Yoga yakking

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Yesterday we were yakking in the yoga room about life, and I mentioned that I’d had a date with a man twenty years younger.
  When I first began practicing with other teachers and students, I used to try to hush everyone up, but now I realize that this “yoga yakking” while opening the body can be enormously therapeutic and insightful.
  One of the teachers present told the story of her friend who married a man twenty years younger. “She’s now in her seventies. He’s in his fifties. They’ve been together twenty-five years, and they are the happiest, sweetest couple you’ve ever seen.”
  “Well,” I said, “If nothing else, this date with a younger man showed me I need to stretch the age range at both ends.”
  When I was in my fifties, I dated a man at the other end of the spectrum—a sophisticated filmmaker in his eighties. He was totally romantic, bought me flowers and beautiful clothes, and joked about sending me to finishing school and taking me to Italy. But, alas, when we went to dinner he ordered veal, and he still smoked pot and hash and scared the daylights out of me with his coughing and hacking . . .
  “My date went great,” I said enthusiastically. “He’s a really nice guy. Very responsible. Vegetarian. And he looked so shiny and clean. He’d just gotten out of the shower. Once we started talking, I forgot all about the age difference.
  “But I think I might have blown it. First of all, I didn’t have anything to wear. All my skirts have rips in them, so I just wore my yoga pants with a blouse and shawl. It was short notice. I should have postponed it. We went somewhere very casual. It was the day after Thanksgiving, and I wasn’t hungry. Just sipped some wine . . .”
  The rest of the story came out while we were opening our hips, stretching our legs, excavating the stiffness out of our shoulder joints, or hanging upside down.
  “It was so interesting,” I went on, “because the age difference seemed not to matter. He’s been divorced three years. Doesn’t strike me as a womanizer. Seems very straightforward, kind, and honest. I had only actually met him in person once, about six months ago. It never in a million years occurred to me that he might like to ask me out. He’s younger than my son! My daughter didn’t approve of me going on this date! We basically told each other bits and pieces of our past. Kind of like a job interview.
  “He told me the story of how he ended up moving to Ojai . . . asked me where I went to school . . . I told him how I had a baby when I was eighteen and that I went to Ventura College and got an Early Childhood Teaching Certificate because that was a job where I could take my toddler to work with me. I told him I did child care out of my home, worked at different nursery schools in town, and basically took care of kids from dawn to dusk.
  And then I heard myself say, “I thought I wanted to teach preschool for the rest of my life, but then when my son turned seven I didn’t want to see another kid as long as I lived!”
  I plum forgot that my young-man date had young children!
  I told my yoga confidantes, “I didn’t really mean it the way it sounded! I can’t remember if I told him that I had a daughter later in life or that I’m a grandaunt to a niece and five nephews! I love kids—really I do!”
  Truth be told, I didn’t want him to think I was some kind of cougar. We’d already joked about cougars before our date when he explained that he liked older women. For me, this was a first-time experiment. It’s in my Gemini nature to laugh and flirt, but as I sat across from this shiny clean young man —the kind I was not attracted to in my youth but was considering now—I noticed that the nun in me had the upper hand.
  Yes, I’d told myself that the age difference didn’t matter. The date was his idea, not mine. When he walked me to my car and, half jokingly, casually said something about me coming over to talk and have more wine, I’d never said no more quickly in my entire life!

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