Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Advanced Child Placement

I never liked my belly. Long before its served as an infant Airbnb, my abdomen has been abominable. Now that three children have stretched me out like a spent Mylar balloon, my gut is even more of a problem. But every problem has a solution, right?

I’ve discovered mine.

No, it’s not diet (and to hell with you for suggesting that). It’s not exercise either, smarty-pants. It’s the Strategically Placed Child.

A few years ago, I realized that by standing directly behind an adorable child, perhaps with my hands draped gently on the kid’s shoulders, I can both hide my gut and make myself appear warm and motherly all in one selfie. This pose also makes me look tall. It’s a nice trick.

Since first unleashing the cosmetic power of children’s heads, I’ve made sure to shove a smiling (if bewildered) child in front of me in every Flickr pic or Facebook photo I take. The marketer in me is brimming with taglines: It’s like Spanx that you’re no longer allowed to spank! It’s like a tummy tuck, only without the surgery and you still look lousy in person! OK. Maybe the taglines need work.

The strategically placed child is the photographic cousin of the weirdly placed lamp or large envelope that TV shows typically use to hide actresses’ pregnancies. In those case, the babies are the problem. In mine, they’re the solution.

Usually the kid I hide behind is my own, but I’ve been known to swing a friend’s kid in front of my flab if my flesh and blood has wandered off.

I had thought that I was the only one hip to the advanced placement of children, but a closer inspection of my friends’ Facebook posts reveal that I’m not the only one hiding love handles behind loved ones.

Friends’ posts that feature beach pictures, dress-up dinners or anything else involving unforgiving clothes and honest lighting all have one thing in common: A child strategically placed to hide a gut or a butt.

Good for you, friends, for realizing that children are more than precious beings of light and wonder who deserve the very best that we have to offer them. They are also indispensable props.

I know that one day, my children will grow. Perhaps they’ll even be taller than me, and placing them in front of my gut will cease to make sense. But every problem has a solution, right? I’ve already plotted mine.

(No, it’s not diet or exercise. Again, I spit on you for suggesting such a thing.) When the day comes that I can no longer hide behind my children, I plan to adopt a Saint Bernard or a Great Dane. Something big and photogenic.

I’ve even picked out a name for him: “Cheese.”

Mayrav Saar is a writer in Los Angeles. She hates sit-ups, but, no, she doesn’t want your plastic surgeon’s number either. Thanks, though.


  1. "Hiding love handles behind loved ones." And then I died.

    1. This is Gretta, by the way, in case knowing who your commenters are is a thing.