Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Put That Kid On a Leash!

Memo to anyone attempting to cultivate an even more belittling application for the term “love handle.”

Your work is done.

It was done for you, actually, by Liberte Apparel, a Long Island-based company edging us one dimension closer to hell.

Behold: "The Love Handle."

The issue of child leashes is contentious, or at least would appear to be so based upon the amount of stand-up comedy that addresses the subject. Central to the discussion is a single observation: putting your kid on a leash makes them look like a dog. Especially in urban centers, it takes a double- or triple-take to determine which species of creature is housed within the shackles. Seeing a child leash in action is psychedelically horrifying, a sight so scary, dehumanized, and outlandish that it should only exist in Hunter S. Thompson’s posthumous flashbacks.

Liberte Apparel’s site offers a fantastically flimsy defense for The Love Handle. To wit:

“The Love Handle® gives today’s multi-tasking parents (and grandparents!) an extra hand, and allows children to express their independence outside the confines of a stroller, while safely within arm’s reach.”

The essential question is, how much more multi-tasking do today’s child-toting adults perform than they did 20, 30, 100 years ago? We might live in a multitasked world, and professional lives might employ more gadgets, but when you actually have a child in tow, the basic setup is the same: one hand for the kid, one hand available. If a child is already walking, then it makes no difference whether you use your non-smartphone hand to hold the child’s hand or to grab the end of a leash.

As for letting children “express their independence outside the confines of a stroller?” To quote Cartman, I hate hippies. I wanna kick ‘em in the nuts. What does "expressing their independence" mean? What kind emancipation are we talking about, and how, exactly, does canine-level treatment let kids express it? I may not be a child psychologist (or a hippie), but perhaps a more expressive form of outside-the-stroller freedom would be…um…regular walking.

"The Love Handle® is fully self-adjusting and fits children of all sizes from the time they take their first steps as toddlers, and for years to come."

How many years, exactly? Evidently, Liberte Apparel intends for parents to use The Love Handle for years untold; perhaps even decades. If my parents put me in a Love Handle back in 1985, would I still be in it now? Moreover, would it not be humiliating for a child to amble up to pre-school in a Love Handle? Is that not psychological abuse? And if you're in that kid's class, you have to kick his/her ass. Schoolyard laws dictate it. By direct causation, putting your child in a Love Handle is tantamount to physical harm.

"With The Love Handle® adults look hip, and kids keep their dignity intact."

Really? Like, really really? Did you see the video? When the woman puts the handle through the shoulder loop, it looks like she is about to string up that poor little girl like a birdhouse. There is no dignity—repeat: THERE IS NO DIGNITY—in wearing a leash. That’s why dogs wear them, and humans do not.

While it might be nice, furthermore, for parents to think they’ll look hip with The Love Handle, it is very difficult to look voguish when you're walking your kid like a pet.

It doesn’t matter that The Love Handle comes in a variety of designs with post-modern names. Carnival Candy, Raspberry Tie Dye, Sunburst, and Robin Stripe should all be renamed “Subhuman Idiocy” and eliminated from the global marketplace.

We’ve let this tyranny go on for too long.

Stay Strollered, Kids
DJ Dog Leash

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