This bit of gossip illustrates the social construction of Shenzhen identities, so I’m not just pandering to my baser nature. Really. It may even tell us something about the socio-economic conditions predicating the globalization of yoga. That said, I’m sure it says something about education at Shenzhen University – hee!
I practice yoga at a great studio. Like many studios in Shenzhen, classes are held during the day, evening, and weekends. Their main clientele are upper middle class women from 20 to maybe 55ish, however, most of the women are in their 30s and 40s. There are several male students, but in any class, they are usually a party representative (党代表), which is slang for the only man in a group of women.
One of my friends teaches at Shenzhen University and has, on occasion, introduced interested students to the studio. A while back, one of her male students started practicing and usually joined her for evening class. Then two weeks ago, my friend couldn’t go to class and so student went by himself and found himself the recipient not only of all that female attention, but also invitations for dinner and trips. He finally decided on one of the more flexible cougars and they have been dating since.
Here’s the interesting part of this story: no one had approached him previously because they thought he and my friend were dating! They finally dared approach him on a day when she wasn’t there. In other words, the working assumption of the women and staff at the yoga studio was that when men show up for yoga, its couple’s yoga. Moreover, that when a younger man and woman go to class together, it means that the young man’s virtue is probably up for grabs (so to speak).
As my yoga studio turns: What’s not to love?