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No Feet Allowed

Yoga etiquette...face-saving strategies...the breadwinner

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Q: This may sound incredibly anal, but here it is: I can’t stand when people step on my mat in yoga class. I’m always very careful to keep my feet off other people’s mats. What would make anyone think it’s okay to put their gross, dirty, sweaty, or fungal, or whatever, feet on my mat—my mat!—where I have to put my face and other body parts? I don’t have a problem confronting people who cut the line in a store, but we’re talking yoga here, where I’m trying to cultivate a more benign consciousness.
—TIED IN KNOTS, WEST VILLAGE

A: Throw a little money at the problem. The swank Soho Sanctuary offers 75-minute classes for two to four people at a time for $50. The large room and tiny class size should ensure your personal space stays unviolated. Yoga should allow you to unwind (which you clearly need to do) and to connect with your inner self. Since your inner self is evidently a pinch uptight, it may be worth paying the price to attend a class where you won’t spend half the time growling at your neighbors. Otherwise, suck it up and let people step on your mat. It would be deeply weird to say anything.


Q: There’s a woman who lives in my apartment building who I’m friendly with. We’re just casual friends, but I like her a great deal and there’s something I want to tell her. In the time that I’ve known her, she’s had a succession of procedures done—plastic surgery, Botox, sandblasting, God knows what. It’s so obvious—her skin has taken on a masklike, plasticky texture. How can I politely say to her that she’s gone too far? That I think she’s beautiful (or was) and there must be a limit? We trust our friends to tell us if we have pesto in our teeth—this seems a more urgent and necessary disclosure.
—FACE SAVER, MIDTOWN

A: I felt the same way when I saw The Hulk. When that guy got all big and green, I just wanted to yell at the screen, “Dude, you are so fake-looking. You are so computer-generated. I’m so not scared!” I am scared for your friend, though. But it sounds like you haven’t accrued enough friendship points to critique her facial morph. After all, she lives in your building, and if she reacts badly—and she will—you’ll have to keep on running into her. You could open up a temporary account and e-mail her an anonymous note “from a concerned friend.” (Be sure to obsess endlessly over the wording to make sure it doesn’t sound like you.) Or you could enlist another friend of yours to mail her an anonymous letter. Hell, give me her name and address—I’ll send it to her. Because I feel your pain. I see what you’re seeing all the time. Women of a certain age (which now means 23 to 90) in this town are getting way too much work done. I mean, this is New York City, people—not Dallas.

Q:Help! I’m dating a handsome, wealthy, borderline-celebrity baker who drives an Aston Martin and happens to be a member of Soho House. The only problem is that now I’m constantly surrounded by baked goods, and I’m worried that I’ll turn into an enormous muffin myself. I’ve heard him say some harsh things about girls at the pool who were less than trim. How can I keep dating him without ballooning?
—SWEET AND LOWDOWN, GRAMERCY

A: If your gent is half the baker you take him to be, he ought to be able to concoct some low-carb breads and pastries. In fact, if he is unwilling to work with the new chemically engineered starches, I have grave concerns about his future in this city, and it doesn’t sound like your affection could survive the loss of his wheels, status, and, ahem, dough. If your yeast-loving boyfriend refuses to move into modern times and cut down on the white flour, by all means dump him immediately. In fact, you may want to start looking around now, while you still have access to the members of Soho House.

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