Tall = Basketball Player, Short = Hobbit?
A few weeks ago, I went out to dinner at Poke, this great sushi place on the UES. This place is always super crowded and as we were leaving, I noticed a very tall guy squeezed in the corner right by the door. I shamelessly admit that I always check out all the super tall and super short people around me (Hey! I just mean their stature people!), so I definitely was paying attention when it happened.
As we were walking out, a woman walking in looked up in surprise at Tall Guy and said, "Wow, you're really tall. You must be a basketball player!"
The look on Tall Guy's face was priceless. He was probably in his early 30s, probably at least 6'5"(?), and had a slight bit of a beer belly from sitting way too long at the law firm/investment bank. He didn't have a couch potato look, but there was no way this guy was a pro or semi-pro like she seemed to be implying. Hungry and crowded into the corner, I could tell he was trying really really hard to come up with some response that wasn't rude or too self-deprecating. Maybe this woman was doing a piss poor job at flirting? Eventually, he settled on a polite, "no, but I used to play a little bit when I was in school."
I think I may have made it out of the door before I started laughing uncontrollably and commenting really loudly about the hilarity of the situation. I couldn't help but think of the grocery store incident a few months ago. I forget sometimes that tall people get as much abuse about their height as short people. Perhaps Restaurant Lady was trying to be flattering? Maybe it's just everyone Pavlovian response to assume 'basketball player' to the stimulus of a Very Tall Person - and she just didn't happen to have a better verbal filter?
All I know was that I actually felt really badly for this poor guy! I mean, how could he take it as a compliment either? I'm sure several things could have flitted through his head at that moment, including: 'I actually suck at basketball. Don't you actually have eyes woman?? I'm so out of shape that I have a gut. Do I have to hear this again???'
This of course, gets me thinking of all the common and outrageous assumptions about people based solely on height. I confess that I too have the basketball = tall connection wired in my brain somewhere (but have a better filter than she did). Tall thin women usually make me think 'model.'
The obvious snide and rather unlikely connections with short people I can think of are typically:
- hobbits (wait, you mean that they don't really exist?)
- circus people
Of course, I think '12-year old' usually is the top of the real list.
What are things you automatically associate with very tall/short people yourselves?