The Universality of “The Lean”

The PM and I were talking the other day. He was pontificating about the sub-prime’s effect on angry, lactating missionaries in Borneo and for some odd reason, my mind began to wander.

I started thinking about the interesting little peculiarities surrounding my gender. Those strange little things that all women do.

It goes beyond our shared love of shoes and purses, parfum and nail polish.

I’m talking about our friendships and how we give them credence whenever there’s a camera around. We don’t “seal”these friendships with hugs or kisses…we do it with “a lean”.



For some reason, we women “lean in” when it comes to being photographed with our friends and female family members. Sometimes it manifests itself in the standard cheek-to-cheek action; at other times it’s “neck and/or waist bend”.

Then there are those times you get the combo move:



We do “the lean” when we’re young.



And we’ve done it for decades.



And it’s not something limited to crazy white women.

All women do it.

Latinas “lean in”…even the famous ones.



Asian women do it.



Our Black Sisters do it, too!



Women of dubious sexuality “lean in” and in the damnedest directions.



And our beautiful Sisters of Corpulence lean in…or would, if they could.



And mind you, this “have camera; will lean” philosophy isn’t relegated to just American women.

“The Lean” knows no international boundaries.  It is proof that globalization exists in the most sentient of ways.





And it knows no particular philosophy or conviction.

Women of God know how to apply the slight head angle…



And so do silicon-riddled, tarted-up harlots.



So there you have it: many women “lean in” whenever we’re photographed.



I’m not sure. But I suppose it’s because women have never been afraid of touch. We can hug and kiss a member of our same sex and not think twice about it. Perhaps, it’s because we nurture and that means touch and proximity are never far from the equation.

Maybe...just maybe we lean because we love.


And then again, sometimes we just cling to each other.


(For my sisters, Kathy and Karol.   As the above photo indicates,  I cling  to them regularly)



  1. I love all the pictures and the best one, is you and your sisters. It reminds me of me and my 2 younger sisters. Great story!

  2. I had to come back and comment on the “lean”. What a sweet post. I love the clinging, not leaning (and yelling “wooo) point.
    Your’re right. It is universal. I have always noticed that. I think it’s a good thing.

  3. omg…i just returned home from my oldest daughter’s house where we had dinner. i looked around her house at all the pictures of her and her friends and guess what…they’re all leaning in!!!

    it’s going to a long time for me to get over this one! i may never look at a picture in the same way again. you’re the greatest, laurie…

    and y’all shur are purty!

  4. I thought this was a great post, LK. It read like a “60-Minutes” piece. Very well done.

    Is that last photo of you and your sisters? Are the shortest with the big brown eyes? You’re very cute.

    You’re all striking women. My compliments to the Kendrick DNA.

  5. we do lean because we love…one of my favorite pictures is me w/ two of my friends who are both about 5’11”. They’re on each side of me (I’m only 5’3″) and both have their heads leaned toward me. It’s funny that I never really noticed that before.

  6. Come on girls—-we lean so that no one looks bigger than the other! (you become one whole blob instead of standing out by yourself) and also that’s exactly why the K Sisters always wear black……….I just love being a women!!!!!!!!

  7. I never did notice this. Is it wrong that I also grab a little ass whenever there’s a camera around?? You didn’t mention if that was normal, so I was just wondering.

  8. Interesting observation. I wonder what gene causes this? Could it be related to the gene that prompts women to go to the bathroom together?

    Nicely done.

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