Weeee Represent the Lollipop Guild

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I’m what they call a robust gal. Hardy. Big boned. The word “petite” doesn’t apply to any of the assets I embody. I’m broad of shoulder and sturdy in the hips and thanks to a mom who told me to stand up straight, I own every one of my five feet and almost eight inches.

I had to stand in the back row for class photos. I long ago gave over to the knowledge that with these thighs, corduroy was not an option.

Back in college, I danced with short cowboys and took many a brim of a cowboy hat to the bridge of my nose.

After I moved to California, I wore flat shoes for years because I dated a guy not much taller than me. He once cooed over a friend who is teeny tiny, “you’re like a little doll!” he gushed. I never felt more elephantine than I did at that moment.

This is the hand I’ve got to play, dealt by my genetics. Honestly, I’ve become more sanguine about it over the years.

This brings us to the events of yesterday. I’d been invited to a status update meeting with a VP from my company and the CEO of a large multinational corporation.

In the morning, I dug around in my closet and put together a pretty nice outfit. A meeting like this is big doings, so I knew I had to up my game.

I got dressed and put on my favorite pair of three inch heels. The outfit looked great. Before leaving the house, I asked The Good Man if I was committing a work faux pas.

See…my boss is about 5’9″ on a good day, and his boss is maybe 5’6″ if the wind is right and he’s on the uphill side of an incline.

Is it bad form to tower over the people who pay my paycheck? The Good Man considered the question and decided the outfit worked, and thus all would be ok.

Off I went to work feeling pretty good. The meeting time rolled around and I stepped into the conference room. As I was the only woman in a roomful of nine men, they all rose and walked over to greet me.

Ok, so flatfooted I’m 5’8″ and now wearing three inch heels I’m 5’11”

There was only one person in the room who was taller than me. Just one. The rest of these #$%^ing Lilliputians scrambled around somewhere about my kneecaps.

*sigh*

At the end of the day, I was very glad to go home, kick off my tall shoes, stand on tippy toes, and kiss my 6’2″ husband.

Because that’s the best way to navigate through a day chock full of Oopma Loompa-ish men.

(I might also add that I was only one of two Americans in the room. We had a gent from Hong Kong, a Dutchman, an Aussie, a Swede, a Scotsman, a Russian, an Irishman, a Spaniard, an American from Phoenix…and me.)

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Comments

  • Laura

    I feel your pain. I am 5'9 and definitely not petite in frame. All through elementary school I was one of the tallest, if not the tallest, in my classes. It wasn't until high-school that some guys started topping my height.

  • Natalie

    Stature over inches…

    I'm just gonna say that it was probably comforting for the shorties to know that a woman of such high stature (and heels! ha!) is appropriate in a room of Liliputians.

    Long strides… My dear…
    :)

  • Jennifer

    Also tall, and strong as an ox. (Good peasant stock – just hitch me to the plow if the mule dies!) I was uncomfortable with it in my late teens/early 20s because it did scare guys off. Now I don't think twice about it, except to be glad that I don't have a problem reaching my highest kitchen cabinets. It doesn't hurt that my husband adores my height. He calls me his Amazon. :) My two daughters are probably going to be as tall as me, although one has a willowy build (like my younger sisters) and the other has inherited my sturdy build. I am working very hard on making sure they both value their unique qualities. We'll see in a few years how well I've managed to defeat the outside messages.

  • Elise

    I'm tall, too. More lanky than sturdy, but tall. And I love heels.

    During my career in advertising, I had two short men as creative directors (one at each shop). They were awesome bosses (and awesome people), and there was never an issue with either of them. There was teasing from time to time, of course–one of them actually used to jump up on my desk every once in a while in order to talk to me. You'd have to know him–and you'd have to be there–but it was hilarious.

    I had one insane little boss, though, who was simply eaten UP with Napoleon Syndrome, and when I finally decided I was leaving that job, I made a point of wearing 4" heels every day and STANDING over him whenever he came in my office.

    The multi-cultural aspect of your job would bring some new question marks into the situation, though. Especially when some of those cultures are not just slightly misogynist. One of my biggest clients in advertising was Sony. Some of the execs from Sony Japan used to blow my mind on a fairly regular basis, quite frankly.

  • Elise

    PS: Husband and I had a short but HUGE fight (can you call one person having a massive hissy fit a "fight?") early in our relationship because I reached my max on his "she was such a tiny little thing!" comments about other women. I told him if he was into child-sized women, he should get the fuck out of my house/life and go find himself one.

    I love being tall, and frankly, I have a theory about adult-sized men who are all about the teeny, child-sized women, and it's not flattering for the men.

  • Anonymous

    Karen,

    From an Oompa-Loompa I say good post. Yet another reason to call Him TLM.

    I wonder why height is so important. But my advice is:

    If you've got it, flaunt it!

    Regards,
    EFM

  • Karen Fayeth

    Laura – Thanks for the comment. Tall girls unite!!

  • Karen Fayeth

    Natalie – Good advice, friend! :)

  • Karen Fayeth

    Jennifer – Strong as an ox. Love it! I too come from good peasant stock.

    Congrats on being the kind of mom who'll make sure her girl knows she's beautiful, no matter what.

    Tough job, but we strong ladies are up to the task.

  • Karen Fayeth

    Elise – Yeah, I have to say, even though my managers are short men, they are very cool about it. I have worked for a napoleon, and it wasn't pretty. Though I would wear tall heels every time I had a meeting with him…just cuz I could.

    Your jumping on the desk story made me laugh! Reminded me: My best friend is 6' tall. In college we had a guy friend who would did a "party hole" in the dirt for her to stand in so they could literally see eye to eye.

    And yes, I have theories too about men who like little child woman. Lots and lots of theories…..

  • Karen Fayeth

    Ephraim – Good advice! Thanks for being a short guy who isn't all weird about it!

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