Just to Clear the Air

So a few comments [and a blog post] have come in in regards to my last post about being fat. F.A.T

I wrote that post after a few exchanges in my local studio. It’d typically go somewhere along the lines of :

#1 : Wow, Mei! You’ve lost a lot of weight.

M* : Uh, thanks?

#1 : So how much weight have you lost?

M* : Er, I don’t know.

#1 : Oh don’t be modest. 2kg? 5kg?

M* : I really don’t know. Firstly, I don’t weigh myself [unless it’s for a health exam, or for some weirdo gym rat who wants to know my BMI]. I go by how healthy I feel. I’m really just aiming to gain muscle weight, really. [So the next time I flex my arms I can laugh at all the other puny guys. Though now someone has said that I’m useful for moving heavy furniture, that asswipe.]

And the person will look disappointed. Maybe because they were hoping for an answer along the lines of :

“Hi, I’ve lost 14kg thanks to Bikram Yoga! My husband has left his mistresses – all 5 of them! -, my children are happy to have a mother with a silhouette and birds suddenly appear every time I walk by!”

“Ever since I’ve started Bikram Yoga, I’ve lost 32 inches from my waist. I have my old job back, but I’m still unhappy with my boss, that stingy selfish jackass.”

I was 18 when those pictures were taken in New Zealand. Whoah, flashback! And when I came back to Malaysia for summer, the comments I’d get from [well-meaning, I hope!] relatives and friends, year after year after year after year after year were :

– Bigger sized

– You must have a lot of water retention [Yes, I have perpetual PMS 24/7. I believe it’s called puberty.]

– Fat

– Tubby

– Chubby

– Voluptous

– Fatty

– “So how much beef do you eat a day?” [Buddhists. Don’t Eat. Beef.]

– “So you eat a lot of dairy?” [Really, what’s it to you?!]

etc etc etc.

So I started exercising, eating healthily, waved goodbye to near-daily drinking [adios, tequila and vodka!]. I don’t want to bore any of you with the sordid and boring details of how I got to be the shape I am today, but I can tell you this : I am superbly more pissed off in my current shape than I was in those photos. Why, I hear you ask. Aren’t the ideals of modern day beauty [especially for Asians] – slim, small-boned, fair? Yes, yes and yes. Thanks to a combination of  ancestry and exercise, I happen to now fit IN the category. Some of the things I’ve noticed the past year include :

– Sales assistants being nice to me.In fact, they stalk me around the shop and I have no way of running out unless I knock them over with my tiny fists of fury.

– Male offering to buy me drinks.[I declined. What, and get date raped?]

– Male offering to buy me breakfast. [I was at immigration, and I had 2 hours to kill before collecting my passport]

– Male inviting me to yam zhou [drink up] with him.

– People asking if I’ve got an eating disorder.[In fact, my father was so worried he bought me a HUGE tub of that protein shake thing]

First I was plump. Now I’m anorexic [a doctor once misdiagnosed me as anorexic, but that’s for another day]. And when I’m in this size, people don’t believe me when I tell them “Yes I weighed 56kg, I was happier then….”. Why, they’d ask.

It’s because I don’t get preferential treatment. If anything, I’m happier about men now talking to MY FACE instead of my chest [Hello, my eyes are 4 inches UP and AWAY from the chest!]. It’s like all of a sudden when I’ve lost 10kg I am deemed ACCEPTABLE to society [and a mating commodity too, it seems]. Sad, but true, that society nowadays function so shallow – the whole “looks don’t count – it’s what’s on the inside” diatribe doesn’t hold much weight anymore [excuse the pun]. So screw it, whatever size I end up being, I’ll make sure to at least enjoy it while it lasts. Don’t try asking me to have that extra bowl of rice at dinner. I’d eat it, along with the bowl with a side of chilli. And when I get a serious case of food poisoning, have pity and bring me some cookies and hugs, will you? Which then, brings me to my next point :

Hair hair hair everywhere.

So I epilate my legs. Why? It’s because it REALLY DOES help in garurasana. I don’t know the science behind it, but I find I don’t lose the grip behind my calf as much. I’d dare the next yogi I know to try it out, but I don’t want him to feel like I really want to chop his balls off and store it in a jar next to my bed.

I too, undertake the Brazilian for hygiene reasons. I certainly do not fancy clotted blood tissue getting stuck to nether region hair. I’m sorry, TMI! But believe me when I say it’s not to emulate “Western” standards of what’s deemed acceptable. On the other hand, it’s interesting to note that in Hong Kong, women who DO take care of their nether regions are deemed “easy” or “slutty”. Edison Chen, anyone? *cough.

A side story : Ex-colleagues of mine will remember as the Crazy Toilet Guardian cause I’ve sent company-wide emails thanks to men who piss all over the place like they’re playing space invaders [hit the ceiling for a bonus!], women who don’t flush the toilet and finally – anyone who leaves even so much as a strand of pubic hair on the toilet bowl, PLEASE pick it up. On a more disgusting note : Other ex-colleagues found a short, curly strand of hair in the pantry. In a soup bowl. I wonder how the Magical Strand of Hair travelled across trecherous terrain to land in A SOUP BOWL. Maybe Jook & Dawn should start a blog about The Adventures of The Magical Strand of Hair….

OK enough grossing you out.

So when I wrote *that* post about Bikram Yoga Etiquette, I mostly did it out of humour AND common sense. It is only common sense NOT to wear perfume, be Gunther or Mona [grunt and moan] or wear pants that won’t compromise your decency during class. I’ve seen my fair share of er, wardrobe malfunctions [that ought to teach me to stand behind the guy who’s wearing running shorts and yellow underpants] and I must say, one class with a view is one class too many. And I figured, wahey, if I got treated to a viewing of male underpants [AND MORE], should females escape this cardinal rule of decency? Nay! Preserve thy dignity, is all I say. If you choose to wear shorts, hooray! Welcome to a new level of practice, where slipping grips and shouts of “YOUR KNEE IS NOT LOCKED, LOCK EEEEET” are commonplace and well-received, might I add. But be warned : With short shorts, come greater responsibility. As per Magical Travelling Strands of Hair story, this was a true story that happened to me. As I hit floor series, Poorna Salabhasana to be exact – I streeeetched my arms out, flew up, way up, more up before gracefully coming down like a swan [or, on some days, nose diving like a MIG] and placed my hands on the mat for savasana. As it happens I was right next to the mirrors, so I could see every bead of sweat oozing out of my pores, travelling down my limbs, bypassing a rather suspicious-looking curly strand of …  WHAT THE FUCK.

I had two options :

1. Run out and set my right arm on fire after dousing it in bleach. Which would mean missing out on spine strengthening.

2. Cut arm, sell it off. Funds will be channeled to psychotherapy treatment. Which would mean missing out on spine strengthening.

Ever the good little yogini, I settled for option 3 : calmly and discreetly wiping my hand against the carpet and prayed to every deity that that STRAND won’t stick on me again like a jealous lover.

There could be a few rational explanations, such as :

– Strand fell from a man. In which case – BIKE PANTS, TIGHT ONES, PLEASE.

– Strand fell from a woman. In which case – y’all know the answer.

– Strand was actually from office. It travels and haunts. It could also be that my ex-boss misses me and habitually plants pubic hair wherever I go.

But hey, it’s a free world, I can’t possibly shove my weird little thoughts of hygiene unto everyone. It IS a grey area – vanity or personal grooming, or just common sense. The way I see it – If it makes you happy OR If it’s for the greater, cleaner good … do it! Just to be clear, this isn’t about “conforming”, nor was I suggesting that those who DO err on the side of hygiene / personal grooming are little vainpots. 🙂



Posted on June 7, 2009, in Bikram Yoga, Fun fun, Malaysiana, Yuck. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. this *is* your mind playground, so enjoy it.

    thanks for all your words, even if you do go too far, it’s good to have your boundaries tested.

  2. about the weight thing… i totally hear you! there is hardly a WIN situation for the ladies on this one. i don’t own a scale either but last week, when @jaynesave was saving my ass by feeding and watering me after a particularly difficult class, i weighed myself and was shocked to see i had lost 10lbs! in one month. shocked, because noone noticed, not even me. i was worried that eating meat again might cause me to balloon up …. (TX meat eaters are often the size of whales!)

    BTW, i wouldn’t have called your blog out in my post if i didn’t totally trust that you and your writing could stand the poke. and, i see how i could have been more clear about the hair i speak of.
    i am curious about studios around the country/world. my studio is in a college town – 2 major universities right in town so we get lots of girls trying out the hairy pits thing for the first time, newly out lesbians pushing the envelope, etc. so it’s common place here. what about for your studios?
    this is ‘your’ playground, and i am privileged to be welcomed to play!

    • Oh my, that is A LOT. Did your clothes feel looser? 10lbs a month is pretty drastic! And please do eat meat, your body needs it! In my case, I didn’t go cold turkey [pardon the pun] off meat. I started by eating leaner cuts till one fine day, then on to meat [chicken, pork, lamb] twice a week [with fish / seafood every other day] till right now, I’m 80% meat-free most of the days. If you crave meat, I say go indulge a little because your body’s smart, it wants to eat what it needs.

      Your query has inspired a blog post, and I shall be blogging about my studio next 🙂 It’s 1230am over here, time for me to count android sheep and hope to get my ass kicked in 630am Bikram!

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