You, too, can look like this with just a few Pilates classes every week. Well, no. Every day is more like it. For those perfect facial features, you're on your own, Honey.

I go to Pilates class twice a week. About eight to ten other middle-aged women of varying flexibility and strength join me. I don’t know about their physical prowess, but these women have flexible schedules and seem to have weathered life’s storms with courage born of inner strength–I can see it from the furrows on their foreheads.

For those of you who don’t know, Pilates is a very popular form of torture…exercise, ranking somewhere between yoga (for people who believe they have stability and grace) and Zumba (for people who believe they have rhythm and pep). Pilates is for people who believe they’ve been naughty and need punishment. There are a lot more of us out there than you think. They don’t all show up for Pilates class.

I should have known better than to keep my tanning booth appointment after half-price Margarita Night. Why do I always make such bad decisions? I'll go to Pilates and torture myself into feeling better.

A German man thought up this whole Pilates thing right around WWI and WWII, so you know it was never designed for fun. He based his whole torment…exercise concept on what he called “Controlology.” Sounds great, huh? Frank Pilates, that’s the German genius who came up with this anguish…exercise routine, believed that a fit mind and body could cure all illnesses–even the common cold and genetic inferiority–and he was willing to test his theory on other people. He even came up with special equipment to stretch, bend, and otherwise contort victims…people into confessing…fitness. If you were caught…lucky enough to join a Pilates gym back then, you could use “equipment” with names like: The Reformer, the Trapeze Table, the Electric Chair, the Wunda Chair, the Spine Corrector, the Magic Circle, the Guillotine Tower, the Pedi-Pole, and the Foot Corrector. You don’t have to take my word for this, the parts I didn’t make up are on Wikipedia.

Vell, I don't vant to cruncin' mine tummy on dat ting. Ve need some vollunteerz. I know just ver to find dem.

Today, some instructors use large rubber bands that can snap in your face (or, if you really let go, someone else’s face), blocks designed to fall on your head when they’re supposed to be between your ankles during certain impossible lower abdominal exercises that unnecessarily require your legs in the air, and large exercise balls that don’t understand simple laws of inertia.

The person behind her is one sweaty palm away from a Personal Injury Law Suit involving Rubber Band Disfigurement.

Our regular instructor is on vacation. Her substitute is nice, but there’s no getting around that the nature of the class is to suffer. Most of the old women…students take the class seriously. While I never considered myself a “Class Clown” in regular school, Wellness School is a different matter. When there is pain involved, sometimes a little levity is necessary to break the tension before someone breaks a hip.

We were 40 minutes into the 60 minute class. The time had come for “leg work.” Leg work seems to be a weak area for most of us. Lifting that much weight over and over just isn’t nice–even by German standards. After about 100 right-sided leg-lifts, we had to do some circles with the dead weight that used to be our right leg.

What are you, crazy? This is the only kind of leg lift you're getting out of me, Lady.

I noticed myself first. “Ooh. Ahh. [Heavy beathing.] Hmmm. [More heavy breathing.] Whooo. Oh, ahhh. Mmmm. Wow. [Continued heavy breathing.]”

While it was difficult to hear others above all my moaning and heavy breathing, I could hear the other women doing the same thing. Okay, maybe they weren’t as Meg-Ryan-in-When-Harry-Met-Sally as I was, but they were moaning and heavy breathing like I’m told women do in porno films.

Yeah, well, we weren't faking it.

When the instructor said we were finished with the right leg and told us to rest, we collectively released a sigh of satisfaction that can only be described as delicious.

Then we were on to left-sided leg lifts. After about 20, the room, once again, filled with the sounds of groaning, moaning women. I had to say something.

“I bet if we made a soundtrack of us now and used it to promote Pilates, classes would be full of people wondering what makes this class so satisfying, if you know what I mean. Listen to all this heavy breathing and moaning.”

“Yeah, we do sound kind of like were having too much fun,” the woman next to me said while she smiled a devilish smile.

Show us how to do the "Sex Kitten" stretch again. I really like that one.

“Our hips might ache, but we’re not dead yet,” I volleyed back.

That’s when the laughter began and the leg-lifting stopped. We were all on our sides laughing. The instructor tried to focus of, but she was chuckling, too, “Hey, we need to complete this series. You don’t want one side to be stronger than the other.”

Another woman surprised me with, “Frankly, My Dear, I don’t give a damn!” She even sounded like Clark Gable.

My abs are rock hard. Go ahead and give them a good punch. It's from all the laughing I do off the set.

“Oh well, laughter is great for the abs,” I offered, trying to smooth things over since I was the scallywag who started this debauchery.

If this were the old days, Heir Frank Pilates would have put me in The Reformer or maybe (gulp) The Guillotine Tower for creating such a brouhaha in what should have been an exercise in perfect “Controlology.” But even he would have to admit it sounded pretty sexy in there.

Yeah. You dialed the right number. I can do anything you want: your standard heavy breathing, delicate sighing, sing you a swanky bedtime song, or, for an extra twenty-five bucks, I can do the full Pilates Soundtrack. Yeah, sure. I'm blonde and stacked like the International House of Pancakes. Now, what'll be?