I have a pal in the blogosphere who is convinced that God loves short people more than tall ones. Though Cristy and I have never met in the traditional sense, we routinely peek into one another’s brains through our respective blogs, and I feel I have found a kindred spirit in this “taller than average woman” with her “paltry meanderings.” She’s snarky and insightful and funny, but she is dead wrong on the height issue. We short people are not the adored babies of God’s family; rather, if our lot in this life is any indication, we are more like His pet hamster.
According to the CDC, the average American woman is five-foot four-inches tall. Now that’s a measure that was taken in 2002, and I’m sure it’s crept up a bit in the 10 ten years. As I am now in the shrinking phase of my physical development, what we might call the altitudinally declining, post-40 years, I think it’s safe to assume I’m at least two inches below average. Doesn’t seem like much, does it?
Well unless you’ve tried to buy women’s clothing off the rack in the past 20 years, it wouldn’t. Despite the fact that I am a mere two inches below average, every single pair of pants I try on is approximately three yards too long. Jacket sleeves hang to my knees and dresses almost invariably make me look like I put my head through the armhole.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Why doesn’t she just stop complaining and shop in the petite section?” I’ll tell you why: because I am that unhappy combination of a regular size upper body with sad, stubby arms and legs. As such I have to buy one size bigger in a petite, and I can barely deal with my regular size. Further, petite pants are too short to wear with heels, and I haven’t worn anything less than two-inch lifts outside the gym in 10 years. The rise of little people pants is also too short, and trust me, after about 10 minutes of being crotch bound I am not at my sunny best. In the dress department, the waists are too high and the shoulders too narrow. I try them on and am immediately transported back to second grade, a “husky” little 6X trying to squeeze into last year’s size six. Not the kind of flashback you want to have when surrounded by mirrors, lit by fluorescents and wearing nothing but your underwear, believe me.
And then there are the shoes. I’ve been wearing three-inch heels so long, anything less feels like an Earth shoe. If I had delicate little Cinderella feet, it would be all Manolos and rainbows and unicorns in the shoe department. Sadly, however, I have wide little duck feet and Jimmy Choo does not, to the best of my knowledge, offer an E width. For some reason, orthopedic shoemakers are the only ones interested in my custom, but black, comfort-ride Easy Striders don’t look as fabulous with a little black cocktail dress as you might think. Try Googling stiletto+wide width if you don’t believe me.
Lest you think it’s merely a fashion issue, I’ll remind you of the following. I can never reach above the second kitchen cabinet shelf without a stool. Taking two stairs at a time would require the suspension of the laws of physics and very possibly a forklift. One extra pound stored on my frame is the equivalent of 10 on a tall person. And finally, unless you’re Selma Hayak, having anything larger than a B cup makes you look like a pear balanced upside down on a Cheez-it. I should know.
Still, I suppose, it’s not all bad down here. The air is thicker. I never bump my head — on anything. If there’s a limbo contest, I OWN it. And who doesn’t love a hamster, for goodness’ sake?