Friday, October 17, 2008

the shoe is always prettier on a smaller foot

Grass is always greener, shoe is always prettier.

If you have straight hair, you want curly (guilty). If you have brown eyes, you want green. If you're short, you want to be tall.

Let's talk about the last one. I understand that there are advantages/disadvantages to almost everything. I get it that many women would love to have a few more inches to their height. I'll also admit that I've never desired to be shorter. However, in an effort to camoflauge my whining as an attempt to console my vertically-challenged friends and family, I'd like to outline some of the conundrums unique to being tall. Then, if still not bothered, by all means, continue to wish for a few more inches.

Starting with the obvious....finding pants.

First, I hear the murmurs of short women complaining that they can never find pants short enough. Not the same. You can't add length to pants the same way you can take them to be hemmed. You may be lucky enough to have a hem to lengthen, but that's your only hope. So, its not even the same thing. Don't try it. Second, if you should find a pant that is long enough, chances are the crotch has also been enhanced. Just because you the length is extended does not mean the crotch must be expanded. It may be helpful for some women, but it is not for all.

The next conundrum you might like to take into consideration....blending in.

Now, for those of you who enjoy center stage, clearly this does not pertain to you. And, perhaps if you've never had an opportunity to stand out in a crowd, this might sound appealing. Consider that at least you now have the choice of standing out or blending in. It's not an option if you're tall.

No matter how many times you might enter a room (with the exception of basketball or volleyball tournaments) and think most fervently, "be the wall, be the wall" or "be shorter, be shorter", it ain't never gonna happen. You will get a reaction from most everyone. (I'm about to go into wild generalizations for which there is no scientific evidence and absolutely exceptions, and is merely based on my experience.)

You will be at enmity with the short women. They will look at where your head registers on their "height-o-meter" and then directly at your shoes to determine how much is artificial. It doesn't matter, unless they can speak loudly, you won't hear what they say...your armpits may get a full dose though. Men shorter than you in the room will make the same motion, though, depending on their sexual preference, may take a longer time in between. If you are wearing heels, the general assumption seems to be that you're some ultra-feminist determined to squash their burgeoning egos into the floor. Some days that may be true, but it's not all the time. With tall women you will either have an instant connection or instant competition. Depends on if either woman is paired with a significant other. If neither is, scarce resources will fuel an unspoken war. Tall men will make a comment about not usually being able to look women in the eye (which, on a bad day, I'll take as an insult to other feminine charms that apparently attract more attention from the eye in a smaller version).

My favorite "center of attention" story took place in Paris. My group and I were waiting in a hotel lobby for our host families to come pick us up. At the same time, a group of Scottish football fans, completely decked out with a bagpiper included, and already drinking, was congregating in the same space. As my nerves were already a factor, I headed to a seat in the corner and talked with a friend. Someone got the great idea to get a picture of the two groups and my friend and I were invited to join the photo. I stood (please note I was wearing 3-inch heels) and received a truly incredulous (in his words, not mine) "oh my god, she's f***in' huge!" in a very thick Scottish accent. I wanted to point out he was wearing a skirt, but I was in shock. To make matters worse, the photo-op was not quite arranged so I sat down for a couple minutes and he brought over a friend. To me: "Stand up, stand up!" To his friend: "Look, look how tall she is." Should I be charging for this Circus act?


Being tall and graceful can be taught, but it's rare. Having height potentially adds challenges to a lot of different areas. Your center of gravity is higher, making the fall more likely to happen and to hurt more. If you're trying to do leg lifts for your abdomen, prepare to hurt. It's really not the same to lie on your back and lift short legs off the floor versus long legs. There's a much greater distance between abdomen and feet. Speaking of feet, despite my father's best efforts to assure me that my large feet were merely providing a "firm foundation", nature's attempt to provide balance (grateful though I am for what I have) makes finding cute shoes nearly impossible. I do have one tall friend with normal size feet (I consider size 8-9 normal) and my only consolation is telling her that if she should ever become pregnant I will take delight in walking behind her and tipping her over. I would never actually do that, but it's the only thing that keeps me from being pea-green with envy that she has plenty of pairs of cute shoes. My feet are not the only additionally large part of my body. My hands don't bother me too much until I see a picture or sit next to someone and realize I could smother their entire hand in mine. It comes in handy for palming a basketball and playing the piano, but is very difficult for making myself feel feminine and dainty.

That seems a good enough effort to camoflauge my whining about being tall by trying to persaude vertically-challenged females to enjoy their height. In all honesty, I love it. For a lot of reasons. Perhaps another post will come later on that topic.

1 comment:

  1. AMEN!! Thank you for putting this so perfectly, from one tall woman to another. It's hard to escape the feeling of being "huge" not fat, just big in a room. Standing in an elevator hovering over others, ugh! In Japan I had people come over an stare at me then measure themselves against me. PERFECT!