Besides answering the dreaded, “How tall are you?” upon meeting a new person, and enduring being talked to like a Shih Tzu puppy, these are the things that most people don’t tell you about being petite, coming from a girl who’s aim screen name was CLshorty41 back in the day.
1. People gawk at your shoe size. And seem to be unaware of how the shoe chart system operates. Yes, a 3 in children’s shoes is the same size as a 5 in women’s. I don’t know why this is, but I do know that it is hella’ hard to find a decently priced pair of pumps for an evening out.
2. Everyone will find an excuse to touch you. Maybe this is true for those of you that are above 5 feet tall as well, but I’ve found that both men and women touch me more than necessary. “Oh, need a hand lifting that heavy object? I’ll just reach around you with both arms resulting in a backwards bear hug” and other kinds of physical situations happen too regularly.
People really want to pick you up. I don’t know if it’s just reaction to a natural protection instinct, or just a mere fascination that someone can live in a body half their size. There’s always one guy that makes the “I could bench press you” comment and then proceeds to lift you above his head. Not cool.
3. You get mistaken for much younger than your age. This can easily be turned into a positive thing while dining in a restaurant. Work what you’ve got. If they mistake you for 12 years old, you can eat for 5.99, drink included. Abuse that privilege.
And of course there’s the downside of being petite, people assume you should be accompanied by an adult, even though you’ve been a functioning legal “adult” for years. I had a manicurist ask me if my mom was in the waiting area, and when I told her I was alone she sighed, asking if I would be able to pay her. This kind of treatment is the worst especially coming from a sassy petite Asian lady in heels, who has to have had the same kind of comments directed to her before. Can we have a little mutual respect here?
4. The middle seat is your domain. Going on a long car ride? Friends will immediately assign you the middle seat in the back because you have the shortest legs. Never mind that you’d like to stretch or not have to lean against a folded armrest/cup holder combo for the duration of a 2 hour drive, you must bear it for the sake of those with the gangly limbs. You are the meat and cheese of the sandwich that is backseat riding, learn to accept it.
5. If you gain weight, it shows. Someone with a little height can gain five pounds without drastically changing his/her figure. Not me, on a 4’11 frame, five pounds looks like twenty. The curvier I become, the closer I resemble a circle. Life isn’t always fair.
6. You are the endless recipient of short jokes. Friends and coworkers will squat down to your height to get a feel of how life looks to you. Jokes will be showered down upon you anytime you need to ask for help to reach something on an impossibly high shelf. Hopefully you’ll hear new material unlike the classic, “How’s the weather down there?” and “Are you getting short with me?” I had a coworker refer to me as “Chelsea of the shire” last week. At least he’s creative.