I decided to sign up for a yoga class in a last ditch effort to cure an excruciatingly painful tailbone problem. After a few weeks of blissful immersion in the yogic way of living, my back pain improved but I developed an even greater pain in the ass - a relationship with a New Age Man. Somewhere between learning the shoulder stand and the headstand, I fell head over heels for my blond, buff instructor. He had a groovy, un-pronounceable "spiritual" name and seemed different from any other man I'd known. He seemed healthy, balanced and sensitive.
I approached the act of seduction gingerly, but as it turned out, the New Age Man ended up asking me to dinner and telling me in a very Anne of Green Gables way that we were kindred spirits. Considering that we'd never had any sort of real conversation, I guessed that New Age guys just knew this sort of thing intuitively.
At our dinner out, he gazed at me with googly eyes across the table, giggling and talking nervously. Then, when our meal arrived, he held his hands over the food like a priest over the host and started chanting in Sanskrit. What's the English translation? I asked politely. That's not important, he said - it's the vibration.
The New Age Man yammered on about all things metaphysical, and I was concerned that the only thing holding this earthy guy on the planet were his sea-grass spa thongs. Still, my heart chakra had reached the point of no return, and I found his otherworldly behaviour eccentrically charming.
But dating the New Age Man involved altering my lifestyle dramatically, something I vow never again to do for anyone. He'd show up at my apartment for dinner and, while "wanding" himself (he wielded a tiny wood-and-copper wand like a circus baton twirler) to remove all the negative vibrations of the city streets, sniff the air to see if I'd tried to secretly slip any rajasic (over stimulating) garlic or onions into my cooking. Food was only for fuelling his body so he could serve the world.
When I'd tell people my boyfriend was a yoga instructor, they'd inevitably give me a suggestive smile and purr, "He must be very flexible." They had no idea. Lovemaking, when it did happen, consisted mostly of the plank position. Sex, he said, was a waste of valuable prana (vital energy) that should be used for more important things. Nor did his daily routine allow for any time to be amorous. He was up at dawn and, after a ritualistic shower and cleansing exercises, began a two-or-more-hour-long practice of meditation and yoga. In the afternoon there was more yoga. He didn't believe one could make love at night after eating dinner, since all energy needed to be directed to digestion.
I tried every possible thing to spice things up, until one day he announced that he wanted to become Bramacharia and renounce bodily pleasures entirely. I guess this meant just with me, because one morning as he was meditating in another room, I pulled a blue shirt of his from the floor to fold it and a hotel receipt fell from his pocket and fluttered to the ground like a yellow butterfly shot from the sky. To draw on Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha, if I was the faithful companion Govinda, my dear Siddhartha had left me behind for the ways of Kamala.
For someone who wouldn't kill a housefly and would lovingly shuttle it from my apartment for fear of committing ahimsa, he certainly had no problem wounding the people he supposedly loved the most. When he hurt me or misbehaved and I tried to address the situation, he would always repeat, "I'm sorry that hurt you, but it came from a true place." Our final conversation over the phone went something like this:
Me: It hurt me when you said you don't feel connected to me any more.
NAM (New Age Man): I'm sorry that it hurt your feelings, but it came from a true place.
Me: Oh. It also hurt me that you can't be intimate with me but you say you fantasize about other women.
NAM: I'm sorry that it hurt your feelings, but it came from a true place.
Me: Your true place is an asshole. I have a true place, too, and it thinks all sorts of cruel things. But I don't voice them, because it would hurt your feelings. If I did, however, decide to voice them, my true place would probably say you're selfish, boring and a lousy lover!
The only thing left of the relationship was the vibration of a dial tone.
Here's a final lesson in karma: if you're gonna be a prick, don't date a writer.