We are eating dinner in the company of four or five Jinmen police officers; the men responsible for keeping safe the inhabitants of this sleepy Taiwanese island. They are, most of them, young and funny, and eager to show us both the beauty of their island, and show us off to the island. We drink Taiwan's number one beer, a better version of Tsing Tao, and eat noodles, fried fish, and spicy tofu. One speaks English nearly flawlessly, and one not at all; most of them understand but find the words becoming warped in their mouths, and simply smile and snap pictures.
When they understand I am a yoga teacher, three nod their heads, ahhing with equal parts admiration and confusion. The officer to my left, however, a short man with limited English but deep enthusiasm for trying, immediately shakes his head. No, he says, no no. It's hot in the restaurant, and his brow is dotted with sweat. He brings both hands behind his right knee, as if to move it up toward his face. No, no, he says again, head wagging back and forth, as the rest of us begin to laugh. Another cop offers up the words Not Flexible! and spins the food back toward him, picking at the tofu. Don't worry, I say, we'll have more beer first, and then you'll get your foot behind your head just fine. His face remains serious as the conversation haltingly shifts toward how good American girls are at drinking beer.