Masculine Stuff: Tom Waits, Back Pain, and Yoga

Tom Waits once said “I’m so horny the crack of dawn had better be careful around me.”

So perhaps I should explain why Tom Waits is one of my heroes about how to age as a responsible male.

It’s partially because his music became more interesting after he got married in 1980. Tom Waits’ albums Swordfish Trombones (1983) and Rain Dogs (1985) were a left turn in Waits’ career.

(Contrast this very cool sound with this extremely cool sound.)

But it’s also because when I look at Waits’ career, I’m impressed by the way his career aged without losing its edge. Rain Dogs came out when Waits was in his 30s. I may be wrong, but I think the 30s tend to be a low point in many popular music careers. I guess there are only so many ways to turn baldness, back pain, and an increasingly leathery complexion into a rock song.

Now I’m approaching 30, and I am prone to all of these “male” problems.

To be honest, I’m more interested in getting rid of back pain than I am in writing a song about it, which is why I’ve started going to yoga classes.

Is yoga masculine?

Well, the males to females ratio at yoga is about 10:1 in favor of the fairer sex. There’s a gong, but they only ring it once, and for relaxation, not for show. At yoga, there’s a good chance that a 100 pound woman will make fun of how tight your hamstrings are. Finally, you stand like a tree and fold like a triangle, so yoga probably earns you fewer “man points” than the bench press does.

But I don’t know if I would stop taking yoga class, even if Esquire, GQ, and every guy I know told me to.

I’ve been doing yoga stretches every day for a few weeks now and my back feels really good. In fact, all of my muscles feel better than they did. My hair isn’t coming back, but I’ve also lost weight.

So is yoga masculine?

Who cares?

I’m ready for a left turn in my fitness journey.


6 Responses to “Masculine Stuff: Tom Waits, Back Pain, and Yoga”

  1. Hmmm… I suppose if you’re not using a hot pink flowered yoga mat, we wont revoke your man card. I dig yoga. :)

  2. Good one. But isn’t the masculinity test the ability to answer these three questions, yes, yes and yes?

    Will your parole officer be proud of you?
    Do you have hair on your chest?
    Do you look good without a shirt?

    And its karate, not yoga, right?

  3. If nothing else, you have inspired me to take a few yoga classes and listen to some Tom Waits on a lazy Saturday.

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