I am 4′ 9 and-a-half inches tall. The and-a-half inch is very important, ask any man. I have come to terms with this over the years (although I remember riding the bus home from the doctor at 16 years old, having just been told I wouldn’t grow any more and would never reach the magic five feet, and crying for the whole trip). This is a very light-hearted look into the daily highs and lows (hoho) of the vertically challenged. I mean nothing against those who are extremely tall, which obviously comes with its own set of ups and downs (I’m here all week), or those who are smaller than myself; this is just a set of observations based on my own experiences.
- No matter how short he may be, your boyfriend will always look manly next to you. Also – small hands. (Use your imaginations.)
- Heels can be worn for every occasion and you’ll never look too tall.
- You can get away with ‘cute’ for a lot longer than most adults.
- You’ll also be really adorable when you’re old (especially as most peeps shrink as they age – you’ll be tiny!).
- You can buy kids’ clothes – generally cheaper, and almost always on trend. Plus you can get away with buying yourself Frozen pyjamas and pretending they are for your niece (don’t judge me).
- You can buy kids’ shoes. Excellent for Uggs and brand-name trainers.
- Kids tend to relate to you – maybe because you don’t tower threateningly over them. This can be a downside when trying to tell them off however.
- You tend to look younger for longer.
- See above – handy for pantomime and stage roles. I have had two ‘Princess’ roles and one ‘Tommy the Cat’ given to me specifically because I was smaller than the other actresses, so made them look more like leading men. (For those who don’t know the tradition, British pantomime involves leading men played by ladies, and a ‘dame’ character played by men. Pantomime is primarily for children. This may be why we are a generally confused nation.)
- You’ll be spared a lot of heavy lifting, as you look too precious to be able to handle it.
- You often get thought of as being ‘sweet’, even if you’re not being sweet in the slightest.
- It only takes you two drinks to get drunk.
- You look a bit silly standing next to tall men. Especially if you’re in a show with a few of them. And have to get a microphone all to yourself because they couldn’t keep bending down to share one with you.
- It’s difficult to reach pedals when driving cars/ riding motorbikes.
- In fact, it’s VERY difficult to find a motorbike right for your size – believe me – I’ve tried.
- If you don’t wear heels, you feel about 12, and can’t see over coffee shop counters. Seriously, what is it with coffee shop counters? They are so high they are actually ear-level to me, and I can’t reach my coffee without some serious spilling-on-head type problems.
- Off-the-peg clothes will make you look ridiculous.
- You get IDd a lot. Great for a while (‘Yay, me! I look so young!’), then ultimately annoying (‘I just want the vodka, mate, I’m 30-plus and have wrinkles. Give it a rest).
- You will always have a reputation as a ‘lightweight’, due to your two-drink maximum.
- It’s hard to find reasonably priced adult shoes. It’s not too hard to find grown-up style shoes for smaller feet if you’re willing to pay a small (natch) fortune, however. My financial status means that I have resigned myself to NEVER being able to wear a shoe like the one below, as it doesn’t have straps, so I will just end up walking straight out of it.
- All your mates think it’s acceptable to do one or all of the following :- picking you up and twirling you around; saying , ‘Aw, you’re so sweet’ a LOT; and resting their arms on your head. Sometimes they will also persuade you to do the ‘fighting-a-midget-by-holding-her-at-arm’s-length’ pose for a photo, and your tendency to oblige will be proportional to how much of your two-drink maximum you have had.
- People often have a tendency to patronise you. I’ve frequently been treated like a small child in situations wherein I was an adult conversing with another adult, and this is INFURIATING. However, people often think the infuriation is cute, so getting angry doesn’t help, which means you can’t win!
- You always have to stand at the front in photos and group performances. Cue nightmare wedding photographs when you’ve had those two drinks and the photographer calls out ‘little ones in the front!’ and there you are, trying to look sober and responsible and grown-up in between all the 12 year old kids.
- You will never reach the tops of your kitchen counters, even with stools. You will, out of necessity, become a Kitchen Gymnast. (I’d rather be a Bedroom Gymnast but hey-ho).
The shoe I can never wear. Sob.
So there you have it. A vertical list of my vertical challenges. I’d go and buy myself a celebratory coffee, but I’m a little short.