This morning, I read something in one of my many reference books that surprised me: cuffs at the bottoms of men’s pants may have originally been brought into fashion by tall men. Apparently, these self-conscious giants began rolling the bottoms of their pant legs in an effort to make themselves seem shorter. The thought made me laugh: why would one want to appear shorter?
And then I realized: I am a heightist. Some of you may have already come to that conclusion after reading about the personal ad I once placed, but I honestly had no idea. The moment of clarity I experienced must have been akin to a white man suddenly realizing that endorsing “separate but equal” facilities for other races made him a racist. I even made similar excuses: I have lots of short friends, I’m happy to help those who are height-challenged, and shorter people don’t understand the challenges of being tall (okay, so there aren’t a lot of challenges – mostly, they involve ducking).
I even have a stereotype regarding short men: they suffer from Napoleon complexes. Back when I was younger (and more open-minded about such things), I dated a few shorter men. On the whole, they are responsible for my belief that short men are more interested in dominating their partners and conquering the world. In general, tall men don’t seem to have that problem. Maybe that’s because tall men can see more of the world from their vantage point and, therefore, already know the world isn’t worth conquering.
My whole life, I have been surrounded by tall men. My father is 6’4”. One of my uncles is 6’6”. Both of my grandfathers were 6’0” or a little taller. As I grew toward adulthood, I surpassed the height of every woman I knew, eventually stopping just shy of 6’0”. As a tall woman, I can fully utilize all of the cabinets in my kitchen. The dangers shorter women face (the potential for being easily overpowered, for instance) seem remote. In fact, the only thing that throws me off my game is meeting a woman who is taller than I am. It really is the oddest sensation – I suddenly feel as though I’ve had a nip from Alice’s bottle.
So, I would like to offer an apology to every short person (5’6” and under) person that I know: I’m sorry if I have treated you as a second-class citizen. Now that I am aware of my heightist tendencies, I will work doubly hard to treat you equally. I will not flaunt my height by reaching for items placed on high shelves. I won’t make a big deal out of low ceilings or small cars. And if you ask me for help, I will give it without comment, shorty.
Sorry. That was the last one, I swear.