Some Small Sense

Shopping experiences and store reviews by a very petite woman. Indeed, it sucks. 4'10", 87 pounds, and full grown - is it a surprise I have trouble finding clothes?

March 18, 2007

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:
  • dwarves
  • hobbits (wait, you mean that they don't really exist?)
  • jockeys
  • 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?

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20 Comments:

Anonymous holly said...

yeah, 12 year old girl sounds about right. although with kids getting so much taller today i'm starting to hear guesses more like 10! Grrrr.
this reminds me of the time recently i was at a bar that has a raised platform around the perimeter and i'm standing up on the raised part. at some point i turn around and there's a woman right next to me who is just slightly taller than me, which is rare. at that moment i realize that she's actually standing on the lower platform, 2 steps below me. so i look down and back up to confirm (as if i didn't know) and kind of laugh to myself. here i thought i was standing next to someone about 5ft all and it turns out she's more like 6ft3! anyone ever experience anything similar?

March 18, 2007 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

short people are often associated with being jockeys or gymnasts, but more often than not i'm assumed to be a little kid. not surprising since my 8 year old niece is taller than i am.

March 18, 2007 9:23 PM  
Blogger Midori said...

don't forget munchkin!

(oh wait...you mean they don't really exist either?)

March 18, 2007 11:58 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I've pulled the step trick many a time on purpose. Escalators, tall curbs, you name it. It's just easier to converse with your taller friends you know? Why should anyone have to strain their poor neck craning up, or their poor back stooping down?

I guess gymnast or jockey are the only occupations that you'd just associate with a short person.

Oh, and coxswain :)

March 19, 2007 1:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i can't believe you just said curbs! yes! in fact just this morning i was standing on a particularly tall curb waiting for the light and the woman in front of me standing on the street level, a step below me, still towered over me. i looked down and on top of that she was in flats (i'm in 4 inch heels). my thought was like, my god, am i really THAT short?

March 19, 2007 8:45 AM  
Blogger jj said...

I get asked if I am/was a gymnast. And I get carded a LOT! But I feel for my taller brethern too... a good friend of mine is 6'4" and he deals with as much hassles about his height as I do about mine.

March 19, 2007 12:51 PM  
Anonymous nancy said...

where on the list of reasons why you wear heels would you rank:
"to be taller"? i expect few would put it first, but i wonder how many of us wouldn't put that on our list at all?
now let's be totally honest here. that's the point of this whole thing after all. no phony bravado please....

March 19, 2007 5:40 PM  
Blogger Midori said...

nancy: i would say that "to be taller" is one of the two top reasons i wear heels...the other top reason is that it kind of gives me the illusion of being more proportional. i am a 4'10" - 11" ish asian girl with short legs and heels kind of balance me out a bit when i wear them with pants.

March 19, 2007 11:19 PM  
Anonymous serena said...

i have no problem admitting that i would put "to be taller" as the top reason why i wear heels. i'm 4ft11 so at least heels can get me within a few inches of average height. my logic is this: if the 6ft tall girls are going to wear heels, then i need to wear them too just to stay even.

March 20, 2007 12:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about flight attendants? Maybe I'm just wierd but I always think that short people are flight attendants because there are height restrictions that profession... can't be too tall and get paid to fly the friendly skies!

March 20, 2007 9:22 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Wait, the flight attendants can't be, say, my height! I always need to climb onto a seat to get my bag into the overhead.

That, or look really really sad and someone will feel badly enough for me to help me put it up :)

March 20, 2007 12:40 PM  
Anonymous holly said...

i actually happen to know the answer to this. flight attendants must be at least 5ft2. this is because you need to be tall enough to reach the overhead racks. so yeah, sorry amy, you (and I) are indeed too short for this profession.

March 20, 2007 12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

amy, what about when you're going down an escalator and the person in front of you on the step below you is still was taller than you are?!!

March 22, 2007 10:48 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Well, having someone taller on the step below certainly isn't new! If it's my friend, I usually hop on the step above me so I can look him/her eye to eye!

March 22, 2007 10:59 PM  
Anonymous sarah said...

amy, that's true but standing on the next escalator step up like that only puts me eye to eye with someone about 5ft6. what bothers me is that i need to be 2 steps up to be as tall as my girlfriend amanda who is 6ft2!

March 23, 2007 8:46 AM  
Anonymous Longevity Science said...

Thank you for your interesting post!
I thought perhaps you may also find this related post interesting to you:
Body Size and Human Longevity
http://longevity-science.blogspot.com/2007/05/body-size-and-human-longevity_08.html

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May 10, 2007 7:05 PM  
Anonymous Destiny said...

I am 30, female, and 4'8" - I once had a person at a party insist and then argue at length that because I was under 4'10" I was officially a midget. I cannot even begin to explain my anger at that particular situation. I am very well proportioned and I only weigh about 93 pounds. Trying to explain to this man that genetics determine dwarfism, not simply height, was useless.

That was the worst situation, but I frequently hear comments about my height such as these. It's amazing what people think is okay to blurt out. Bars are the worst - some man inevitably feels the need to insist that the bouncer made a mistake by letting a child in. And people wonder why short folks are mean or feisty?? It's because we deal with idiotic comments on a daily basis!

December 06, 2007 12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tall = Basketball player.

Basketball apparel... not made for tall people!!!

I am 6'5". I play ball. I cannot find sport pants that are longer than 34". Unless the waste is 40"+. None of the major manufacturers make tall basketball pants. Go figure.

April 22, 2008 9:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im 12 i play basketball 4 my school.Im 4'11 I play with girl who are much taller than me and I feel kind of scared of the the tall girl but im starting and im small forward so, i still feel confident in my self

October 10, 2008 2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am 5'5" tall. That's probably very short or average. Well only GOD knows. Don't ask me.
I am 25 years of age. My good friend is around 6feet (5'10" to be exact)and he is just 21 years old! I guess other folks feel the same way as I do. It's very shameful to have someone younger than you but taller! Can somebody PLEASE tell me whats going on?! I don't know if it's my fault or not :-|

November 08, 2008 6:57 AM  

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