Coughing. Gurgling. Reeking of cigarettes, booze and plaque. Grey t-shirt soaked through the armpits, a mysterious stain dribbled down the front. This man was a mess, and it was only 2 ‘o clock on a Tuesday afternoon. I’m doing my best to avoid both eye contact and judgment, when he lustily broaches conversation.
“You’re really tall.”
Seriously, sir? You look like you just got hit with a one-two punch of emphysema and malaria, and you’re calling me out on my height?
Swallowing a loud sigh, I reply, “I am indeed.” There’s no escaping the situation as we’re sequestered in line at the CVS pharmacy, and Lord knows I can’t go another hour without my Adderall. Deep breaths and polite niceties it is.
The man leans in with a conspiratorial wink, “That’s a good thing.”
Pause. Did the smelly guy with poor social skills just dump a heaping spoonful of it’s-rough-out-there empathy on my plate?
I was dying to ask exactly what it was about my 5 inch heels that led him to believe I was insecure about my height, but I grudgingly restrained myself, offering instead a seemingly appreciative smile.
The path to the high road can be really tough on your jaw.
Yes, I am tall. I have always been tall, and - pending severe medical interference - will always be tall. Like anything else in life, this statistic comes with both benefits and detriments. Contrary to apparent popular belief, I do not view my height as a physical disability. I also do not view my height as a scintillating topic of conversation. I would rather talk about Yahtzee for an hour. And I don’t even know how to play Yahtzee. In the interest of saving my raspy voice a round or two of what’s-it-like-to-be-a-giant-woman-in-a-small-man’s-world, I thought I would tackle an assortment of FAQ’s slash commentary tall girls are socially obliged to tolerate on a daily basis.
How tall are you?
First of all, this question is only appropriate if you are already mid-conversation with someone. This is not an ice-breaker. This is 100% guaranteed to break zero ice. If you should ever find yourself shouting this question at the back of a stranger as she silently laments your birth and increases her pace, you should stop. Second, is this not the sort of thing you can eyeball? Assuming you are well-informed on the matter of your own height, one would think you’d be able to take a pretty decent stab in the dark. Thirdly, the answer is 5’11”.
No way. You’ve got to be at least 6 foot.
No, no, I do not have to be at least six foot tall. I am exactly 5’11” and one-eighth of an inch. I understand that this may destroy whatever grand delusions you have clung to with regard to your more diminutive stature, but your shortcomings are not my issue. Pun clearly intended.
Are you standing on something?
This is not funny. No variation on form will make it funny. For the love of all that is good, holy, and slightly neurotic, please stop trying to make this funny. If you have ever asked me this question, you’ve probably received a sardonic, “Ha. Just my shoes,” in response. Because that’s how I respond. Every. Single. Time.
Also not funny. And tragically uncreative. Let’s see a little effort here in the nickname department.
Jolly Green Giant.
Too far. I don’t care if a 6’3” girl is head to toe in kelly green…don’t. Walk away, if you must - just don’t say it.
That must have been rough in junior high!
Everything was rough in junior high. That’s what junior high is. Were my jeans too short and did I stand two heads above every eligible almost-pubescent boy? Yes. I also had frizzy hair, peculiar style and unwittingly obnoxious brownnoser tendencies. It seems slightly unfair to force my height to shoulder the bulk of the blame on that one.
Is must be hard to date.
Are there people for whom it is easy? Also, I’m pretty sure my penchant for sarcasm and low tolerance for douchebaggery would hinder the whole process no matter my mark on the physical scale.
Are you a model? Did you play basketball? Volleyball?
Again, only if you are already mid-conversation - and never in a large group setting. These questions are awkward and weird. Please don’t make strangers answer them in public.
That’s all. Carry on.