You’ve never had trouble standing out in a crowd—usually because you’re standing head-and-shoulders above the rest. You were long-limbed and gawky during your adolescent years, and while time has aged you out of some of the awkwardness, you’re still going to have a longer stride than the rest of your friends.
If any of that sounds familiar, you’re like me—a tall glass of water. We’re not that uncommon, actually. I tend to get inappropriately excited whenever I run into another one of my kind—someone I don’t have to bend down to hug, for example. I clock in at over six feet tall, which is definitely above average in the height department for a lady. I’ve been fortunate enough to live in a city where being taller than average isn’t always likely to get you noticed; I was more of a spectacle in hometown suburbia.
That being said, I often find myself on the receiving end of the same pesky questions. If I had a dollar for every time someone has brought up my height, I could definitely front enough cash for my monthly Netflix subscription. Over the years, I’ve mentally collected a list of the most common remarks.
1. “Wow, you’re tall!”
It’s remarkable how much people enjoy stating the obvious. Often I’ve found that this is what someone says to me when they don’t know what else to say. They’re at a loss for words, so they just zero in on the individual towering over them. My response to this varies frequently, from a polite smile that doesn’t quite reach my eyes to something terse and noncommittal. Yep. I’m tall. Let’s move on, shall we?
2. “How tall are you?”
This is kind of an interesting question, because it occurs to me that if it were some other aspect of my physical appearance, they probably wouldn’t be ballsy enough to bring it up. It’s rude to ask a woman about her age, and you certainly don’t want to bring up the topic of weight—so why haven’t we taken height off the table, too? If I want you to know my measurements, I’ll volunteer that information.
3. (Shared look, followed by a whisper) “I know—she IS tall.”
This one is my favorite because it implies that, due to my impressive vertical ascension, I’ve somehow lost all ability to hear conversations held at a height lower than my ears. Just because I’m tall doesn’t mean that I’m deaf. Last week I totally made eye contact with a mother on the subway after she made this exact remark to her kid. Don’t think I didn’t hear you. I did, and now I’m going to let you know I did with my eyes so this becomes super awkward for you. You’re welcome!
4. “Do you play volleyball/basketball/other sport involving tall people?”
No volleyball, yes basketball. I had fun for a while until it got super-Mean Girls-cliquey in high school, and then it was less fun. I have a ton of admiration for women who play both sports. (Don’t even get me started about the women in the WNBA—yes, they are just as fierce as the men’s teams. Maybe even fiercer. Was this ever in question?)
5. “How’s the weather up there?”
Same as it is down there, I’m assuming—super cold and miserable. No, I will not block you from the wind, rain, and other lousy elements from Mother Nature—but if you need someone to hold an umbrella over both of our heads, I’m your best bet.
6. “How do you find pants?”
It is a struggle, but not an impossible one. My size might not be traditional, but it’s not elusive like a unicorn. We live in a world where Yao Ming can get shoes made for his Size 18 feet, so I’m pretty sure I won’t ever have any trouble tracking down skinny jeans that are long enough. In fact, I’ve actually had to get some pants hemmed in the past. So there.
7. “Can you reach that object on that high shelf for me?”
Only if you hand me that object on that shelf down low first. Quid pro quo, my friend.