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Psst… I’m short

October 6, 2014

By the way, I’m 5”2.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it before, it not being particularly relevant to my writing, but the fact is, I’m woefully and incurably short. I look at high heels in the street, and wonder why they’re made for women. I weep internally and wish I was Eddie Izzard, so I could wear those heels and glide (/stumble) around, gazing down on people imperiously.

I’m dwarfed by anyone sitting on science stools. My feet dangle when I pump up while sitting on those swivel chairs. I can make comfortable eye contact with passing cats. I stare warily at height restrictions on rides, furtively worrying that this will finally be the day where the attendant gives me a pitying look before kindly guiding me on my little way, telling me to try again next year. I surreptitiously stand next to twelve year old girls at the bus stop, so I can experience what it must be like to be a normal person.

In case you’re wondering, I do none of these things. Generally speaking, other people seem very much more interested in my height than I am. I don’t have to wrestle with those pesky fold-up chairs at the cinema or anything, and kind strangers don’t offer to pick me up when I look wistfully at the top shelves of supermarket aisles. In short, I’m not disabled by tall-people’s designs, and I don’t have to put up with the kind of patronising treatment reserved for people with dwarfism. The only reason why I should possibly care about my height is women.

A quick Google search will tell you that either: a) Women care about height. Women need tall. Women want big man with big arms and other things to match HONK; or, b) Men think this is what women want, which amounts to much the same thing. It affects their self-esteem and their confidence and makes them seem smaller, and seeming smaller is the real problem. Height is allll in our heads.

I think I’ve spotted some inconsistencies. In the same breath, some women are saying that small men lack confidence, which is the real problem, then claim that small men have “Little Man” syndrome, which makes them cocky and arrogant.

Now, I live in the world. In fact, I have a uniquely privileged view of the inside of other peoples’ nostrils, which lets me see directly into their brains. I see that men are indeed often a touch on the cocky side, regardless of height, and I agree that this is an unattractive trait. However, I note that this same cockiness is labelled on small men as “Little Man” syndrome in a way that it is not similarly designated on taller men. It is usually assumed that such men are well-endowed in other areas, hence their cockiness which makes them lazy and thus poor lovers.

Herein lies a blatant contradiction. If tall men are cocky because they’re well-endowed, their confidence is genuine if misguided. Why, then, is the cockiness of short men considered a façade, a sign of little confidence? Basically, you can’t win as an ordinarily confident short man; you must be trying to compensate in some way, which makes you inherently unattractive. I suppose I shall just have to mope forlornly, apologising to everyone for my shortness. Oh, but apparently, that’s even more unattractive. Destined I am for a life of hermitage, consumed by sorrow. Or, I can accept that there is no consistency to body judgements; that they have existed forever, and the assumptions we make about physical characteristics in relation to personal ones are based on individual prejudices.

I can’t be too bothered about not being tall, because I know what “tall” means – unlike, apparently, a great many other people. Tall means: “with a height above average”. Since I have studied simple Math, I also know that “average” usually indicates the most common in any sample. Thus, insisting that a man be tall is the same as insisting that nobody “average” will do – indeed, average is held as inherently bad, in all contexts.

Never mind that average is all you can reasonably expect; certainly not everyone can be above average, as this would tend to change the average into a completely different number, consequently redefining “tall”, which people would continue to use incorrectly, thus perpetuating an endless and tedious cycle of unrealistic expectations and disappointment. Such is life.

In the practical sense, tall is having to stoop through doorways and under low ceilings, needing to eat more, having a more expensive night’s drinking, being heavier so having more trouble with chin-ups and dips (short muscular men, rejoice!) and in the case of one of my old teachers, not being able to get into the RAF and spending your whole woefully misconceived alternative career yelling at teenagers like a drill sergeant.

The most irritating thing about being short in a society that thinks that all men should be tall – apart from the masses of online would-be suitors who can’t seem to read two numbers with a set of speech marks in between, and act surprised when I turn up in person looking exactly as short as I said I was – is that no one ever asks me what I think of women who think size is everything. It is always assumed that, naturally, I want these women, if only that would have me.

I want to be as tall as I can conceivably get so I can declare these picky women my own. I want all the women who would dismiss me as swiftly as an indifferent flick of hair. All the women who complain to me that “all the good men are taken” hastily adding “no-not-you-obviously” because of course I don’t count, not being so much a potentially sexual being as a sort of amusing, squat little goblin who will accept a drunken pat on top of the head with marvellous grace.

In short, I WANT ALL THE WOMENS. Especially the ones with boobs. The nastier the woman, the better the boobs. Or something. Shallow? Yes please. I lick my lips at the thought. I always wanted a partner who considered me not good enough for them and their unwavering standards; a companion who does not so much speak to me, but rather condescends to speak in my direction.

If this idea was any further from the truth, it would be locked in an island jail on the Land of Lies, facing life imprisonment for serious fraud. I have met many charming women with whom I have felt a frisson, because they were intelligent and interesting; then, they start rattling off endlessly the way people do when you have somehow incited their confidence by merely standing there looking politely interested, and slip in a fervent assertion that height is crucial to their ability to orgasm. Not in so many words, but this must be surmised from the force with which they insist on six solid feet of pure muscle. And in that moment, they become about half as attractive to me as they were before.

Because they are shallow. Purely and simply, shallow and naïve, inexperienced in any meaningful form of attachment. I am not interested, because I know what I would be in for if I was tall; I would be worse off, because I would be in with a chance – which I would no doubt take, without questioning the sanity of my decision – and it would almost certainly end badly. I would be with someone who has yet to put away childish things: this rubbish about “types” is basically just an unromantic, contemporary way of saying “love at first sight”, which has not for a mini moment ceased to be nonsense at any point since its inception.

As I have expressed before, I don’t have a type. I consider myself lucky, quite some way better off than the people who anxiously stare over the tops of other people’s heads, trying to see if they’re tall enough, or at other people’s boobs, trying to figure out if they would fill a bra of a cup size deemed large enough by a committee of men somewhere on the planet Man. (Judging by the more hideous comments on Laci Green’s YouTube videos, a good cluster of men seem to think that DD is the largest size possible. I snigger, long and freely.)

A mature person has engaged with enough people to know that what one object of affection has in common with another is more likely a coincidence than a pattern, and that none have anything in common with everyone in the set – unless you count owning butt cheeks and being unable to digest grass. Such individuals should be able to surmise, then, that attraction is determined by an overall impression of a person, based on a complex chemical formula we don’t yet know how to calculate.

They will see that a person as a complete package makes a partner, and a particular part is not attractive in iteslf; like mixing ice cream flavours, you never know what mixture is going to be the most delicious until you give them all a chance. If you always leave out the blueberry, your chances of finding the best mixture is limited far more than people who give the blueberry at least one chance to prove its tastiness. And quite apart from anything else, I find this obsession with disembodied parts a bit… Distasteful.

People who never realise this (comprehensive knowledge of ice cream blends is inessential) may have many relationships, but they simply won’t experience any of substance until they finally wake up and realise they’re limiting their own pool for silly reasons, chucking out random fish willy nilly simply because each one is different to the last; until there are no more left to be compared to any other.

If people want to obsess about height, let them. It’s their loss.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have cats to stare down.


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