Lora Hogan > Yoga  > Mr. Sexual Harrassment

Mr. Sexual Harrassment

I got super annoyed in yoga class yesterday. Not by the class, which was absolutely lovely. (Thanks Beerasana!) It was so lovely I even forgot about my creepy experience during most of class. That’s saying a lot.

But I got super annoyed.

Before class, by a man.

So yoga was made for guys originally and my favorite teachers actually (randomly) have mostly been men. I welcome Dude Yoga.

But I don’t come to class to hear inappropriate comments by older men.

The class was packed. So we were mat to mat.

I was next to a slightly older woman that I regularly see and talk to in yoga. She is fabulously nice and very supportive. Whenever I sub, she comes to my classes with a smile and a hug.

The moment she sat down, SWOOSH, the man ahead of us turned around and started staring at us.

“Okay,” I thought, “this is weird.”

He is the type who needed to wear a shirt, but didn’t bother to put one on for class. He wore shorts that were too small so that his protruding beer belly spilled over the top of his shorts in a really rather icky way. And he stared.

“What’s your name?” he asked me. “Do you come here often?”

What do you mean “do I come here often?” was my first thought. Ummm… yes? But are you trying to hit on me? Lordy. I looked for the woman on my left, but she had gone to the bathroom line. Blast! No escape there.

I answered as quickly as possible and told that I subbed yoga there so, yes, I come quite frequently. Keep it short and sweet and avoid lies.

My yoga pal came back and his eyes followed her all the way to her mat. The man was still sitting backwards on his mat, facing us.

“When there are seven guys in the class, I’ll stop coming,” he said to us.  “What would be the point? Too many guys, not enough girls. I like being the only guy in class.” He then gave a creepy chuckle and a wink.

EEW! Gross. I tried to ignore him. I looked at my toes, at my mat, fiddled with my hair–anything to get him to stop talking.

“Every woman who comes to yoga here is hot,” he said. “You never see an ugly girl. You’re all hot. It’s fantastic.”

Again–EEEW!!! Mr. Beer Belly who is old enough to be my father was trying to hit on us! A young man on my right snorted, clearly aghast by the man’s statement. Who *does* that??

Thank goodness for the woman next to me, she spoke up, “I’m sure we are all here for the same reason–to be more fit and to improve our meditation practice.”

Huzzah! Points to my yoga pal! The man laughed like she was crazy and went back to staring at us.  All I could think was, THANK GOD MY MAT WASN’T in front of him! Could you imagine having him stare at your butt all through yoga? Because you know he was going to.

He stared at us from his turned around spot on the mat until the start of class. His eyes kept looking at us periodically through the rest of class. And he was a groaner. Throughout class as he wobbled around on his mat, he made those sexual moans and breathed like a dog in heat. Again–who does that!?

It bothered me and, after class, I talked to my yoga pal (aka the woman next to me) about why I was so angered. It’s because I realized he sexually harassed us in a place that I thought was “safe.” Yoga has always been a safe haven for women and should NEVER be the place where you are hit on by creepy guys or have lewd comments made to you about women.  For some women, that type of comments could even trigger depression issues, anxiety, or at least ensure they will never come back to yoga.

Worst part? He made more icky comments to me when I walked to my car! I ignored Mr. Beer Belly man and completed avoided looking at him, even though every fiber of my being wanted to tell him off for his rude and sexual harassment comments.

I am a child of the 80s and early 90s. I remember growing up learning that I “don’t have to take” sexual harrassment. Remember the shrinking woman video?

So, that WAS sexual harassment, and we yoga ladies don’t have to take it. If you want to check out women, go to a strip club. We live in Tampa Bay–I hear we have plenty of them.

And to bring some levity to the situation, here’s Ogden, the Inappropriate Yoga Guy, courtesy of Yoga Journal magazine. Even though he is creepy and hits on girls, even Mr. Inappropriate Yoga Guy doesn’t stoop to sexual harassment!!

Here’s the original video:
“Tell me you ate goji berries at base camp one.”

And the Yoga Journal series:

Watching those videos makes me feel better about my own creepy yoga man. But remember–we women NEVER have to take sexual harassment! Just because it’s 2012, doesn’t mean it’s not an issue. Stand up for yourself and don’t take crap from creepy guys–even if they appear in your yoga class!!

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