The Giggle Loop

There's an old British comedy called Coupling that was hilarious, and in one episode, they discuss "the giggle loop." The giggle loop is basically the phenomenon that occurs when you are some place where you shouldn't be making noise, but then something makes you want to laugh. Then thinking "how embarrassing would that have been had I laughed here?" causes you to want to laugh more. And it keeps building until you burst. It used to happen to me and my sister a lot during church, growing up. And it happened to me a couple weeks ago in: Pilates Class.

The Giggle Loop:


Actually, this happens fairly frequently with me, truth be told. Like when I'm getting X-rays at the dentist and that cardboard thing they shove back into your mouth makes me gag uncontrollably, so the hygienist keeps patiently having to take it out, then replace it again -- only for me to immediately gag while staring blankly right in her face, making her remove it once again and start the whole process over. The whole thing makes me laugh, which only exacerbates the problem, which makes me want to laugh even more.

Or when, during every. single. doctor's exam. (and most massages), they hit a ticklish spot and I start giggling so hard I can't breath, which makes them laugh, which makes me laugh harder.

It's all one big cycle. Or, loop, if you will.

And usually it's a silent laugh, and I have to go through it helplessly - often for a while - before anyone around me even notices I'm incapacitated. It's even worse, because I'll sit there knowing that eventually I'm going to have to inhale - thus creating a loud and disturbing sound - or, I'll have to violently release whatever beverage inconveniently happens to be in my mouth at the time.

I've definitely lost a battle or two to The Loop.

So - Pilates class. I've been going to classes for Pilates Reformer. The Reformer is this thing that looks like a torture device that you can do all sorts of stretching and strength training on, like so:


You often look ridiculous doing it, and often bang into the person next you (or maybe that's just me), but I enjoy the classes, nonetheless.

But because my schedule is crazy, I'm often rushing to get to class (I've been known to change into workout clothes everywhere from the driver's seat of my own car, to the bathroom of a Mr. Tire shop while my oil was changed. I may not be classy, but you can't say I'm not determined.) The last time I went, I was rushing to change in the co-ed bathroom at the Pilates studio. As I open the door, I realize the handle's wet, which grosses me out. I try to ignore it and begin quickly undressing anyway, then something takes over and I just can't not wash my hands, thinking about that handle. So I stop mid-clothing change, and go to the sink.

Then I hear what I think is someone trying to open the door to the bathroom. And I'm half naked, inexplicably standing at the sink.

And I uncontrollably let out a very loud stepped-on-puppy type of yelp.

Then immediately start giggling at the noise I just made and how ridiculous my whole situation is.

Thankfully, no one walked in on me. In fact, I'm not even sure the noise I heard was someone trying to come in. And who knows who actually heard me? It's even more embarrassing if the entire class of strangers all heard me yelping alone when no one was actually trying to open the door. I try to stop giggling, finish dressing, and grab the last Reformer in the row. I start doing whatever motion the class is already in the middle of doing, and I keep suppressing laughter.

And that's when I realize my Reformer has a slight issue. See, there are springs attached at the bottom that you take on and off to add resistance, and apparently one of those springs needed oiling or something, because every single time I push out, that contraption sounded similar to this:

Every. Single. Time.

Great. So I'm already late, I've made an unexplained terrified dog sound from the bathroom, and now my reformer is making noises.

Then we move onto an exercise using The Ring.

I forgot to mention that not only do you have the torture device, but there are accessories as well. At different points during the workout, you pluck various items from your personal cubby space along the wall. There are different sized resistance balls, some kind of wooden stick that I still don't know what it's used for (and may never want to find out), a ring you squeeze, and a big black box you can lay on for certain exercises.

My ring squeaked, you guys. I can't even make this up.

So now, not only do I have the spring making "boing" sounds, but every time I squeeze that ring during the workout, it makes a squeaky noise. Kind of like a chew toy, but a lower pitch. Just a faint little "you are squeezing me and I don't enjoy it" type sound.

No one else's equipment is making any protest noises. And I can't take it anymore.

As we are laying there, repeatedly pushing our reformer things back and forth, I keep thinking of my bathroom panic, the boing, and the squeak - and I have to choke back laughter. Then I have to choke back more laughter, thinking how funny it is that I'm choking back laughter.

The Giggle Loop is upon me.

At one point we are told to lay on our sides while we continue to push back and forth -and my shoulders start to shake. Now I'm wondering what the person behind me is thinking. Probably that I'm crying during the workout.

Oh dear. That's funny too. I may explode. And then not only will everyone in class wonder what's wrong with me, but I could actually injure myself. If I explode mid-exercise, I'll render my muscles useless and likely slam myself back to the starting position on this contraption - wounded - which is also funny and then I'll laugh even harder and it may never end!

I may die here in a circle of uncontrollable laughter.

I force myself to pull it together, and we thankfully move onto another accessory which distracts me for a bit. We get - the box.

We're told to lay stomach-down, palms out flat on the box, which is now on the slide-y part of the contraption. And we have to push this thing up and down with our legs and abs. And it's hard, and I start to sweat. And by the time we are to put the boxes back against the wall, I look down and see a sweat trail in the shape of my hands sliding down the box. It looks like the back car window of the racy scene in Titanic.

And that too, is funny.

I have to push down the Loop yet again.

Miraculously, in the end, I actually made it through the whole class without  losing my battle with the Loop. This time. But I know it won't be the last battle.

And unfortunately, each one of you reading this are now also a part of The Giggle Loop.

For that I am sorry.

Stay strong, my friends.