I am 4’11” and I absolutely love it. While it wasn’t always something I liked, these days I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s a part of who I am and really fits my personality. I can sit comfortably in a tiny airplane seat, I can crowd-weave like nobody’s business, and being tiny secretly makes me feel dainty (never thought I would admit that one!), The bottom line is: I like being short. But the strange thing about my height is this phenomenon in which people seem to think I don’t know I’m short. They also believe that it is now their personal job to inform me, in case I hadn’t realized in the past few decades. My height is a part of my persona, but it’s kind of old news to me. It never occurred to me to bluntly inform others of the status of their physical traits, but there is something about being short that makes me an unsolicited opinion magnet. Maybe this happens to tall girls too? Enlighten me.
The thing is that when people make cutesy “short” commentary to me (which usually isn’t meant to be rude) they honestly believe they are the first people to say it. Here are the most common things people say or do to me that they think are oh-so-original. Some are endearing and funny, some are eyeroll-inducing. ALL are overused…
1. “I just want to put you in my pocket!” I don’t really mind this one but for whatever reason it always leads me to picture the literal version of that and then I get confused trying to imagine how it would work. [I am guilty of saying this to Claire. -- Amelia]
2. “You’re the perfect height for an armrest!” (Then proceeds to rest their arm on my shoulder, often while carrying on a conversation with someone else.) I never know what I’m expected to do with this once people actually put their arm on me? Like, stand completely still until they feel like doing something else…or..?
3. “You’re short.” WHAT? NO WAY DUDE!
4. “Aww, you’re so tiny!” (Proceeds to give an uninvited and terrifying bear hug.) This tends to come from really tall, strong people. They think it’s their duty as a person double my size to, what, protect me by squishing me with a death grip? Them being giant burly dudes and me being munchkin-sized is a not a reason to violate my personal bubble in a one-sided hug for a good three minutes while I squirm to get out of their arms.
5. “You make me feel tall!” Cool story, bro.
6. “I’m so glad you’re here, I’m usually the shortest one in the group, you make me feel so much better! I’m so glad somebody is finally shorter than me!” Thanks for implying that being short is an objectively bad trait. Also, when else on earth would this be a socially acceptable thing to say aloud to somebody? Think about how it sounds when you substitute that with some other characteristic like “Finally somebody here is fatter than me!” or “YAY, someone is stupider than I am!” Just … no. This one might sound like I’m overreacting but after feeling pretty unbothered by it for years, it started to become offensive around the 500th time.
7. “You’re fun-sized!” This one is always used in catcalls, not totally sure why.
8. “You’re adorable!” I’ll take this one anytime! But it’s still played out.
9. “OMG you’re even wearing little heels! That’s cute, you’re trying to be taller! You know I’ve still got like a foot on you though, right?” More like I’m just participating in the female ritual that is wearing pretty shoes. I promise I’m not trying to trick you into suddenly thinking I’m 6’2″. And don’t flatter yourself, I’m definitely not trying to be taller than you in particular.
10. Picking me up upon seeing me for the first time. What IS this? It can be funny and charming, if you’re a person I actually know. If we’ve just met, I’m really not sure where you got the idea that I would enjoy you lifting me into the air.
11. “Are you sure that’s how tall you are? I think you’re lying about an inch or two.” I just cannot get off how rude a statement like that is, because again, shit like this usually comes from people I have very recently met. Who talks like that to someone they barely know? Would I ever say to a person who just disclosed, say, their weight, “I think you’re lying, you shaved off a few pounds from that number”? Were people raised in a barn or what?
12. “Can you reach that?” (Pointing to something that is 3 feet off the ground). Yeah, I can reach that.
13. Creepy older men patting me on the head. I have no idea why but this is SUCH a thing. It’s so bizarre.
14. (Upon a giant bear-size dog walking by.) “That dog is as tall as you!” Maybe it’s just me being a dog lady but I ACTUALLY LOVE WHEN THIS HAPPENS.
15. “At least you can date any guy you want, I hate being taller than a guy I’m going out with.” I guess I see your point?
16. “I guess you probably get that all the time.” Yes. Need I say more?
[Photo from Shutterstock]