In Through the Funky Door #2: The studio
The Funky Door stands in front of me, flames inclusive, and the notable detail is that the windows are fogged, and dripping, as if there was a murky, cloud covered and chilly grey day- the sort that makes you reach for a good book and a cup of tea- happening on the inside of the building. I know the truth, though, it’s water that has passed through the pores of at least 100 students. And this is just the lobby. I’m exponentially beyond second thoughts at this point, but I said I’d do it, and so cross over to the other side.
Now, I knew there would be cartoons on the walls. I’d pictured Pluto in Downward Dog or something, maybe an occasional Warrior Pose Barbie , but almost EVERY INCH of the studio is covered in exaggerated depictions of the asanas, as well as a host of other various yoganachronisms. I can best describe them with a laundry list:
There hundreds of little cartoon people that evoke memories of the 1970’s illustrated puberty primer “What’s Happening to Me?”
There are monkeys in bikinis.
There are animals of all phyla, really, all striking poses.
There is Richard Nixon.
There is a Frankenstein wearing a T-shirt with a rainbow.
There is even a little cartoon of Bikram himself.
And those are just the cartoons.
There is also a man behind the counter wearing only daisy duke/roller derby cut shorts, and I have to assume he embodies the expanded definition of a eunuch, as I cannot imagine his package wouldn’t make a desperate bid for freedom by tunneling out the bottom , like the worms in Dune. Without the girth, of course, given the lack of breathing room in his shorts. I know, I know, you might be tempted to speculate on my sexuality for me to notice such a thing, but understand I HAD NO CHOICE. His shorts command an attention married to compulsive gawking, like an airplane crash on the news. He, while not actually flaunting his pelvis, was certainly cognizant of what he must of have looked like when he put them on, and there was clearly no shame involved. If fact, I believe he took some pride in his 0.33 square feet of cloth. How can a pair of shorts somehow be smaller than a thong?
There are also fake palm trees EVERYWHERE, small ones lining the top of the studio and larger ones in the hallway.
There are brightly colored plastic chairs in the shape of hands, palmed cupped as if begging for alms, the alms being your ass, I suppose.
There is a giant plaster sculpture of a blond nurse with a low cut blouse and miniskirt, a Red Cross emblem across her giant bazongas, and an enormously disproportionate head.
To top it all off, the windows are tinted to give an orange Southern California hue across the lobby, and I feel that I have come to do yoga in not so much a studio as on the set of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?!
But that’s not quite all. There is one more cartoon, and it encapsulates the ethic and ambiance of the studio at large.
It is of Bill Clinton standing on the Washington Monument in a standing split pose, wearing only a pair of heart-speckled boxers and an American flag tie, smoking a cigar and holding a cup of McDonald’s French fries in his outstretched hand, and……….wait for it……….Monica Lewinski on her knees preparing to fellate his big toe.
I’m not making this up.
It is this perverse Disneypomorphism that sets the tone for the studio. I feel that, shorn of the shackles of cultural mores, Americanism has run rampant over the Funky Door, a vapid, Hollywood-inspired rainbow of shopping-mall fungal strains let loose on an empty Petri dish.
It is further bolstered when the teacher walks in the room. I don’t see him come in, but rather hear him. He is outfitted with a headset microphone, wired to hidden speakers, and the effect is of an omnipresent Voice of God.
“Are you all feeling OK?” booms the ethereal voice.
“You know, you girls could move toward the front if you want. I’ll be standing here a lot of the time, girls, and you may want to scoot up a bit, don’t be shy, let’s get closer!”
I’m confused as to where the front is, but at least God has given me a clue- he must be somewhere along the perimeter of the room, and I’m whip-lashing wildly trying to locate him, amongst the presidential cartoons reflected in carnival mirrors. When I do find him, I’m perturbed to discover that it’s the Metrosexual Eunuch who controls our destiny for the next 90 minutes. He’s saucy, here and queer, and immediately employs a method of CONSTANT TALKING, the cadence and rhythm being a conflation of Richard Simmons without the sympathy and a Midwest County Fair pig auction.
“Ok, OK! *Clap Clap* Let’s get right on to this!”
The actual yoga, at this moment, does not look promising.
NEXT UP: The actual class.