I wonder why it’s okay to say to someone that they’re too tall but not okay to say to someone that they’re too short?

I have been 5ft 10 inches since I was 11 years old. It happened overnight. I went from being a little bit taller than everyone else to towering above the whole class in what seemed like 24 hours. I don’t mind being tall; in fact, I quite like it. Of course, there are some #tallgirlproblems. For example, some guys that I fancy come up quite short; I am always at the back of the group photo, and I don’t make many friends at concerts towering in front of people like a big black leather clad sequined human wall. I honestly don’t mind dating a shorter guy; usually, men can’t handle it though. I have even had a request from a particular 5ft 8 ex to ‘not wear those heels again’ and ‘why don’t you wear flats tonight’. The bottom line is fellas, unless you have the confidence, and self-esteem to date a woman who is taller than you in her stockinged feet and be all right when she slips into a 5inch red bottomed shoe, then please do us tall gals favour and pick on someone your size. Or better still, smaller; because we tall girls don’t have time for that.

I was at a party in my standard going-out-uniform of black trousers, black top and of course a 5-inch black shoe. The event had got off to a flying start with some people up to no good in the bathroom above. Strange noises and been emanating from up there for a while and of course it had become the talk of the moment. The offending couple had then come giggling down the stairs, messily put back together. The female culprit had a curious choice of bright white powder dotted around her nose, and her male counterpart was blowing his nose profusely. I thought Bonnie poor dear, needs to rub that matifying powder in properly and as for Clyde, is it allergy season already, in February? It does seem a little early for that.

The gathering crowd stood gossiping in hushed tones about the rumpus, clinging on to their sparkling flutes. A young woman sidled up next to me and gently touched me on the shoulder.
“I simply love your recipes,” She said with a smiley look in her eye
“Oh I am so pleased, do you have a favourite one?”
“Yes I do” she exclaimed, “but you know what Lorraine.”
“Know what?” I replied thinking, no, I probably don’t know what
“I’m finding it rather difficult to talk to you.”
I took a step back and looked her up and down, had I missed something?
I racked my brains for a few seconds and said
“I am so sorry; I don’t know what you mean.”
“Well Lorraine,” she began, as I waited patiently for the reply “You’re just well, you’re just too tall”.
I looked her square in the eye, raised my drink to almost cheers with hers (you can never be too careful in flu season), gave her a brief nod and then artfully shimmied away across the room.

Tell me in which universe should it be fair to state that someone’s’ body part is ‘too’ something? My first retort used to be “too tall for what, or compared to whom?” But now I am in the public eye if I respond to any personal attack with anything other than gratitude and grace, rest assured there will be a twitter rant on my feed about what a rude person that crap TV chef is. So, with the blessings of age and some semblance of maturity, I have learned to listen and hold my tongue, even in the face of height adversity.I for one would struggle not to wet myself if Robert Downey Jnr came strolling into the room. I would for sure tell him how much I love his movies and everything he has done, how I follow him on social media and think he is everything as a person. But I’ll tell you something for nothing; as my Hollywood heartthrob stands at only 5ft 8, I sure as heck wouldn’t touch his arm and whisper tenderly in his ear “Bobby darling, you’re just too short”.

I would like to put out a public plea to stop people from commenting negatively on how tall someone is. The Oh- God-you’re-just-too-tall-mantra, is often said in the tone akin to someone stating that you have a pile of steaming poop on your head. So, unless you are going to compliment a person’s height, then the best thing to do is to talk about something else or just to keep your beautiful mouth shut and put your height shaming speech in the bin.

I can’t just go strolling up to people and start saying they are too short ad infinitum. I must admit though; I did of a few years back, I am not proud of it, and I won’t be doing it again. The old halo must have slipped. I used it as a retort to a 5ft 1 lassie who was banging on to me for a good few minutes about me being too tall, asking me how the weather was up there and of course my all time favourite
“Oh please don’t wear those heels around me” gem. I bit my tongue for most of the tirade, but towards the end, I said to her
“Well, am I too tall or are you perhaps just too short?”
She stared at me with horror in her eyes. The horror soon turned to water as the rim of her eyes filled with tears. She looked (up) at me, red heart-shaped lips trembling and said as clear salty droplets started tumbling down her face
“You can’t say that! That hurts!”
She ran towards the ladies’ loos in floods of tears followed swiftly by her now Lorraine Pascale hating angry mob of tiara wearing girlfriends.I woke up the next morning after height gate, reached for my phone, rubbed my eyes, and started scrolling through my twitter feed. Nothing too unusual to report; Brexit is a God-awful mess, some ex-Premiership football player is now manager of a 2nd division club, someone made my chocolate cake for a birthday party, and it worked out pretty well and oh what did this last message say? “Met @Lorrainepascale at an event last night, What a bloody bitch.”

Photo credits top to bottom: Caitlyn Wilson, Quentin Rade, Brigitte Tohm, Titouan

If you Spot any typos let me know and I’ll correct them.

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12 Comments

  1. Nicola Moore
    29th January 2018 / 2:57 pm

    I agree that it’s not acceptable for you to be told you’re too tall but as a five foot 1.5 foot woman I am fully aware of people making comments about my height. I was teased at school but it didn’t bother me. I come from a small family and to me it’s the norm. Luckily I like being small because if I was sensitive to it I’d have a hard time with the amount of comments I get/got about my height. I don’t take it personally though. I know I am smaller than the average person and often when people I don’t know well run out of things to say they’ll comment on it but I don’t take offence. I just agree that yes I am small – no big deal.

  2. Angela H
    29th January 2018 / 3:49 pm

    I agree with Nicola’s comment above. I’m a short person but I don’t identify myself in that way unless someone decides they want to bring the subject up themselves. It depends on how it is presented to you but after 50 years of being identified by my height by other people I just couldn’t give a toss. I let them have their moment of joviality, smile and change the subject. As you say Lorraine, with the blessing of age you move on. I give thanks that people want to talk to me and I have made many wonderful friends through the opening line of “Hello shorty need help with that”.

  3. 29th January 2018 / 5:40 pm

    Hi Lorraine, I’m 6ft5 which is tall but not freakishly tall. I was 6ft4 on my 14th birthday. Life was never easy from a teasing point of view. Frankly I hated it. Upside was that I was good at rugby and made the perfect 2nd row forward. I did though, then and now, hate basketball.

    At junior school I was the second tallest kid, the tallest was a girl. By the time I was 14 I was way taller than her. Maybe girls grow upwards a bit quicker than boys. Anyhow because I was tall there appeared to be some sort of assumption that I was the most mature, cleverest in the class, yet in reallity I was far from that, I hated being tall, ‘special’ and all that, the extra responcibility did not sit easily on my shoulders.

    At secondary school I was an easy target because I was tall, even tho I was playing for the year above rugby team. I thouroughly hated school. “What’s the weather like up there?” Oh so funny and original!

    Of course being tall the sexiest thing in a girl would be tallness! At 17 I had a slim 6ft 16 year old girl friend. She too was not too happy being this tall, but at least she had someone she could stand next to and kiss upwards and I didn’t have to stoop to kiss!!

    Both of us had had a life of having the mickey taken out of them for being tall, generally it was good natured and you try to accept it as such but then there are some plain rude people who get off being nasty.

    Generally I try to ignore it and maybe it’s different for girls. You’re 5ft10 and like to wear 5 inch heels that only makes 6ft3. Pretty bloody perfect I would say!

  4. Gail Friesen
    30th January 2018 / 2:23 am

    These days, it’s hard to believe what people feel entitled to say. The invisibility afforded by the internet has turned so many people into trolls. They are just plain rude.

    Keep wearing those heels. I saw you on some of the American baking shows and you look great. I love your work. I forwarded your piece on meditation to my niece, who really appreciated it. My great-niece is showing a lot of interest in cooking and baking and will soon be old enough to get one of your books from Auntie. Your legions of fans think you’re great.

  5. Dee riggs
    30th January 2018 / 1:43 pm

    Loved your blog Lorraine well done. As I’m only 5ft 3 I have empty with your blog as it works both ways

  6. Charles Burbridge
    1st February 2018 / 12:31 am

    Being tall for a girl is probably harder for a girl than a guy. That’s too bad because I think tall woman are very sexy. I am 6 foot 3″ and have always enjoyed it. Embrace your height Lorraine it makes a sexy lady even sexier.

  7. Rob
    3rd February 2018 / 11:13 pm

    As a 6’4″ man, my height has always been an advantage with the opposite sex. Just another double standard in society. But to your main point, I agree wholeheartedly that we need to be kind to one another and try to avoid negativity.

    I was at a holiday party when a well know personal trainer said to me: “With your frame, if you only spent a couple more hours in the gym each day you can look as good as me.” WTF??? For me, regular gym time helps me feel better not only physically and also mentally. But, then again, having a few too many pints in the pub with friends also makes me happy, as does fish and chips with too much salt and vinegar, or peanut butter on anything. It’s all about well-being, balance and happiness and several hours a day in a gym will never be part of that equation for me.

    So, to the self-proclaimed Adonis before me, my initial thought was to reply along the lines of: “If you would only read a book a year, you could have a fraction of my intellect,” or “I wonder how good your cardiovascular health is with the steroids and 6 million grams of protein you consume each day.” But that’s just putting more hate in the world. I had seen this guy had recently posted a shirtless, flexing pic of his perfect torso on Instagram with the comment “Must take off those 2lbs I’ve gained during this holiday season” – just the sort of thing that makes normal people feel worse about themselves. So, I looked at this guy and said as nicely as I could that he was being extraordinarily rude, and we had a discussion about it. As I get older, that’s my way of handling these things. Don’t be rude in return but I think it is important to let people know how rude they are being as their next victim may not be able to brush it off so well. Don’t confront negativity with more negativity but I think it is important to call out such behavior because, as Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

    • 13th February 2018 / 3:46 pm

      Thank you so much for your reply. Tall is beautiful and what a wonderful height you are!

  8. Tea
    15th February 2018 / 10:48 am

    I totally understand you. I’m tall womam (6’0″) and I like it but listening all the time comments about that is really anoying!

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