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The Zen of Hooping

Updated: Oct 1, 2023



The first rule of hula hooping, or just “hooping” for those concerned with Wham-O Corp. copyright infringement, is “don’t panic.”

Really, that’s the first rule of pretty much every new activity, but it was especially relevant for my first hooping experience because, as is well-known to everyone on Earth, I have no butt. This, apparently, is a fact universally acknowledged because I receive ads for “butt-enhancing trousers” regularly on all social media platforms. It’s really strange. How could they possibly know this?

In any case, when a hula hoop, despite your best and wildest and even frenetic and comical attempts to wiggle it back up, begins descending due to the inexorable force of gravity, those who are blessed with discernible hips can give the thing a little bump, and sending it twirling back up to their armpits.

But what of the gluteus minimus among us? Well, under the patient tutelage of my wife’s close friend and expert hooper Debbie, I found that even if you are shaped like a very narrow V pointing directly at the earth’s gravitational center, you have just enough pelvic bone that if you don’t panic and keep your wits about you and time things perfectly, you, too, can give that hoop a ride back up to your middle. And here’s a tip that makes it much easier: get a heavy hoop. Because while you might imagine that keeping a light hoop up would be easier than keeping a beefy hoop up, you should stop imagining and just think back to that physics course in high school that you didn’t take. Because if you had taken it, the teacher would have explained to you everything about mass and inertia and conservation of momentum, and your eyes would have glazed over and you may have even nodded off and drooled.

Luckily, now you have a real-world experience that answers the age-old question “when am I ever going to use this in real life?” Because that heavy hula hoop, in the technical jargon of physics, “really wants to keep going” while the light, flimsy hula hoop, as Isaac Newton once observed “just doesn’t care.” And here’s the answer to another question that you didn’t ask: “If I start doing this hooping thing, how am I going to take my hoop with me on, say, airplanes or crowded subway cars or into the dressing rooms of fancy department stores?” Well that took an unexpected turn! Luckily for you, you kinky screwball, they now have portable hoops that you pull apart into little sections that store in a bag, backpack or, if you really want to show off, in a custom, locking attaché case like the one the President uses for carrying the nuclear football.

You may also wonder if you need tattoos, piercings and a bikini bod to hoop. Yes, but only if you expect people to tip you. Otherwise, you should go out and hoop like no one’s watching, regardless of your age, body type, or even buttlessness. It’s great exercise– kind of like jump roping but side to side– you can get pretty good at it after only a few minutes of practice (don’t forget the heavy hoop!) and you will inspire others with your bold, fun-loving spirit. This is why hooping is mucho dōkō.

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