I Pay Rapt Attention

Thoughts on being a “Tall”

Posted in Eccentricities by Zoelle on July 10, 2009
Arianne Cohen just came out with “The Tall Book,” an examination of the world of tall women, and while I haven’t read the book itself yet, upon reading the review  in the NY Times, I started thinking (as I often do) about being a “Tall,” as the author calls us. Unlike the reviewer, I definitely count- I’m 6’2″ (that’s too tall to model, just in case you were wondering) and completely shameless about wearing heels. In fact, I typically have at least 2″ worth of shoe, if not 5. This is equal parts irrational love for shoes and thumbing my nose at those assholes who feel that my height makes my footwear subject to their judgment and regulation (yes, you know who you are.) Honestly, unless I’m roaming the city stabbing innocent people with my stilettos, you can back the fuck off, shorty.

Anyways. According to this book review, I am an “SUV of humanity.” That means all those great statistics you always hear about tall people- eat more, better salary, automatically given more personal space, longer life, etc etc. And of course, less likely to get married. Or find pants that fit. Regardless of whether or not those findings apply to me, I’m not really sure what I think about being called an SUV. Just saying.

That said, unlike the supposed majority of young tall women cited by the reviewer (and perhaps the author) as unhappy about their height, I like my height. I relish it. One of my college essays was about being tall, for heaven’s sake. Yet I’m confused by the problem that other tall women (including the author) seem to have with “dating down.” Maybe I don’t have a problem with it because I’m rarely really conscious of my height differential with other people (it’s just sort of how the world works- I tend to be literally looking down most of the time. I only tend to notice if I have to significantly look up) or because I tend to meet the people I’m dating when we’re both sitting down (I am, after all, a student, which means a lot of time at a desk) but I’ve “dated down” for most of my life. I can think of two people total that have been taller than me at all, and only one who was noticeably so. My longest relationship was with someone who was significantly shorter, and while he DID find as many curbs to stand on as possible, that was more of a running joke between us than anything else.

As for being treated differently… well, it’s hard to say, isn’t it? I’ve only ever been treated the way I am, you know? I find that I get substantially different treatment based on the amount of time I put into my appearance, not whether or not I’m wearing heels. That could be because my starting height is already pretty up there, but I think it’s more than that. Attractiveness and confidence are just as important, if not more so.

Penelope Trunk recently wrote about “How to Be a Tall Person at Work” which, to be completely honest, I had some trouble taking seriously (yes, because I’m already tall,) even though she does make an interesting point about body language and people’s perceptions. And she’s not the only one writing about such things recently. It’s everywhere. What is all this recent obsession with height, anyway? Is it that height is one of those few things that people can’t really change about themselves (as opposed to just about everything else these days) and everyone is hyperaware of any real or perceived advantage that a person can have? Is this part of a larger societal fascination that I’ve been willfully ignoring? Perhaps. Either way, perhaps I’ll pay closer attention to people’s body language when they speak to me for the next few weeks, and we’ll see if I notice anything special. Maybe I’ll take to wearing those really high heels more than I already do. Who knows.



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  1. […] by my musings on being a Tall Woman last friday, I did a little experiment this weekend, and I’m back to report on the […]

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