Thoughts on...

Thoughts On… Size Matters


I am small.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I guess it bears repeating for the purposes of this post. I am 5ft 1″ tall… or small, as the case may be. Almost inevitably, the first words out of most people’s mouths when they meet me in flats is, “Oh my God, you’re so short!” And I am!

I am so short.

I am so short the only exercise my upper arms ever get is from dragging chairs over and back to the kitchen so I can reach for the ingredients I need while cooking. I am so short that when things are on the top shelf in the supermarket I need to ask for assistance to get them down. I am so short that if somebody tall sits in front of me at the cinema, I spend the entire movie tilting my head from the left to the right and vice versa in order to see the screen, and if a concert is standing-room only I am guaranteed to see nothing but a sea of shoulders.

Having said that, I am not petite.

Short, petite people look like fairies or sylphs. They’re graceful and delicate and look as if the earth’s gravity only barely holds them tethered to the ground. I do not look like that. I look like a regular person who has shrunk in the wash. I look like I was popped in on a hot cycle by mistake and left in there for a tumble dry.

I went through a phase as a teenager when I hated my height. I hated the terrible, terrible, dad-level jokes that came with it. All the cheery, “Oh, how convenient! An armrest!” lines accompanied by an elbow on my head, all the times I was unexpectedly lifted off the ground, all the morons who thought it was absolutely hilarious to hold things just centimetres out of my reach… I imagined myself suddenly extending like Inspector Gadget and backhanding them across the face.

With a bionic hand, of course.

For maximum impact.

Luckily for me and my blood pressure levels, this period of my life was mercifully brief. I grew into myself (though obviously not too much) and embraced my inner shorty. I realised that my height could sometimes be a positive. For example:

  • I’ve never had to worry about towering over anybody because that has simply never happened.
  • No matter how high the heels – or the platform heels – I still have never had to worry about towering over anybody. Still no. Always no.
  • I can shop in the children’s section, which sometimes has nicer stuff.
  • Scandalously short dresses are an acceptable length on me.
  • Long tops can be worn as scandalously short dresses.
  • No matter how cramped airline seats get, there will always be more than enough room for my legs.
  • I have never had to duck because of a low ceiling.
  • Ditto for low shower heads.
  • Ditto for small doorways.

So overall…. it balances out. Do I have legs that go on for days? No. But do my feet ever stick out over the end of the bed? Also no. I can stretch out like a starfish and know that the duvet (no pun intended) has me covered.

I’m looking at my two six-month old kittens right now. Maya is a flimsy, lean little thing. She is, as kittens go, petite. I can pick her up with one hand. She is graceful and agile and manages jumps I didn’t think were possible for a mammal that isn’t a kangaroo or a jerboa.

This creature that looks like a mouse photoshopped onto bird legs is a jerboa

Oscar on the other hand, despite eating the same amount of food and being the exact same age, is a bona fide chunk of a cat. He weighs the same as a miniature hippopotamus, and has no discernable elegance in his movements whatsoever. He thumps around the apartment like a tiny despot, singing the song of his people. Sometimes he leaps – front legs stretched wide like a flying squirrel – for the bed, or a chair, or the windowsill, and he misses, landing back on the ground with an earth-shaking thud. He is dense. He has a wide, fat little head and when I lift him, I make an audible “OOF!” sound.

If he were a human child I would have already signed him up for the local rugby club.

Maya can leap in enormous bounds that Oscar will never manage, but Oscar can pull himself up bodily to areas that Maya can’t reach. Maya can slink through the narrowest of gaps if a door is left slightly ajar, but Oscar can bulldoze his way in head first.

It all balances out.

Does size matter? Not in my experience.

…But I know it’s harder for guys.

*As a teen. I am no longer a hellion demonspawn. I wasn’t a rebellious teenager but at times my moral compass was in need of a good shake.


  • sonofabeach96

    Don’t feel too bad. My wife “claims” to be 5′ even. So, you’re taller than some. 😃😃

    Besides, like I always tell her, big things come in little packages. 😊

  • The Real Reality Show Blog

    Small is just right. My daughter, herself a comfortable 5’1″, celebrates her height with a t-shirt proclaiming, ” I’m not short, I’m fun size!” In her case, the height comes honestly. Her mother was also 5’1″ while I towered over them at 5’6″. The absolute best part was when it came time to sell the house I was able to include in the listing, “top cabinets and closet shelves in mint condition.”

    • Quinn

      Ha I definitely used to use that phrase a lot! That listing line made me laugh out loud… same could be said for mine!

  • bexoxo

    In a weird way, I needed this today. Not that my height has or ever will be an issue (I’m 5’2″ and proud!)… but I found out today that my ex is making fun of the fact I’ve gained some weight since our split 2.5 years ago. I’m somewhat comfortable in my body and sure, over that kind of time period, anyone can gain a few pounds, but to know that someone I spent 1/3 of my life with is now using it to taunt and humiliate me in front of others hurts pretty damn badly. But as you summed up, size does not matter… but kindness does!

  • Eunice

    I’m shorter than you at just 4ft 11ins, and though it bothered me when I was in my early teens – I got mercilessly picked on at school – I came to accept my height as I grew into adulthood and realised that being short and slim had as many advantages as disadvantages, shopping for clothes in the kids section of a store being one of them 🙂

  • Plectrumm

    “Height is only what you make of it…granted, we live in an over glamorized culture of imagined postures”

    (Notice on Game of Thrones how Saunsa 5’8” compares to the surrounding male characters)

    A dear friend of mine is barely 4’11” and is a wonderful person 😎

  • Jeff Cann

    I’m sure Oscar gobbles up half of Maya’s food while your back is turned. Food is another example of small being good. I’m sure you eat far less than your 5’9″ doppelganger. How come you give height in feet & inches. I would think it would all be in centimeters. I don’t understand the world.

  • Anthony

    The interesting thing is that you are taller than two of my sisters (they are full grown adults–in case you were wondering). They may not have the size but they’ve got fight in them. I have seen them reduce much taller people to tears.

    As always, I have really enjoyed your post, and I will be sharing it with my vertically challenged sisters.

  • amfeelingright

    So in short (pardon the pun), you are an amazingly attractive girl. Hmm, at the risk of officially turning into a cyber creep, I am liking you more with every post.

    But don’t you worry, I will never cross the electronic medium (unless of course you want me to ;)).

  • Angela

    LOVE THIS!! That jerboa though!!! How cute?! I think?!
    My height, or lack of, was never an issue for me until I fell head over heels for a guy who was 6ft 9in we dated on and off for a while but he always felt awkward about the height difference and worried that people laughed at us eye roll it kinda made me hate my height for a bit but screw it, besides VAT free Nikes for the win!!

  • Brian

    I think my wife married me primarily because I can reach the top shelf. She is a towering 5’1″ while I am in the 6’1″ neighborhood. The only real issues we have? I put the shower heads up high enough so I can comfortably stand under them. This makes it difficult for the spousal unit to make any adjustments or grab the spray wand. Slow dancing is a challenge with the height mismatch as well.

    Didn’t seem to hurt the kids though as both are 6’+

  • laugraeva

    I always imagined you to be tall, or at least as tall as me (5ft 7″). Maybe it’s that supermodel face of yours that put that idea into me head.
    I am SO JEALOUS that you can shop in the kids’ section. Some of their stuff really is better!

  • Transformed NonConformist

    I am 6’3″ and have the opposite issues. Every hotel I use has a shower head that is way too low. My feet hang off the end of beds and flying is incredibly cramped. I cannot get comfortable when I am squeezed into those seats.

    To make it worse, I moved to China a year ago. People here are on average about 8 inches shorter than the people in the States. So, everything is even lower and smaller. I can’t even buy shoes here in my size. Literally. I actually have to leave the country to buy shoes and pants.

    Transformed Nonconformist

  • paulliverstravels

    When my ex wife and I started dating she stopped wearing heels because she didn’t want to appear taller than me. When my g/f before her and I dated, we looked like a “normal” couple sitting in restaurants, but when we stood everyone stared because she was a half foot taller than I am.

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