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How NOT To Pick Up A Woman

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How NOT To Pick Up A Woman

My 11-year-old nephew Zay got stood up by a 21 year old guy who was supposed to take him out on a jet ski on the lake at my mother’s house, where I was visiting with my daughter. Zay was so heartbroken, I offered to go down to the dock, do my yoga practice, and let him kayak around the cove (which he’s not allowed to do without adult supervision).

So he scooted out in his kayak, and I rolled out my yoga mat and started doing Sun Salutations, Plank poses, and Downward Dog.

It wasn’t long before I noticed a guy about my age standing on a dock across the cove checking me out. I tried to ignore him. I closed my eyes. But I could feel his gaze peering through me as I balanced in Eagle pose. I had to periodically open my eyes to check on my nephew, and every time I did, I could see him leering from across the cove, checking out my Triangle pose, inspecting my Warrior II, gaping at my Happy Baby. I was engaging in what, for me, is a spiritual practice, and yet, with my legs spread wide, I felt dirty. I got pissed.

It was 94 degrees, but because yoga poses can be revealing in a swimsuit, I was wearing gym clothes. But they left me feeling naked. I wished I could build an invisible wall around myself. I would have gone inside to finish my yoga practice, except my heartbroken nephew was happily paddling around, and I had promised him I would keep an eye on him outside. Plus, I wasn’t about to let some creepy dude keep me from my yoga practice.

So I chose to ignore him. I did Pigeon pose. I did Goddess pose. I nailed Warrior I.

Then Creepy Dude disappeared. I breathed a sigh of relief. Until 10 minutes later, when he appeared on my dock, saying, “Mind if I check out your landscaping?” (Worst pick up line ever.)

Creepy Dude wandered around my mother’s beautifully landscaped lawn, then he ambled out onto my dock when I had my eyes closed, deep in Bridge pose (which doesn’t lend itself to talking to begin with.)

“So, where ya from, gorgeous?”

I breathed. In. Out. No response.

“You married?”

I flashed my ring.

“That your kid?” He nodded to my nephew.

I said, “No, but my daughter will be home from camp soon.”

“You married?” he asked again.

“Yes. Happily.”

“Nice flexibility,” he oozed. “And wow. Those muscles. Strength, balance, and flexibility. Haaaaaahhhht. By the way, I brought you a water. You look thirsty.” He handed me a water bottle. I pointed to my cup of tea and declined it.

“Wow. Beautiful – and prepared.”

My stomach turned while I was upside down in a handstand.

“Sir,” I said, with a formality atypical for me. “I’m doing yoga, and this is a spiritual practice for me. I’d prefer not to be interrupted.”

“Sorry. Sorry. No offense.” He left my dock and trespassed onto our neighbor Tina’s dock next door, where he proceeded to watch me for another 10 minutes, while I tried to breathe through the discomfort. Then he started talking again when I was doing Dolphin pose. I ignored him, repeating a mantra to myself to try to drown him out.

He kept going. “Your husband is a lucky man.”

I started getting weirded out. I melted into Chair pose.

He said, “You have the hottest ass.”

I said, “Thank you. Now I’m not going to talk anymore.” And I breathed deeply and sank into Extended Side Angle pose.

“Mind if I just stay and enjoy the view?” he asked, as I noticed his bathing suit poking out right where Mr. Friendly lives.

“Yes, I said. I do. Please leave. I don’t mean to be rude. But I’ve asked you nicely. I’m doing my yoga practice. And I’d prefer some privacy.”

“Oh, sorry. Sorry. Right. My name’s Marcus, by the way. What’s yours?”

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Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.  She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.  Lissa blogs at and also created two online communities - and She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.


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1:41AM PDT on Nov 1, 2014

Thank you!

9:00PM PDT on Sep 23, 2013

No, Joe R, you have the attitude that is more than very strange - people can still be attentive while doing Yoga. Just how in the world was her confrontation 'weird', she was on private property minding her own business unlike that male who overstepped boundaries.

Yes, eleven years old is young but unless she was in another kayak with him all she needed to do was watch while doing Yoga as there are various poses one can do that still allows one to keep an eye peeled.

Of course with your logic maybe she should wear a burka before taking part in yoga so not to cause lust in the male populace.You find no offence in a man wandering onto private property and harassing a woman minding her own business. Instead you nitpick about what the woman 'should have been doing'...and you found her self defence of her right to be herself on private property as 'weird.' I hope that you never have sons to teach them that kind of attitude.

A jungle pit would have come in handy for this primate wandering onto private property and not leaving when asked to.

Sorry to hear that Kathy P.

11:55AM PDT on Sep 23, 2013

Well, I do have to say the title was the understatement of the year, as this was more about sexual harassment than flirting. The lines can get blurry, but this one was obviously more ominous than some guy asking, "hey babe, what's your sign". A lot of times so-called flirting comes off as presumptuous to begin with, maybe because it can so quickly escalate to what the author experienced. All communication should be marked by boundaries. Thanks.

11:32AM PDT on Sep 23, 2013

Shud've glowered him in first instance

5:21PM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

I was carjacked, forced into my trunk at gun point, then sexually assaulted. So yes, I have felt unsafe. Men can be scum, and they think it is hot to make us feel like objects rather than people. He was too persistent, too over bearing. Creep.

8:36AM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

... or "How NOT to Supervise Your Nephew."

Weren't you supposed to be watching your nephew? A lot can happen to children on water in a very short period of time. He deserved your full attention. (No yoga, no weird confrontations with the local men.) And then you gave your nephew a 30 minute lecture about how not to pick up a woman (?) Very strange.

4:13AM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

Thanks for the depth of your sharing in this article, Lissa. Brings up a lot for a lot of us. Continue Being well.

10:56PM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

Hey, Kevin C., what happened to your psychology friend, David Harrison? You know, the 53 year old that managed to befriend two under aged girls in the first month he was a member here.

8:24AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

The man is a creep, he is on private property and is given the clear message that this woman is not interested and wants to do yoga in peace and in private.

Of course some men do not care if someone states that they are not interested, if some men announce their interest that is supposed to woo a woman right then and there and to them a no really means yes, a chance to pursue until they get their yes.

Sadly some men just don't get it and believe that if they can see a leg the woman is fair game. Perhaps they would like women to walk around covered from head to toe because some men cannot get away from their hormones. It may be the nature of man to be visually stimulated but they also have a mind and are not totally animals dependent upon their testosterone for survival. It won't kill a man if a woman says no. It is then time to move on, if not, he is a ignoramus, not a stud.

3:18PM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

I've dealt with creeps in the past but this jerk really takes the cake. I feel sick at the thought of what happened to you. It's clear that a lot of men don't understand what it feels like. It is by NO means flattering to have some creep ogle and harass you!

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