Monday, June 9, 2008

This Blessed Curse!

You know that scene in On The Waterfront, Terry (Brando) and Edie go on their first walk, the chemistry is thick and vaporous. She drops her glove, he picks it up, and he tries to put it on, but it is so small and delicate it doesn't really fit, because she is dainty? Yes, dainty. What every girl in the 1950s was supposed to be (and what I have always longed for, to be 5'5"!!!). Do you want to know how that scene would have played out if I were in Edie's shoes? Brando would have picked up my glove (which took tons of time to even find one big enough for my hand) and he would put it on, and it would be so big, he would look up and say, "Geez, Dame, how tall are you?" and I would look down on small Brando (who was 5'8" in real life) and I would cry and say, "Six feet tall!" --knowing all the while that Brando would back away and make a run for it.

Yes, the blessed curse of being extremely, viking-warrior tall, with Seinfeld-esque "man hands" is something most of you probably haven't given much thought to. Over the years as I have grown, and grown and, yes, grown...I have tried to appear short. I didn't wear heels much, I didn't stand up so straight, I realized I was destined to continue to fall in love with men who are 5'10" with smaller hands than I have, and it was hard, because, well, you just don't feel much like a demure, pretty girl.

However, the past few years I have said to hell with it all and have embraced my height. Sure, I am 6'2"-6'4" when I wear heels of any merit. Sure I hit my head when I walk through old homes in Europe, sure people can't see when they stand behind me at concerts at The Depot...but you know what, being this tall definitely has it's pros.

~Changing the lightbulb is a snap!
~I can basically have a good view at any movie or concert I go to
~I can look intimidating to my students, even in High School
~I stand out in the crowd--especially when I visit Asia!
~I can use all the storage place in my house, even the really high cupboards
~I'm good at basketball
~I've got really long legs.
~I can walk faster than many people
~I can buy normal pants at old navy and wear them as capris
~When I stand up for myself, I usually get what I want

But it has it's cons as well:

~Inevitably it's the man who is 5'6' that you are in love with.
~You can never find jeans long enough
~The airplane seats never have enough leg room
~You can't hide in a crowd, especially in Asia!
~The only way to feel really "dainty" is to date someone 6'5"
~The taller you get, the harder it is to be really graceful
~ You have farther to fall when you iceskate

Being tall, I have realized that I just might have to break the stereotype of the average relationship, where the man tends to be taller. Thus, when couples get together and the girl is taller, I take notice, and I think to they look weird together?

You guys be the judge. What do you think about the girl being taller? How tall are each of you? Does height really matter?

Do these people look like freaks? (ok, loaded question with Tom Cruise, I know!)


Alisa said...

I was going to say, Katie Holmes doesn't look so weird next to Tom Cruise. But on the other hand, it is Tom Cruise, and that whole thing has just been weird since Oprah a couple of years ago.

I am 5'8" and never felt tall enough. In my honest opinion, a girl can *never* be too tall. Be proud! Yes, my husband is a good eight inches taller than I am, but sometimes I actually feel too petite, belive it or not. I sometimes would like to be on equal footing. I confess I wasn't always so enlightened when I was single, but now I think, hypothetically, would I date a shorter man, and the answer is difinitevely "Yes!" I think it makes the couple look astute, mature, contemporary.

Besides, heels are so feminine. You can't give those up completely.

Michelle said...

I was 23 (last year) the first time I bought a pair of high hells (a typo, yes, but it actually sounds about right). I'm 5'9" and don't really like being tall but your pro's list was fun for me to read and it made me appreciate my height a little more.

Stina said...

I am 5'4" and Dave is 11 inches taller than me at 6'3". I remember in high school people would see us and ask how we even kissed b/c of the height difference! I definitely appreciate tall people for their abilities to reach things. Also, your comment about wearing pants as capris totally cracked me up -- I do the EXACT opposite and wear capris as regular pants!

I admit that I do like having a tall partner b/c it makes me feel safe when we're walking around a dodgy area and I feel protected. But I definitely don't think height should be a limiting factor in dating men - look at all of your pictures: the women are all tall and gorgeous, who cares what their partners look like in comparison!?

Sugar said...

Okay, so being 5'5", I have to tell you, I have NEVER been called dainty! I wanted to be dainty because like any good latch key kid, I used to watch all those same old movies for hours upon hours.

I think dainty is the essence of a woman picking a flower or a lady sitting in a big fluffy chair sipping tea out of old bone china with a lovely rose pattern. I do try to be lady-like (as my Nana used to beg of me) but dainty is not about height in Sugar World, that's for sure.

As for jeans... don't get me started. I have to get regulars because petite ends at Five Four with the "normal" people picking up at Five Foot Eight. I have to pay EXTRA to have my jeans not only hemmed but to have the original cuff sewn back on. That's TWENTY bucks! Needless to say, I have to LOVE a pair of jeans before I buy them. I have two on hold right now just waiting for a windfall... As for capris, they are just an inch too short for real looking pants on me so I if I ever make the mistake of forgetting how silly I look in them and put some on (usually on a dare) I always end up looking clowny. No pair of cute shoes can unring that bell.

So, I can just picture the two of us in the City. I'll look like your little Monkey or something... this should be good! I'm laughing at myself right now... aaahhh meee... what I wouldn't have done to add three inches just to look normal. No, I had to be short and cute. iicchhkk! God Bless wedge sandals!

jomama said...

i think nicole kidman and keith urban (is that his name?) look great. agreed that tom cruise is going to look crazy to me now pretty much whatever he does. but katie holmes is gorgeous!
i agree with alisa. i'm about 5'8" and most of the time i don't feel tall enough. but that also might have to do with the fact that my husband is 6'5" and most the women in his family and my family are at least a couple of inches taller than me, so i walk around feeling dwarfed most of the time. i guess it's all relative, right?
and if you can walk in heels, i say go for it. me, i have problems.

Steve and Jenn Fletcher said...

OK, D'Arcy, you already know what I am going to say. At 5'1", I can never be "sophisticated", as you can be. Instead I am, at best, "cute". At worst, I am referred to as "the midget". (Mostly by family members as a joke, but I've started calling myself that name lately, especially when I am shopping for pants that will make me feel "sophistated", which--by the way--you can never do if you must only shop in the kids' department.)

(Sigh.) It's so hard to be a girl. Someday I am sure how we look will not matter at all. Nor how tall our man is.

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

OK, D'Arcy.... you ready for this? I am barely (and I mean BARELY) 5'1". I wear a size 5 shoe which is all but impossible to find. Frequently I will buy my sneakers in the kids department (as long as they don't have the Little Mermaid on the side of them, no one needs to know they are kids' shoes, right?) All my life, I've longed to be just a BIT taller.

When I go grocery shopping, I cannot reach anything on the top shelf. I've become very adept at making "tools" out of things in the grocery store and swatting stuff off the top shelf and, if necessary, climbing on the shelves to reach what I need (however, I don't recommend this.... number one, you look like an IDIOT when you do this, and number two, it's not very safe.)

Another peril of being petite - in crowds, I am lost in a sea of armpits and elbows. Makes street festivals and outdoor concerts VERY unpleasant. Plus, from a "style" perspective, all my pants are too LONG. It's very rare that I can buy a pair of jeans/pants or a dress/skirt and they don't require alteration. I've learned basic sewing skills out of necessity.

Also, when you're petite and you gain 5 lbs., it's noticeable, which REALLY stinks.

And, most irritating of all, you hear the word "cute" a lot. I don't think anyone has ever described me as "elegant" and they SURE as heck haven't described me as "willowy". :-)
It's always "cute". (Cute is fine... if you're a puppy or a baby duck. If you're a grown woman..... not so much.)

However, in closing, let me add that I do, for the most part, like being petite and, crazy thing that love is.... the man I fell in love with (and have been happily married to for 16+ years) is 6'5". Yes, people smile when they see us together. I come up to his sternum. :-)

D'Arcy said...

OK, all you "short" women have proved another one of my theories....tall men ONLY marry short women. Seriously, the years of resentment I have had (I am over it now!) seeing all these men who should be with girls at least as tall as myself and they are with you!! lol!

Alisa: I don't know if you can never be too tall, there is a website, I think (or .org) and highlighting a girl who is 7 feet tall!

Michelle: awesome! I didn't think I knew you were that tall.

Stina: how do you kiss? You don't have to answer, but I was one of those people wondering. It is nice to be on eye level when I get good and kissed.

Sugar!!! You are making me laugh so hard! Yeah, I am used to being the freak of the group. There is this one picture from college, with all my roommates. They were all between 5'1"-5'5"--with brown hair, then there was me, 6' and super blond. I was the apartment freak.

And when we stroll the streets of San Fran, I'll wear flats, you wear heels....but if we meet any cute guys, I insist on getting that taller of the two!

Jomama: I think when you were dating Nate I was feeling a little envious. Didn't I say my perfect height for a guy was 6'5"? I think I did.

Jenn: You ARE cute! But you are more too. I haven't really said it, but the last few years of motherhood have blossomed you into one beautiful, elegant mother. I love looking at your photos on your blog. And hey, isn't the kids department cheaper?

HWHL: Isn't it funny how in the blogging world, height and appearance and everything else is largely ignored. I would never have guessed you were that tall! I can picture you grocery shopping, and it makes me, with you, not at you, right?

Now I understand your prayer closet better, I was thinking, how can she fit in there (but see, I was really picturing myself getting into a closet, and feeling closed in!) You are your husband probably draw attention, but I have to say. When a gal is short, she can definitely make up for it with a big personality, and I see that in you! And yes, I have heard that 5 lbs does make a difference. When you're 6"--not so much. I'll have to add that to my pro list!

Boquinha said...

5'2 here! My husband is 6'1. :)

And you're right, pros and cons--people have well discussed those.

As for whether or not it looks weird, it doesn't even grab my attention. I honestly don't think twice about it. Promise. What counts is that you love each other. When you've got that, no one notices the other stuff. And those who do? Well, who cares what they think. Wear it proudly. Stand tall near your man. Embrace it with no apologies. Who dictates what is and isn't socially okay? Go for it.

My best friend from college (and matron of honor at our wedding) is a GORGEOUS 6' tall brunette that commands attention when she walks in the room. She is VERY happily married to her best friend and man of her dreams. He is 5'4. They almost let that get in the way. I'm so glad they didn't. :)

Boquinha said...

Argh, we posted at the same time. :P

Sugar said...

okay... not to be irreverent but I just got the picture of Happy Wife in the prayer closet.

D'Arcy said...

Oh yeah, I should have explained that one! If any of you are confused, see HWHL's blog, and it will all make sense....and I wasn't trying to be irreverent either, just thought it was really awesome place to meditate and get away from everything.

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

...for all who are confused, the comments on the prayer closet were left on Gustav's blog, in response to his post on "Feng Shui Anyone?". I mentioned that anywhere in nature works for me, but I do have a closet in my home (it's a walk-in closet) where I have pillows, candles, and a journal, and I go in there and meditate and pray. So, there ya have it. :-)

D'Arcy said...

Thanks for clarifying...I couldn't remember where that one was left. You know everyone in Indonesia has just such a place in their home? About that size, perfect for meditation and not getting distracted by anything else. Perfect idea.

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

Wow - I didn't know that. That is really cool. We can learn so much from other cultures. It's such a shame so many Americans are so ethnocentric....

Sugar said...

I feel like I'm at a coffee shop with a bunch of girlfriends! I love this back and forth you have started here, D'arcy! Who knew height was going to elicit so many laughs and funny stories. You're quite the Blogger... albeit a freakishly tall Blogger. Sorry, that was me being incredibly jealous of your tallness and blondness. My people only come in short and brown. ;)

D'Arcy said...

Yeah, they call them their temples. They usually give little offerings of flowers and other simple items each day. It was a beautiful daily reminder of spirituality. I also loved it because they had male and female deities to connect with.

And my summer needs a coffee shop conversation with you Sugar! I am counting down...two months.

And thank you for being jealous..ditto my friend. We always want what we don't have. I am freakish! As long as it doesn't get to the point where Diane Arbus would want to photograph me. I love that line that Luke Wilson says to Sarah Jessica Parker in The Family Stone--"You have a freak flag, you just don't know how to fly it yet!"

jomama said...

d'arcy, i love that line and i love that movie! i have this strange fondness for it...y'know how sometimes you like a movie a lot, for no particular reason, and you could watch it a lot without getting sick of it? that's me with the family stone.
sorry to go completely off the subject.

Chelle said...

As another six footer, I like to walk with D'Arcy, and her sister April, also six feet. Attack of the Amazon's fabulous.

This is my favorite of the pros-
"I can buy normal pants at old navy and wear them as capris"

Don't think I haven't done this.

Just today I was thinking about how I get somewhat annoyed about when people make comments about how they would love to be my height. I don't think any of us truly understand all that comes with anything that we haven't experienced. Like six foot tall is awesome, except it does limit your dating pool, (even if you are cool with dating shorter guys, some guys are intimidated by taller women). This is fine once you are married and can say it's no big deal. But as a tall single person you always wonder if it has something to do with why you are still looking.

However, in the middle of these thoughts (before I even looked at this blog), I thought, hey, I am glad I am this height, because it makes me different, and I kind of like that.

On the question of dating a shorter man, (and this is completely my superficiality talking) I think it is okay if you both look like rock stars (like all the pics). Regular couples look a little weirder. Not that that should matter if it's "true love," whatever that is, :) but I think it can be hard to get to that point.

The enlightened, un-superficial, feminist me, thinks it is a fine idea to date shorter guys. But that me is not always the one thinking when I pick men to date. I think we pick dates/spouses, whatever on a lot of unconscious, evolutionary things that we don't even understand, and can be hard to get past.

So about finding pants. You girls with short legs, that must be difficult to get them hemmed all the time. However, at least it is possible to cut the bottoms off of pants and make them shorter. You really can't make pants LONGER. It is impossible, unless you want to add some lace onto the bottom of your jeans or something. Very hot.

D'Arcy said...

Apparently I am not the only one thinking these things!!! Here is an article on whether or not height matters in love...over at yahoo!

It's a long link, ready:;_ylc=X3oDMTVlbzIxbWZoBF9HA3BlcnNvbmFscwRfUwMyNzE2MTQ5BF9zAzIwMjMyNjkyNjUEawNTaGUgU2F5cyB2cy4gSGUgU2F5czogV2hhdCYjMzk7cyBIZWlnaHQgR290IHRvIERvIFdpdGggTG92ZQRzZWMDZnBfdG9kYXkEc2xrA3NoZS1zYXlzLXZzLWhlLXNheXMtd2hhdHMtaGVpZ2h0LWdvdC10by1kby13aXRoLWxvdmUEenoDYQ--

Marie said...
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Marie said...

I'm not as tall as you, but I'm tall compared to most girls (5' 8" in the morning :)

As for being a tall girl (separate from the issue of being a tall girl in a relationship), I used to really really want to be as short as my mom and sister (about 5' 5"), especially during my years of ballet. When I look back at my pictures during those years, I was not at all heavy, but I felt heavy because I was so much taller than most of my classmates. Less graceful, too. I thought it would be so much more fun to have a fiery personality if you were small. You'd be called a firecracker rather than a dominating broad. I compensated by going heavy on the flowery prints and the girly-girl stuff, hoping it could hide my lack o' waify. It was only several years after the end of my ballet days that I learned to enjoy being a tall girl. I like being the hero when no one can reach that can on the top shelf and that a five-pound weight gain doesn't alter my silhouette nearly as dramatically as it does on my shorter friends (though I still loathe the too-short-pants and too-short-sleeves problem -- I can't imagine your frustration level at 6 feet tall).

As for the tall-girl-in-relationships question, I was sensitive about it as a teenager and would say passionately that I'd rather date a hunchback than someone shorter than me. (Now that I think about it he'd have to be a pretty tall hunchback to be taller than me even hunched over :) I had had my fill of men with spineless personalities and I guess I subconsciously equated being taller to being willing to be a leader.

Then I became friends with a married pair who were just the best couple ever. Both thinkers, imaginative, kind, funny, classy, urbane. She was not only a few inches taller than him (5' 11" to his 5' 8"), she also had a bigger frame and was about 30 pounds heavier (though truly just "big-boned" and in the middle of her healthy weight range). They didn't let it bother them, and consequently it didn't bother me at all, much to my surprise. I never heard anyone else say anything, either. They clearly belonged together and their confidence in the relationship sold everyone else on it. They're one of my favorite couples ever.

So I no longer dismiss the idea out of hand, but if it were to work I'd have to conjure that same confidence somehow (as would whatever man I was with) so I wouldn't feel like a black widow spider about to eat her mate :)

And I've never been very fond of heels, so at least he wouldn't be forced to wear platform shoes to kiss me :)

fromthestecherbush said...

I was sensative about my hight until after I got married. We were really lucky to be in France with you, me and Em all being taller than every Frenchman in the country and most of the other Europeans. At least we weren't lone stalks with our heads up in the sun:)
I really have moved on but honestly, I didn't have the confidence to date my first love-shorter than me-and not worry about it. I'm much better off with my hunka hubby. I do admire those who are confident enough. I wonder if it's so much the tall, worrying about the appearance and feel of it as it is the tall worrying about whether or not the short are worried about it. I think a lot of guys really like the idea of being with a tall girl. I do share the irritation of tall-REALLY tall-men marrying short women. I gave my bro a really hard time. He's 6'4" and his girlfriend last year was something around 4'9" or something. I'd go for the shorter guy thing than that I think:)

Boquinha said...

Yeah, my friend to whom I referred earlier. Years ago, her father seriously told her that marrying the shorter guy would "mess up the gene pool" -- can you believe that?! UGH.

Hey, It's Ansley said...

I think it's a lot like the photo from a few posts back, with the fingers wrapped together as only a comfortable couple could do. If you are comfortable with yourself and like the guy, it will look normal and comfortable, because that's what you are.

And when I buy capris at Old Navy, they hit at my ankles and look like highwaters,