Whenever I get a compliment about any sort of achievement, I often reply that I was “lucky to be born a tall, white male.” And I do feel that way sometimes. As far as height goes, unless you’re closing in on 7 feet, being tall has few downsides and does tend to garner an unearned respect (or at least attention). And while few tall people would tell you they’d like to be shorter, I suspect at least a few short people wish they were a bit taller.
Of course it’s all genetic chance, so it shouldn’t mean anything and we mostly have to live with the features we’re given. Mostly. Among the achievable body modifications at our disposal is the addition of up to 3 inches of height by wearing special “elevator” shoes. These ads are mostly from men’s adventure magazines of the Forties through the mid-Fifties. Click on any image to make it taller.
At 6’5″, I’ve never had to consider heel height in the purchase of footwear, but I do have to order most of my clothes from specialty catalogs or retailers. Very often ads for “Big & Tall” men run in the same section as these ads for shorter men wishing to be perceived as taller.
I don’t judge anyone who might make a purchase such as these shoes, but if, as many of the ads imply, it is to impress the ladies, then it seems a short-lived solution. At some point all will be revealed, of course, unless you wear your shoes to bed. And these styles are not exactly sexy.
Being tall isn’t all gravy, of course. First, you have to endure way too many questions about basketball, and even the innocent “How tall are you?” gets annoying and seems rather rude. (Would anyone ever say, “My God, you’re a shrimp. How short are you?”) And you get a lot of “How’s the atmosphere up there?” jokes, and people at markets sometimes ask you to get things off of the higher shelves for them.
Everyone, it seems, either has a relative or close friend that is slightly taller than you. When you reply “6’5″,” they almost invariably tell you about someone they once met who is 6’6″.
Even at my height, which is no longer that tall by some standards, you hit your head now and then on an awning, doorjamb, etc. And it isn’t very fun to go to Disneyland or fly on an airplane where seats are made for “average” heights and weights.
Being the tallest known family member, I have to wonder just where my genes came from. They’re inconsistent with a pairing of my biological mother and father. Hmmmmm. I wonder what the milkman looked like in 1956.
Being tall may be why I’m attracted to short people and have always had a few really short friends — we relate to what it’s like to be on either end of the fringe spectrum.
But on the whole, I can’t complain. Anyway, there’s very little I can do about it. No one, it seems, makes special shoes that take off a few inches! And just for the record, “No, I don’t play nor have I ever played, basketball, and the air is fine up here.”Tags