Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: What is it like being exceptionally tall? Here is one of the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread. Thank you to the team at Quora for making this happen!
I’m 6’6″, so I guess I fall in to this category.
When I was 16, I kept praying to God for an extra couple of inches, however, I think there was a misunderstanding.
Anyway, so now I’m tall, lets talk about what it’s like…
1. Spiders webs
As I’m taller than everyone else there’s a good chance no one as tall as me has walked down the same path or alley way that same day, so I often walk in to a spiders web! Subsequently in an effort to get it off my face it looks like I’m going crazy for absolutely no reason, this looks odd, especially when there are other people who I am walking next to who are unaffected by it!
2. That uncomfortable situation when you see another tall person
I didn’t know this happened until my partner (she’s 5 foot 6) noticed it. You would think us tall people would love seeing another tall person, well no. There’s just an uncomfortable silence and we’ll both (very discreetly) stare at each other from afar.
3. Seeing tall people in the distance who turn out to be shorter
In some situations I’ve noticed a tall person far away and thought to myself, “Blimey, he’s really tall.” Then when we get close I realise I’m taller, that hurts.
4. Actually having to talk to another tall person
In the very few situations where this unconformable silence between tall people has to be broken, such as a meeting with a new client, I often say “It’s a pleasure to meet someone of a normal height for once,” and that normally goes down well with everyone.
5. Hearing the usual lines
People love saying the following lines… “What’s the weather like up there?” and “Oh haven’t you grown?” and “What did your mother feed you as a child? Miracle Grow?” People often laugh, some of them genuinely believe that’s the first time I’ve heard that comment. If I had a £1 for each time I’d heard one of these lines I’d have £5,780. Strangely, I’ve noticed the older I get (I’m 31) the less I hear these lines.
6. Changing light bulbs, testing the fire detector and painting ceilings
All no problem. Ladder? What ladder?
7. Cash machines (ATM)
From my height the button next to the £30.00 button is actually the button for either the the £100.00 or £10.00 button. So I always end up with more or less cash than required!
Trousers (pants to you Americans!) have to be worn very low and ankle swingers and short collars on shirts are a thing of the norm. I’ve learnt to accept this as being very fashionable.
9. People assuming you’re good at certain sports
Everyone assumes I am good at being a goalkeeper (I’m okay!) or good at being a basketball player (I suck!). However, I do Kung Fu and my reach is a real asset, people just can’t deal with it.
10. Getting items off the top shelf
Reaching items off the top shelves (not dirty mags!) is not a problem. Old ladies love asking for me to help get items off the top shelf (again, not dirty mags!) and I love helping out!
Economy seats are a nightmare. It really bothers me that us tall people have to pay more (which I can’t!) for more leg room when it’s not our fault we’re tall and their seats are so small. What bothers me even more is seeing ‘normal sized’ people who would have been fine in a normal seat but they’ve paid extra and it doesn’t benefit them. Or, people who are 6 foot complaining! What I would give to be 6 foot on a flight!!!
Same as planes, forget sitting, you’re better off standing.
13. Desks, Chairs, Sofa, Kitchens, Toilets
Everything is made for normal sized people and this means everything is uncomfortable for tall people. Desks are too low, chairs are too small in every dimension, sofas are too low and short, kitchen surfaces are way too low and even toilets are too low. It’s like living in the land of the midgets.
14. Cars (head height!)
Some cars are way off limits. You’d think because of the inadequate leg room, but a lot of the time it’s because of the head height, there isn’t any! However my Mum just bought a Smart car and I can fit in that! I look like the guy out of that Simpson episode.
15. Cars (knees hitting the steering wheel)
I learnt to drive in small cars and my legs were constantly hitting the steering wheel. Also, pretty much all of the cars I have own since have meant the same thing ends up happening, so it feels completely normal to me. It’s only when I have a new passenger and they mention it do I realise this isn’t normal for everyone else.
16. Being able to spot and be spotted
In crowds I can spot the people we’re trying to find or they can spot me. It’s always handy.
17. Talking to short people in pubs/bars
Firstly, I get neck ache. Secondly, if you’re with a group of people and there is loud music then you’ll be standing there in silence. It’s impossible to spend the whole evening bending down without looking ridiculous.
18. No one wants to fight a tall guy
I hope this continues, but up until now I’ve never been in any trouble. No one wants to fight someone a lot taller than them, the reach alone is very hard to deal with. So it’s served me well so far.
19. Low door frames and ceilings
I do and often hit my head very badly on door frames and ceilings, especially in old country pubs in the English countryside.
20. Beds are always too small
Living in England, our bedrooms aren’t typically very big, and so, we can’t fit a king or queen size bed in the bedroom. So you’ve guessed it, if I lay down straight my feet (and part of my legs) stick outside the bed. This is great in summer as it cools you down, it’s horrible in the winter when it’s cold and it’s certainly interesting if you have a crazy cat who sees these feet as an open invitation to attack you.
21. Standing on the London Underground (Tube)
Standing up (which you often have to do) on the London Underground is a nightmare. I can only stand up straight exactly in the middle of the carriage and even then my head is touching the ceiling. If I have to stand to the side then I have to crouch and bend my head, it’s really uncomfortable. I’ve even had old people offering me their seats!! Also, I can’t see what station we’re at because when I look out all I see are people’s feet on the platform.
All in all, though, I love being tall, I always wanted to be tall as a child and now I am.
It’s a dream come true.