I have been 5’10” since I was 12 years old. I was that girl, towering over the grade-school boys . . . and most of the female teachers. When people describe me, the most common phrase used is “that tall girl over there.” Over the years I have learned to wear my height like a badge of honor. I really don’t mind being the resident tall girl . . . but I am tired of hearing these six things.
1. Wow, you’re tall.
Oh, I’m sorry, I woke up this morning and suddenly forgot that I am in the 98th percentile of height for women. How do you even respond to this? “Oh, wow, you’re really short?” I won’t rub it in your face if you won’t rub it in mine.
2. How tall are you?
This question is usually asked with this tone of complete awe, as if I’m one of the seven wonders of the world. Do I go around asking how short you are? No, I don’t.
The follow-up question is usually, “So who’s tall in your family?” I don’t know, who’s short in yours?
3. Why do you wear heels even though you’re so tall?
Why do you wear flats when you’re so short? Maybe you should wear heels all of the time because your height is completely unacceptable for your footwear choices! I wear heels because I like heels. Nay, I love them. And I refuse to be cowed by guilt because you feel your shortness somehow makes you feel inadequate in my statuesque presence. To my fellow tall girls, this is our rallying cry: Go forth in your stilettos and be proud!
4. I feel so short around you.
Well, that’s not my fault. Maybe your parents fed you cigarettes and coffee growing up. Your beef is with them, not me.
5. You should be a model.
Maybe you should be a carnie or join Willy Wonka at his factory — I hear he’s looking for Oompa Loompa replacements. I know people mean this as a compliment, but it presumes that I want to be a glorified coat hanger who is probably very, very hungry. It’s not that I don’t love fashion or can’t appreciate the models that work their butts off, but that doesn’t mean I want to be one.
6. You must have played basketball.
As a rule, I don’t engage in sports where a ball can hit me in the face. Plus, I am one of the most unathletic people. I am so clumsy that I have been known to fall up hills while walking (I’m looking at you, San Francisco). So, no, I did not play basketball, volleyball, or any other sport where height is an asset. Are you a champion mini-putt player?
The next time you want to wonder aloud about someone’s height, maybe reconsider how it might make them feel. Besides, if you make them really angry, they could probably squish you.