Living in Lilliput

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I’m 6 foot, 2 ¼ inches tall—above average for an American man.[1] All my life, people have pointed this out, cooing “You’re so tall!”. There’s only one answer to this: “Yup.” And one inevitable response from them: “Lucky!”

Am I?

Yes, there are some perks to my height. Friends very quickly yield the shotgun seat when we carpool. Women (including my wife!) often prefer taller men. My height gives me an advantage in some sports.

But being tall isn’t all slam dunks and fawning females. There are real-life disadvantages to above-average height:

  • Clothes never fit right. I can’t buy pants off the rack (unless I’m going for the capri look). Shirt-shopping makes me feel like a teenaged girl—all too-short sleeves and exposed midriffs. I’ve been waiting a full year now for a particular ski boot to restock my size.
  • Traveling is a nightmare. As the airlines squeeze seat rows closer together, flying grows more and more unbearable. When passengers sitting in front of me recline their seat back, they mercilessly crush my legs.[2]
  • You bang your head a lot. When my wife and I moved to DC, the only apartments in our price range had very low ceilings. At one we visited, I literally couldn’t stand up straight in most rooms. Even in the basement unit we settled on, walking to the kitchen required me to duck. And older houses are even worse; every door represents a concussion, waiting to happen.

    Another household annoyance? Every work surface sits a little too low. Cutting veggies for dinner? To reach the counter, I’m forced to hunch over awkwardly. Washing up in the bathroom? Same thing: Quasimodo City. It’s no wonder that many tall people struggle with back problems.

So don’t assume tall people love their height. The world was designed for shorties.

  1. Four inches above, to be more precise.  ↩

  2. Common courtesy tip #1? Never, ever recline your seat without asking the passenger behind you.  ↩