I just can't get them off of the astral plane and into my bedroom.
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.
"Wait for me…" he soothed to the room, as he lifted my sweaty wife-beater up to my breasts, and brushed his delicate fingertips ever so lightly over my exposed belly.
"Wait for me…"
I gasped and shuddered as I slipped through a wayward wormhole, and into an alternate reality, where I straddled his long, lean torso, breath heavy and rhythmic, teetering gleefully at ecstasy's infinite edge, while I waited, and waited, and waited some more…
"Wait for me."
I dilly-dallied breathless after class, waiting for his Let's go back to my place and fuck like really, really flexible rabbits signal, while a dozen sweaty, Lycra-clad groupies drooled all over his feet. But he avoided me and all my clumsy come-hither glances; I left several thousand degrees past hot and light years beyond bothered. Later that night, I messaged him inviting him to be my date for Radiohead at the Bowl.
He tersely declined. A free ticket to Radiohead. And (implied) sex with me. "Oh, Dani," he messaged. "I'm sorry if you got the wrong idea. I'm celibate."
And I'm sorry if you thought lifting up my shirt and tracing kama sutra positions onto my exposed belly button without offering to follow through on them was appropriate, I muttered, before launching a Google search for nearby yoga studios.
Third was the shaman with the slack Southern drawl and the bleached-blond highlights, who channeled both an Indian chief and a Middle Eastern sorcerer during our weekly healing sessions. He was super-cute and even more psychic, which made his center part and his lisp a little less off-putting. As a healer helping to mend my epically jacked-up spine, he was stellar. But his mercurial attempts to woo me were lackluster stop-and-go spurts of twisted mindfuckery, at best. The shaman boasted "fifth-dimensional holographic sight" (yeah, I don't know what that means, either), through which he claimed he saw entities loitering in my second chakra. He called me daily to tell me he was supremely attracted to me, and that our every chakra was perfectly aligned. But, he claimed, our love would have to remain unconsummated, because entities were contagious — even moreso than herpes — and he wasn't sure the sex would be worth the post-coital exorcism our coupling would demand.
Finally, there was the astrologer I met at a Conscious Languaging workshop. His first question was, "Where's your Mars?"
"Aries," I replied.
"Rising?" he countered, eyebrow raised, obviously intrigued.
"Aries… Aries moon, Chiron in Aries, Aquarius sun."
Supremely turned on by the fiery intensity of my chart, he asked for my number, and then proffered an impromptu shoulder massage.
"You're holding onto a lot of resentment," he said, attempting to survey my psyche by way of my tensed-up musculature.
"Actually," I corrected, "I helped a friend move a couch today."
I figured he, as a Scorpio — the sex, sex, all the time sex, and How 'bout some more sex, please? sign — would be an orgasm slam-dunk. He took me to a screening of Pink Floyd's The Wall the following week, which I took to be a good sign. He wasn't just star-stuff and "blessings" and stupid-looking ergonomic toe-delineating shoes — he was also rock-n-roll and arty big-screen classics and a brand new Lexus hybrid. After a handful of dinner dates, he gave me a piece of rose quartz carved into the shape of a skull, and asked me to take a bath with it and then place it on my altar, such that we could stay connected while he braved an all-night ceremony, drinking Ayahuasca with a South American medicine man on a Topanga Canyon commune.
I spent the evening in and out of meditation (okay, sleep), clutching the little pink skull, sending him love and sparkle and sweetness while he puked and sang and spoke with the Mother vine. He showed up at my door the next day bearing raw chocolate and a spotted owl feather, and then told me that the plant medicine had instructed him to marry a woman he'd met at ceremony named Honey Bee, and that his penis, as well as fifty percent of his assets, were about to become hers and hers alone.
Such is the way of the spiritual man — all ten-minute stares, five-minute hugs, alarming fashion sense, amazing bodywork… and no sex. As much as they disappoint me — pulling away so many eco-friendly, PVC footballs just as I'm poised to score — they're still my favorites, these oddly asexual chanting, praying, sparkly guys. They're tapped-in and they're conscious and vegan, and unlike my previous types who may have gifted me orgasms but bored me all the same, they're not indoctrinated, they're not inebriated, and they don't give shit about celebrity gossip.
Now, if only I could get them interested in having sex with me.