4 Reasons Being a Tall Woman Can Be Worse Than a Short Man
Back in 2014, fellow columnist Gladstone wrote an article about his experiences as a 5-foot-6 man in today's height-driven society. It's a new year now, and as Cracked's only resident giantess, I feel it's my duty to write an article about the flipside of this experience. I'm 5-foot-10, which is at the lower level of the Tall Girls Club, but after talking to a few other vertically blessed women, I am confident in speaking for at least a few of us.
And yes, the weather up here is fine. Thanks for asking.
First thing's first: Overall, I consider being tall a good thing. You can reach stuff in high cabinets and flip your pet upside down and make them walk along the ceiling while singing that song from The Simpsons Movie. There's a few minor downsides, though, like having to fold yourself up like an accordion in airplane seats and being used by shorter people as a ladder when they want to change a light bulb in a hurry. And if you happen to be a freakishly tall woman, there's also the fact that ...
You Occasionally Destroy Someone's Sense of Reality
According to at least one dating survey, men all over the country are in the habit of rounding up their heights on online dating profiles, while women usually shave a few pounds off their real weight. And I'm pretty sure this happens in real life as well: If no one is standing right there with a tape measure, why not make yourself sound a bit more conventionally attractive in number form? It's like when those phone surveys ask you how many circus-themed orgies you attend a week, and you tone it down to only three or four, because you don't want the survey person to think you're weird.
"They don't call me 'clown car' for nothing."
But because of this widespread lying, some of us have developed a distorted perception of what humans actually look like. If you're female and you weigh 150 pounds, strangers might guess that you weigh 130, because they've heard hundreds of women slimming down their weight over the years and now think 150 looks bigger than it really does. Similarly, everyone forgets just how neck-craningly huge people over 6 foot really are, because we're all used to men adding an inch or three to their height.
And this can have consequences for tall, not-lying-about-their-height women. I once knew a dude who for years refused to accept that I was 5-foot-10. I'd tell him over and over, swearing that I'd been to the doctor last week and they'd measured me with their special accurate doctor chart and that doctors can go to Doctor Jail for lying about stuff like that. He simply didn't believe it. Why? Because he was noticeably shorter than I am, and was convinced that he was 5-foot-10. "Being 5-foot-10" had become a huge part of his identity, and if it took a physician or two winding up in Doctor Jail for him to keep believing that, so be it.
He got an extra 10 years for seeing that other guy ahead of you even though you've been waiting for 90 GODDAMN MINUTES.
Don't get me wrong, most dudes are pretty well-adjusted about their height. Even if they're tempted to exaggerate on a dating site or two, they're usually in touch with reality. But even if it's one man out of 50 who is basing too much of his self-worth on a height that he has made up, that's still a lot of people telling tall women that they must be measuring themselves wrong, or that they've secretly been standing on a brick this whole time.
It's Still Impossible to Dress Yourself
Go anywhere that vaguely human-shaped pieces of cloth are sold, and you'll hear a lot of women complaining about clothes that don't fit. And for good reason: Not only do women's clothing manufacturers pay no attention at all to sizing standards but the average catwalk model is between 5-foot-9 and 5-foot-11, well above the height of the average American woman. Trends are initially designed to sit right on the tall models who tower over everyone at fashion shows; they're not designed to suit the body type of Joanna Average American. But the one upside of that is that women's clothing should fit freakishly tall people of the female persuasion, at least if those freakishly tall people are also catwalk-model skinny.
In other words, many of us should be able to find this in our size.
Unlike most women who really enjoy sandwiches, I had a chance to put this theory to the test. A few years back, I had a serious illness that caused my weight to drop to around 120 pounds. At my height, that puts my BMI near 17, which is dangerously underweight for most people but around normal for models. Sure, because of the illness I looked like a Faces of Meth poster that had been left out in the rain, but in terms of sheer measurements, I was Fashion's Ideal Woman. At least I'd finally be able to squeeze into some nice, well-fitting clothes.
Nope! See, it turns out that mainstream women's clothing designers, perhaps while on a decades-long cocaine bender, have decided that if a women's shirt or pair of pants gets longer, they must always get wider as well, like different-size soda cups at McDonald's. So, a larger pants size might do well at reaching to the bottom of your freakishly long legs, but it will assume that your hip and waist have expanded as well. Of course, the human body is not a soda cup, so this means that most tall, skinny women have to choose between "Nerd in an '80s Movie" too-short pants or falling-down pants that make you look like you just deflated.
I eventually just went with this instead.
And even if your BMI is old enough to order a drink, attempting to hide your nakedness still sucks if you're tall and female. Men's clothing tends to have tall options available, as well as chain stores that cater entirely to them. But the relative rarity of tall women, combined with the aforementioned cocaine benders, means that specialized clothing for giantesses is mostly available only in limited form online. I often end up just buying pants from the men's section, through which I learned that a lot of men's sweatpants have a little folded openable section at the front where men can pull their dick out and pee without having to drop their pants. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the dick-opening on my own pants: Maybe I'll put some plastic flowers in there and pretend to flash people, only to give them a nice surprise at the last second.
But that's just a minor inconvenience. Some people end up with their whole lives screwed up because ...
Society Doesn't Like Women Dating Smaller Men
There's a standard in popular culture that's so common most of us don't even think about it. For an example of this standard, look at Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson in the second Hunger Games movie. On-screen, Hutcherson usually looks an inch or two taller than Lawrence:
Whereas in real life, Peeta and Katniss look like this:
J-Law is wearing heels there, true, but she's still got a few inches on him. Look at the two in that second picture: Can you imagine them appearing in a movie together, one that wasn't specifically a "tall girl dates short guy" comedy? Or a scene with the two of them that didn't revolve around Lawrence pretending to lose Hutcherson under some furniture or bumping her head on a door frame? Viewers are comfortable with a movie series that features children killing each other and the heroine getting those graphic pustules all over her neck, but a girl being taller than the guy she's in a sort-of relationship with? That's a bridge too far, guys.
The widespread use of apple boxes to increase male height in Hollywood tells audiences one thing: The wrong kind of height difference is freakish. Men are supposed to be bigger than their women; they're supposed to be able to lift them off the ground to carry them over thresholds, heroically hoist them over their shoulders to haul them out of burning buildings, and lift them one-handed over their head and twirl them around in one of those standard foreplay techniques. I assume that's a standard foreplay technique, anyway. Us tall women can't tell.
"What if I just headbutt your boobs a few times instead? I can do that."
This widespread height-pressure is bad for shorter men, but it can hurt taller women, too. Some doctors over the years have even advocated estrogen treatment to limit the growth of tall girls at puberty, not because they face any actual health risks but to avoid "social and economic problems." A German study of the practice had parents admitting openly that they were choosing the treatment because they were worried about their tall daughters being unmarriageable. And I'm not talking about 7-foot-tall Amazons here: In Australia in the 1960s, such treatments were often recommended when girls were predicted to reach a height of only 177 centimeters, or just under 5-foot-10.
Almost 40 percent of the girls who received the treatment reported "unpleasant" side effects, but even apart from that, what sort of society deliberately stunts a child's growth simply so she can conform to these unnecessary standards? Maybe a society based entirely around airline seating, but that's all I can think of. Then again, maybe it's understandable, because ...
The Subject Can Turn Both Sexes Into Assholes
Unsurprisingly, the "height differences are icky" attitude isn't just coming from Hollywood. Studies of dating profiles have found that men are not willing to date much taller women, while other studies have found that most women aren't open to dating shorter men. Of course, the average man in the U.S. is just over 5-foot-9, so if you're a heterosexual female who's taller than that, there go your chances with the majority of the male population. You'd end up with a less drastically shrunken dating pool if you decided to only date men who liked the 2011 Green Lantern movie.
"I'm green in all the places you want me to be, baby."
For obvious reasons, these preferences make people mad. After all, your height isn't something that's under your control, and we really should all be judging each other on our personalities and senses of humor and ability to cook up a mean breakfast burrito, just like we should be dating each other in fields full of wildflowers where chocolates and love-notes are delivered by unicorns. But that's not the case, and so 20 percent of all comments on Internet articles mentioning tall women will be complaints about how ladies don't like shorter men, while 20 percent more will explain that men don't even dare to ask out tall women in the first place because their height makes men feel emasculated. Even this article urging men to approach tall women tells men to expect their target lady to be "touchy" and "aggressive" about how tall she is, as if slightly above-average height is a form of rabies.
It's not just men, either. I've heard tall women bitching about short women who happen to be dating unusually tall men, because those vertically challenged bitches are "stealing" the tall men from women who really need them. As if tall men were emergency medical supplies being delivered to an area that's just been ravaged by an earthquake, and the moral thing to do is to ration them out to the person who needs them most.
"I should be first. My house is full of really tall shelves and inconveniently high spiders."
So instead of wondering why we can't have a more peaceful society where everyone's happy to watch a Hunger Games movie with a tall heroine, everyone just blames each other, and it's not likely to end anytime soon. Clearly, there's only one real solution here: We need to bring back the great historical trend of high heels for men.
C. Coville has a Twitter here and a funny book on sale here.
For more from C. Coville, check out 6 Insanely Dark Online Games for Young Children and 5 Problems in Movies You Only Notice If You're Old.
Are you on reddit? Check it: We are too! Click on over to our best of Cracked subreddit.