Sunday, 5 October 2014

I Consider My Height

I am five foot ten.  And maybe a half.  I can't be sure because I haven't measured myself for years (I've been too busy measuring envelopes) but I seem to be about the same as I was when I last looked.

My above-average-for-a-woman height seems to be, judging by the comments I get, the first thing people notice about me.  That's if I'm standing when I meet them.  If I'm sitting, and then stand up (because I was brought up to do that) it might be the third or fourth thing. 

My sons are both taller than me and now in serious competition for tallest place.  They delight in patting, and then resting their chins on the top of my head.  Friends or strangers feel free to remark on their heights. What is a bit different, however, is that above-average-height-for-a-boy seems to be regarded as an achievement.

I've found that it is useful to be a tall woman for some things.  Examples are: the Goal Keeper / Shooter positions in netball, getting things off high shelves for people who are afraid of tall men, and wearing extra long skirts that have been reduced in the Monsoon sale.

But it can be a social disadvantage to be a tall woman.  Consider the market for websites devoted to the phenomenon of 'tally-smally' celebrity couples: a couple in which the woman is taller than the man is regarded as somehow 'freakish'. 

I find I am attracted to people because of the depth of their souls and the warmth of their hearts.  Sometimes they are taller than me, sometimes shorter.

I wish, as with all defining characteristics, my height could be seen solely for what it is: a genetically determined fact about which I can do nothing.  Though on reflection, I'm not completely powerless .... I could buy some high heels and break the six foot barrier, and a few toes into the bargain.

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