So I was doing some panicky last minute Christmas shopping back in December at CVS, because people on my list only get quality, and I saw a box lying on the shelf next to the last shake weight and some pajama jeans, and inside the box was THIS:
I wasn't sure what it was, but it was clearly AMAZING, so I threw it into my cart, rushed home, and then forgot all about it.
Christmas went by and one day I found the box again behind the dresser. The outside said "Hoopnotica" and on the inside, what looked like fancy tent poles was actually a special "travel hoop". For when you go on vacation and have a mad hula hoop need. (Who hasn't been in that dark place at some point?)
I was going to take it back because I'm already one barn purse over my impulse-buy quota, but then I saw that it came with a DVD, so I put it in and there were some gorgeous women on it, and one tank-top man in the back, who were dancing beautifully with their giant hoops, and flinging them up in the air and catching them with their teeth, and it turns out that hoop dancing has been a big thing with all the Hollywood stars, and also hippies, for a long time now, and somehow I was never notified because I live in the suburbs.
I watched the whole DVD and then spent hours watching every single thing on Youtube about hoop dancing. It's totally hypnotic and addictive. I learned from the videos that hooping can whittle your waist, and free your inner creative goddess, and also help you poop, all at the same time. Sometimes hooping can get you on the Ellen show. That's a crazy lot of wonderful, if you ask me.
I also learned that probably at some point, once I get really good, I should wear my hair in dreads and invest in some feathery flare-leg yoga pants with a hip skirt for when I meet the other hoopers at Burning Man, but that's a couple weeks down the road probably.
I watched the demo part on waist hooping and figured I had it down, so I changed into some natural-fiber clothing (for grip!) and put the hoop together, reveling in its shiny, circusy bling. It didn't take long to figure out that the house is not really hoop-friendly, what with the animals, and lamps, and flower-arrangements from the oral surgeon, so I waited until darkness fell and took the hoop outside.
In the front yard I assumed the recommended position, one foot in front of the other, hoop positioned at the small of my back, and gave it a firm swing to the left. The hoop flashed in the glow of the street lamp, spun once around my hips, and, despite my feverish gyrating, landed on the grass.
I tried again. Firm swing to the left. Feverish gyrating. Hoop in the grass. Again. And again. And again. I heard a suppressed laugh from behind me, and turned around in time to see the blinds in my son's room fall closed.
"I see you up there!" I yelled.
"Seriously. I know you're there, spying on me!"
Then I heard a soft voice coming from behind the blinds. "What if someone sees you doing that?" it asked.
I chose to ignore such negativity and went back to work. Ten minutes later the front door opened, and my son appeared, holding his old plastic hula hoop, which he laid down on the driveway. Then he stood and watched me as I sweated and stooped.
"Car!" he announced, when an SUV turned into the cul-de-sac.
"I'm not in the street."
"I know," he said, " I just thought you might want to hide behind something until they were gone."
Then he casually picked up his old hoop and began hooping, effortlessly.
My son kept me under contemptuous surveillance for awhile, until finally his hoop ended up in the tree and he lost interest, so now it's just me and my hoop dancing dreams out under the street lamp.
I'm not giving up. It's been several days, and every night I go out and spin my shiny hoop and get all sweaty, and every night it falls to the grass, but sometimes now it turns a few times first. One time I spun it expertly, but accidentally, around my forehead when my foot slipped in the grass. I see that as progress.
Someday soon you're going to see me on Youtube, my hoop a blur on my magical hips, my inner goddess totally revealed due to the "flow" I've achieved and maybe a recent successful bowel movement. That's going to be a great day.
Did I tell you sometimes they light their hoops on fire?