, you know? I need a “challenge.”
So, I open my big pie hole and announce to some friends that I’m considering attending this yoga class, but I’m concerned I’d be too advanced. After all, I was in yoga for three years. (Of course, I haven’t attended since I was hit by the car; about 15 months ago; but don’t confuse the issue with reality, okay?) Anyway, one of my friends says she attends that class and is convinced I’d love it. I succumb.
The teacher turns out to be about my age, very friendly, quite amiable and extremely svelte. She says I should take it easy and “stay on the soft side of the stretch.” I think she also made a comment about yoga not being a competition but I wasn’t listening any longer, as I was eyeing the other fifty and sixty-somethings in the room to see whom I could outmatch.
I unfurl my fancy jute yoga mat on the floor with a flourish, hoping to impress everyone else. (They didn’t notice.) “Here,” says the instructor, “Put this underneath your mat. It will make you more comfortable.” My internal dialog takes a John Wayne swagger and thinks, “I’m a guy. I don’t do ‘comfortable.’ I’m here to show the others what can be done.” Fortunately, I kept my trap shut and deferred to her experience and kindness.
Standing poses went fine — but they only last about five minutes.
Once the bending and stretching kicked in, folks older than myself were twisting like wet linguine while Mr. Uncooked Spaghetti over here is panting and puffing like a steam engine while trying to cross one leg over the other. Being a “guy,” I pushed through it, not wanting to be the lag-about holding up the last position.
Of course, the reality was no one gave a rat’s patootie about who was doing better than whom. There was no competition. It was a group of folks just doing their best to get in shape, feel better, and enjoy the process. That’s all. And after I take this hot pad off my back and take another aspirin, I think I will do the same.