The internet is chock-full of pictures that are hard to decipher (is that an arm?) and what you think you see isn't always the whole story.
Remember the social media sensation that was “the dress”? Was the dress blue, or was it white? Oh darn, let’s not go there again.
There was also the picture of shiny legs. Was the white on top of the legs paint, or the shine of suntan oil? Both interesting arguments.
Our minds work in overdrive with these photos and struggle to come up with a rational story. Do you remember the pile of stones on Mars that people swore was a face? As humans, we strive to ascribe meaning to everything.
Many online "optical illusion" pictures depict mothers. Usually, as in the case of the photos shown below, the unsuspecting women are innocently attending a wedding, posing for an employee photo, or waiting for a flight when someone captures their image. Before long, the photo is released online and the image becomes a viral sensation. Only when you look a little closer do you see the truth; although still funny, the picture is usually explained and not quite as ludicrous or as dirty as you first thought.
15 Model Body
Judging by the lighting and the great focus of this shot, this looks like a professional photograph. HOW did this get this far, and why was it ever released?
In an unfortunate case of “when your skin tone matches the leather upholstery”, the beautiful car model looks like she’s sitting in a rather unladylike fashion. The model's real right leg is folded under her left leg. The leather on the seat is molded to resemble the natural folds of the inner thigh, therefore tricking your eye into thinking the seatback is the woman's left leg. Yikes.
And did you see how the hem of the dress could be confused for fabric gathering between the "legs"? On top of it, there is a dark area where the seat belt is anchored, and this looks like a crotch. Oy.
This was a perfect storm of bad elements, coming together. Never before has a Lamborghini and a beautiful woman looked so cheap. My only hope is that the notoriety of the photo brought the gorgeous model more work in the proper industry.
14 Centaur Mom
Laurie's Story: A Completely Fictitious Account of this Photo
Laurie had always struggled with her pear-shaped bottom.
As a child, she wore longer shorts, and shirts knotted at the waist, all vain attempts to hide her thighs and butt.
In high school, she wore boot-cut jeans, so as to keep her leg shape as long and lean as possible.
Only when she turned 35 and had become a mom to daughter, Peyton, did Laurie finally accept that her body was a blessing of warrior curves that allowed her to grow a life.
After a family trip to Argentina, Laurie's husband Dan presented her with a gift from their vacation. Laurie opened a wrapped box to find a framed photo. It was a candid of herself, lying face down, legs relaxed and spread out. Tiny toddler Peyton sat upright in the shot, blocking Laurie's head and neck.
Laurie studied the photo, puzzled.“What is this?” She asked in horror.
“I took it in Argentina. It's you. And Peyton. I thought it was cute. Don’t you look like a centaur?”
"A CENTAUR?" Laurie screamed. "You mean a half-person, half-horse? Are you serious?"
"Yes, a centaur," Dan replied, twisting on one foot.
Laurie grimaced and tossed the framed photo onto the kitchen counter. She walked into her bedroom, opened the closet and took out a pair of baggy sweats.
“I meant that in a good way, Baby!” Dan yelled down the hallway.
Laurie shook her head. She then tossed the sweats to the floor and pulled up her short shorts. She refused to have one bad photo and an insensitive husband change the way she now felt about herself, a strong, beautiful woman.
13 Unexplained Three Legs
I don’t know enough about photography to be able to explain what’s going on here and to be frank, (and after studying the image for some time) I am still unable to explain what I’m seeing.
For the love of Pete, this woman has a third leg! Did the photographer not notice this?
While I can understand a slight shadow around a turned knee, why does the light continue all the way up the woman’s thigh? The only justification for this photo was that it was taken on an old-school camera, and only after the film was developed did the image appear. It's a ghost! Like a ghost of a woman in white on a stairwell, or a spooky face seen in a window. But this time it is the ghost of a man. Or to be more precise, a ghostly man part. Whatever. Let's go with it.
12 Glove Love
This photo is a classic case of your mind trying to make sense of an image. Again, it's like finding faces in the carved rocks of Mars. Humans have been programmed to attach meaning of the known world to that which we can't explain.
So, look hard at this photo. Bad choice of words. I mean, look closely.
Okay, I did, and here's what I found. Initially, I couldn't figure out what was between the couple, but I know what a phallus looks like, and the object in the picture looks identical. So, therefore, by process of elimination, it must be a phallus.
It's only when I realized the absurdity of that notion did I look further and realize that the fuzzy, pink balls looked like fabric.
I took the context of the situation-- a wintry scene, replete with jackets and a hood, and suddenly, it dawned on me--the furry object between the two of them is a gloved hand!
But what does look suspect to me is the placement of the mittened hand. If I can get knit-picky with you here, (pun intended) wouldn’t the woman’s hand be cupping her partner’s chest? Why is it getting cheeky with her own face? It’s all starting to seem like a set-up. But you know what? I’m going to go with it. I’ve enjoyed the experience of the photo too much to feel like I’ve been used, or taken advantage of.
11 Baby's Got Bag
"You wouldn’t believe the cat calls I got today! And it’s weird. I had on boots and a trench coat. What the heck is wrong with men?"
On the advertising website where I found this bag I saw a tote that featured a true-sized profile shot of a child. When the user holds the bag, it looks like they are holding hands with the child--pretty adorable.
But I’m going to say that this cheeky bag, provided by a lingerie store, is my favorite. When carried properly, the bag hits the body at just the right height where it gives viewers X-ray vision. It is also the best I will ever look in panties. Bravo!
10 Bath Buddies
This picture requires a double, if not a triple take. Shouldn’t this photo have a warning attached to it? What is going on here?
Oh, wait, what? Are they not boobies? Okay. I feel a bit better if only because I was jealous of the days my girls sat that high on my chest.
But then if it they are not boobs, what are the rounded red dots projecting out of the water?
Oh, a hand and an elbow, you say?
Boy, they look sore and dry. I’m sorry-soak away, Mama. But my next question is why someone is taking this woman’s photo while she’s supposed to be relaxing in the tub?
Hey, everyone- OUT! Mom needs a break!
9 Party Naked
This is an oldie, but goodie. I think it continues to make the rounds because it is as confounding as an algebra problem.
Is the woman in the picture naked? It cannot be so, but it certainly looks that way. So, to start to figure out this problem, I have to apply some logic.
First, let’s isolate the variable, which in this case is Naked Lady.
Okay, what are we left with? We have a Woman in a Red Dress on the left, and a Man in Black on the right. Subtract them, because they have nothing to do with the equation (don’t call me out of my faulty algebra theory, go with it). We are now left with flesh that can only be explained by Naked Woman and Woman in the Black-and-White Dress, and because we've excluded the variable of Naked Woman we're going to look at the flesh of Woman in the Black-and-White Dress.
The Woman in Black-and-White. She has an arm on the left side of the photo. Okay, but now we need equalize the sides. And, OH MY GOSH, I SEE IT! When you plug an arm onto the right, you can tell that Naked Woman is covered by Woman in Black-and-White's arm! It's just that her arm is extending entirely down her backside and it completely covers Naked Woman's body.
Problem solved. Algebra has never been such a blast.
8 Let's Hear It For The Buoys!
This picture cracks me up because it seems terribly innocent. Here we have this happy woman, cavorting in the water, and holding on to her two, floaty friends. She seems smiley and relaxed, with the heaviest thought on her mind being if she should order her next margarita on the rocks, or blended.
But, don’t you want to know why she’s carting around a couple of buoys? I mean, what would be the reason for walking with them through the water? Was she using them as a floatation device? Did she know she was being silly? Did she do it on a dare? Had she already downed four margaritas?
And when she made it back to shore, and her family and friends laughed at her, did she feel like a real boob?
7 Where Are You Leading Me Advertising
“Check this out!” your neighbor Patrice says, plunking down an ad on your kitchen table.
Yout stare at the photos, and then Patrice. You are utterly dumbfounded.
Shall we, Dear Readers, go through this ad together?
We will start with the obvious--the left circled picture. What is going on here? What's curious is the placement of the massage therapist's hands. They are on a woman’s spread, red something. Okay, so I guess it's a neck. But it certainly brings to mind another piece of anatomy. Once you see "it", it’s like a magic third eye puzzle; you can’t unsee it.
And then there’s the photo on the right, with a woman smiling coyly, head cocked in the direction of a woman in profile. This is when Patrice and I started to assume this spa caters to certain groups of people.
Finally, there’s a Vichy Shower. We Google it to find that it’s jets of water sprayed on a reclining patron after a spa treatment. Oh, okay, I guess that makes sense.
But the spa's advertisement is just too much for Patrice and I. With an ad featuring strange pictures and a shower that sounds like a chilly dunk in a potato leek bath, we're completely creeped out.
6 I Don't beLIEVe it!
This is not a picture of Charlie Sheen taking a dump. The man pictured above is not Charlie Sheen. No, the man above is Sheen's look-alike, Lieve Schreiber. He is in the shot with Naomi Watts and their children Alexander and Samuel.
But Liev Schreiber isn't taking a dump, either. While Naomi Watts bends over and studies something, her now ex-husband glares at the camera. His head is in perfect formation with her body to appear as if he has been caught taking a dump.
So, in summation, not only does Schreiber have another photo where people have a tendency to misidentify him as Charlie Sheen, but he also has a viral, paparazzi-shot, optical illusion photo where he looks like he's taking a dump.
5 Thoroughbred Bride
Groom: “Oh darling, if you could see what I see.”
“Bride: “Am I beautiful? Is that it?”
Groom: Yeah, you’re beautiful. And I finally see what my mom is always saying about you- you can be a real horses' ass!"
This trick of the eye works so well because the bride's legs have completely disappeared under her princess-style gown. Also, the bride’s shadow does not betray the image. To tie it all together, the color of the dress perfectly matches the white of the horse. There is something so adorable about the netting layers swishing around the horse's legs, and the tail hanging out the back. If this is looking like a horses's ass, sign me up!
4 Cheeky Chicks
“Myrna, turn around for the picture. I wonder how many people are going to believe this is us. I feel so naughty!”
“Sally get real. Anyone who really knows me knows I should be wearing the blue thong."
"Oh Myrna, you're so funny."
"For God's sake, Sally, turn around already. I need to order a drink.”
I bet if we raided Myrna’s closet, we’d find one of those baggy white t-shirts with a tight bikini body silk screened across the front. I know this because my mom posed on one of these barstools, and owned the cheesy bikini coverup. My mom also thought she was living on the edge!
The real test of wild and craziness would be if Myra had the apron that had "boobs", which were actually potholders, affixed with Velcro. My mom had that.
3 I Mustache You A Question
This picture is the result of being overtired and slap happy in the airport. I can almost tell you how this scene played out.
“Grandma, we're going to the bathroom!”
“Okay, kids, hurry along though. We’ll be boarding soon.”
Taylor and Hutton hit the restroom and the water fountain before heading back to the gate. And then Hutton saw it.
“Taylor, stop! Look at Grandma” Hutton said.
From across the room, a suitcase handle was positioned so that it resembled a mustache, with poor Grandma looking as though she was wearing it.
“Holy cow, we got to get a picture of that, Hutton said. "Dude, she is seriously oblivious.”
I have been the victim of this type of Old Person Shaming. My kids snapped a picture of me, strolling along a beach pier, hands in pockets, zipper down. Thanks, Kids.
Grandma, I feel your pain.
2 Bird Of Paradise
This is a slick, subtle, refined picture.
A pair of legs, dangling over a boat’s deck, toes hanging close to a cerulean sea.
But if you follow the legs up, you run into a knotted garment, and above that, a deep fold of skin. Is that a butt? What’s going on here?
But if I were to tell you to change your perspective, and to view the photo as if it is being shot from above, you’ll quickly figure out what’s going on here. The knotted sarong is actually hugging a chest, and the legs are completely separate.
This is a gorgeous shot, and it looks like something Duran Duran would have used in their Rio video. Artsy, classy, beautiful.
1 Bradly Bjorn
I think this is how this went down. Here's another short narrative.
“Sabrina! My dear daughter. I’m so glad you’re home!”
“Hi, Mom. Yup, I'm back and just doing scads of laundry. How are you?”
“Oh, I’m okay, Honey. But I need to ask you something. When are you going to ditch that husband of yours?”
“Mom! What in the world are you talking about?”
“I saw the pictures of your trip. I saw that not only did Bradly go with you to Seattle, but you were actually carrying him.”
“Mom, what do you mean? Yes, my husband came on the trip with us- for God’s sake, we were there to visit his sister, Joanie-- so of course, he went!"
“Yeah, but you paid for that trip, hell, you’re the only one that works, and now, as evidenced by your photos of the trip, he’s become a physical leech and you are carrying him. I saw the photo! He's in a backpack, Sabrina. Seriously?” Ridiculous!”