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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

The Human Machine

Ladies Lounging (Uncomfortably) With Laptops

Ahhh, stock photography. Slightly more attractive people doing regular people things! But do you ever see a stock photo that makes you wonder, “Do people really do this?” Well, this collection of women with laptops might make you think that, in addition to “Isn’t that uncomfortable?” While it’s true that computers are used for leisure as well as work (as these lovely ladies demonstrate), these “leisurely” poses might actually cause serious back pain if maintained for more than six minutes. We strongly urge you not to try any of these at home, maybe consider a standing desk, or just don’t use your laptop on the freaking floor, restricting your human arms to the limited mobility of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

And beware: beyond this jump is a land suffering from severe t-shirt shortages… except for scoop necks. 

First, the aforementioned T. rex collection, which includes tablets for good measure. We admit ourselves to frequently attempting this position, but the moment we realize our elbows ache is the moment right after we find themselves face-down on the keyboard with the apostrophe key lodged in our mouths.

Um, sweetie, I don’t think you’re using that correctly.

Next, what I like to call the “side crow” position, inspired by the yoga position parsva bakasana:

Um, your computer is off. You know that, right?

Ooo, one-handed even. Very fancy.


Next up, the “sitting on the floor cross-legged while bending down in order to see the monitor and reach the keys which are too far away to sit like that” collection. The truly confounding part of a few of these: they are sitting on the floor in front of perfectly comfortable furniture.

“Heeeeeyyyyyyyyy, if I put it on my knees, I will see better and also stop feeling my pesky knees when they go numb!” By jove, she’s got it!

These woman are in a position that I like to call “back-neck-butthurt.” We all know this one, and we know it lasts about twenty minutes before you get up and sit on some real furniture.

This woman is avoiding butthurt by sitting on a couch, but her neck will soon feel the strain. But she was nice enough to get really dressed up to … watch YouTube videos.

Bonus! A hybrid of “side crow,” “floor seat,” and “back-neck-butthurt”!

This poor girl is stranded on a desert island! With a computer, though, so she’ll be rescued. And as soon as she boards her rescue vessel, she’ll be demanding mass quantities of Advil. And sunglasses.

Sweet heavens, this woman is pregnant. Someone get her a backrest and call a masseuse, like, an hour ago … Someone also catch her computer when it slides off her lap because that’s about to happen in 3 … 2 … 1 …

This doesn’t even make sense. Screen glare! Screen glare!

And remember: in case you were born without a spinal cord, hire some friends to hold your upper body up while using a laptop in the Great Plains.


  • Lisa Jonte

    Oh my, the burned thighs I foresee in the future of many of these women…  *shakes head*

  • Rod Salm

    Nice collection, any links to the sites offering these photos? I have a few projects that I could use them in. Just kidding.

    Rod Salm

  • curiositykt

    I hate sitting at desks and chairs, so I generally use my laptop either by lying in front of it with my weight on my elbows, sitting with my legs bent and the laptop resting on them, or sitting cross legged with the laptop either in front of me or on my lap. Not all laptops get hot. Not all laptop users sit at desks. Desks and chairs and tables hurt me a lot more than not sitting at them. Other than the lady in heels who appears to be killing a bug with her laptop, all of these are pictures of me, a normal person, using her laptop. Also most of my friends. 

  • karms

    The Hairpin does this better.

  • K.K.

    I second what curiositykt said. I sit in many of these positions and have no trouble with them—and as one slide mentions, you can work some yoga into your internet browsing. For people who like to use the computer while laying on their stomach, there’s always pillows! Also gives you a nice lower back stretch after sitting at a desk all day.

  • Life Lessons

    Thank you for this. I find ads with these types of pictures infuriating.

  • Helen the Dreamer

    I’m with you guys, if I try to use my laptop and it’s not in my lap/on a desk then it’s pretty hard, furniture exists for a reason!

  • Kifre

    Lying on my stomach and typing *right this very second*.  It does get uncomfortable after a while, but we’re talking in hours.  And you know what I do then? Sit cross legged. And then? Back/neck/butt lean.

  • Ann

    I do most of these.

  • A Talbot

    l actually spend more of my time laying down in some position  while I use my computer.

  • Haley L

    yeeeaaah I’m actually laying down with my laptop. I don’t have a decent desk to use my laptop on. That’s part of the reason I use one, I don’t have the room for a desktop. There’s the kitchen table, sure, but I find that uncomfortable MUCH quicker.

    It’s really not that bad to stretch out on your stomach, you just need a good firm pillow.

  • Frodo Baggins

    It’s no “Men Laughing Alone with Fruit Salad.”

  • Julius Caesar

    Well, I use most of these positions myself, like some people have already said in the comments before. I usually sit cross legged with my computer on my lap (though I usually have a pillow on my lap – I keep switching pillows so my laptop doesn’t get too warm and it has worked for the last few years). The reason for this is because I am -very- short and have yet to find a chair that will actually allow me to sit straight -and- touch the floor with my feet. My feet either stay dangling or I am slouching, which leads to numbness and back pain. So cross-legged or laying on my stomach with a pillow for my elbows are positions that are actually much more comfortable than the old “sitting-in-a-desk” one.

    But I have to admit that the commentary was very amusing. Thank you for that. :D

  • Anonymous

  • Monkey Doo

    Those are mountains in the background of your Great Plains. Maybe foothills?

  • Robert Wilson

    Ladies Lounging With Laptops are what makes the internet great.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for having this online to impress upon my teenage daughter that I am not making up the fact that I am not the only one saying that the positions you’re in while on a computer CAN impact your back.  Muscle and nerve strain resulting for extended periods of relative inactivity can actually hurt worse than an injury sustained while engaged in strenuous activity!