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What I Learned About Dating from the Chinatown YMCA

If you want me to like you, you don’t have to take me out to dinner or buy me things. You don’t have to have a fancy job, or live in a trendy neighborhood. You don’t even have to dress well. Besides finding someone who can feed me, there’s just one other quality that I look for in a broke-ass BF, and that’s a man who doesn’t give shit. Check your insecurities at my creaky apartment door, I need a homeboy who is confident in his impoverished, oddball self. Sadly, this is harder to find than you might think– turns out most people have all sorts of issues about status and looking cool or whatever. Whatever is right! I recently found out that, strangely, the Chinatown YMCA is the perfect place to find exactly what I’m looking for.

I visited the luxurious YMCA of Chinatown when a fine piece of ass/YMCA membership holder asked me if I wanted to accompany him on a free guest pass while he tried yoga for the first time. Seeing as this scenario involved my Top 3 Favorite Things– yoga, free stuff, and flirting–I was more than happy to downward dog with this generous yoga virgin (slash hottie). I slipped on my elastic-waist short-shorts and took to the mat in the multipurpose room, hoping for some sparks to fly. Here’s why they did:

1) I was with a fellow broke-ass: Besides clearly being a giver, anyone who would take a lady out to the ultra-unglamorous Chinatown YMCA obviously has an economical attitude that is important to this spendthrift. Lemme tell you– the Chinatown YMCA is not Equinox. It’s got a cheap membership, plain decor, and a bunch of chunky kids in floaties running around. I like a man who isn’t too showy, so the fact that my date liked to exercise in a gym that also features a lap pool full of cute Asian kids with bowl cuts made my heart go pitter-patter.

2) He was comfortable in his masculinity: There were about eight people in our yoga class, and the only men were my date and the instructor. Approximately 95% of attendees were Chinese moms in their forties. Two moms arrived a half hour late, throwing open the door and bursting into the class while everyone was trying to meditate. “Hiiiiii!!! Hello!” they yelled, while waving vigorously at all of their mom-friends. One mom had her Problem Child in tow, who set up shop with his Power Rangers a couple feet away from me. The mom-fest didn’t seem to bother anyone except for me, my date included. This made me feel like a crotchety old prune, and caused me to like my date even more– only a prince could manage to successfully reach nirvana while surrounded by a bunch of middle aged ladies organizing playdates for their kids in Cantonese.

3) He was (sort of) comfortable with being harassed by our gay yoga instructor: Our instructor was an extremely tall, flamboyantly gay man, with a shaved head and a nostril-assaulting case of B.O. “Welcome, welcome,” he cooed in a gentle voice that didn’t match his Praying Mantis-like stature. He asked us both our names, but only bothered to remember my date’s name, which he purred like a cat in heat the 12 times he came over to “adjust” my date’s poses during the 1.5 hour class. At one point, he squealed, “Oooooh… look at those big feet. Mmmm, they’re so nice!” and commented on the apparent beauty of my man’s size 12 toes “curling” over a yoga block. I could tell my guy was uncomfortable, and I was, too– uncomfortable trying to hold in my laughter, that is.

4) Most importantly, he didn’t care about looking like a fool: Like any first-timer, my wannabe yogi wasn’t the most graceful of creatures. But the fact that he wanted to try something new, coupled with the absurdity of being the only young English-speakers in a room full of middle-aged Chinese ladies and the World’s Creepiest Yoga Instructor really made me want to get all chaturanga dandasana with this guy. Or maybe it was just all of the sweating and bending we were doing. Who knows.

Herein lies the reason why a Chinatown YMCA yoga class is the perfect litmus test for potential broke-ass partners– who doesn’t want a guy who is no frills, no homo (-phobic), pro-kids, pro-ladies, and doesn’t give a shit about looking like a hipster? Hello, dreamboat! Meet me for date #2 at the same place– we’ll check out Beginner’s Zumba next time.

YMCA Day Passes are $15 or you can print one for FREE here. Get fit and get romantic with your own broke-ass love interest and some cute bowl-headed kids.

Photo credit: The Yoga Facts

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About the author

Carrie Laven - Pretty Penniless

Carrie Laven is a natural-born storyteller from California, but she lives in New York now. She likes dogs, nail art, and Mexican food, but mostly she likes scoring sweet deals at thrift stores. She tends to have a flair for the dramatic.