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April 29, 2004
Paging Randy Newman

Short People got no reason
Short People got no reason
Short People got no reason
To live

Lloyd Garver, a short man, riffs on tall people: The Trouble With Tall People.

Now, me being 6'8" may have warped my perspective on the whole subject.

Tall people have a special status in our culture.
Right. "Big lummox" is pretty special, you betcha. "Bull in a china shop" is even more special.
Often without good reason, they are thought of as leaders — as "standing tall above the rest."
"Standing tall..." Let me clue you in, Lloyd: we tall folk do stand tall above the rest, by definition. For that reason alone, we shall conquer and rule. Get used to servitude, Lloyd.

Want to be my footstool?

In school, the tallest boys are the first to get dates.
This may be true. I got few dates in high school - probably because I didn't hit my growth spurt until I was in college. I got my revenge, though, by out-growing everyone in the SBHS class of '80. But I still didn't get to date the cute girls... dang.
Tall girls are told they look great — "like beautiful models."
Well, they do. But if we tall fellows can get all the dates we want, how does that explain the "tall man + short woman couple" phenomenon? Surely you've noticed it, Lloyd? [I have a "tall man/short woman" theory that I might write about some other time.]
Short people with big egos are often said to have a "Napoleon Complex," but nobody ever talks about tall, egotistical people as having a "de Gaulle Complex."
DeGaulle was French. Who wants to be compared to a Frenchman? (Napoleon was Corsican, of course.)
The average height in this country is 5 feet 9 inches for men, and about 5 feet 4 for women. Anybody below that comes up short.
Oh, a pun. Ha. Ha. Please, stop. My ribs hurt. Ouch. Please, no more.

Actually, Garver's column makes some interesting observations about height, though he fails to mention the downside of being huge in an ordinary-sized world. I'll never, for instance, be able to drive a Ferrari. It'd take a shoehorn, axle grease and a bigger bank account just to get me into one.

Garver's comments relating to social status and income, and average height increasing over the decades are worth reading. The latter in particular I can believe. Three of my grandparents were quite short by today's standards, but both of my parents reached over 6' tall. I expect that my nephew, whose parents are 6'5" and 6'1", will end up taller than me.

Poor kid.

Posted by Russ at 02:48 PM, April 29, 2004 in Miscellany

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I remember reading in one of the books in the "All Creatures Great and Small" series the vet remarking that if he went to a farm and the door was opened by a tiny woman, he figured he'd be looking for a very big husband. He didn't know why they married up like that, but he expected it and was amused by it.
My sister and I are both under 5 foot and we too married very tall men.
What's your theory? Mine is that big guys think we're so darn cute. ;)

Posted by: Donnah at April 29, 2004 11:03 PM

Well, that's actually a pretty concise summary of my theory.

Posted by: Russ at April 29, 2004 11:11 PM

How tall is Randy Newman?

Posted by: rach at August 28, 2005 09:29 PM

there is nothing in this world with real meaning that was done because someone was good looking or tall. but a lot of things with meaning were destroyed because some people were given aggressions or depressions because they had been told too often >you're ugly, you're small, you're not good enough) Greetz from germany

Posted by: Cendrin at November 11, 2005 02:03 AM

Actually, despite the tone of my post, I agree with you.

I'd be much happier not being so tall, just as I'm sure shorter people would like to be taller.

The difference, I suppose, is that those who are apt to make fun of people for their size are also usually too cowardly to rudely mock people much bigger -- and in theory, more dangerous -- than they are. And as a very large man, I know that I don't have to react strongly if I am offended, where a short man might feel a need to over-react in his own defense. A lifetime of that could indeed lead to behavioral problems.

I wonder if there have ever been any scientific studies on the matter?

Posted by: Russ at November 11, 2005 02:52 AM

When it get's to heightism it's some sort of nature's law that this problem is most of the time the short man's problem. You're not quite popular when you want to meet girls, when you want to get a good job and you're the smallest you have not the best chances. The discrimination of tall men can only be seen as an angry reaction of short guys. But that's something I almost never heard about, it's not meant with heightism. I understand that it can become weird when you're like 210cm, but with 200cm for example you got some sort of god's gift in a society and world that will always deal with old sexual laws. The eye is faster than the soul. Greetz from germany.

Posted by: cendrin at November 11, 2005 06:01 PM