How’s the Weather Up There?

A blogger I enjoy reading mentioned she is on the shorter side. I was surprised; she writes with a comfortable confidence and lexicon. She bestows advice, sounds self-assured, and describes life events that intimidate me.

I had pictured her tall.

And, I hadn’t realized I pictured her as tall.

Also, I didn’t realize that I had yet again broken a personal rule: don’t judge another as ye hate to be judged.

I may not have made up the phrasing for that rule on my own, but it’s how I feel. Most of my life I’ve heard or felt or experienced opinions based solely on appearance. My sorest issue is age: “Oh, that’s because you’re young,” “You’re too young to have seen this….” “Wow. You’re so young!” Hardly something to complain of, I know; yet, it’s a way of demeaning me and my wisdom, experience, and perspective. I have felt a distinct shift in treatment after another woman learns my age.

Another box I hate being placed in is the female one. Because I have boobs I must automatically like Pinterest, have my nails done, watch ….(what are women watching these days?) The Bachelor?, read romance novels, enjoy the color pink, and not have a reasonable opinion about politics or mechanical objects.

The list continues, and is the main source of why I hate being categorized.

I forget that I turn around and apply the same principle all over the place with height. I probably forget this because I am usually taller than other women and enjoy a small level of not being bothered or harassed as much because of it.

That, and my RBF. …Something I also learned the term for recently, because my expression may have scared people away from enlightening me…

The point is that I simply did not know I was hypocritical when it came to height until I finally got some higher altitude, and shortly thereafter met my husband’s family. This initial realization came about around 18 years ago.

His family is mostly very intelligent and talented as he is …and is on the shorter side. His oldest sister barely reaches 5 feet tall with static in her hair; her husband just an inch or two over. When I first met this sister and her family I thought something like, They’re like cute, little hobbit people. I’ve also thought some sort of wonderment that they are whole, complete, extremely bright and opinionated peoples (their entire little family, including all six children they now have) and yet are so small.

Like, how rude is that?

The second time I distinctly noticed I had become a height-ist was when I met my only brother’s wife. She’s taller than I and I found the experience disconcerting. I realized I walked about the world acting like the pickup truck in a lane of sedans.

It’s true.

I mean, I am unfailingly polite to strangers. I am deferential to people like store clerks or overladen mothers or anyone approaching a door or the elderly. When I pay attention, however, I see others automatically yield the right of way. I am given a space in conversation. I am listened to when I apply myself. I had nothing to contribute to the #metoo movement and was confused by how many females had issues.

Is it really all due to height?

I’m certain it helps.

Way back when I took an acting class in college, we learned about rôles. We read that every single time a person interacts with another he engages in a psychological exchange; a battle, even. The result of this is an assignment of rôles and a placement of one person over the other. We learned it in relation to how we needed to act a scene, but I’ve found the idea revelatory in the real world.

Height or lack thereof places one in a higher or lower position, literally.

For my part, I can’t help it. I’m not going to chop off my legs or walk around on my knees. (Although I have noticed I slouch more around a room of shorters and stand more upright in tallers.) On the flip side, we’re not likely to give less-tall peoples stilts, either.

Instead, let’s remember two important things:
I can, and am willing to, reach the cookies on the shelf above the fridge for others.
And, shorter people live longer (according to my husband).


29 thoughts on “How’s the Weather Up There?

  1. Good post. And you hit it exactly…we subconsciously categorize. It’s as if the logical part of our brain takes over and starts sorting….I don’t think we can help it at this point..

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  2. Hadn’t considered that height might affect another person’s perception of someone (me included), but I suspect you are mostly right about that. As a short person myself, I can tell you that many short people ‘appear’ bigger due to their attitude. I’ve had people say they are intimidated by me, and when I’m angry I can well believe it.

    On the other hand, short people have their own epiphanies. When I moved to California, the only people I knew were my roommate and her family. I think the shortest (woman) was 5’7″, and the sons were both 6’4″ or more. Then I went to a party with her. After 5 minutes, I sidled up to her and whispered, “I had forgotten there were people shorter than me.” I had been talking to someone and suddenly realized we were on eye level with each other, I wasn’t looking up.

    A friend was in a Junior Miss pageant and had occasion on her lack of height, saying, “I don’t mind being short. I’m the first one to see the sun come up and the last one to get rained on.”

    And those cookies on the top shelf? Not to worry – short people learn early on how to scale cabinets and shelves. Just like a bunch of little monkeys! Thanks for the offer, though!

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  3. I enjoyed your post. I am a perfect height at 5’3″ and a half, and feel bad for my tall husband and his back issues and bruised head. He and other tall men may get more respect just because but growing up he also had to deal with males of shorter stature picking fights. I know that teachers need to be careful with taller students and remember their ages not their height. Taller students often have higher expectations placed on them. In middle school tall girls in my day were pretty much tormented, but so were short girls, fat girls and skinny girls. There was a period in my adult life I was freakin’ fit and slim and I did notice that literally more doors got opened for me. I seemed to be a more interesting person to other people. I walked tall, for my height. I walk less tall now but have never minded opening my own doors or slipping under the gate.

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  4. So now I want to know how tall you are! I’m 6′, a smidge over average for a British male but do enjoy gazing over the heads of shorter bods when watching something in a crowd.
    I hate being categorised too. I like to be occasionally unpredictable, just to mess with someone’s preconceptions about me. 🙂
    And yet, you’re right – it’s really hard to stop having preconceptions about others. It’s something we have to work on every day of our lives.

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  5. My best friend is 6 ft 8! He is a beast of a man, bald, bearded with facial piercings and tattoos. I often find a sort of sad amusement watching others scurry out of his way lest his glare fall upon them, an irritated amusement when another sort with something to prove deliberately step in his way thinking ‘I could totally take him’.

    The sad thing is, I, at a practically perfect in every way 5 ft 5, am much more likely to explode in anger than he. He is warm, kind, loving and has never been in a fight in his life, yet so many people look at him and see murder written all over his face.

    The age thing as well, I was a very, very young mother. When my kid started school I wasn’t more than a year or so from being a teenager still. Yet, I fell into a nice mum clique, started taking their kids out on play-dates with mine, one mum had twins and I used to take them to the park for a few hours just to give her a break… Until they found out my age… “Is it true?” “Are you really only?…” “But you’re so good with the kids!”

    My young and tender age somehow eclipsed all visual evidence of competence.

    Oh well, those twins were bratty anyway.

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    1. Your friend sounds unapproachable! I’m glad you know him for who he is.

      And 5’5″ is practically perfect. 🙂

      I hear you on the age thing!!! I’ve had so many experiences of people using it against me, so to speak.
      A funny example: a former neighbor of ours was two years older, but you’d think she had a ten or twenty year ‘lead.’ She’d say things like, “This was before your time,” or “You wouldn’t remember this…” 😀

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  6. Not to sound creepy, but I felt like I was reading my own thoughts here at times. That whole role thing you mentioned really made sense to me, too. I notice it a lot with much older men, I guess because sometimes the generational gap makes it more obvious. That and the gender difference obviously. Wherever people interrupt me (or when I interrupt them, which I try very hard not to do) is also a clue for me.

    I’ve had love-hate thoughts with categories over the years. I enjoy Myers Briggs and my type is the rarest for females. However people will spin this out of control and suddenly we’re labeled as sociopathic serial killers. We all know how the internet is good at jumping the gun on things…

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    1. Not creepy at all! I’m glad you relate. 🙂

      I DO take the occasional personality test out of curiosity. My Myers-Briggs had me nearly halves in two categories, so I’m not sure what THAT means besides my not wanting to be categorized…

      I’m sure, based on your writings, you’re at least a highly educated and successful sociopathic serial killer. 😀 -Probably of fictional characters- which leads to great story-writing.

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