30 March 2011

Gulliver in Lilliput

I have never liked being 5'10".  As a girl I had visions of growing up to be a wee woman with red curly hair and green eyes.  But, alas-- brown hair, blue eyes, and a decidedly un-dainty 5'10" was what my genes had in store for me.

From the time I was in 4th grade, I got used to being in the back of the line on the way to class picture day.  It would always be my head peeking out from behind the daintier masses, you see. And, of course, as my body lengthened, so did my feet.  When I was in middle school I secretly shopped for shoes from a catalogue of "big sizes" for size 10 hooves like mine.  On the plus side, I never needed to have my skirts or pants hemmed, but on the other hand I did look ready to go wading in a shallow pond at any moment.

When I left Pawcatuck for Columbia University, I thought for sure I would feel more at ease with my surroundings, more able to be myself in this anonymity of New York City, in a tower filled with ivy and ambition and actual skyscrapers.  In many ways I did feel more at home there-- but the dating scene reminded me once again of just how far my head was above sea level.  I would go out in 3 inch heels, look around me at the tops of the as-yet-unbalding heads of the world's next crop of investment bankers and lawyers, and sigh with resignation. And then go back to the dorm to dye my hair red.  (At least ONE of my fantasies was going to come true, dadnabit!)

In the years that followed, I discovered that nature was kind in the long run.  As I grew older, people got taller around me.  That is, 5'10" wasn't as tall in 2005 as it was in 1990... and I could buy shoes in regular stores, too!  Skirts actually came down to my knee.  I met women taller than I was.  I won't say that I ever felt dainty, per se, but I certainly felt like one of the girls again.

Cut to: Portugal, 2011.

Average height of a fully grown female: 5'2".

Biggest size available in any shoe store: 9.

Number of times I have elbowed an old lady in the face while waiting for the bus, because her face was at waist level and I just didn't see her: 2.

Chance of finding a pair of pants that is cut to fit my legs: 1.2%


Do you suppose that by 2020 I will feel like a girl again?  By 2030, I may even be dainty?

1 comment:

  1. I loved it! You are a great writer. Look forward to the next entry. Love, Mom