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True Stories: The Problem With Spiritual Guys
I just can't get them off of the astral plane and into my bedroom.
By Dani Katz
Looking back on the slapdash history of my love life, I've realized that I date in phases. In high school, it was sarcastic Jewish overachievers — kind of like dating myself, only with someone else around to help with the wisecracks. In college, it was freakishly tall athletes who preyed on freshmen and gave me crabs. In my twenties, I swore off Americans altogether, as well as the gainfully employed, and dedicated myself solely to mooning over starving European artists who gargled psychedelics, forgot my every birthday, and exhibited mild strains of genius, along with lackluster money-management skills. Then came the rock stars. And finally, spiritual guys.
These come with a lengthy list of aesthetic transgressions, including the hemp sandals, the red string-wrapped wrists, the airbrushed Indian deities emblazoning mala bead-draped chests — not to mention the ponytails, the five-minute hugs, and the red-rimmed doe eyes staring for uncomfortably long stretches of Mayan-calendar-measured time into my every past life. But I'm confident I can whittle the problem with spiritual guys down to a singular and specific one: no follow-through.
J. was my first. I met him while I was bumming around India, tying myself into knots and studying a handful of defunct languages. J. was a New Yorker on a spiritual quest. He carried a dog-eared copy of The Bhagavad Gita with him wherever he went, along with a weighty batch of mommy issues. He bathed with lemons and sea salt, rubbed cayenne pepper into his balding skull, and called me Radha (the female embodiment of pure life force and Krishna's main squeeze).
Between holy pilgrimages, four-a.m. bucket baths, and ten-day silent meditation retreats, we rendezvoused all over India to share extended bouts of sweaty, naked passion. I ditched the icy torment of the Himalayas on day seven of my own mindfulness retreat, vomiting my way through a twenty-seven-hour train ride to meet up with J. in sunny Kerala. I arrived at his oceanfront hotel, exhausted and nauseous, only to have him tell me that the sex was pulling his attention away from his meditation practice, and that he'd decided to become a Bramacharya, which meant we could only have sex during certain phases of the moon, and at certain hours of the day. (And even then, he opted out to practice alternate-nostril breathing.)
Back in the States, I fell for Jude, a half-lidded, bedroom-eyed yoga teacher with a penchant for quoting Hafiz. I frequented his yoga classes as much for the Ujjayi high as for his prodigiously proffered adjustments, wherein he'd lay his ever-so-sensitive hands on various burning, yearning, sweat-soaked parts of my body, while guiding me deeper into every pose and further into the center of my growing lust. It was the dangling carrot of Jude's touch that had me summer-bikini-bod hot, rockin' a yoga-toned butt and killer triceps to boot, while daydreaming about consummating our karmic connection with Tantric sex and a free ten-class pass. I was certain the attention he lavished upon me — every nudge, poke, and soothingly intonated instruction — had everything to do with the obvious sexual attraction bourgeoning between us.
Crouching over me in Savasana, Jude instructed the sweaty, supine class to exhale completely, inviting us to pause in the space between breaths.